Writing Tips

An Exercise in Fantasy: If you won the lottery

The powerball lottery (at time of writing) is valued at $450 million, or a $304 million cash value. Now, I’m not one to buy lottery tickets. In fact, I’ve never bought a lottery ticket in my life, but I do occasionally fantasize what I would do if I were to win such an amount of money, so I thought for today’s blog post, we could do an exercise! If you won $300 million dollars, what would you do?

Assuming it’s $300 million AFTER taxes, the first thing I would do would be to hire a lawyer and get an accountant. We’re also assuming here that I took the amount in a lump sum rather than having it paid out over 20 or 30 years.

Right away, I would set aside $100 million – $50 mil in some kind of long-term stable CD or IRA or something. The other $50 mil would go in a savings account of some sort to pay for house taxes and other expenses.

That leaves $200 mil which is still more money than I would ever know what to do with. I’m not gonna lie, I would probably quit my job, because even though I like my job, I would want to move. I might not quit right away, because I’d be making plans to build a house. That house would be in Oregon. I’d probably go find a property I liked and build a new house or tear down any existing and rebuild. It’d be probably 2-3 stories with a basement designed to be a theater room—you know, one of those really nice curved screen TVs, a popcorn maker, really nice couch and lighting and stereo system. I’ve wanted a room like this since I was a kid.

The rest of the house would be pretty standard; three or four bedrooms with a super nice kitchen with lots of counter space and natural light. I’d like to have an indoor pool – indoors because Oregon weather isn’t always the best. Then I’d build the piece de resistance: a barn.

It would be a rabbit barn, with probably around 70 holes (cages), and I’d get the fancy self-cleaning system from KW Cages. The barn itself would be fully insulated and ventilated with A/C and heating. It’d be the king of barns. I’d also get myself a purebred puppy, odds are on a corgi at the moment, but I’m not sure I could stop myself from getting a Bouvier des Flandres if I had the money, or a French Bulldog.

I’m lucky in that I don’t have a ton of debt to pay off except my car, so I’d pay off my car and I’d buy another. I have a Prius C, so I’d buy something like a pick-up or SUV for times when you need to haul things. It wouldn’t be my every day car, but just something to be useful.

Once I had my house and my cars, I would buy a vacation home in France. Probably not in Paris but somewhere nearby. Maybe the Loire valley or in Nord-pas de Calais. Just a typical French house or apartment. Nothing too fancy.

After this, I’ll pretty much be set living-wise. I’ve seen a lot of people say they would take round the world trips, but I’ll be honest: I would not do that. Yes, I love to travel and I certainly would, but I know my limits, and I know that two weeks is the longest I can go before becoming tired and wanting to just go home. So I would take a series of mini-vacations over the years instead: Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Eastern Europe, Hawaii, etc.

So let’s pretend that all of that, including the house, the trips, the cars, etc, probably is less than $50 mil. I’m just guesstimating. That leaves $150 mil left.

Then we turn to giving money away. Here’s where things get sticky because at what point do you stop? I would stick to my immediate family—parents, sister and brother-in-law, and grandparents. Now, I know my grandparents wouldn’t want any money, but as they live in a retirement community now, I think I’d offer to pay their rent for the next 5-10 years. I’d probably give my sister and parents a million dollars or something.

The only other persons that might get some money would be my closest friends, of which there are only three. For my best friend, I’d offer to pay off her student loans and buy her a new car if she wanted. I might buy her a house too if she wanted. Hey, I’ve got $140 mil still. That’s plenty of money for things.

At this point, this is where I would start to run out of things to do. A couple months ago I couldn’t even figure out how to spend a thousand dollars, let alone $300 million. I’d donate some money to a charity, probably an animal-related charity. A no-kill shelter or something.

Some random things I would do include going to Comic Con at least once, attending as many ARBA conventions as I wanted to, no longer working and focusing solely on writing. I’d have subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, satellite, etc. All the TV shows! I already have quite a large amount of DVDs, but I’d add more. I might even go to grad school and get a masters in French or maybe writing. Hell, I might even finance the production of an indie film, maybe one that I wrote. Or does that sound too much like Zach Braff? I could afford to hire a professional marketing team for my books.

Whatever money was left would just go into long-term savings probably. I mean, there’s no law that says you have to spend all your money at once. So there you have it. That’s vaguely what I would do if I won the lottery. Of course, if it actually happened, I have no idea how it would really go. But it’s nice to think about it. Plus it gets your imagination going. So tell me, if you won the lottery, what would you do with it?

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