The Weekend Plans Post: What Would You Do If You Won A Billion Dollars?



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73 Responses

  1. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    This guy says it all: What to do with all those millions.

    We actually pondered this question yesterday after we looked up the prize amount. The answer was whatever we damn well please. People in our economic stratum just don’t understand what it’s like to have money like that. It would take some getting used to.Report

  2. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    I dunno. Part of me says, “Hire an (honest) financial advisor to set up an annuity or whatever with some of it so I will never want for income for the rest of my life” (At this point I would keep working, because of the intangible benefits, but I admit there were days in the past three or so years that if I HAD “f you money,” I’d have walked)

    Maybe buy a huge plot of land, ideally in town so I’d have services, build a small but nice house in the center of it, have a big “sound buffer” from my neighbors. Or, heck, buy land outside of town where a well and septic could be put in, build a house that could (at least mostly) run off of solar, post the land “NO TRESPASSING”

    I’d probably donate some of it to various causes I support. I don’t think I’m egotistical enough to endow a scholarship in my own name but it would be a temptation.

    My wants are pretty simple – I wouldn’t be buying diamonds (where would I wear them?) or a gold-plated toilet (I’m sure those are cold on winter mornings) or jet-set around the world (I dislike travelling, though maybe it’s more fun when you don’t have to stand in TSA lines). Mainly I would like the comfort of a new place that was build to the absolute best possible specs with the absolute best quality materials, so stuff wouldn’t wear out and break, and so I could be far away from all the people with their loud motorcycles and duallies and their barking dogs. (Though I suppose out in the country I might get barking coyotes)

    It wouldn’t even have to be a huge place. I live in about 1200 square feet now and while I might want more storage than I currently have, and a room set aside to serve as a library (and maybe a music room for my piano), I wouldn’t need a mansion.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      The annuity from your honest Financial Advisor conservatively would be about $15,760,000 per year. Just sayin’.

      So far, you haven’t spent your first month’s allocation. But I like where your head’s at.

      Here’s a thought… if out of the 13.5M remaining for year-1 you donated $10M to your college, you could set-up the Fillyjonk chair of Botany – with any set of stipulations you could dream of. The next year, for another $10M you could create the Fillyjonk Institute of Botany, of which the Fillyjonk Professor is the Chair… and just about any set of by-laws you could dream of (then you get an assistant and a small staff). The next year for another $10M you could invite approx 3 of your Botanist friends to come work there.

      It would be like building a professional house with a no trespassing sign on it. You’ll always hear the dogs barking outside, though… there’s no escape from that.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      If perpetual security is what you’re looking for, a rotating cycle of government-guaranteed certificates of deposit can produce that. You’ll lost pace to inflation, though, even in the best of times. At these levels, it won’t matter much to you.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    That’s a lot of blow and hos 🙂

    Seriously…I’d be a perpetual caller to NPR during pledge week promising 100K just to shut them up….but I’d never give em the $$–That’s how much they annoy me.

    As for the rest–my permanent residence would be in a low tax state with most of the cash in tax avoidance schemes…maybe a Section of land…..and I’d travel the world in my private plane hitting all the places I want to see: manchu picho, ankor wat, etc.

    I might also invest in private investigators to did up dirt on politicians and expose them. I can think of many things to do with that money.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

      Heh. Here’s a thought for me: Call the PBS station here up during pledge week and go “How much would it cost me for (a) you to shut up about needing money, (b) you never show those stupid “woo” pseudoscience- “wellness” programs again, (c) we get BBC mysteries in more-heavy rotation?”Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        @fillyjonk Ooh, now I’m daydreaming about how much it would cost to buy BBC America, Acorn, the CW, and PBS (or buy them off, obvs., I’m not trying to take over public broadcasting in 2 countries entirely, just corrupt them) and then have them show only things I like** all the time.

        ** There are plenty of things I like despite never wanting to watch them, even things I like despite disagreeing vehemently with them on several different levels. But the things I could just GET RID OF and replace with MORE OF THE GOOD STUFF…. *wistful sigh*Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          I was actually wondering the opposite for the same reason…how much it would cost to start a production company, or whatever it should be called, and swoop in and save TV shows that I liked that were canceled, and keep making them for a bit. (And get Netflix to distribute them or whatever.)

