As if I’d actually ever win the lottery

Sometimes, when the jackpot is in the tens of millions, my husband will buy a lottery ticket. And sometimes, the two of us engage in that ridiculous discussion of the purely hypothetical: what would we do with our windfall?

The first thing we would do is keep our mouths shut. I don’t want every person I’ve ever known showing up on my doorstep asking for a chunk of cash. I also don’t want people to start getting all weird on me now that I’m a gazillionaire.

Notice how I am writing in present tense, not conditional? Like winning the lottery is a given? Ha. I am so delusional.

So as Matt and I discuss what we would will do with all that money, his financial background comes in handy. We figure out how to minimize the tax hit and maximize the interest earned so we can live off of it for the rest of our lives.  But if the winnings were smaller, what then? Here’s what I decided:

What would I do with all that money?

If I were given $10, I would finally give my kids their allowance on time.

If I were given $100, I would take Matt out to dinner and a movie.

If I were given $1000, I would put it in our vacation fund to help pay for our April trip to Disney. I actually did win $1000 long before I had kids; I did not use it to pay for a trip to Disney.

If I were given $10,000, I would buy myself an incredible purse that I will use and love for years. Matt and the kids could buy themselves something fun too. Then I would put the rest in our vacation and new car fund.

If I were given $100,000, I would take my family to Europe. Then I’d split the rest between both kids’ college funds.

If I were given $1,000,000, I would pay for both kids’ college educations, pay off our mortgage, and take my family to Europe. I’d save the rest, but only after we each treated ourselves a little. I’d buy a little bling. Maybe not so little.

If I were given $10,000,000…I had to consult my accountant for this one. Matt tells me that we could pay taxes on the ten mil, invest it all and get about $300,000 in interest a year, tax free. So he would quit his job. And I’d buy that purse.

If I were given $100,000,000, and we invest it after paying taxes, we could get about $1.8 million a year on interest alone. Then I would do everything listed above. Pay things off, live a life of leisure, and make sure we give back some of the unbelievable windfall we’ve been given.

Considering I rarely have a single dollar in my wallet at any given moment, I’d say most of these scenarios are a long shot. But the Finish the Sentence Friday prompt was “If I had a million dollars…”, so I went with it.

What would you do with a million bucks?

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  1. says

    I love how you would buy yourself a purse. Seriously, the fashion purse and show loving person absolutely adored that response. But seriously, you have a great plan here and think if you ever did win, you would totally be able to make a killing if you did invest it wisely :)

  2. says

    I would completely be a hermit… and act exactly how I did before. Why would I want to be on tv? Why would I want family members that I didn’t know I had “find” my number and ask me for money. Great post!

    • says

      I know what you mean, April – I wouldn’t want to tell anyone either. I think the more you win the harder it would be to conceal, but I’d try my best. I would also worry about how the money could change me, so I think living the same way is an excellent idea.

  3. says

    Good call on not telling anybody and I love how you broke it down to your list-like awesomeness. Also? You’re so not alone in acting like it could happen. Even believing that it might. When all of this school stuff with Tucker started being discussed, I got all stressed and heard a commercial on the radio that the lotto was up to like $56M or something. I took it as a personal sign and went and bought three tickets, because everybody knows three is lucky. Then, the attendant at the gas station asked if I wanted MegaMillion too, and I was like “HUH?” He said it was even more money and the drawing was that night! I took that as ANOTHER sign that I was supposed to make this school and said OK! After promising him I’d be back with a reward if I won.
    I was honestly and truly disappointed that I didn’t. So I guess we’re all a little delusional. Except for the fact that well, somebody wins, right????

    • says

      Right! I get disappointed too – like I actually expected to have a chance. We always have a chance, though, and I prefer to hope for the best.

  4. says

    I have to say – you are incredibly organized about what you would do as the increments get higher and higher! I’m with you on the purse. Just once I’d love to splurge on something truly non essential! But paying off my house and college funds would be a great idea too.

    • says

      I think I already do well with balancing essentials with luxuries, so I would just kick it up a notch if I hit the jackpot. I still don’t think I could every buy a $5000 purse though – my splurge would definitely be in the triple digits.

  5. says

    I do have one dollar in my wallet right now. And 50 cents. And two gold coins for our local supermarket savings. I think this is totally logical. I’d do something logical with nearly all of the money. The rest, depending on how much, would go to pleasure.

    • says

      Like one of those super expensive camera lens that you have to rent? That could actually be considered logical for you. Frivolous pleasure for me. Then I’d hire you to teach me how to use it!

  6. says

    Love this! You are very organized with this. I think I would pay off the mortgage and downsize. I don’t know if my life would change all that much…I wouldn’t want it to. :) Maybe we’d go on a nice vacation! And I seldom have more than a couple dollars either!

    • says

      I agree with you, Michelle – I wouldn’t want my life to change very much. I wouldn’t want to move, but I would get my house cleaned by someone else!

