What would you do with $300M?

MegaMillions is up to $700M. $700 million. That is INSANE. Can you imagine if ONE PERSON wins that jackpot? How do you even process that number?

However, the lottery is $700M – so you know what that means! LOTTERY POST!

It’s about $291M post taxes if you live in my state and take the lump sum. Normally, I listed out in detail the specific amounts that would be alloted to various things, but this time, instead of listing out the same things I always list (i.e., tithing, charity, trust funds for the kids, gifts to family/friends, etc.), we’re going assume that all that has been done, and we’re left with "only" (pffft) $50-60 million.

Let’s assume we invest it, and live off the annual interest earned. Let’s also assume once all has been paid out in taxes we’re left with $2M per year.

First of all, yes, I think we’d move into a different house. But I don’t need a big house. My priority these days is LAND. I want more than .25 acres. Why? Our annual Christmas display. I want to find a house (again – doesn’t have to be big) on 2-3 acres, with wide roads for plenty of people to park so that we can build a huge Christmas display for all to enjoy. It’s one of my favorite times of year, and I’d love to have the kind of property that would allow for a walk-through display in addition to dancing musical lights. I don’t want to go crazy like the folks you see on TV, but I would love the ability to spread out a bit. Our yard is starting to get cramped. So yes, I’d want to move. And those Christmas displays can be expensive when you start moving into working with pixels versus regular LED or incandescent lights (which is what we use).

Our vacations would have a significant step-up in quality. No more bargain hunting necessary. No more "where can we go that is within a day’s drive?" Nope – I’d make a bucket list of places I’ve always wanted to go and start checking off the boxes each year. A nice month-long vacation to somewhere exotic once a year sounds pretty darn awesome. Fiji, kayak cruise in Alaska, Victoria Falls in Africa, New Zealand – just a few places I’ve always wanted to go. Oh, and let’s not forget that I’d want to use some of the initial lottery month to purchase a permanent residence aboard <a href="http://aboardtheworld.com/" target="_new"><b>The World cruise ship</b></a>. Yeah, I’d do that, too. Then part of the annual distribution would go towards vacation time on that magnificent ship!

I know Denis and I have joked in the past about opening up a restaurant – why not try it? We lament the lack of locally-owned quality restaurants in our town. There are a lot of chains, but not a lot of really good unique restaurants. What I really miss, to be honest, is having a good NJ diner. When we lived in NoNJ one of the best in the whole state was a short 5 minute drive away – I would love to open up a small 24-hour diner that serves only the best in greasy spoon diner fare – with some flare thrown in for foodies that wander in. If it became successful – yay! If it doesn’t – lesson learned.

Another thing that would get replaced is our cars. Denis’s van is 11 years old and starting to show its age. It runs well, but has its…quirks. My car is 10 years old and is not showing its age quite as much, but also has quirks. In our non-lottery lives, we put up with the quirks and continue driving the cars. But in our post-lottery-win lives, we are SO getting new cars. I know Denis has said his next car will be an SUV instead of a van, but I think I’d go for a sports car. I used to want a convertible Mini Cooper, but I’ve read they are actually not that reliable, so I’d probably go for a Mercedes E class of some kind – probably the convertible. Expensive as all get out – and my one luxury purchase for myself. I’ve been fascinated by the Mercedes E class cars for a very long time. Winning the lottery is my only chance to own one.

This morning Denis and I talked about whether we’d take the 30-year annuity or the lump sum. I’m of the mind I’d prefer the 30-year annuity, because if I went nuts and made mistakes in Year 1, I’d still be guaranteed money Years 2-30. But with the lump sum, if you blow through $300M in 5 years, you get nothing in Year 6. You’re done, and have to live forever in the knowledge that YOU BLEW IT. Plus, doing the annuity takes a bit of the pressure off how much money you’ve actually one. Especially since the Year 1 annuity for the current jackpot is still $7 million AFTER TAXES. That’s unbelievable. Because every year after that it goes up until Year 30’s payment of over $29 million.

So now the question goes to you – once you do all the initial stuff you’d want to do with lottery money (i.e., church, charity, trust funds, gifts, etc.), what would you do if you had a few million to spend each year? C’mon – time to dream a little.

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