January 11, 2016

Blotto for Lotto

While it's not really enough money to completely eliminate poverty in America, the ever growing Powerball lottery payout has now eclipsed a billion (annuitized, pre-tax) dollars. Not that anyone should expect to win the payout - except maybe a $21 or so prize for matching a few numbers - but I do think it's illuminating to consider what you might do if you did win the lion's share of a billion dollar windfall.

Most that I've heard have said they will "give a lot of it away." Whether to charities or to family members, I haven't heard anyone talk about this without being sure to mention that he will be a philanthropist to one degree or another. I won't go into why I believe this is, and mostly I suspect most readers already know where I would place the blame. I want to talk about what to do instead.

I would start with, pay off any debts and immediately buy or make plans to buy everything I've ever dreamed of buying. Then I would make some investments and set up trust funds and annuities for my offspring and their progeny. And for the coup de grace, I would bankroll brother Keith's presidential run.

But one thing I would not do is feel any guilt for my "conspicuous" consumption. I would pay people to build products that they enjoy building. I would hire people to do work that they choose to do. I would make all of them richer in wages and spirit than if I merely gifted the same sum of dollars. And doing so would be sustainable for all involved.

What say you, 3sourcers? What would you do?

Education Egalitarian Socialism Elevator Talk Posted by JohnGalt at January 11, 2016 3:06 PM

Anybody play? I was an anti-lottery tyrant most of my life, with the subtlety of a college student asked about GMOs, gluten, or the GOP. I've come around to accept that this speculation is the purchased product and that its value is totally subjective. The projected, discounted payout is of no consequence.

While I've attained a Hayekian contentment with others' play, I confess I am completely missing the gene to enjoy it. Keith's Presidential campaign does sound good, but I got nothin'. Randian hero that I am, I want what I earn in recognition of my value. Extra millions laying about would be fun now and then but I suspect more pain in the ass in the long run than fun.

If forced to play and victorious, I hate to disappoint with philanthropy but bankrolling a school or scholarship for kids to attend a rigorous academic environment like the Coolidge School is about all I can think of. Then I'd have meetings to attend... What a drag.

While I don't ridicule those who play anymore, I answer that there are two things that would disappoint me, were I to play: if I lost or if I won.

Posted by: jk at January 11, 2016 4:46 PM

I've thought about this too... don't even know how many numbers I'd need to match to even get a Lincoln (greenback or car)! I'm generally anti-lottery as well.

I'd buy a nice house in lousy condition and go nuts on it (utilizing useful local artisans, like WaterJetWonders). I'd buy into a few companies, travel a lot and certainly wipe out my siblings' debts (and fund a family get together or two... somewhere warm!). I'd be sponsoring favored politicians.... :-)

I probably would do a philanthropist dabble but would be very quiet about it, and a scholarship or two to places like Hillsdale would factor in. Why are people telling media-pollsters' they'd turn Mother Teresa would be an interesting topic as a separate post.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 12, 2016 10:55 AM | What do you think? [2]