Monthly Archives: January 2016

What Would I Do With $1.5 Billion

$1.5 billion over 29 years.

– or –

$930 million cash value.


$1,500,000,000 is $1.5 billion.


The rules say 30 payments over 29 years. This would be $50 million a payment averaging to $51,724,137.93 a year. Even assuming that two-thirds go to taxes, that is $16,666,666.66 a payment or $17,241,379.31 a year. Assuming one-third of the lump sum, $309,999,999.99 or the equivalent of 17.98 years of payments.


Somehow this reminds me of the movie Looper where we see the time-lapse of Joe as he leads his life between when he closes his loop and goes to die. I keep thinking, “No, no, I won’t change,” but how does such a colossal stream of money affect your life? Certainly, not in good ways.


My mind keeps travelling to what I would do. The answer is all small potatoes. I could settle everything: mortgage, student loans, debts, maintenance, all without breaking below the first $16 million payment. Each year, a new crash of money would wash ashore in my bank account with that first “1” vanishing to taxes.

I think I would travel, which probably means I’ll get kidnapped. I think I would return to writing and composing music. I would probably want to return to studying something. I don’t want to sell my house. I wouldn’t quit my job, at least until spring.


Being presented with the prospect of winning the jackpot has placed me in a philosophical conundrum. I lead a comfortable life, where I want to live, doing a job that I find enjoyment in, a job which I can walk to every day. My car works. I don’t starve. Yet, why do I feel the need to be stingy with the money? Why am I enticed by the prospect of investing the funds rather than donating them?


When I compare the jackpot to my present life, I realize that I enjoy living a small, modest life. I don’t care for extravagance or material things. I think about my job and I think about how quiet and insignificant it is. The importance of my job is high to my employer, but I don’t think the required technical skill is high and I don’t think from the grand, historical perspective of humanity’s achievements that my work is meaningful. It is the collection of molecules in a drop of water in motion on the ocean. It is in this insignificance that I find peace and the safety of anonymity in my work. I am not the tide which moves the ocean, but rather the dampness which touches a patch of sand on a lonely beach.

If I won the jackpot, my anonymity will be lost. Many will be the desperate hands for alms. There will be those who will be curious and I will give answers which will leave listeners unsatisfied and disturbed. Perhaps my house will be plundered and destroyed, over and over again, forcing me to use millions to rebuild it every time. Perhaps I will be assaulted by a trail of auditors and accountants and attorneys stretching down my driveway and around the block, deviously devising ways to liquidate my winnings. Will the curtain of control be rent asunder and I become enslaved by my yearly deluge of wealth?

Who would accept me if I remained frugal? Who loves a cheap person? How could I take a wife who would not be tempted by instant divorce to seize my holdings?


I stare at my ticket.


I picked one set of numbers and autofilled two more. My 3 entries cost $6 total and I know that what once was my $6 is going to someone else.


This has been a good exercise of self-analysis.


In Other News – My 79 year old Grandfather said he bought a ticket. I wonder what he would do if he won $1.5 billion? Clearly take the cash option.