I meant to do this on Friday, but I was having a bit too much fun at Mohegan Sun that night, and left early the next morning for Beerfest in Atlantic City, so this is the first chance that I have had to sit down and write my thoughts out. I initially posed the question here, asking what you would do if you won the lottery.
As mentioned in that post, I think that I am a reasonable person, and that I will probably never win the lottery, regardless of how many times that I play it. However, I still think it is an interesting little game to think about what you would do with that kind of money all at once. I am always interested in reading about people that were formally in poverty that win the lottery and lose it all within years. And we are talking millions of dollars! If you put $1 million in the bank, even at 1% annualized return, the yearly interest would be $10,000. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but you put in multiples of a million dollars, or increase the rate of return, and you could literally live off of the interest for a long time. Even if you took out $40,000 a year, your money would still last a very long time.
All that being said, I have devised a list of things I would do with my hypothetical $80 million lottery winnings. I would hope that if I ever did win the lottery, I would be able to maintain and make it through the rest of my life not worrying about money, but you never know. One of the items below might lead to bankruptcy or just straight being taken advantage of.
1) Pay Off Debt – When I speak of paying off debt, I tend to agree with my sister Jen in that I would help out my family and friends with certain problems. One of my big regrets as I approached and past the age of thirty was that I hadn’t become wealthy enough to help my parents retire. Part of me feels that they worked a bit too long, but they had to keep working because of all their financial obligations. I think they will end up doing alright for the most part, but it would sure be nice as they approach their 70s to no longer have a mortgage.
Paying of my debt would be a small dent in my $80 million dollar in lottery winnings. Between my mortgage, student loans, and other unsecured debt, I don’t think it would exceed $250,000. Being debt free would be super awesome, and one could almost afford to live on the hypothetical $10,000 a year mentioned above if there were no monthly obligations to really worry about. Beyond myself and the parents, I’m sure my siblings could use a little money, and I would be sure to help them out. Not necessarily just giving them money for no reason, but allowing them to pursue their interests without the worry of not making enough to do it.
2) Become an Investor – Helping out friends and family kinda goes nicely with the next idea of becoming an investor. I don’t simply mean buying stocks and what not. I want to own businesses and help others follow their dreams. My sister Stef wants to run her little wedding reception hall; lottery money can make that happen. A friend needs some money to try and get his little band signed and follow his dreams; lottery money can make that happen. If you want to make small independent movies and take them on tour a la Kevin Smith, here’s your check. I would take $30-40 million and set up a holding company, like a modern day Berkshire Hathaway, and just help people follow their dreams… for a small ownership stake in their success. If they fail, my bad for making the investment. If they succeed, feel free to buy out my stake in your success.
Also, I would use my new found wealth to invest in the future of this country, first by helping my nephews by setting up college funds so they don’t have to worry about paying for college, but also by setting up scholarships for other kids to pursue their dreams, even if it is something away from traditional college. If they really want to be a chef but find it hard to get the funding from traditional means, I could help them out. If there is a program out there that is a little alternative but it is really something they wanted to do, I could help them out. It would, of course, be limited to an extent, but if more kids start doing what they wanted to right out of high school, I truly think that we would have a better country going forward.
3) Degenerate, High Stakes Gambling – The last thing on my list could probably be the downfall, but I would seriously like to sit down at a $100 minimum black jack table and play for hours, or shoot craps for black chips, or play $25 a number on spins of roulette, not to mention spend some time playing at the World Series of Poker every year. It would give me a break from becoming the next Warren Buffett through Gilberhard Holdings (see #2 above) and just let me have a good time. Or allow me to lose a lot of money. Either way, if I happen to blow through a few million at the casinos, I would still have a lot left, so it wouldn’t be that dramatic, right?
That’s what I would do if I won the lottery. I’ll keep spending $10 a week or so at the chance to make these “dreams” come true. I’ve said it before: you can’t win if you don’t try, so why not try? If I do end up winning, I’ll have a huge party somewhere and you’ll all be invited. You’ll just have to pay your way is all. Let’s not get too crazy.
Until next time…