If you won the lottery… May 25, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: lottery, PA lottery, prioritizing, the cheapest form of hope, wishful thinking
“Silence! Are you thinking prosperous thoughts?”
“Ben, I’m always thinking prosperous thoughts. So… have we finally won anything?”
“Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.”
Silence Dogood and our friend Ben are fortunate to live in a state that has a lottery. We consider it the cheapest form of hope. For less than the cost of a bottle of Coke or a candy bar, you can buy a ticket to financial freedom. We buy exactly one ticket a day, and first thing in the morning, we go online to see if we’ve finally won. We’re not morning people, so wondering if we’ve become instant millionaires is a great way to get us out of bed in the morning. And when we discover that, yet again, our ticket is not a winner, our spirits aren’t dampened, since, after all, there’s tomorrow’s ticket already waiting for its chance.
Admittedly, this is the only sort of gambling we indulge in. We don’t see much sense in sinking the minute amount of financial resources at our disposal into efforts that promise no more than our dollar-a-day lottery habit. But we do think that $7 a week invested toward our potential financial security is a better investment than, say, $20 spent for us to go out to a movie, which after all we can rent on Netflix along with bazillion others for $13 a month. Not to mention that in our state, Pennsylvania, the lottery directly supports services for the elderly, so our money is being used in a very good cause.
Having lottery tickets on hand not only boosts our spirits, it’s a spur to self-knowledge and creative thinking. What would we do if we actually won? We like to split our plans into categories based on the amount of takehome money:
$500,000 or less: Pay off any debts, put the rest in the bank.
$600,000: Previous, plus buy new cars to replace the 240,000- and 180,000-mile models we bought used and drive now. This would be the first time we’d bought not-used cars in our lives. But we’d still probably stick to the VW Golf and Honda CRV that we know and love. If there was any money left over from that “extra” $100,000, we’d love to finally be able to travel, to Greece and Crete, by ship to Europe, to the Southwest and West Coast.
$1 million: Previous, plus upgrade from our tiny, falling-apart cottage home to one of the marvelous Colonial-era stone farmhouses with amazing outbuildings in our area. Um, who are we kidding? This would probably cost between $500,00 and $1 million-plus all by itself. But at least we could afford to fix our Hawk’s Haven homestead and get someone in for regular landscape and home maintenance.
$1.5-2 million: Maybe now we could get that gorgeous historic home, or at least finally be able to afford to live in and maintain OFB’s family’s National Historic Register home, Mile End, between Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee.
$7 million, after taxes: We think this is the line in the sand for financial security in these times. Once we’d done all the things we needed with the interest income, we’d hopefully have lots left over to give our families and friends the gift of financial independence.
Anything more than $7 million: Yes!!! At last, a chance to create and contribute to scholarships, museums, college endowments, Native American and environmental causes, and everything else we think would be worth pursuing. A chance to give back to a world that has been so generous to us. We don’t need more than $7 million in the bank. Anything more than that is free money to give to help everyone else. If we get there, believe us, we’ll let you know!
Meanwhile, what would you do if you won the lottery?!