Sunday, March 27, 2011

Power Millions Mega Ball

Friday’s Mega Millions multi-state lottery jackpot was up to $312 million, which reminded me of an old joke:

A guy comes home from work and his wife says, “Pack your bags, baby, I just hit the lottery!

The guy says, “Should I pack for the beach or the ski slopes?

The wife says, “I don’t care, just get the fuck out!

I almost never play the lottery.  I say “almost,” because I do play on occasions like this, when the jackpot gets so ridiculous.  I know I’m basically pissing money down the drain, but it buys me a night or two to dream big.

So it got me thinking, what exactly would I do if I hit a major lottery like this one?  And you know what happens when I start thinking

Blog post.

I’ve written before about my buddy Rik and his plan for a lottery jackpot, which involves buddy John and me quitting our jobs to become his posse.  First, he’d set up his kids.  Then our jobs would be to arrange trips, secure sports tickets and turn down requests for money.  Oh, and I’d write his biography: “Memoirs of a Feral Bachelor.”

All due respect to my buddy, I think I’d have to go a different way.

I would have one overwhelming priority: that I would never have to work again as long as I live.  There are so many people, whether lottery winner or professional athletes, that come into money and consequently piss it all away in no time at all.  That would NOT be me.

Right off the bat, I quit my job, by taking a scan of my winning ticket pressed up against my bare butt cheek and emailing it in.  No need for an exit interview.  Then I head straight for the doctor's office and get a vasectomy.  With my new windfall, I should be able to find someone that will do it under general anesthesia.

Once I can walk again, the first order of business would be to hire a Money Guy (as opposed to Buddy Guy, who I might hire to play my birthday party) to run some numbers and determine the prudent course of action.  Right off, there’s the lump sum vs. installment payments.

In this case with a $312 mil jackpot, that’s either 26 annual payments of 12 million, or a lump sum payment of $198 million.  You have to figure, taxes take at least half of that, so that leaves $6 mil per year for 26 years or one payment of $99 mil.  I’ve always heard it’s better to take the lump sum, invest it, and live off the interest.  Still, I’d like to see numbers each way and see what would work best with the way I intended to spend.

Even by the most conservative estimate of say, taking the $99 mil and putting it in a savings account earning .05%, that would give me $495,000 per year to live on.  Of course, that is assuming I never touch the entire principle. 

I figure right off the top, there’s some money that’s going to be spent.  I buy a house here, and possible a modest one back in Toledo.  (For the record, for what I’d spend on a small house in Baltimore, I could buy a fucking mansion out in the farmland outside Toledo, where I grew up.)

Also, I’d pay off my parents’ house, set up my nephews real well, and maybe invest in an art gallery for my sister to run.  I’d pay off Pinky’s student loans and get her a decent car.  (Nothing gaudy… maybe a Prius or something.  I’m not going to be buying ridiculous rides for anyone, myself included.)

Hmm.  This is already eating into my interest-generating nest egg.  Maybe the $6 mil a year is the way to go.  Money wouldn’t stop coming in until I was 75.

Anyway, once the “givens” have been given, it’s time to formulate The Budget with the Money Guy.  (And one further note there… the Money Guy will NOT be given power of attorney or any direct access to the cash.  Too many people have been screwed out of their money by people they trusted to manage it.  Not this cowboy.  I’m signing off on everything.)  But The Budget will be sacrosanct.  No spending unless it’s within my monthly (or weekly) limit.  We are not pissing this money away.

That said, these are some things I’m going to want to do:

* Rik and John and I are going to have some FUN…  perhaps not job-quitting fun, but periods where we get to go play and not have to worry about jack.  And I’ll want to help out their kids too.  Of course this is where it gets tricky… determining appropriate sums of money to gift.  Almost any amount you give can be seen as cheap. 

What, all that money and he only gives me a lousy $1000/$5000/$10,000?”  Sometimes, no matter what you give people, it’s never seen as enough.  And besides that, what do you do when you think one kid might put it toward a college education, while another kid will blow it on spa treatments?  Perhaps a Supermarket gift card?

Or maybe I just do something like give a check for $1000 on every birthday.  That way there’s not as great of a chance for them to blow it on stupid shit all at once.

I’d buy Sitcom Kelly a dream date with Kris Letang.  What she did with him after that would be up to her and the likelihood of luring him into her Pit-laden basement.

