First prize in Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing is now projected at $540 million. That’s up from the $463 million first projected when nobody won the big prize in the last drawing. That number is the total of all annuity payments if you take it over the years. If you take a lump sum, it’s only about one-third of that, once all taxes (not just the withholding part) are taken care of. One hundred eighty million dollars, net after all taxes, taken as a lump sum, is still pretty damned lumpy. So a question around the water cooler this week is: “What would you do if you won?”
In accounting, there’s a concept called a material difference. In the example above, if the prize was actually $179,999,999.99, instead of $180,000,000.00, the missing penny wouldn’t make a material difference and you could ignore it. The odds of winning are about one in 175 million. So, you probably don’t need a plan any more than I do. I don’t expect to win. That would be a sign of mental illness that would probably go unnoticed by friends and acquaintances given all the other signs I have scattered around. Nevertheless, I can afford it and it amuses me to think about it, so I do buy the occasional ticket, I do check the numbers and I do have plans.
So many people have grand plans for who they’d give money to. Me? I’d keep it.
I’d try my best to collect anonymously and I’d hire a PR firm to keep my name out of the media as much as possible. I’d much rather be rich than rich and famous. I’d move, of course. I’d get a new, unlisted, phone number, and hook my present phone number up to voice mail or an answering machine. I’d also pay a lackey to delete all the messages without listening to them.
I’d jump on the bed. When I was a kid, I liked jumping on the bed, but my mom yelled at me that I’d probably break it. I’m now big enough that I’d certainly break it, but jumping on the bed was fun, and even though I would break it, with $180 million in the bank I could afford at least one other bed.
I’d take the check to the ATM at my local branch bank, and deposit it. I’ve always wondered what the biggest transaction an ATM machine can handle is, and it would be my chance to find out.
My wife, Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me) always says if she won, she’d throw away all of her clothes and go shopping in a sheet. So, I would buy a sheet, and hire a limo with a uniformed chauffeur to deliver said sheet to her at her job. I’d call my boss and tell him I’m not going to be at work today because I’m rich. I’d call in rich every day until I stopped laughing uncontrollably every time I did it. I’d install a video camera near the entrance to my former job so every morning I could record people I used to know heading to work. Then I’d watch it if I felt like it. I probably wouldn’t feel like it, but it would be nice to know it’s there.
With oil prices what they are today, I’d turn up the heat a little and go for a long drive in my truck.
I’d most likely buy a new laptop since the “b” key on this one is ecoming unrelia le.
I’d announce that I’m thinking of running for some important public office, but I wouldn’t run, and I wouldn’t think about running either. I’d just like to make a few people nervous.
I wouldn’t buy a car that screams, “I’m rich,” unless it also screamed “and you can’t catch me.” However, if I won on Friday night, I would be at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Florida next week, my wife would have at least one much newer car than she owns, and I would own a handful of much older cars than I now have.
My new house would have to have a porte-cochere, an indoor pool, a hot tub and anything my wife wanted. A porte-cochere, in case you don’t know, is a covered entryway that allows you to drive your car to the front door in the rain, get out and go inside without getting wet.
I’d buy some more music because once in a while my wife says to me, “Don’t you have enough music?” and I say, “No.” I’m sure you’ll agree with me that seven-thousand songs aren’t really enough.
I’d go on a little trip designed to see all major league baseball teams and every major league baseball stadium this summer. I’d take four more trips in order to determine which waterfront restaurants I liked best on the east coast, the gulf coast, the west coast and in Hawaii. I don’t think I could accomplish the last four by the end of this summer though.
There must be something else I’d do too, but I don’t need to come up with everything by the drawing Friday night at 11:00. I’d welcome suggestions on what to do, but not if they include giving money to or investing money in the suggester.
Finally, I want you to know I’d throw a huge party: I don’t want you to think you’ll be invited: I won’t guarantee I’ll show up either, but I do want you to know I’m throwing a big party if I win.