          And the nice thing is, this would generally actually make money. TV shows usually get canceled because networks want to show, or spend their money on, a show that makes _more_ money, not because the canceled show itself is _losing_ money. I’d have some financial people to look the shows over first, obviously, I’m not saying I’d do this blindly for any random show I like. Some shows actually are really bad, cost-wise.

          And I hopefully have enough intelligence to tell when the show’s storytelling capability and forward direction is actually dead and not beat a dead horse.

          And while I would be really tempted to try to develop _new_ TV shows…I am not certain I have any skill in that area. Likewise, I’m not sure I can identify what TV shows have promise at the pilot level, what I need to pay attention to there, and what shortcomings of pilots are easy to fix.

          But I can, at least, identify existing shows with existing budgets and audiences that don’t quite do well enough and say ‘Hey, I can pay for another year of that if those guys aren’t.’

          As a bonus, having more entities willing to do this will, as it already has, makes TV networks a bit saner in their behavior. They’ve already started hesitating in their random cancellation exuberance (I remember, at the height of that, when they’d sometimes cancel TV shows two or three episode in, ones they had already paid for 13 episodes of.), and some of that, I think, is because the networks look really bad when they cancel TV shows and Netflix or something gives them another successful season or two.

          Before, they could act as an oracle who could not be disputed. ‘Oh, that show was not financially worthwhile, and we’re the TV experts, and we obviously made the right decision in canceling it’, but the more there are other entities willing to snatch up shows they let go provides more direct evidence to the contrary and they look very foolish and their stockholders complain when that happens.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Pretty much that…

        and to stop saying that it’s “news you can count on, in THESE times. News you can rely on”. blah blah. Like NPR doesn’t have an agenda.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        And while your at it, how about using actual masterpieces for Masterpiece Theater!Report

        • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

          *Takes notes*

          But yes, I concur on the “actual masterpieces” thing.

          And maybe I start up a “news channel” that is actually 0% politics (or as close to 0% as you can get in this world). And a weather channel that actually shows weather after 6 pm instead of reality shows.

          Oh, hey, and the “Murder, She Wrote,” channel, that shows nothing but re-runs of that 24/7. And maybe the “Frasier” channel, too.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    1. Buy a house. Something in the 2.5-3 million dollar range which in SF gets you:

    2. Get a personal trainer;

    3. Invest a lot id it.

    4. Keep a decent cash reserveReport

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Buy one thousand bare naked ladies.

    But really, I’d probably buy 5 modest (2 million dollar or so) homes/residences in 5 different climate zones and live 2-3 months out of the year in each of them on a rotating basis throughout the year. I’d also buy a boat or two.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Modest being a relative term in this case. Even in San Francisco and New York, two million can buy you something very nice.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      “But really, I’d probably buy 5 modest (2 million dollar or so) homes/residences in 5 different climate zones and live 2-3 months out of the year in each of them on a rotating basis throughout the year. I’d also buy a boat or two.”

      I would do this, exactly, as one of my first steps any time I won any amount above 100 million dollars…. and work on doing so with lesser sums.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      The multiple houses things has always struck me as a bit weird. That just actually seems like more work, having to keep extra usable houses. Yes, you presumably pay people to keep them up, but then you have to…contact them to buy food, or make sure the place is ready, and then you’re like ‘Oh, that stuff is at my other house’, or you have to have multiples of each thing, and, seriously, this just becomes unwieldy, and if you’re rich enough, you can already pay _hotels_ to get stuff for you, and/or ship things to them in advance.

      If you really want a whole bunch of stuff in each hotel suite, there’s probably a service for the rich that keeps them stored locally and will populate your hotel with them before you get there.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        We have a couple of family members and friends with second homes in other places. They use a reality company to handle all of the cleanup and maintenance when they aren’t there. I do like the idea of having a place this is OURS and comfortable for us when we go somewhere, but still wonder if it would just make us feel trapped there. As you said, a great hotel takes just as good of care of you.Report

  6. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    I’d do exactly what I’m doing only I’d do it better, because I wouldn’t have to worry about paying off loans, bills, putting food on the table, etc.Report

  7. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    With thatkind of money? Good grief!

