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What I’d Buy If I Won The $1.5 Billion Powerball Jackpot!

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$1.5 Billion Powerball JackpotYou know, I haven’t spent money on Powerball since they doubled the price from 1 to 2 bucks. The price of getting a nice dream was too steep! The $1.3 $1.5 Billion Jackpot pulled me back in, though. I got my $2 ticket and I’m dreaming of ways to spend those winnings.

Of course, the probability of winning the jackpot is astronomically small; it’s not even worth mentioning. Sure, you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning or run over by a train. You can’t buy a lottery ticket with the expectation of winning, but you’ve gotta be in it to win it, right?

I know buying a lottery doesn’t make sense and some bloggers say you shouldn’t buy one. Personally, I think it is $2 well spent. That $2 gets me 3-4 nights of going to bed with something nice to think about. I get into bed and imagine what I would do with that ridiculous amount of money. Usually, I don’t have any trouble falling asleep, but it still kicks my dreams off to a nice start. So how would I spend the jackpot if I win?

Frankly, the jackpot is a little ridiculous. It is just too much money. That amount of money would change anyone. I would like to say we’d stay the same, but I’m sure that won’t be the case. Still, do we really want to change our lives that much? I’d say my life is 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10 and I’m very happy. Everything is going well and I’m not sure if throwing a ton of money in there would improve my life. I’d prefer to win $2-$3 million instead of a billion. Our lifestyle wouldn’t change much and it’d provide us with a lot of breathing room.

Sorry for the digression. Here’s how I’d spend that ludicrous amount of money.

1. Hire some people

The first order of business is to hire some people to help deal with that kind of money and the publicity that will follow. I’d need a whole staff to fend off the hounds.

  • Financial expert – I need someone I can consult with so I can invest the winnings conservatively.
  • Tax accountant – The government will take a big cut from the winning and I’m not sure if trusty old H&R Block Tax software can handle that many zeroes.
  • Lawyers – Not sure why, but I’m sure we’ll need lawyers.
  • Security – Money attracts bad guys.
  • Screener – This person will screen calls and public contact.
  • Personal assistant – Finally, someone to go shopping for us. 🙂
  • Pet caretakers/house sitter – We’d be out of town a lot fulfilling our dream of traveling.
  • Handy man – I need help with upkeep for my rentals.
  • Personal chef – I like cooking, but not every day.

2. Get away

The next thing to do is to get away for a while. We don’t want to stay in town after winning a huge jackpot like that. I’d love to hit a few of the places on my bucket list and travel for a while. I’m sure after a year, people would forget about us. It’d be great to live in Japan for 6 months and explore the country in depth. There are just so many places to visit and a big travel budget can help us to wander the world in comfort.

I don’t think we’d change the way we travel much, though. I might get nicer hotels, but we still wouldn’t buy souvenirs and trinkets. Another thing I’d splurge on are first class seats. We got upgraded once on a Lufthansa flight to Munich and it was pretty darn awesome. 🙂

3. Support the local economy

Whoa, I’m out of ideas already. If I was lying in bed, I’d be in deep slumber by now. What else could I spend money on? I would like to support the local economy more. Currently, we eat out about once a week and don’t really buy much other than groceries. It’d be great to support the local shops and share the wealth. I would love some nice furniture. It’s not a priority now, but if money is no object, I’d buy nicely designed things which will last.

Here is a gorgeous locally made table that will last a lifetime. Currently, it’s a bit too expensive for us at $3,595.

Oh yeah, I’d get a convertible, too. We had a convertible before we had a kid and I loved it.

4. Charity

You know what, I think the best thing we could do with the money would be to give a good chunk of it away. Oregon is not a wealthy state and a lot of people need a helping hand. There are so many nonprofits that support a variety of issues, and I’m sure most could use a significant donation wisely.  I’d love to give to the Oregon Food Bank more. 15% of Oregon households are food insecure. That’s really high percentage. Actually, it’d be best to set up a trust of some kind. We can invest the money and donate the income to charity annually. That way it will last longer.

