Buddy, can you spare 500k?

About a week ago one person hit the PowerBall for $240 million dollars.  Imagine, almost a quarter of a billion dollars to a single winner.  What would you do if that person was you?

But first, since this is Reality, let’s really think about this.  Do you take it all or break it up over a 26 year annuity?  Let’s be mature and do the annuity.  That means we’re actually going to get $923,000 a year.  Well, no you don’t.  The IRS will get about $342,000.  States vary in income tax and what they can and can’t get at.  Ours would take about $14,000.  So you would get about $567,000.  Not a bad salary.  In fact, we think we’ll take.  And here’s what we’d do.

That will probably be our only salary.  Unlike almost everybody who ever hit the lottery for big money, we would not make a pretense out of liking our job so much that we can’t live without it and will continue to work just because it’s the right thing.  We don’t, we can, it isn’t.  And we certainly wouldn’t.  We will try to live comfortably on a half million dollars a year.  After the first year. 

The first year we’d take about 10% of it and blow it on ourselves.  Clothes, vacations, cars, something we’d do if we hit for say, $50,000.  Not enough to live on but enough to have fun with.  The other 90% would go to paying off our mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, and the accountant who’s going to figure out how to get the best return on whatever is left. Then we can move on to Year 2 through 26.

We’d still take 10% of it and completely blow it.  We’d take whatever our accountant says and invest it.  And we’d continue to pay him.  We figure we’d still have a couple million left.  Travel, new houses, one big new house, art.  So many choices.  We’ve always talked about an adult version of Make a Wish.  We aren’t at all insensitive to children with terminal illnesses but why not also treat adults who have worked hard all their lives?  It’s hard to put kids through college, help them open their own businesses, contribute to the churches and charities, keep cars that should have long ago been relegated to the bargain lot going to one more dance recital.  We think these people get to make a wish, too.

Our town has a group of ten well to do people who put up $100 every month to award a $1,000 microgrant to the best local applicant.  They’ve awarded grants to artists for public exhibition, entrepreneurs for incubators, and start-up businesses for that last bit of capital the SBA wants to see.  People can do remarkable things with a $1000.  We can do that a thousand times over.  But let’s stick with 10.

We were very taken with last Christmas’s emergence of Layaway Angels.  (See The Angels Have Landed, Dec. 20, 2011 from Life.)  Maybe we’d help too.  We’ve always made room in our budgets for Angel Trees, Salvation Army kettles, the local, modern versions of the soup kitchens and food banks.  Somehow Christmas makes almost everybody a little more generous and these remarkable volunteer efforts manage to make the less well off enjoy their holidays also.   With our half million dollar salary we would find a way to help out during the other 11 months too.

Finally we pick the most needy of our now former co-workers and get them a really big gift card to a really good psychiatrist.  Without us at the office playing Sigmund Free (See Star Polisher Jan. 5, 2012 and Fire Them All Nov. 17, 2011) who will ever listen to them?

So there you have it.  Some selfish, some altruistic, some business, some fun.  And while we’re at it, can we get that vacuum cleaner that runs itself?

Now, that’s what we think.  Really.  How ‘bout you?



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