Friday, March 30, 2012

So I bought myself a Mega Millions ticket

I had a dollar. And now I have a dream.
I've never been a big fan of the lottery. In fact, I abhor it. I feel that it prays on needy people, taking in — by far — more money from those who can ill-afford to spend it than it dishes out.

For anyone who's read the Hunger Games, it's not all that different. It's the poor who risk the most.

But $640 million sure would come in handy. Hell, $640 wouldn't hurt! And with the fever pitch surrounding the biggest jackpot in lottery history, I decided to get in and buy myself a ticket.

Of course, as soon as you decide to buy a ticket, your mind wanders to "what if I won?"

Let's say I won the whole shebang. And I was the sole winner. $640 million works out to $24 million per year for 20 years (about $16 million after taxes). If you break that down further, it's $300,000 per week for the next 20 years. In other words, I'll make in a month what I'm *hoping* to make cumulatively over the rest of my life.

So ... how to spend it?

In the first week, I could pay off all my debts: Car loan, college loans, credit cards, medical bills, property taxes, etc. Debt free in a week. Love it.

In the second week, I'd set aside money for my oldest daughter's college. The little one's college would be paid for the week after.

In week three, I'd buy some things I've always wanted, like a home of my own. Big enough for me and my girls and my girlfriend and her kids. We're talking five bedrooms minimum. And a beautiful back yard. Also, a new car. As much as I love my Honda Element, I'd like a newer one. But, yeah, I'd probably get another Element. Even with a $300,000 weekly allowance, I don't see my tastes changing too much.

London 2012 Olympics.
High on my list of things to do if I win.
Week four would be time for a vacation. Spending money is hard work, ya know? I'd like to visit Europe — Rome, London ... maybe Paris if Heather forces me to. And I'd send my ex-wife and our girls to Hawaii. Her brother lives there and winning the lottery is about the only way we could afford for her to go. 

The second month of payments would probably go to fund all my favorite causes — the SPCA, the ACLU, the YMCA and the USSR (that last one's a joke, for those who don't know. But the first three are legit). There's a lot of things in Western New York that could really use some financial help. And someone needs to step up to the plate.

By month three, I have everything I need and want ... and still have $300,000 a week coming in! I'd help out some friends that I know could use some extra scratch, make healthy contributions to those who have helped me along the way (family, friends and some who were practically strangers) and probably get a little stupid, spending boatloads of money on things I don't need and didn't — until now — know I wanted (think Brewster's Millions). For example, wouldn't you love to have a building named after you at your Alma Mater? Yeah! Me too! (I just realized that).

I could be really foolish for a whole year, walking into random bars and restaurants, picking up everyone's tab, etc. I would take random people Christmas shopping and get everything on their list. Whole families could have the best Christmas ever. And I'd still have 19 years worth of weekly $300,000 paychecks.

So I know, buying lottery tickets is stupid. And really, it goes against my very being. But the dreams I've had in the last couple hours were totally worth that buck.