600 million dollars. That's how much the Powerball lottery is worth as I write this, the evening before the winning numbers are announced.
What would you do with 600 million dollars? Have you thought about it? I have.
Now, the likelihood of winning the lottery is something like one in a gazillion trillion billion. I have a better chance of winning the Nobel Prize in Mathematics than I do winning the lottery, and I flunked Algebra II in high school. Twice.
But still, a girl can dream, right?
So here's what I'm going to do when I win the lottery.
1. Take a Valium.
Seriously. I'm 45 years old and a single mother. 600 million dollars is a panic attack waiting to happen. Life changing. Karma payback and all that. I'm going to need a little bit of help to catch my breath.
2. Hire professionals.
That's a lot of money, and I'm going to need help. Tax and trust attorneys, for one. Probably a highly vetted personal assistant to deal with the insanity of the first few months. Fortunately, Chicago has the requisite professionals available to deal with big money. I'm staying local. And you bet I'm doing my own public relations. Hello, do you know me?
3. Be patient.
That's the hard part. You have to let the professionals do their jobs before you cash your check. Should I take the lump cash payout? The yearly annuity? How can I keep Uncle Sam from getting more than his more share? (Aside: Suddenly, I'm a Republican.) How can I ensure steady cash flow? And a hundred other details you and I wouldn't immediately think of, but a good accountant would.
4. Take the cash.
I don't want to deal with a lottery firm or whomever deals out the cashola, and what if something goes awry? I want my money, and I want it now. According to the lottery website, the cash payout would be approximately 377 million dollars. After the feds and the State of Illinois get their wicked share, I figure about 180 million. (Again, not an math person.)
5. Give half of it away.
Look, no one needs 180 million dollars in the bank. That's ridiculous. The Bible says we should give 10%, but anyone who only gives away 18 million dollars out of 180 million dollars that came out of nowhere is a cheap sonofabitch. 90 million is a nice tidy sum, and it's all going buh-bye. No strings, no weirdness, no fawning, no naming shit after me. Just here, take it, it's yours. Do good work. Carry on.
Who's going to get it? I've got a list. If you help out needy children, you're in like Flynn. Shriners Hospitals and St. Jude's are both getting a big ass check. Help women take care of themselves when they can't afford it? Planned Parenthood, the mammograms are on me. Family Shelter Service in DuPage is getting some bucks, with grateful thanks for the fine work they do. And that's just for starters. 90 million can go a long way.
6. Give half of what's left away, too.
Do I really need 90 million dollars? I think not. Family and a few friends, you'll be splitting up some casheesh. 45 million dollars worth. Do whatever you want to do with it. Blow it in Vegas, pay off your mortgage, go on a trip around the world, pay for your kids to go to Fartmouth or wherever (if you must- but really, my darlings, Aunt Lucy wants you to go to college in Chicago), spend 10 crazy nights with a stripper named Flame....I don't care. No strings. It's yours. Mazel Tov.
7. Stash some money away for a rainy day.
Shit happens. 15 million of that is getting stashed away in some lovely trust that makes sure if I blow my wad doing something completely stupid, I'm covered. And so are my children.
8. ME ALL ME
Which, if I've been subtracting correctly (I wouldn't bet the farm on that) leaves me with 30 glorious million dollars. I'm almost 46, so that's about one million dollars a year for the rest of my life. Make it so, trust and accountant people.
What would you do, if you could do anything at all? I want a newspaper. It can be an online newspaper, but that's what I want. I figure I can have a good little local news website for about $200K a year. I can hire 2 baby reporters to write stories (with health insurance benefits, natch) so they can get experience and when they move on to bigger and better I'll hire more. And I'll be the publisher and write a weekly column and all will be good. And if it grows to something more, awesome. If only 100 people read it but it produces excellent and ethical reporting, that's okay, too.
10. Buy this. Swoon.