Good luck!

Anyway, I don’t think $2 every few years will screw up your finances. It is nice to dream about what you’d do if money was no object. Sure, some prior lottery winners squandered it all and had to go back to work. How’d people burn through $100 million in 10 years anyway? It’s inconceivable. I don’t think that would happen to us since we’re financially responsible to begin with. Our support team should help us stay away from troubles, right?

How would you spend $1.5 billion? That’s just way too much money… 

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{ 27 comments… add one }

  • Michael @ Financially Alert January 13, 2016, 12:58 am

    What a fun post Joe! I think $2 is money well burnt for the entertainment value alone. 🙂

    Let’s see, if I won $1.5B dollars…

    1. I’d take a luxury cruise around the world – but I’d split it up into several 1-2 month chunks. I couldn’t sit on a boat for too long. During the sea days I’d contemplate with my wife how to best spend/invest/grow/give away the money we’d won.

    2. I’d buy a Tesla Model X

    3. I’d take care of my parents… new home, trips, etc.

    4. I’d start a charitable foundation with the intention of growing the funds into perpetuity through sound investments in order to give away as much as possible. I’d support food banks, education, libraries, cancer research, etc.

    5. I’d probably also create a holding company from which to buy other companies.

    6. I’d create my own mini-shark tank incubator series for entrepreneurs.

    7. I’d buy lots of commercial real estate.

    8. I’d find somewhere intelligent to sit on the majority of the cash hoard!

    9. Finally I’d hire “the team” – lawyers, security, CPAs, etc.

    That was fun. 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2016, 10:06 am

      That’s a great plan. I can’t do cruises. We get motion sickness.
      5 – Holding company? That sounds like a ton of work. I see you’re itching to go back to work from your answer here. 🙂

  • Ernie Zelinski January 13, 2016, 1:06 am

    My inspiration as how to spend the money would come from this gentleman:

    “I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some
    pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur
    sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck
    sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.”
    — Steve Martin

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2016, 10:07 am

      Heh heh, that’s pretty good. It’s best to take the annual payment option then. 🙂

  • Pennypincher January 13, 2016, 3:51 am

    I’d move. I’d buy more privacy, I think it’s a luxury these days. I would give to as many charities as possible, but not before I checked them out for legitimacy and how they were run. There are so many big name charities out there w/management making a boatload of money-not cool! I’d pay college tuition for urban, at risk youth.
    I always love it when a plumber or a garbage pick up man (streets and sanitation) wins it. But teachers, firemen, nurses, etc. deserve it too. I had a hard time coming up w/what I’d buy as I’m pretty happy in life. Cheers!

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2016, 10:08 am

      Yeah, privacy is a big luxury. I don’t know if we’d move, though.
      Mrs. RB40 has the same idea. She’d rather give to smaller charities.

  • Mr Bean January 13, 2016, 4:33 am

    Lawyers deserve more money, definitely 😉

    I would spend about $1 Billion in getting more good dividend paying stocks and reinvesting everything…year after year… 😀

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2016, 10:09 am

      Investing it is the way to go. Now that I think about it, it’s probably best to not touch the money for at least one year. Invest it and just use the profit for whatever you want.

      • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes January 13, 2016, 11:10 pm

        Investing that much money (well) is actually a full time job. It takes *days* of buying to build positions of any size in most companies. It’s probably not just a “set-it-and-forget-it” kind of thing.

  • Gwen January 13, 2016, 5:39 am

    After setting up a blind trust to accept the winnings anonymously (my state forces you to publicized), I’d set up funds for each of my family members. My sisters are heavily involved with Christian organizations that do a lot of good both locally and abroad. I’d also donate to my local Girl Scout council since one of their camps is my favorite place in the entire world. Then, I’d set up a scholarship foundation at my alma mater to pay forward the scholarship I received.

