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…
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?