  7. says

    You kill me. See, that’s exactly why I won’t do what you just did. I work it all out and I am all ready to go and then I don’t win a blessed thing!
    I think I am very pessimistic when it comes to this game, or maybe just too much of a realist. I want it all or I don’t want to talk about it!
    I bet you want it all too now that you’ve planned it all out 😉

    • says

      It’s funny Jen – I am a realist too, but I like playing “what if.” Sometimes it’s bad because I “what if” all the bad scenarios, but sometimes it’s fun. And yes, it’d be nice to have it all, but I’m content with what I’ve got!

  8. says

    Love your logical approach to this, Dana! In a handy list of course. Travel would be at the top of my list. Extended trip to Europe, hiking in New Zealand, exploring South America. The list goes on & on. Some real estate investments might be wise too. I’m thinking Hawaii!

    • says

      Hawaii sounds great. I’d love to travel too – I think I’d rather do that than buy a second home. There is so much I want to see and do!

  9. says

    WOW!! This is the most well thought out plan for winning money I’ve ever read! I am bookmarking this post and then following it to the letter if I ever win any money. It’s just perfect in every way. You’ve done all the work for me. Now I just have to sit back and cross my fingers that the money starts rolling in!! –Lisa

  10. says

    Staying out of the media and keeping a low profile would be key to my plan, too. I can’t imagine all the chaos and phone calls that would result from people knowing you’d won. It’s handy to have a financial guy in the house. What a wonderful plan. I might just revisit if a windfall comes my way.

  11. says

    I love your plan! I would have to sit down and think about how I would spend it. I think we would have to hide because too many “friends’ would come out of the woodwork. lol
    PS-I didnt know that you have to pay to have your facebook posts seen. Thats stupid!!

    • says

      It is stupid, Tess. I think FB wants pages (i.e. businesses) to pay to have their posts seen. But my “business” is not profitable, so I don’t want to spend money to promote it!

  12. says

    I love the different levels! My husband is also the numb cruncher at our house. I’m sure he would pay the taxes and invest wisely so we could continue to live off of it forever. A trip to Europe would definitely be on the list! And college funds. . . and an expensive purse . . . .

  13. says

    I love your list. It reminded me of the Steve Martin Christmas skit. I am so glad you are holding firm on your purse, though. We were in Vegas once and I tried on a pair of $500 shoes. I think it would be nice to go back and actually walk in them 😉

    • says

      It would be very nice! I think if I had to choose between a purse and shoes though, I may get a purse. I’d get more use out of it.

  14. says

    I love how you did this incrementally.

    Years ago, when I was a penniless student, we had a Cinnabon place in town, and the Cinnabuns always smelled SO good, and looked utterly delicious, with all their icing and cinnamonny goodness. And I promised myself that I’d save up, and when I had £100 to spare, with nothing else required of it, I’d pay the super-expensive price and have a Cinnabun.

    Well the branch closed, and I never did save that £100.

    So now I’ll never know how good they taste.

    But with the lottery, I’d say the best thing to do is write your numbers on paper and put a dollar in a jar. At the end of the year you’ll be $52 up, and can buy that purse.

  15. says

    I wish there was a way to claim those jackpots anonymously so people wouldn’t be crawling out of the woodwork looking for a share. I’ve heard horror stories about people getting reams of mail looking for donations, etc., having people show up at their homes, all kinds of craziness. Sadly, I actually question whether $100 would cover dinner and a movie nowadays. Unless maybe you go out for pizza. I feel bad for kids – used to be a movie was a great/cheap date night. Not so much anymore. Had to laugh when I read above that Kate will be calling Matt if she wins. And poor Lizzi – now I want to send her a CARE package filled with Cinnabuns. 😉

    • says

      I know! And yes – dinner and a movie is ridiculous. It costs over $50 to take my family to the movies and get ONE popcorn to share. Insane.

  16. Emily Rice says

    Dana I love that you are a woman with a plan! I love the way you’ve broken it all down—I think when our family hits the next big jackpot I’ll have to check in you you and Matt! The only one I think I’d change is the $10 dollars to the kids for allowance—we don’t actually give one to our kids—but if we did $10 split 3 ways would get us far! I think I’d take the kids to Dunkin Donuts and get them all a hot cocoa with their donut!

    • says

      That sounds good too, Emily. I just never have cash on me. I get $100 in singles at the beginning of the school year so I have money for buying lunch. I was thrilled when they started the account system – so much easier!

  17. says

    Oh, a purse you could love forever! And a trip to Europe! And Disney World! Is it weird that these posts are making me feel depressed? Don’t you love the idea of having a big chunk to live off for your entire life without having to worry ever again? Sigh. I do.

  18. says

    We’d go on so many awesome vacations if we won a bunch of money. And of course I’d give some to family and friends. It would just be a fantastic time.

  19. says

    I agree, I tend to have dreams of winning an incredibly huge amount of money and living off an easy life off the interest. But since we’ll never ever buy lottery tickets, we’ll never ever win these 100 mil :-) Have a great weekend, Dana!

    • says

      I never buy them either, but my husband will when the jackpot gets ridiculously high. Enjoy your weekend too, Stephanie!