    After that I’d spend some time traveling and then settle into a routine of skiing in the winter and watching Cardinals baseball from my season ticket seats behind the dugout 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2016, 10:10 am

      I don’t think we can accept the winnings anonymously here. I’m not sure. Great ideas with giving back. I’d like to give some to my alma mater too. They keep asking me for contribution.

  • Mr. Benny @Stuff That Pig January 13, 2016, 7:39 am

    I’d likely buy all the farmland back home and go into farming on a massive scale. I would definitely buy/rent a ski condo every year and spend a lot of time traveling the world. Other than that, it would be all of the standard things. Pay off the house and parent’s house. Buy a newer car. Donate to every charity I think does good work. Buy season tickets to the local hockey team. Try to disappear so the crazies don’t find me.

    It’s fun to dream. I get $2 worth of enjoyment out of the powerball once a year. 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2016, 10:11 am

      Farming? That sounds like a lot of work. You must enjoy it. It is fun to dream. Disappearing is my top priority too.

  • Nathan @ Investment Hunting January 13, 2016, 8:08 am

    Sorry, but I already have the winning numbers so unless we have identical numbers you’re out of luck 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2016, 11:40 am

      Good luck! 🙂

  • freebird January 13, 2016, 9:40 am

    If my ticket wins, I’ll forgo #1/2/3 and put the entire jackpot into #4. I like high investment returns so I’d be looking at something like this–
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neglected_tropical_diseases
    “The investment return on measures to control neglected tropical diseases is estimated to be between 14-30%, depending on the disease and region.”
    My feeling is the annual return rate is underestimated because the beneficiaries are our growth engine for the next few generations, plus amplification due to global warming. Anyway like my own portfolio, part of it I would manage myself, and part of it would go into “index funds” such as the DNDi or GHIT. If after a few quarters I find my startup doesn’t produce or if the work isn’t as fun as I expect, I’ll index the whole thing. Regardless, I’d keep the finances of this project completely walled off from my own, and never the twain shall meet. My time on it would be gratis.

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2016, 11:42 am

      That would be very helpful to those countries afflicted. Keeping the project walled off is a great idea. I’d do that too.

  • Wilson January 13, 2016, 9:53 am

    All of the above. I’d start a foundation, focus on some philanthropic endeavors at home and places where I have a connection, but that’s so much money and time to manage it I’d prob donate a bunch a la Warren Buffett to the Gates Foundation or similar. I also like the farm idea above. I’ve always been annoyed as forests around my hometown were leveled for more freeways, strip malls, and ugly houses. I’d start buying up huge tracts like that and undeveloped land – both to preserve the little that hasn’t been obliterated yet and to obliterate the crap that was apparently more important than some uppity trees (down goes another strip mall anchored by a Mattress Firm and Subway!) and try to revert it back to nature. Prob hundreds of reasons can’t be done, like contamination of the land and the sheer extent of the development, but we’re talking a billion dollars so I think that could help solve some problems.

    And I’d obviously quit my job but I think I’d try to make my own furniture. I’ll have time and should be a fun project. And if it’s ugly so what? I’ll just be the eccentric billionaire with the weird furniture. I can be that guy.

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2016, 11:02 pm

      I would love to make my own furniture too. I could go apprentice for free at that nice furniture store. Once I have the skill, I can buy all the tools I need for my own shop.

  • JasonInVancouver January 13, 2016, 10:34 am

    Any time I daydream about winning a big lottery, I always stress about how I’d share winnings with friends and family while keeping enough to throw into investments to generate ongoing returns to continue to be able to share the wealth.

    One of my coworker’s friends actually won a sizable lottery jackpot. My coworker told me soon after, a lot of random people got a hold of her telephone numbers and called her up asking for money, made threats saying she stole their jackpot, etc. Strange stuff. +1 to Pennypincher’s comment about privacy.