    I couldn’t hold on to that. Nobody should have that kind of money. There are homeless people, reserves that need water treatment plants, countless real problems that could be solved.

    I’m far from perfect at present – so many small comforts i could give up to do more good but i don’t. But with that kind of money there isn’t a comfort i could buy and make a dent in it.

    I’d surely hire some domestic help though. Because we’re really not keeping up on things like laundry and house cleaning.Report

  8. Avatar Aaron David says:

    I would go get a bowl of chowder.Report

  9. Avatar Em Carpenter says:

    I’d spring for the appetizer.

    But seriously:

    Put all my bills on auto-pay.
    Go shopping and buy every item of clothing I like without bothering to look at the price tags. Seriously, that’s a thing I aspire to.
    Pay off my student loans.
    Build my parents a new house on their land.
    Donate lots to schools around my state.
    Set my children up for life in highly structured, not-enough-to-ruin-themselves-at-a-young-age way.
    Buy a brand new Volvo.
    Make sure every town in WV has access to safe water (that might actually deplete a lot of my money.)Report

  10. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    After the family was taken care of, I have always wanted to design a house from the ground up. Nothing over-the-top but a very nice place for us to live. I would probably invite my siblings, my daughter and a few other people to live nearby and have our own little village. We would also probably buy a very comfortable apartment downtown so we can stay there when we have stuff to do in the city (theater, concert, sporting events).

    I would also have to pick a few trusted friends and give them a salary so they could be available to hangout. Love the wife but with that kind of money she isn’t going to want to go on every adventure with me. I need a crew to play disc golf with several days per week, hunting trips, etc.

    Definitely season tickets with a few of my favorite teams. Personal trainer and personal jiu jitsu coach.

    Lots of travel. I don’t know that we would buy a place anywhere else. I have always said there wasn’t anywhere I loved so much that I would want to keep coming back that often, but with this kind of money, I wouldn’t feel obligated to. Some of the top runners would be Marquette, Michigan or Bar Harbor, Maine or somewhere on Cape Cod.

    Beyond all of the ‘selfish’ stuff, my biggest goal would be to finally fund my dream archaeology project here in town. That would keep local archaeologists busy for the next 100 years. Of course, I would often show up to poke around 🙂Report

    • Avatar jason says:

      You play disc golf? Cool. I’ll be in your disc golf crew. I’m currently pretty garbage, but I like playing. Pueblo has a great course.

      I’d buy a place in Paris, and live there every fall. Here in CO, I would build a solar powered, super efficient house. And a pool. And a huge library room.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        You play disc golf? Cool. I’ll be in your disc golf crew. I’m currently pretty garbage, but I like playing. Pueblo has a great course.

        I do and I’m addicted. Like, I’m debating how much hunting I want to do this fall/winter because I want to spend more time on the course. I bought three discs at the start of the summer and just purchased my 10th. It was one of those things where as soon as you do it you realize it will be something you do for a long, long time.

        You’re welcome to join the disc golf squad after I win.Report

  11. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Buy a nice place in Pacific Heights or Nob Hill, preferable a condo with gym in the building and a spot for a car, open a New York style dance studio in downtown San Francisco and a craft beer bar on a beach somewhere, continue to practice law to keep me occupied and do good works, and invest most of it but keep a generous cash reserve. I’d probably put around eighty to ninety percent of it investments and use the rest to up my lifestyle and do what I want. Plus take a long overseas vacation.Report

  12. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I’d become a latter day Mad King Ludwig and build every crazed bizarre building I could imagine.Report

  13. Avatar Maribou says:

    1) Mosquito nets for the world, or at least for the part of the world where mosquito bites are regularly life-and-death situations. (And I’d bamboozle Jason K into being in charge of it since that one is all his fault).

    2) Financial advisor.

    3) What Kolohe said.

    4) at least a year, maybe 2, where all I did was curl up in my houses alternated with going on long walks: read, draw, write, get enough sleep and enough exercise, eat well and hyper-locally (not like, ultimate sources, but like “I am going to the bakery to buy enough bread-objects for today and maybe tomorrow… and the fruit store…. and the butcher….”.