* I’d definitely sponsor a couple family/friend gatherings a year, probably involving football games, either in Pittsburgh (early in the season) or more temperate places (Miami, San Diego, Tampa) for late-season games.  I thought about getting season tickets, but I think it would be better just to cherry pick the special events to attend.  I’d charter a big bus or something, and fly in the out of towners.

I’d also have to consider getting the NFL Sunday Ticket for my new 80” HDTV, but then I’d have to give up going to the sports bar when the games aren’t on TV locally. 

You know what would be cool?  Picking up the tab for every Steeler fan in a Baltimore sports bar.

* I would increase my political activity considerably.  Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the DSCC would all benefit greatly.  But there would have to be some ground rules. 

Rule 1: No bugging me.  I’ll make one donation a year, then I don’t want to hear squat from you.

Rule 2: If you pass my name onto any other organization, you’ll never see another dime.

Rule 3: You may contact me about special meetings where famous people are going to show up.  After all, I’ll still be a fame groupie.

Certain other Pittsburgh-based blogger-run events would benefit as well.

I would pay big ugly biker dudes $100 apiece to stand in front of those Westboro Baptist Church idiots when they're attention-whoring picketing at military funerals.  And I’d double it for anyone that bent over and gave them the old “red-eye.”  Or even better, get some of the queeniest Freddie Mercury clones straight from a San Francisco Pride Parade, to counter-demonstrate.  That ought to cause them an embolism or two.

I’d buy ads to run on Fox “News”, saying, “I can’t believe you’re buying this shit.  They’re lying to you and you’re too stupid to realize it!

See, now that’s pretty much it.  I have fairly modest tastes.  Oh, I may get a better computer and furnish the house(s) nicely, but you won’t see any of my places looking like those on “MTV Cribs” or anything.  Heck, I may not even need a new PC.  With this kind of dough, I won’t need Internet porn; I can just have girls come over to the house and pull up their shirts in person.

I’d probably have to hire someone as a personal assistant though… Like someone to research stuff (hotels, ticket prices) take my car to the shop, make phone calls, answer phone calls… Lord knows I’m not going to want to have to deal with all the hands coming out.

I bet it would be really hard, though, to wake up on any random morning and NOT spend any money.  I mean, I do it all the time now, but knowing you have a pile of “stupid” money lying around?  The temptation would be great.  It would take a lot of self-discipline, but The Budget would have to trump all.  That’s the only way to make sure the gravy train never runs out of track.

But what a great idea for a blog… to chronicle the experiences of a new millionaire!  I’d have to do it anonymously, of course, or else I’d just be begging to be assaulted by hackers and slackers.  Of course, I meant to keep this blog anonymous, but you know how that worked out.

So, Friday I spent $5 on Mega Millions tickets.  And as I sit here this morning, I’m just as po’ as I was on Friday.  There was one winner of the $319 million jackpot, and it tweren’t me.  The winning ticket was sold at a variety store in Albany NY.

Hey, I wonder if it was the Ex.  Is it too late to file for alimony?
“Shit.”

28 comments:

  1. I never play the lottery, but if I did, I wouldn't play when it was ridiculously high cuz that's when everyone is playing and your odds suck. I'd play when it's 'only' $10 or $20 cuz there aren't as many people playing and your odds go up. I mean, how much money do I really need? I just want to be comfortable-be able to pay all my bills and have some money in savings and a little extra cash to blow on things I might want.

    Having said that, I love your plan for if you won the lottery, especially the part where you hire people to protest Westboro Baptist Church. :D

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  2. I mean $10 to $20 million. lol

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  3. Raven,
    I don't mean to pick nits, but there's a flaw in that reasoning. Your odds of landing those 6 numbers are exactly the same at all times, regardless of how many other people are playing. The only variable is how many other players land it as well and splitting the pot. And if you're going to split a pot, it behooves you to have a big of a pot as possible.

    Now, I'm not advocating for people to play the lottery. I only do it once every couple of years, on average. It's a sucker bet. But it does make for some fun dreaming.

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  4. I hear you about the idiots at that baptist church. I would pay someone good money to throw horse shit at them.

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  5. You could marry Joan Jett and not feel like a Kept Man. You could buy your Dad a motorized pool chair with fully stocked bar. You culd buy your Mom a publishing house and a whole lot of pencils with erasers.
    Be careful about wishing to win. You just might.
    You could send those Westboro Baptist protesters down here to harass Rich Scott, our cone-head criminal governor.

