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What Would You Do If You Won The Lottery?

The Powerball jackpot for tonight’s drawing is $425 million, the third-highest total ever. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Once again the Powerball Lottery is over $400 million dollars. I have my ticket. Will I be on the edge of my seat, waiting for tonight’s drawing? Probably not. If I win, it will most likely make the front page of the morning paper not to mention all the news shows. Baring that big announcement I’ll still check my ticket to see if maybe I won $2.

Family First

Like most people, the wife and I have discussed what we would do if they drew our lucky number. We decided that money is a tool, not a gift, and should be put to work. The first order of business would be to contact our immediate family and see if there are any emergency needs that additional finances could alleviate.

Houses, Cars, and Crap

When I was younger I probably would have blown a lot of the money on a cool mansion like all the pro football players have. But after about 30 years of watching them show up broke in bankruptcy court I’ve rethought that course of action.

After further exploration and reading about people who actually have a lot of money I discovered that those who earned it on their own don’t live the lavish lifestyle we see on TV. The vast majority of wealthy people know that additional homes cost money in maintenance, taxes and upkeep. They know that even the coolest car depreciates dramatically as soon as it leaves the dealership.

How Much Do You Give Away?

None of it. If you give the principle away it’s gone forever. I would rather give the interest away because that can be recouped. A million dollar donation to a charity sounds very magnanimous but putting a million in an interest bearing account that earns a modest 6% a year will produce $60,000 a year forever. Actually it would be more with compounding. And if the charity somehow disappears I still have my million.

Some Final Thoughts

The most I’ve ever won playing the lottery was $300. That happened twice, ironically both times on our anniversary. Yeah, we blew the $300 on us. I’m not going to lose any sleep over losing tonight but I feel confident that some group of meatpackers in Kansas will show up on TV tomorrow holding a giant check.

If not then the frenzy will start all over again and I’ll have to think about spending $600 or $700 million. I wonder who the first billion-dollar lottery winner will be? Guess I better keep buying those tickets. I will make a promise to all of you reading this. If I win I promise to give each of you $40.00 just as soon as the interest starts kicking in. What would you do with your lottery winnings?

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