    5) ?????? (Not sure of that part till after I take a couple years to think about it under very low stress conditions.)

    6) Give most of the money away but keep enough that we couldn’t even pretend to have realistic financial worries about our lives or those of our nieces/nephews.

    PS (I’m not sure how much mosquito nets for everyone who needs them would cost? But I’m pretty sure I’d have money left over. Which means I’m pretty annoyed at the world’s super-rich for not having already solved this problem. And if I didn’t have money left over, it’d probably be worth it to have actually changed the world that much.)Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

      I suspect that the difficulty with mosquito netting is not purchasing it, but getting it to the people who need it, and getting them to use it.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        @doctor-jay Yeah, that’s why I’d make (“make” but I can be pretty persuasive when I have a singular goal, more so if I know someone even a little bit) Jason K. run the disbursement/activity, coordinating with people already doing that work. He’s put a lot of thought into mosquito nets, far more than I have.

        Though to my understanding it’s the getting it to them, getting it repaired or replaced, etc., not the getting them to use it. They’re plenty willing to use it once they know what it protects them from.

        And I’d happily settle for a 90 percent or 95 percent outcome on that – I’d trust Jason to be honest about “this is the best we can do given current abilities”.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      Oh, I forgot 3.5: pay off the mortgages of all of my immediate family members and buy my mom, jay’s mom, and my great-aunt into a really nice retirement community that they liked, for life.

      I left it out because it’d be a necessary precondition to being able to do 4 without constantly fretting about their financial situations and how I should do more to help them – it seemed so obvious I forgot to write it down.Report

  14. Avatar Pinky says:

    I’d go into work the next day, say goodbye to each of my co-workers, then put my pants on and leave.

    Actually, I’ve thought about this, and the weird thing is that I’d want less stuff than I have now. I’d love to get rid of my apartment, and live out of hotels. Not even necessarily for travelling (although I’d do plenty of that too). I guess I’d need to stay at better places for the laundry and room service, but I wouldn’t need that every day. A Holiday Inn breakfast is a great way to start a morning.

    My biggest indulgence would be the World Series of Pokr. I’d love to test myself against the best.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      I really like my coworkers so I often say I would give the company 2 months to find and train my replacement to not leave them in a lurch. I’d come in for 4 hours per day. My coworkers reply that I would be so insufferable they would just want me to leave. When I tell them I would cater lunch every day for the two months they seem to soften their position.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        I mentally need a job. If I had Howard Hughes money, I’d become Howard Hughes. I wouldn’t want to hit the lottery for more money than a decent retirement fund and a bunch of charitable donations.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

          I agree. My plan is to work for as long as I can. I’ve watched retirees in the family take a year to sit on the couch and they end up in bad health. The ones that stay busy seem to be doing good. My father-in-law just turned 74 and has plenty of money but works a part-time job to stay busy. Same for my uncle.

          As I get older, whether I hit the lotto or not, I’m just hoping I will be able to increasingly define work as the exact thing that makes me happy. I’ve got 12 years left until my first retirement, which is when I will hopefully start career #2. I would love the funds to pursue whatever weird interest I have until I’m no longer interested.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Ironically, my answer to the question in the OP is “I’d become Howard Hughes.”Report

        • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

          Exactly this, though I admit the first day a student (or admin) was really rude to me I’d be sorely tempted to do the “Take this job and shove it” routine.

          Honestly, I probably would wind up giving lots and lots of the money away, either funding promising kids with no means to go to medical or dental or engineering school, or buying up some of the remaining high-quality habitat and setting it up with perpetual management/care and NO IT WILL NEVER BE DEVELOPED, or buying insulin for all the people who apparently are having a hard time affording it, whatever. (Or, hell: Buy a pharmaceutical manufacturer and try to manufacture important meds to be sold for no profit, just enough to cover the costs of manufacturing. And have some codicil in my will that it will always be thus)Report

          • Avatar Pinky says:

            Me too. I’d need a job for stability, but that’s not saying I’d be able to hold one. I can see the spiral already. I’d quit my current job, because it’d be weird being known as the hundreds-millionaire, so I’d find a more anonymous job like delivering pizzas, but then I’d drive away in my Bentley and eat all the pizzas, because what do I care?

