MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The running joke had always been that 45-year-old Paul White’s long-term financial plan was the lottery, and on Thursday it paid off in full as the Ham Lake man won the Powerball jackpot.

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During a Thursday press conference, White was handed a $149.4 million check, as the two other winning tickets for the $448.4 million jackpot were sold in New Jersey.

“I think the only person who didn’t feel I was BSing them was my mother, whose name is Betty White by the way,” he said.

The Rhinelander, Wis., native even doled out some jokes, as he brought his boss to the press conference, saying “my boss will now be my chauffeur.”

Press Conference Interview Part II

The father of a 16-year-old son and a 14-year-old girl said he’ll be taking the cash option, which is about $86 million before taxes. After tax withholding, it comes out to more than $58 million.

“I feel this pressure off my shoulders that you carry every day with you,” he said. “I have two kids. Are my kids going to college? Am I going to be able to take care of them if they have health issues? All these things – gone. You don’t ever have to worry about it again.”

White said he checked the 10 tickets he had bought and realized he had nailed all six numbers on one of them.

“It’s just surreal at this point. I don’t think you guys can understand — it’s crazy. No worries anymore. It’s crazy,” he said.

White said he worked for a Minneapolis electrical contractor that had worked on major projects around the area including the Twins’ Target Field and the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. He said he’s help his company finish a few things up, but that after that his working days would be over.

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Press Conference Interview Part III

“I think a lot of good things are going to come out of this for not only my family and friends but for random people,” he said. “I don’t want to work for anybody else for the rest of my life for a paycheck.”

The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 5, 25, 30, 58, 59 and Powerball 32.

Ione Matter, a friend of White’s, was happy the winning ticket shone a spotlight on Anoka County.

“I heard the winner was from Minnesota, Anoka County, then Ham Lake,” Matter said. “We just thought it was so cool. This is so great for Ham Lake.”

Dean John, another friend, said it feels good to personally know a lottery winner.

“Of course, I wished it was me,” he said. “You bet I’m happy for him.”

Press Conference Interview Part IV

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