Mega Millions: A Dollar is Worth a Bit of Hope

I must admit I have been buying Mega Millions tickets this week. I don’t normally do it–but it does happen a couple times a year. And $640 million dollars?! Are you kidding me??? That’s the highest jackpot of all time! And it’s probably just going to get bigger!

Please don’t tell me the odds; I already know them. I always get a laugh out of people who are so wound up in the math part of the lottery. They like to tell you that you’re more likely to be hit by lightning than win the lottery. That it’s got  a horrible “return.” Let me tell you no one is really in lottery tickets for the return on the dollar they spent to buy into it. There’s just that oh-so-simple truth that someone has to win. Even skeptics are buying a Mega Millions ticket.

I get a lottery ticket every now and again because a dollar is a very reasonable price for that feeling you have in between the purchase and the lottery drawing. Maybe you’re feeling down or that nothing interesting has been happening to you–buy a Mega Millions ticket and for a couple days you get to have this thought in the back of your head: “maybe I’m going to be a millionaire next week.” There is the inevitable planning of what you’d do with the money.

Sometimes I go fantastical with it. For example this week my thoughts were “if I won the lottery I would go on an all-pistacio diet, hire the Morris Brown marching band to follow me around for a week, and do that thing where you roll around naked in a giant pile of money.” Sometimes I think I’d perform outrageous social experiments.

You also have your more sober version (but it changes all the time): I think I’d take the cash and hire an experienced accountant in wealth management to figure out what to do with the majority of the money. I’d take probably 5% of it for the immediate time being and offer my close friends a trip around the world. I’d want to travel all over and write about all of my experiences. Wherever my friends wanted to go, I’d take them. Whatever we wanted to do, we’d do it. Luckily, no one in my family has money issues so I’d probably just set up a really good college fund for the nieces and nephews and make sure everyone was debt-free. As for big ticket purchases, I don’t think I’d really get into all of that stuff except I’d probably buy a second home in a warmer climate so that I could spend winters in like Hawaii or California and summers in Washington. I would probably just spend most of my time traveling and writing though–that’s my dream job. My philanthropy of choice would have to do with education.

Mega Millions
My Mega Millions ticket for the biggest jackpot yet

So I gotta ask, if anyone is reading this:

1. What would you do with the money?

2. Would you take the lump cash sum or the 26-year payout?

3. Would you tell anyone if you won?

4. Who would you help out?

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