            Chesterton described St. Louis IX as the kind of saint who doesn’t mind being king. For most of us, our best qualities would *not* be on display after a lottery win. Maybe Slade has it right, and everything we’re saying on this thread is what we’d do until we settled into the hookers-and-blow lifestyle.Report

            • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

              I think the thing I’d find the hardest was all the people coming out of the woodwork wanting money, and implying if I didn’t give them everything they wanted, I was a Bad Person.

              So maybe some of my friends and family would wind up with that hookers-n-blow lifestyle, and I’d maybe wind up with a slightly nicer house on slightly nicer land than I have now.

              That wouldn’t be so bad except I’d hate to see people I cared about break up their marriages over hookers, and get addicted to blow…Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                You always hear these stories and it always kind of amazes me. I have no doubt that I have several close friends with massive debt, but they are carefully maintaining the illusion of financial stability. That’s the middle class way. I just know my pride would never allow me to ask.

                Even if you were magnanimous and made the debt of everyone close to you go away, it feels like it would really change the dynamic in your friendships too. I wouldn’t suddenly want my friend group to be a bunch of people who feel like they owe me.

                Of course, it’s different with family. I think there is an unspoken expectation that if you win the lotto your nieces and nephews should have the option to go to Harvard.Report

  15. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Saying something about me and the times we live in, one of the very first things I would do is call my daughter to discuss the subject of security for the granddaughters. Since, as I recall, there’s no way to keep the lottery from using my name and where I bought the winning ticket in advertising.

    After buying housing for a number of people, setting up a trust to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of those properties.Report

  16. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Prime plot of land. Near the city. Hire architect to construct an actual dream house. Criteria include a pornographically big and well-appointed kitchen, walk-in curtainless shower, outdoor deck with secondary outdoor kitchen and beer-brewing area with retractable cover for those rainy days, hardwood floors, plenty of electrical outlets, unified smart-home controls, and a view of Mt. Hood.

    I’ll be on a first-class vacation while it’s being built. My financial advisors will set aside some of the money for perpetual financial security. But of course we’re still talking about a ton of money left over.

    This, I would split between charitable and entrepreneurial activities. Not sure precisely what form they would take, but I think my charitable activities would involve promulgating education.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      Criteria include a pornographically big and well-appointed kitchen…

      As a fellow serious home cook I’m not super-big on the large kitchens. I like a galley style, which I am lucky enough to have now. Better equipment and all the toys, for sure, but I’m not sure I would go much bigger than I have now. Now, if I hit it big, I would probably build an ‘entertaining room’ for dinner parties and holiday stuff. I envision a media pit with circular seating for Christmas and birthdays (so everyone can watch the present unwrapping) and a very long banquet table for Thanksgiving. In that space I would probably need a second kitchen, also small but functional.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        What I find is that when I entertain, the kitchen becomes the place where people congregate. Sometimes they help, sometimes they just linger. But that’s where the food is, that’s where I am, that’s where the gathering happens. So the peeps need a place to be while I’m doing my thing. Sure, I can hire people to cook for me, but what fun is that?

        Also all the gadgets just plain need space to exist. Sure, the staff will put all the stuff away and clean, which is great, but when the kitchen is in full deployment, there needs to be adequate counter space to work.

        So the kitchen grows. I suppose it needn’t be pornographically big. Maybe Cinemax-on-Friday-night big.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

          I know what you mean as a congregation spot. I have to station the wife to politely move people out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving. For some reason several members of the family think it’s a good idea to hang out there in the middle of Defcon 3.

          I like the idea of a galley kitchen with well-defined guest space on the other side of a clear boundary.Report

  17. Avatar Fish says:

    1) As soon as I had solid confirmation that I’d won and that I had the oodles of money, quit my job. I’ll eventually get bored and want to do something, but it ain’t going to be work.

    After that, in no particular order:

    2) We’ve already got pretty solid allocations for the boys’ educations and we’ve contributed to our nieces and nephews as well, but this would ensure that they all get more.

    3) I like the plot of land we live on, but the house is nearly as old as I am. We’re going to knock it down and build a more modern structure, all the while doing my level best to prevent my wife from going full Earthship on me (which means it’s totally going to be an Earthship. Gotta pick your battles). And that also includes proper landscaping so my damn driveway doesn’t wash away with every heavy rain or snow melt. And this house will definitely include a sound-dampened library/study with the comfiest reading chairs imaginable.

