Almost Only Counts In Horseshoes & Handgrenades

I was this close to winning nearly half-a-billion dollars. Off by two numbers that were in the same decade as the randomly selected digits. Me and 721 others could have been winners if we’d chosen just a little differently.

But we didn’t.

But what if I had. Not that $191 won’t come in handy, but $450 million would certainly put a dent in my bills.

I’m sure we’ve all thought about what we would do if we won millions of dollars. I’d be happy with the minimum $7 million, but the kind of money one fortunate person in Florida won is mind-boggling.

What could you do with $450 million? What would you do?

Everyone would pay off their debts, their family’s debts, maybe even their friends’. They’d retire and buy the house of their dreams. Maybe several. One or three in America, one in Europe, and one in the Caribbean. A fancy, high-end luxury car and a super-fast sports car. Travel the world over, first class all the way. Maybe even buy a boat. A really big boat. Pay for their children’s education. There are those who would give a chunk to their church and/or favorite charity. The possibilities are virtually limitless.

The first thing I’d need to decide is whether to take it in one lump sum or annuity payments. They say that you should hire an attorney before you decide to do anything, as well as an accountant and an investment planner. Getting annual payments that gives you a steady flow of cash for 30 years is attractive and might help to keep you from spending it all at once. Getting the lump sum, however, will allow you to do more faster. Additionally, if I invest the majority of it, can I get more out of it than the lottery commission?

Would I retire? Probably. Although I’d consider working two more years until I reach minimum retirement age. It would be nice to get that extra little check to pay for gas. But I could be convinced to leave a little earlier. Getting out of California right now – right now is extremely attractive.

Where would I retire?

We’ve had a few thoughts about that. I’ve looked at houses on-line in the cities north of Dallas/Forth Worth. You can get a lot of house for a reasonable amount of money. Not that the cost of the house would be of any great concern. I just don’t think I’d be so care-free that I’d spend millions on a house. We don’t need anything so large or so opulent. We’ve also talked about the Southern Appalachians. A nice log home on the bank of a fishable lake high up in the mountains sounds nice.

We’ve also discussed buying some property in the Caribbean. A place where we could build a beautiful compound where families with terminally ill children could be brought to enjoy some peaceful time in the tropics and maybe put some worries behind them for even a short time. We could even have medical professionals on hand 24/7. All expenses paid, including travel.

A game store. One that didn’t have to worry about turning a profit. Really nice, sizeable gaming tables with a place for books, papers, cards, and drinks and food from a fully stocked snack bar. A big room with console and PC games set up in quads where friends could join together and team up against other players. Tables for board and card games. Even small lockers where people could keep a few things.

There is one preacher that I would really want to help. Evangelist Jim Cook from Indiana. He travels all over the United State holding revivals and he goes to Kenya every year. If I could help support that more, I definitely would.

My widowed mother could live anywhere she wants. She could stay in California or follow us, it’s up to her. There are other family members that I would also love to help out.

I’d like to try my hand at investing. I like to think I’d be reasonable successful. Twice I’ve picked excellent funds for my 401k that increased in value 3-fold, only to be told by our 401k provider that those funds were no longer available and I’d have to choose others. I also had an Ameritrade account several years ago, until they decided to start charging accounts not worth 6 figures. When my stocks started eating themselves to pay the fees, I sold them off.

Unfortunately, California is not one of those states where you can remain anonymous if you win the lottery. That means that every person who thinks they deserve a chunk of your change is going to come out of the woodwork to convince you that they’re deserving. If you don’t give in to their pleas, you’re cursed and reviled. A strong constitution and the willingness to say, “No” are absolutely necessary. But, California doesn’t charge income tax on lotter winnings.

There are so many things to consider when you come into that kind money. I’m sure that I’m leaving a lot out. One could only learn what all they need to think about when actually confronted with them. I hope that one day I have those kinds of problems.

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