With the recent giant jackpots for the LotoMax lottery, I’ve been hearing a lot of people speculating on what they would do with $30 million or $50 million. The odds of winning the top jackpot are 1: 28,633,528 but I guess people think those odds are good enough to waste five dollars on.
The real fun of a lottery, to me, is it gives you a teensy-tiny glimmer of hope of the possibility of something amazing happening — maybe. So that while you’re dropping off to sleep at night, you can think about what you would do with all that money, as you fade away into a lovely dreamland slumber.
When you think about what you’d do with that kind of money, do you ever try to think of all the people you know who could really use a little extra money and how much you would give them and how you would give it to them and what it would mean to their lives? This is where I get really bogged down. And then I can’t sleep from trying to figure it all out. Because pretty much everyone I know and/or am acquainted with could use extra money. So how does one decide who to give money to or even if to give money away at all?
Are you going to start making up some sort of Venn diagram of levels-of-need compared with where the money would be best put to use? Because you wouldn’t like to think of the money being wasted, right? So then you have to get into some tricky moralizing.
For instance, do you give all your siblings/family members an equal amount of money or just give the ones who really need it some money or give them all money according to what you think they need? Or do you let them tell you what they need? What if you know one of them would just blow it on stupid stuff and then be just as destitute in a year as they are now?
How about friends or coworkers? Do you give them all money? Would they still be your friends if you didn’t give them any money? If a good friend of yours or a family member won $50 million, would you expect them to give you some? How much?
And what would you do about all the sad sacks that will inevitably come crawling out of the woodwork with gut wrenching stories? Will you give money to strangers? Charities? Dole it out randomly to panhandlers and homeless people?
Whenever you read about people winning millions and going broke a few years later it’s because they couldn’t say “no” to all the people in their lives who “really needed” stuff. Because people get really odd when it comes to piles of money. They expect you to share your good fortune. They insist on it even. One guy’s brother even hired a hit man to kill him so he could inherit his brother’s lottery winnings. Having a pile of money land in your lap changes everything about you and your life, no matter how grounded and well-adjusted you think you are. You have to be really smart if you want that money to enhance your life instead of just messing it up.
As Susan Bradley, author of “Sudden Money: Managing a Financial Windfall,” says, winning plays a game with your head – “ too many people fail to address the emotional connection to the windfall.”
What about your kids, for instance? How would you handle the fact that they now have to find a motivation beyond survival to keep going to school, getting good grades, developing a career? I’ve known a couple of intelligent people whose parents died when they were fairly young and who ended up with a substantial inheritance. They both always seemed very rudderless and aimless – bounding from one flight of fancy to another. Sometimes it’s good to have something to work toward – a goal to achieve.
And how would you avoid always feeling afraid? Afraid of unscrupulous people taking advantage of you or your kids or attempting more nefarious ways of getting their hands on your money?
Anyhow, these are the questions that plague me in the wee hours of the night even though I have no chance in hell of ever actually having to worry about this.
But, even with all these questions and dangers and pitfalls, I’m still willing to take the chance of being saddled with millions of dollars. I think I’d hire a team of financial advisers right off the bat, though.
What about you? Do you think you could handle having 50 million dollars? Have you itemized exactly what you would do with it?