    4) Take care of the family and the extended family, in whatever reasonable form that takes. I suppose I’d want to talk to them to see what they’d want–pay off the mortgage, a cash payout they can spend as they wish, fund their children’s (or their own) education, whatever. We’ll figure it out.

    5) Did I already mention not working anymore? Because, yeah.

    6) Travel is definitely on. My lovely wife and I were both travelers before kids and jobs and responsibility made that a little more difficult.

    7) Charities, definitely, maybe starting with the local humane society because dogs are less irritating than people.

    8) 40-something-year-old me is far more financially responsible than 20-something Airman Fish was, but despite that we’d definitely enlist our financial adviser to ensure we didn’t charity and travel and house and family and unemploy our way into poverty.Report

  18. Avatar Jaybird says:


    Updated after taxes for Colorado:

    Your average net per year if you take the annuity: $38,400,000. After 30 payments: $1,152,000,000.

    If you just take the lump sum: $651,528,000.

    Please update your daydreams accordingly. (e.g., now you can take the lump sum, finance John Carter 2, and it’ll only be like you won the lottery on Friday before nobody won it instead of the new updated amount.)Report

  19. Buy enough arms to literally get away with murder,.Report

  20. I would try to make the world a better place through lots and lots and lots of small donations targeted at people doing the hard work of being decent human beings. And also, I’d get a house with a big fireplace.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      I’ll go one better.

      Track down every single ordinary hard working person who bought a ticket, and give them their money back.
      Call it a massive, crowdfunded redistribution of wealth.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        I kinda like that idea, except how many of them would just turn around and buy more tickets?

        I think I’d also seriously consider paying off a lawyer (for his/her silence in the matter) and legally changing my name and identifying information and moving far away and living simply (so it wasn’t obvious I was rich). ‘Cos I realized all the people I used to know who haven’t even been arsed to e-mail me in 15 years would come out of the woodwork and act like my long-lost best friend, all because they wanted me to give them something, and that would really suck badly.Report

  21. I wrote about this years ago. I fear vast amount of money being dropped from space on people. I think it has a dangerous tendency to expose character flaws and exacerbate bad decision-making. I don’t play, but if I did, I would try to be very sensible about it. As I said:

    I’d probably donate a significant fraction to charities. I’d endow chairs for my wife and I at a chosen university. I’d establish trusts for a handful of people. And that would pretty much be it. I’m not into fancy cars; my practical Camry is just about the perfect car for me. I don’t want a huge house — maybe something newer and less drafty than my current residence. And while I might like to play around with some business ideas, I would only do those if I could stand to lose the entire investment (which is what usually happens).

    It’s scary, though, to think of what all that wealth could do to a person.Report

  22. Honestly the first thing I would do upon winning is to make sure nobody knows about it.

    Back first of the year a NH woman successfully challenged to keep her anonymity and I would do the same, with the exception of getting a legal team to draft the initial NDA’s and so forth.

    Money, like power and alcohol, just makes you more of what you are. I have things I would do both personally and philanthropic, but all of those plans would be best suited away from public celebrity and the onslaught of people seeking handouts. Many people I love and care about could not handle such a situation so in their own best interest, and mine, I would do all possible to keep them blissfully ignorant.Report

    • Agree with all of that. Well said. “Money, like power and alcohol, just makes you more of what you are.” is something I’m gonna have to steal off you. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Yeah, I’m going to appropriate that line in the name of the people.