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  6. Trash,
    Throwing horseshit at those assclowns would be an exercise in redundancy. And an insult to horses.

    Mary Ann,
    Joanie can keep me any time; as long as it's not in a Pit.

    No kidding, about watching what I wish for. Just going through this exercise makes me think I'm better off with my own meager, but hard won gains.

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  7. You had me at the Fox Ad. I heart you!!!!

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  8. Wow... I'm glad I threw that in, then.

    Doesn't really even have anything to to with Fox, but it just seemed to fit the mood.

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  9. Oh, how I love daydreaming about this stuff too.

    I have to say, though, I could buy $25,000 worth of computer and camera equipment before you could say "piss it all away in no time."

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  10. I keep saying I don't want to hit all six or seven numbers (whatever it is, depending on the drawing); I'd be happy with an amount that would let me pay off the house and upgrade a few things. But you have really thought this through! I like your generosity toward Steelers fans! And I can think of a few things I could do along the lines of political ads (something about you are all liars).

    I tend to play only a few times a year, and since it has been about six months, I guess I am due.

    Keep dreaming!

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  11. Forget about paying off our house, balance ain't that great, BUT you can help the old man out by taking the Family to Tuscany for about a month. Those who chose to continue to work can only stay 1-2 weeks, but those of us who don't, you included, can stay the full month or maybe longer. A house on the seashore with unlimited V&T's and Jack's on the Deck. That would be the Berries. (does Berries show my age??)

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  12. I want to see the spreadsheet. C'mon - you MUST have a spreadsheet.

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  13. I don't think I've ever seen that kind of thought put into a lottery win. This was really interesting and impressive. I love the ads you'd run on Fox. You might consider some billboards that read Fox News: Bias and Bullshit.

    And the groups you would support -- Planned Parenthood and the others -- Boyfriend, I am proud of you.

    You totally deserve to win and I, for one, am rooting for you!

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  14. Wait. No where in that blog did I read, "I will buy my first 'real' commenter a pony."

    Sigh. I guess I'd have to feed and care for the pony after anyways. So no love lost.

    My only goal in life is to own my car outright. The day I make my last car payment will be the day I have to buy a new one, I'm sure, but for a month or two of no car payments would be wonderful.

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  15. Oh, and your dad is adorable.

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  16. Mrs. Bachelor Girl
    I would have the same inclinations. But that doesn’t mean I’d know how to use it. Maybe I could just hire a photographer. Hey! Want a job?

    Facie,
    That thought did cross my mind… hitting for a few hundred G’s would be a bit easier. It’s not retirement-worthy, but still quality-of-life changing. It would allow me to buy a house, for one thing. Well, in Baltimore, that would be “most of a house.” Takes at least $300,000 to buy anything nice around here.

    Dad
    Deal! Tuscany, it is. And I’ll have a little Italian sweetheart delivering the V&Ts. And have her mama do the cooking for us!

    DG,
    Sorry, no spreadsheet for this one… yet. Not till I win. I’ll have the Money Guy do one as part of the budget.

    Jayne,
    When we “planners” daydream, we daydream in detail. Otherwise, we might be apt to running down the street, naked, throwing fistfuls of $20 bills in the air when our number comes up.

    Planned Parenthood and other reproductive freedom organizations have always been high on my list of organizations to support and I recommend that anyone wishing to push back against the religious zealots leading the government’s intrusion into the bedroom and into the WOMB, to support them as well.

    Oooh, billboards… I could have a LOT of fun with Billboards! It would be like a giant micro-blog with a captive audience. Perhaps I should get to work designing some right now.

    Cassie,
    Let me say this… If I win the lottery, suffice to say that the next Darwinfish Fry would become a much more elaborate event. My “first commenter” would be very, very pleased with the accommodations (and day-spa).

    Ponies are great in theory, not so great in practice. No great loss.

    Your car knows when it’s about to be paid off, and promptly goes haywire. Count on it. Although, I can’t complain… I’ve been without car payments for 2 years now. Even my “new” car, I bought free and clear. Since I was already making do without it, I’ve been socking away the $200 I used to use as my car payment, into a savings account. It’s my future house/rainy day/catastrophic illness/job loss fund.

    Lastly, maybe I’ll let Dad sell the home in Florida and set up him and Mom in a Tuscan villa. I wonder if he can get the Steelers and Penguins on the dish, from Tuscany…

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  17. I love this! I've got a huge list of my own, and you may have inspired a post ;)

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  18. Hilarious, Bluz! I was sorta hoping you would win, first for YOU, and then for the next Darwinfish Fest! Selfish wench, aren't I? Thanks for the laughs today!

