i woke up today a multi-millionaire. let’s do lunch… in paris. that’s a total lie. i did not even buy a ticket for the $350 million jackpot, and will not at this time be receiving the $16 million/year annuity. but, as many have and will (especially when the jackpots grow this large), i can dream. below are the lists i made while i started my shift this morning, plus a few items gleaned from watching the news and talking to some very wise fellow non-winners.
if i won the lottery, i would:
- pay off our debts. gone with a quick succession of checks, as soon as the first payment hit our account.
- fix up and give away our current cars, and replace them with newer but still used ones. dave ramsey would actually be okay with us buying new ones, given our million-dollar-plus net worth, but that’s assuming i can convince him i had a good reason to get the lottery ticket to begin with. still, i just can’t think i’d get a fancy new car right away.
- tithe. i’m a bit ashamed to say that this was literally the third item. why wasn’t it first?
- pay our parents’ mortgages and other debts. we can talk later about housing upgrades, k?
- buy some gadgets. totally getting a brand new mac pro, tricked out for video editing. and an ipad, just because i want one.
i would not (at least right now):
- quit my job. i would certainly want to take a look at how i was using my time, since a huge estate like that take some effort to manage. but if i just walk away because i don’t “have” to work anymore, i would be invalidating an enormous part of who i am.
- buy a house. one, that’s really not something i want to rush into. plus, given the opportunity, i think it would be really cool to build according to our wishes.
- buy a fancy new car. (see above.)
- throw lavish parties. nothing to rival the opening of 90% of csi: miami episodes for us. besides, that kind of party attracts everybody except your actual friends.
- buy ridiculously expensive clothes, jewelry, etc. i may hire clinton and stacy to give us a “what not to wear” makeover, but we’re shopping at kohls! rene has never been one for bling. i might get something for myself, though…
down the road, i would:
- build a house. (see above.) thinking about this one surprised me a little. before i moved to johnson county, i think i would actually have built way bigger. but being around a gazillion mcmansion-dwellers for more than a decade now, my dreams gravitated toward the joco standard.
- allow rene to stay home with the kids. what kids, you ask? we’ll get back to you on that when there’s something to report.
- build a “career” out of stewarding resources, giving our time and creativity away. i get really excited thinking about this one. more about that in a minute.
- travel. a lot. it is entirely possible in our world to have a “location-independent” career, but here i’m talking about travel for travel’s sake. there are hundreds of spots i’d like to explore together with my bride.
- give like no one else. i really don’t want to be like the stereotypical lottery winner, spending lavishly and going broke in a few years, broken lives and addictions lying in my wake. there are some ministries and individuals i would love to bless in a significant way.
good advice i might not have thought of otherwise:
- wait a month to do anything. some things are no-brainers, as outlined above. but a lot of the more major moves require a lot more prayer and patience to do right.
- hire a financial planner and a lawyer a.s.a.p. that one needs no explanation, i just didn’t think of it on my own.
- change to an unlisted phone number. no telling how many odd relatives might show up anyway.
- sign all my own checks. not that i watch oprah, but apparently she tells her audience that, just in case they hit it big. like her. since the likelihood is so high the rest of us will. but yeah, i don’t want to be too trusting. that weakness of mine could have a lot zeroes behind it in that kind of situation.
there you have it. the good, the bad, the ugly. it was an interesting exercise, and i think it reveals a lot about who we are. why not play along? what would you do with your millions in winnings? leave a comment below and tell me about it.
one other thing, though. while winning a huge jackpot (or even a more modest one) would make many of these dreams an instant reality, who says we can’t work toward every one of them anyway? why can’t i create a career completely based on my passions? why can’t we give to the things and people that we care about? why can’t we achieve every one of them?
well, it may take a whole lot longer, but if it’s worth the time to dream about it, it’s worth working in the real world to achieve them. i’ll wave to you from the winners’ circle.