        I think that such a vast sum would be like the Ring of Power, where in the end I would be floating down a river, stuck full of arrows.Report

  23. Avatar Morat20 says:

    1. Hire a lawyer to create two trusts — one to acquire the ticket (signed by the trust), one to take over the first trust. The name of the first trust has to be disclosed to the public (as it claims the ticket), but the second does not. I would not want my name associated with that sort of money.
    2. Take about 10% for “hookers and blow” (ie, money I can access at will for houses, whatever), create a charitable and scholarship organization with 10%, and place the other 80% in a trust that disperses me some specific annual income, no greater than 3% of the value of the trust. (Honestly, I can’t imagine using even 1% of it, but I’d rather have the option to take more if I want).
    3. Absolutely and completely lie to everyone about where the money came from. (other than my spouse). Luckily, as a software engineer, I can flat-out claim something I’d been tinkering with over the years turned out to strike gold — pure luck! — and that I sold it — and no, I can’t tell you what it was, what it did, or who I sold it to, because I signed an NDA. Given it’d take several months between the lottery being won and me actually having money, that’s a little easier.
    4. Tell everyone I know who realizes I’m suddenly retired off my “windfall” that I set it in a blind trust (which is likely to be the truth, honestly), so really I’m on a fixed income and can’t invest in their business idea/whatever. Literally not allowed. Don’t even know where my money’s invested, I just get income, and less than you’d think because a good chunk of it goes straight into taxes, health insurance, and various other obligations before it gets to me.
    5. Set up a small, private scholarship fund for the children of various relatives.
    6. Figure out some what to divert a small portion of the yearly income to my parents, in-laws, and mine and my wife’s siblings, and our kids. (probably as some sort of salary match for the non-retired set).
    7. Travel. A lot. The good way. First class seats, private tour guides — natives, fully bilingual, etc. No busses, no tourist traps — people who know the really good restaurants, who know about the artwork, the history, and all of that.

    I’m serious about the lying part. I’m pretty sure I’d lie to my own parents on where it came from.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      First class seats…

      Based on the few occasions when someone with a “C” title took me along on the corporate jet, book a private jet (at least domestically). No hassling with the terminal crowds or luggage carousals, typically only a couple hundred feet from the door of the jet to the door of the hired vehicle, etc.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        I could see doing that, but that kind of tips your hands regarding wealth. I’d have to admit to enough money to retire and travel, but “renting a private jet money” starts raising eyebrows.

        Of course, you don’t have to tell them I guess. 🙂Report

    • “There’s an algorithm I’d patented years ago that turns out to be necessary for both self-driving cars and Flappy Bird.”Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        No kidding, right?

        I mean I’d feel bad lying to family and friends, but….human nature is human nature. Money you earn is always treated differently than money you’ve won, and from everything I’ve read about lottery winners — if you don’t want to end up broke in five years, you have to act pragmatically.

        I’ve seen stories of lottery winners getting constantly ticketed by cops (because they can afford it, right?), or having family members sue them, claiming crap like “You talked to your Dad about what you should do with the money, and he must have alientated you from me or else you’d have given me 100k!” — and win, I believe!, to just being constantly hit up for people wanting you to bankroll them. To spread the luck. To spread the wealth.

        It’s a lot easier to give away 500 million than spend it.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      I have at least a dozen ideas for hunting-related products. I’d start a company to do that, claiming I got startup captail from an unnamed source. Hire those friends that I need for my adventure gang (they are all already outdoorsmen, so that’s an easy explanation). Part of our company philosophy would be to spend a lot of time away from the office to ‘brainstorm’.Report

  24. Avatar Jaybird says:

    My answer of “get a really big television and watch cartoons while experimenting with various dispensary products and maybe spend a week at the Louvre every now and again” kinda sucks in comparison with all y’alls.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      Yeah, despite my supposed plans, _in reality_ what I would do would be something like ‘big TV and various game consoles’ and ‘occasionally fly to places on vacations’. Like I’d go to New York to take in some Broadway shows, and to DC to do some touristy stuff and probably deliberately do that during some political thing I’m interested in also. And I’ve never been to either Disney, I sorta feel I should do that at least once in my life, a nice multiple-week-long trip to see everything at my leisure.

      I’d also get an electric car. Always wanted one of those. Not sure what model. I’d also buy a truck, my extended family does not currently have one and all extended families need one to share around.

      Just one house, thank you. The most lavish thing would possibly be an indoor pool.Report

  25. Avatar atomickristin says:

    Obviously keep enough money for myself and family to live comfortably.

    But I would LOVE to be able to invest in birthing centers and women/newborn health care in parts of the world that desperately need it. Barring that, even very very simple birthing kits can help save lives. I’d have to consult with those in the know to learn which option would be a better use of the money.Report