Friday, February 23, 2007

So Long, Suckers!

No, no, I'm not quitting blogging again. I'm just practicing for my Monday morning call into work after I win Tonight's Mega Millions lottery game.

First, you've got to understand I'm not one of those schleps who throws $5 or $10 bucks a week into the lottery in hope of the occasional $250 Numbers Game hit. Gambling in general, and The Lottery in particular, is a highly regressive activity, usually taking much too much money from people who can't really afford it.

(And before you protest, as does my father-in-law, "well, I break even at worst", let me point you to Connecticut, where the two tribes that run casinos make voluntary payments in lieu of taxes to the state exceeding $300 million per year. Are they able to make those payments if everybody is "breaking even". No. That's your money they're giving to the state, and if they're giving $300 million, than I'd be willing to say they're making a billion and a half, at least.)

So I'm not a huge fan of legalized gambling. Actually, truth be told, it pisses me off. But I'm not above throwing two or three bucks at these ridiculous big stakes games when they come up.

For instance, tonight's Mega Millions game is over $170 million. Now, the chance you'll hit is something like 175 million to one, but it does take only one, doesn't it?

So I doubled my chances and bought two tickets to tonight's drawing. Someones eventually got to win this thing, why not me? And besides, I'll get way more entertainment dreaming of the ways I'd spend the dough than $2 bucks could get me anywhere else. (I mean, really: have you seen the look you get giving $1 bills to strippers lately? It's like you've got three heads or something...)

Anywho, how would you spend $177 million?

First off, you've got to decide how you'd take the money. Like a lot of these big games, they don't give you a check for $177 million (well, they give you those big, oversized checks, but take it from experience, you can't cash those... Ooo, this brings us to a digression, if I may:

In one of my old jobs I used to be responsible for setting up "big check" events where we'd have a press event announcing a large grant, usually a million bucks or more, and would bring along one of those big, four feet long checks, complete with forged signature of the Governor. The money would usually go to communities via wire transfer and required various hoops and hurdles for the town to actually access.

Well, we had an issue with one community where we were giving a grant for work done years before, and the town had been dicked around by the state forever in their attempt to get the money, so the town fathers were a bit skeptical that we would actually give them the money, big check notwithstanding.

The asked their state representative, a real pain in the ass, if they could get the actual check at the event. The state rep. asked me, and I replied: are you crazy? No. We don't give out paper checks for a million bucks. So he went about making my life miserable, pestering me for weeks, pestering my boss, calling the governor's office. Basically making my life a living hell until I finally went to the finance guys and threatened to light myself on fire if we couldn't make this happen.

Somehow, and I don't know how many state laws were broken, one morning the CFO swung by my office and handled me a paper check for One Million Dollars. Now this was back when I that was about 33 years worth of my salary. In one check. After about 30 seconds of wondering if Lil' Peach would cash a third party check for a million clams, I had a panic attack because I'd have to keep this thing in my possession for two or three days until the event.

Now this was back in the days that I'd actually lost my mortgage payment, one of Wifeypooh's checks, and a small dog in the mess that was my desk. These days I understand the value of a daily desk-purge, but back then I was captain clutter. I think I carried that check around in my hands, sealed in a manila envelope, for two days until we finally had the event and I gave it to the pain-in-the-ass state rep, who made a big deal about how tough getting the check was. Tough for him? Yeah, sure, did he sleep with a million dollar check under his pillow for two days? Bah..

**Oh, and by the way, should anyone from the Inspector General's office be reading, I made this up. Plus, it's been more than seven years, so I think we've gone beyond the statute of limitations...)

Anyway, where the heck were we? Let me just scroll up and see..

Hold on...

Oh, yeah. Mega Millions. Anyway, Mega Millions gives you two choices of how you can get your money; you can either get the jackpot split into 26 yearly payments, or they'll give you as much cash as that 26 year annuity would cost.

So, with the prize at $177 million, the cash option would be $107 million or so, and the annuity would run you $6.8 million a year, before taxes. Figure you can manage to keep 60% (we're being very conservative) and you'd end up with $4.4 million after taxes.

See, personally, I'd take the 25 year option. I know most people jump at the lump sum, thinking they can make way more money off investing the dough than they'd get form the annual payments. Sure, maybe you can. But maybe you'd end up like those idiots who blow through all their dough in a couple of years and end up broke and bitter, calling their lottery winnings the worst thing that's ever happened to them. That would suck.

So, being super-cautious type people, and taking the cash option, here's the first ten things I can think of that I'd do with my after tax booty:

Top Ten Things I'd Do With $4 Million A Year, After Taxes

10. $1mil - to be used to buy shotguns, canned goods, and bottled water for the coming of the apocalypse. Because I know with God's sense of humor, letting me win $177 million paid out in 26 years means that the world is ending in seven months.

9. $58K each kid into 529 plans for school. In case the world doesn't end.

8. $100K for each relative to pay them to leave me alone (5 siblings, 4 parents).

7. $300K for a yearly luxury box lease at Gillette Stadium - to pay Brotherdear back for every time he's taken me to Pats games on him.

6. $1mil for land (20+ acres of mixed pasture and woodlands), plus house, outfitted with solar panels, a windmill, and, resources allowing, a hydro generator. And a big freaking fence.

5. $100K for a Tesla Roadster.

4. $75K to get Joe Satriani to give me guitar lessons.

3. $200 for a new MP3 player (see, I'm not just blowing money willy-nilly).

2. $50K for a gold and diamond encrusted skin for the MP3 player.

And the number on thing I'd buy with $4 million per year after taxes:

1. $1.259 to my lawyers to get me a good deal out of the divorce which is caused when Wifeypooh hears about my little $1.259 million offer to Penny....


UPDATE: Oh my, I just realized that the bribes to my inlaws would cost $900K, not $100K, so I'd only have $329,000 to bribe Penny... That's not enough... Hmm... What could I get Av to do for $300,000???


Callie said...

I think the first year, I would buy a plot of land in Montana, or Wyoming, or Colorado, with enough room to build a lodge and hunt on. The next year, I'd put a good portion away for the girls' college. Then, I'd build the lodge, move, and enjoy the time with my family. Hubby could hunt to his hearts' desire. I could do whatever it is I like to do (probably bury my face in books from now until the end of the world).

Gosh, I love to dream like this. *sigh* Now I have to get back to work. Damnit.

Gino said...

i'd head to the ozarks, buy a large ranch, and declare myself soveriegn of a free state.

actually, this would be the 3rd year.
the first two yrs i'd be buying arms to make the third year possible.

and i'm not kidding. its been my fantasy dream for 25yrs.

Penny said...

You're right, it's not enough.

I'm not even sure what I would agree to for the million. I'd have to see the paperwork and consult my lawyer.

However, I am touched by your thoughtfulness.

See, in Canada, if they say "Jackpot is $35 million", you actually get $35 million. No taxes, no yearly payments. Just one big fat cheque.

Avitable said...

That wouldn't even pay off my house or my student loans, so I don't know what I'd do. The Truffle Shuffle, maybe?

Kal said...

callie - exactly. You'd be ready for the end of the world.

Gino - $4 million worth of guns? What are you buying, howitzers?

Penny - everyone has their price. Someday I'll find yours...

Av - a truffle snuffle? Color me intrigued...

Gino said...

not guns. i said arms.(more varied, less specific) and more like 8million.

just TRY to 'ruby ridge' me, fella...
go ahead!