When the lottery hits outrageous numbers like the Mega Millions did last week, it tends to lead to two interesting things.
First, people who normally ignore the lottery like the plague buy tickets. Second, you have the whole nation discussing what they would do if they won.
I fit into both categories the last week. I actually went out and bought some tickets, and then my family and I spent days discussing what we were going to do when we became billionaires.
It is most interesting watching how the different ages think. My two youngest — ages 4 and 7 — could have cared less. For the most part, they have everything they want and get everything they need. The idea of traveling to Europe or spending a weekend in Las Vegas meant nothing to them. It was kind of nice.
But starting with my 10-year-old, things kind of got whacky. First of all, she was absolutely convinced we were going to win. And when we did, she was going to somehow have her own gym with a private gymnastics instructor. That was the million-dollar plan anyway.
My 13-year-old was a little more pragmatic when it came to whether or not we would win, but that didn’t stop her from deciding she was buying a private island in Alaska to spend her days happy as a lark.
My 22-year-old had the biggest plans. First, he was getting at least $20 million up front and he was going to enjoy his time spending it. He came up with the idea of a weekend in Vegas, but that was just the beginning. He basically was going to travel the world in style — private jets, expensive cars — and live the good life for quite a while. And then he would settle down somewhere and live out his life.
To her credit, my wife was more about others, but she always is. She wanted to help her family, visit those she loves and can’t see regularly. She also wanted to travel the world, primarily time in Italy, but on every step she was going to bring others to join in the fun.
As for me, my plans were pretty simple. First, I knew I wouldn’t win, but as I was debating whether to buy tickets, I kept remembering this joke I heard a few years back. It goes like this. A man is praying to God and he asks God to let him win the lottery. Clear as a bell, he hears God answer and say he would let him win. One week passes and nothing. Two weeks, nothing. Three weeks and still he didn’t win.
So he’s praying again and he tells God, I thought you said you would let me win the lottery. And God responds, Son, help me out. Buy a ticket.
So, I bought a few tickets. And my plans if I won were pretty basic. I would get completely out of debt and never worry about bills again. I would keep working because I enjoy this and need something to keep me busy. But I would probably find a way to go fishing more often.
If I had an endless supply of money, the changes in my life would be more subtle. When we go to the beach now, we stay for a couple of hours and drive home. If I had a billion dollars, I would probably rent a room and make it a two-day adventure.
We would probably eat out more and try some restaurants we normally can’t afford. We might even take a family trip over Spring Break. But all in all, life would stay mostly the same. There would just be no more concerns about how much is in the bank. But, of course, that would probably be replaced with concerns over people calling non-stop asking for money.