    Apart from buying the typical material items (luxury sports car, bigger home(s), vacations, etc) I’ve always wanted to buy a professional sports team but in the end wouldn’t do it because a lot of the “affordable” B tier teams are just money pits and the A tier teams have insane valuations. However, in line with the experience vs material item discussion from a few days ago, I think I’d like to use the money to enable attendance of all the “big name” and quirky experiences that have always peaked my interest.

  • Vivianne January 13, 2016, 12:04 pm

    The lawyer is for keeping your name private. That would cut out a lot of solicitors.

    Great plan, I’m not sure if my life would change much if I win the lottery. I don’t play the lottery anyway. It’s probably easier for me to make $1m than to have a chance for me winning $1m. Beside getting $40,000/year from passive income is like having a $1-2m in your account or getting the annuity from the lottery. Just change your mindset, instead of paying $20/week for lottery with a slim chance of winning, you invest $20/week. You’d be a millionaire fast enough. You’ll get that “lottery annuity” fast enough.

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai January 13, 2016, 4:53 pm

    I would create at least 1000 winners to share the wealth!

    S

  • Tracy @ Financial Nirvana Mama January 13, 2016, 6:09 pm

    I would donate most of it to charity and create a scholarship fund for kids. I’d give 90% away and save 10% of it only and that’s still too much money to have! But since I never buy lottery tickets, I have no chance of winning!

  • Mike H. January 14, 2016, 8:19 am

    Happy morning after! If any of you won the lottery yesterday, here is a list of things to do, in order (RB40 and some commenters hit upon a few already):

    1. DON’T TELL ANYBODY.
    2. Sign the ticket and take a selfie of you with the signed ticket. This is if somebody robs you or you lose it.
    3. Find out if your state allows you to accept the winnings anonymously.
    4. Find and hire a personal finance and tax attorney.
    5. Find and hire a CPA – make sure that his/her fee is a flat rate and NOT based on assets managed.
    6. Determine with your “team” whether you want the annuity or the lump sum. In general, the ONLY reason you’d take the annuity is if you’re awful at saving. Like really awful, and you know it.
    7. If the answer to #3 is no, create a trust (don’t name it after yourself, name it the “rainbow trust” or something) and have your attorney accept on behalf of that trust.
    8. If the answer to #4 is yes, still create a trust. A lot can go wrong over the rest of your life, and if you have money people will go after it.
    9. Disappear for a while. Take a couple weeks/months and go somewhere quiet. For me, this would be my uncle’s cattle ranch.
    10. No major purchases for at least 3-6 months after accepting the money.

    Remember, you don’t have to accept your winnings immediately. The most important thing here is to set up the right structure: plan how you want to accept the money, the rules of the trust you’re setting up, when/how/what to invest in. Plan your next 6 months’ worth of purchases, which family members you want to take care of, which charities you like. If all of this takes an entire year, that’s ok.

    One rule that somebody else had that I liked was: NEVER give money to people who ask (I’m talking charities or political financiers), even if you support their cause. If you found me, my name is on a list somewhere, and I don’t want to be known as a guy who gives money to people who seek me out and ask for it.

  • Karen January 15, 2016, 11:24 am

    I would pay off our mortgage and use a huge chunk of that money to go travelling. I’d give another huge chunk of it to organizations to help build schools and provide clean water in developing countries. But just the thought of having that much money seems kind of scary and overwhelming.

    I used to participate in lottery pools at my previous work, but other than that, I’ve never purchased a lottery ticket myself.

  • Morgen January 15, 2016, 5:45 pm

    I would live in fear of my loved ones being targeted for kidnapping as one of the richest, and least protected, people on the planet. I would wake up in a hot sweat each night wondering if everyone would be safe. Eventually, I’d give it all away as publically as possible, to try to guarantee that everyone would know I no longer had the money and thereby attempt to shield my family and friends. Even then I would expect to have to repeat loudly, and often, that the money was gone.

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