  20. says

    I love how you answered this question – not that I’m surprised since I know how much you like your lists.
    My number one choice if I won enough money – I would buy a place on the beach in Hawaii!!!

  21. says

    Uh….I might need Matt now. Forget the lottery. Love how you broke this down. Yes, to paying for college and then taking the whole fam to Europe! WOOP!

    I think we have similar purse taste. (buttery leather, black)

    • says

      Sounds like we do, Beth. When I find mine, I’ll tweet you and Lizzi the picture so you can buy it for me if you win the lottery first. :)

  22. says

    I once won $1000 in a Bingo game while on a cruise. My ex was playing blackjack and I was bored so I heard the call for Bingo and thought “Why not?” Sitting in the theater with all the others I never thought I had a chance. Well, I won and I spent it all on jewelry and spa treatments. Loved EVERY minute of rubbing it in his face. Does that make me a bad person? Hope you do win the lottery one of these days Dana. 😉

    • says

      That does not make you a bad person at all – how fun! $1000 is the perfect amount to just have fun with – it’s not enough to really save or pay for something big. I would have spent it all guilt free!

  23. says

    I’m with you. I’d go into hiding. Years ago, my mom and i had a customer come into the antique store. He’d won a million dollars in the lottery and was most definitely ill-equipped to deal with it. Bought very expensive things with no plan in mind whatsoever. Came back a few years later. Broke. Needed to resell most of what he’d bought from us. Very sad.
    You need a plan if you win. I like your plan. It would work.
    Go buy that ticket. Now.

  24. says

    So on point, Dana, re: not saying a word so that new “friends and relatives” don’t suddenly pop up on your doorstep. Love the breakdown of the way you’d use the windfall at every stage. Makes me want to go buy a ticket (which I’ve never done!)

    • says

      I haven’t either, Alison – it’s more of Matt’s thing. His grandmother used to buy one every week without fail, playing the same numbers every time. She won a little every once in awhile, but no big jackpot.

  25. says

    I would roll around in it like they do in the movies.
    Then I’d buy enough sanitizer to wash my entire body.
    I’d buy a purse too. Confession: I’ve never had a fancy one because I can’t justify spending money on it.
    I’d also buy a personal masseuse and keep him in my closet.

  26. says

    I absolutely love your approach! I love that you did it by increasing amounts and considered the tax implications and interest provisions… accountants like that kind of thing! Ha. I’m not sure what I’d do with a million dollars. I’d like to think something awesome, but probably would just waste it. Ha. But, I would never win b/c I never play.

    Happy Weekend to you!


    • says

      I’m drumming up quite the business for him with this post – and I would be thrilled if you won the lottery so you could hire him!

  27. says

    A couple of years ago when the Mega-Millions jackpot was at an all time high, my sister and I played this game imagining what we would do WHEN we won. Our plans included establishing a scholarship fund for future generations of the family and buying a membership in a private jet company so we could fly around to visit each other. This kind of delusion is fun!

    • says

      I agree, Mo. It’s such a slim possibility, but there is still a chance. Not enough that I get hung up on it, but just enough to have fun.

  28. says

    I love how you broke this down and I especially loved this: “OK, maybe not so little bling” decision. You go, lady! (and no conditional here, either). :-)

    • says

      Ha – thanks Katia! I do have a weakness for bling. I’m very sensible about spending money, but I’d head straight to the jeweler’s if I had some serious cash to spend!

  29. says

    My hubs has been talking for YEARS about investing enough money to make our money work for us so he doesn’t have to work. There are so many problems with this (firstly that we don’t have enough money to invest enough money and secondly that while we love each other dearly I’d go nuts if he were up in my grill all day) BUT I wish the best for you and yours. 😉 I came to the realization over Christmas that in order to win the lottery I actually have to PLAY the lottery and, like, buy tickets. Will have to consider.
    Great post!

    • says

      Thanks, Allison. I also have some reservations about my husband quitting his job – sometimes when he works from home I feel like he’s in my space. If we hit the jackpot we will both have to pursue some separate interests to keep our marriage intact!

  30. says

    My husband is a CPA, so he’s always a buzz kill during these conversations. He likes to note that if you won $1,000,000, you’ll only see about half after taxes, etc. I like your approach though. I think it’ll work. I’d travel all over the place and donate a chunk to the nonprofit I work with a lot. It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

    • says

      Mine’s a CPA too – but for the sake of this post, I pretended taxes didn’t exist until we won at least 10 million. I didn’t ask the buzz kill until then!

  31. says

    You guys are like me and my husband. He bought a ticket a few times and we did the same thing! We agreed that we wouldn’t say anything either! Hahaha for the exact same reasons. Too hilarious ! You guys have a lot of great ideas for how to maximize different amounts of winnings! I love the way you broke this post down. You gave me some great ideas :)

  32. says

    Love how you budgeted it out for each win and that you would get a purse. I saw a $10K bag on Pinterest one time. I got excited about how pretty it was thinking it was in the ballpark of something I could not afford but perhaps splurge on in the $200 range. Not so.