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  19. Kernut
    So glad I could be of help! Of course, if you DO hit the lottery, and you DO use any of my suggestions, there is a small reference fee. But don’t worry, it won’t exceed 5 figures.

    Cher
    You think they’d rent out Heinz Field to a bunch of bloggers? We could deliver them some solid PR, don’t you think?

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  20. The first time I bought a lottery ticket, I got really pissed at myself because what I really needed was a loaf of bread. That was a LONG time ago. Now I buy one if I remember, which is not very often. SOMEBODY wins that money! It will never be me, though.

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  21. Judie,
    I just figure it's worth a buck or two for an evening of contented dreaming every year or so. And like I said, I got a good post out of it. There are many times I'd pay $5 for a good blog idea.

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  22. I'd totally apply to be your personal assistant. You wouldn't want a hot girl for a gatekeeper. You want a big burly dude.

    That way, I could just travel in the wake of your totally awesome life.

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  23. Bagger,
    Agreed… need big but agreeable dude for the assistant job. Must be able to say “NO,” at frequent intervals. (Not to me, of course.) A hot chick in that position would be a deterrent to the gathering of other hot chicks.

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  24. This was the lottery that was won by the group of coworkers in New York, right? Thank God it at least was split by several people. I mean, what an obscene amount of money for one person to have.

    Except you, Bluz. Totally OK if you'd won the whole thing.

    And if you do ever win, don't forget, I'm my own personal charity.

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  25. Sherry,
    I'd be spending a lot of time in the Toledo area, if I won. I'm sure I can find room for you in the posse.

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  26. Wow. I can't believe it did it to me again. I *knew* I should've copied my comment before clicking Post. Argh! *sigh*

    Wow. I can't believe it did it to me again. I *knew* I should've copied my comment before clicking Post. Argh! *sigh*

    Let's try this again...

    Our ideas for handling it are more percentages than amounts.

    First, we'd incorporate so we could stay anonymous when we claim it. Then, we'd hire an accountant, lawyer, whatever, to help from the beginning.

    We figure half will go to taxes. Okay.

    Then we chop off the top to make it a round number and give that "spare change" amount to ourselves for play money and access right away.

    Then we divide it in half. One half goes in safe places for us to live off the rest of our lives - savings, retirement accounts, investments, whatever.

    Then we divide the remainder in half. One of those halves gets divided up to give to family (in whatever way the acct tells us is the least burdensome on them), with the closest family getting a higher percentage than the others. Included in this part will be a set amount to start a scholarship for all present and future kids in our families. We've dreamed of taking them all on vacation to tell them about it and have accountants and advisors handy for them to figure out what to do with it.

    The rest would be ours, which we've dreamed of using some of for the following:

    *Improving our neighborhood - tear down some of the ridiculous number of bars and adult book stores and build some chain restaurants (Chili's, etc.) and shops. Do the same for historic downtown.

    *Donate a large amount to animal shelters/hospitals in town and start a schedule of donating regularly to local charities of all types.

    *Start building a house (I've actually designed several versions of this using 3D Home Design - so fun) on some land just outside of town (doesn't take long to get to outside of town around here) so we can have tons of animals

    *Start fixing up our current house however Tom's son and his wife want it to be and give it to them (if they want it)

    *Go on a nice vacation and RELAX for a while

    *Hire personal trainers, a non-live-in maid, a part-time chef that can make healthy food taste yummy

    *Start a hobby shop, complete with indoor and outdoor tracks and get Tom as many RC vehicles as he wants to play, but have OTHER people run the shop so he can just be the retiree that hangs out there all the time :)

    I'm sure there's more, but that's the big stuff. :) I guess I was able to remember more detail than I thought. :) Sorry for taking up so much space, but this one was a fun thing to dream about. :)

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  27. It still did some weird double thing in there. How odd.

    I'm still trying to catch up on everybody's blogs. I'm a loyal Bachelor Girl fan and haven't read her two newest entries yet, so you're not alone. I'm workin' on it! :)

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  28. Cristy,
    I like your ideas! In fact, I may even steal some to use with my imaginary millions.

    Hey, take your time catching up... no sweat. I just can't believe you went to the trouble of going all the way back to read all these old posts!

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