Monday, January 03, 2011

if I won the lottery

I've been driving a lot in the last few days, as you do when you try to fit Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver into a single weekend. In the late night/early morning darkness the powerball sign blinking at me sent me into the kind of reverie that you can afford when there's a long stretch of highway in front of you and not much good on the radio.

If I won the lottery (the powerball was advertising $35 million), I'd hire an accountant. Nothing fancy, just someone who could tell me the rules about taxes and stuff. For instance, they say stuff in movies about the ability to make a one-time tax free gift of up to XX amount to someone. Is that true? Etc.

I'd pay off all my debt: student loans, back taxes, unpaid parking tickets. I'd figure out the best way to pay off my family's debt, whether just by paying it all or through the aforementioned (utterly made up?) tax free gift thing.

There's a thing when you win the lottery about either getting a lump sum at once, but accepting a reduced amount, or getting a certain amount per month or year for a number of years. I'd take the long road.

I'd take my whole family on a vacation. Either to Ireland, because my grandpa did a lot of genealogy research and I'd like to follow up on it and think my dad would too. And we've talked about going. Or to Argentina and Dominican Republic, because my mom partially grew up there and I want her to show me her childhood spots.

I'd donate a lot of money to causes that I care about, especially ones that I've been involved with in some way. I'd have the accountant help me give it in a way that would put me in a lower tax bracket too.

There's not very much I'd like to buy. Maybe upgrade this computer since it randomly blacks out a lot. Or just get it fixed.

For work, I think I'd probably do mostly what I'm doing now. Maybe I'd reduce my hours a bit so I could volunteer at doing some of the stuff I enjoy more. And I think I would study for a degree if I didn't have to worry about making an income.

Of course, in order to win the lottery, you have to play the lottery. I buy a ticket every year or two at most. Maybe I should buy one... does anyone play Takarakuji?

What would you do if you won?


  1. Oh no, lottery dreaming. I had the most appalling dream where I won the modest sum of 135,000 euros, and spent the dream planning what I'd do (bumming around not working seemed to be the crux of it).

    And then I woke up.

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  3. There's a certain idea about winning the lottery everywhere... making gifts, vacation, speculation, no-working anymore, luxury items, donation, etc. But the most curious thing is about paying off debts... If I'm not able to deal with the money I got now, not incurring in debt or unnecessary spending... How am I suppose to be smart enough to deal with more money suddenly? Someway I think I'm not rich already because I not smart enough... damn!
    If I won the lottery I would like to move to a place with 20 square meters more than the place I'm living now...

  4. I don't think I'd do all that much different. I'd probably throw my roommate out and have a guest room - that would be pretty sweet. I'd probably buy a first-class plane ticket - just once - to see what all the fuss is about. And I'd come visit you in Japan.

  5. Ahhhh.... the answer is obvious for me. Buy a modest house in Sapporo and set up an income stream that allowed us to travel between Australia and Japan as we pleased. Of course, that's just dreaming - when you have children, it's not that simple. For indulgence I'd travel through Europe for a couple of months... starting off by taking my wife to Paris (which we've been dreaming of for some time now).

  6. Jen, so you dream in euros! Sounds like a nice dream. I woke up this morning to the news (my mom turns it on when she goes to work, at 530 in the morning), saying that the lotto had ballooned in a few days from 35 mil to 350 mil. Craaazy!

    Don, so you've never played Keno or nuthin? I've barely ever played/gambled, probably less than 10 times in my life... and all in fun. But I have won contests (I won a trip for two to Australia when I was a teenager) so it's not totally out of the realm of possibility in my mind.

  7. Hey Nyuudo,
    I hope you can move out of your 20 sq. m. place too!
    It's true that lots of people - and lots of USAmericans - are bad with money. We have a credit culture and easily go into debt. But my debt is not gambling debt our credit card debt - it's student loans. Almost every person who goes to college in the States has student loans, unless their parents are rich or they are some way able to pay for the very expensive fees by having a great job - without an education. I know that in some countries in Europe, university is very cheap or free (like Germany and Greece). How is it in Spain and South America?

    Amanda, as I already said, I think you should come visit as art history research. Also, I've flown first class (a friend worked for Delta and gave me a buddy pass) and while it was pretty nice, I definitely don't think it was worth the extra billion dollars they charge for it.

  8. Ben - that sounds lovely! I'd like a similar set up. With kids, perhaps you could at least spend the entire summer and winter vacations in one locale while going to school in the other, or maybe trading off - preschool in one place, kinder in the other, then settling in for a bit to finish grade school in one go. I wish I'd had a little more back and forth and become more bilingual at an earlier age, so good luck with that.

  9. Definitely pay all my debts. Pass some money to the parents to help them out. And a fab trip to New Zealand or Fiji with the Beau. I'd like to say I'd donate to a worthy cause but I'm always scared of where the money "really" ends up...

  10. Ooh, NZ or Fiji - those are on my list too.

  11. About Student Loans... I'm not sure but I think Argentina is basically free, but other countries like Chile is a lot of money for good education or you get loans. Spain is a little bit different but paying also, besides is more a thing about compatibility with other European countries.
    As far as I know the best place to get proper education is Finland and the government gives critical importance to education at every level, so it goes.
    Education equals Money, Money equals Education? that's the big paradox I see...