‘$500 winning scratch ticket sold here”
Which made me smile and briefly think how thrilled that person must have been to find three numbers that actually matched on his (or her) card and what they did with that extra moola. (Stuart Weizman, size 7, black and white 4 inch lace ups for me..thankyou).
But then, as I walked home I realize how paltry that sum really is – even as a ‘drop in your lap’ surprise. $500? So someone made a car payment and ordered takeout or maybe got their car brakes fixed? Hardly a life changer. But what sum of money actually would be these days? $10,000 or $100,000, a cool million or would it need to be more?
So, in the interests of research (and because Ink Master was over), I decided to work it out how winning money would actually impact my life. Because you know.. it could happen.
1. Dropping $10,000 in a bucket
While this looks sizeable and I already can imagine the stack of notes in my hand, $10,000 is actually nothing. Once the tax man has hit it, you’re left with about $6,500 (fed tax rate on winnings is 35%). So how do you spend the enormity of $6,500? Well of course if you’re – like me – swathed in credit cards, you probably push $6K in the direction of one, have a nice meal and maybe treat yourself to those special shoes. And that would be it. Over in literally one day. Life changing? Hardly. (which doesn’t meant I wouldn’t love $10,000.. but hey, if I’m winning something I’m gonna aim higher). Suddenly that $500 winning celebration seems kinda of mocking doesn’t it?
2. Getting Sensible with $100,000
Now we’re talking. For most everyone (unless you have some serious gambling debt), this one is going to have some serious impact on how well you sleep at night. Remember its only going to be $65K when Mr.IRS has finished with you but you can probably say goodbye to that credit card debt and maybe your car loan too. Leftovers? How about paying a bit into your savings and maybe hitting the ‘three month of living expenses’ mark? I’d still get those shoes.. but if I managed all of the above.. that’s about all I’d be getting. Of course if I had a few Tequilas I might say screw the savings and take that trip to Bora Bora I’ve been longing for but to be honest.. I’d take sleeping at night over any vacation. Suddenly even $100K is looking a bit on the low side isn’t it? No real life changers happening and I’m certainly not investing in a gold grill or mink pajamas at this winning point. *Sigh* I’ll just have to win bigger.
3. If I had $1,000,000.. I’d be rich?
And momentarily I would probably think so… except.. except… A million ain’t what it used to be. (first world problems I know.. but still that’s where I live). After Mr.Fuck You has visited I’ve got $650,000. Really starting to not like the tax man at this point…
Damn I’ve always wanted a Porsche… but… lets take care of some reality first. Once I’ve done the sensible stuff (see #2) I’ve got probably $575K left. Actually lets look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs before I start test driving… now where am I?
Goddamn it.. I’m still right at the bottom. Time to get on that property ladder and buy a house. And, factoring in moving expenses, rent termination and Colorado property prices… would be it.
DAMN. All that money and I’m still driving a Toyota and I’ve still not taking a damn vacation. Gotta go bigger.
4. $10,000,000: Mo money, mo problems
But the bitch ain’t wanna them. No, at $10 mill, I’m certainly not bitching. Mentally I’m starting to think that I’m entering JLo territory and a small yappy dog is going to feature in my future.. but lets get real first. So its actually more like $6.5million (still a number that makes me giddy) but with all of that potential tax I’m hiring a tax accountant to see if he can figure out some workarounds to get that number up. I really don’t want to be handing over $3.5 million to Mr.IRS. Yes, at $10 mill, I’ve become a Republican. Its my money goddamn it…Holy shit. Well they do say money changes things.. apparently ME.
But back to my steaming pile of $50s. I’ve taken care of #2 and #3 – I’ve got myself a nice 2 bedroom and I’m debt free, so what’s next? Building a village in Africa? Donating to the poor? Umm… lets just wait a second and get back to that heirarchy of needs. I think I might have bounced off the bottom by buying a house but with $10 million, I want to take care of others -like my family. Lets see.. paying off my sisters house, establishing a college fund for her kids and plumping up my parents retirement accounts… that wipes out a few million. Leaving me with a few – lets say $3M. Now what? Well goddam it, I’m definitely taking that vacation and buying a new mountain bike. I actually like my Toyota so I think I’ll add to my stable with another Guzzi. And maybe some shoes.. a few purses. Purely so I feel like I’m getting some enjoyment here… but can I retire? On $2.5 million? Touch and go. With today’s markets and my ill informed decision making I’m going to say no. Maybe I can take a sabbatical for a year to write a book.. but retirement? And shit, I haven’t even donated anything yet, not even a single Girl Scout cookie. Nope.. I’m going to need to win more.
(FYI: $10m and I can’t retire… WTF?)
5. $50,000,000 – over and out
Ok this is silly, insane money. This is strangers writing you begging letters money. Walter White money. And its certainly more money and I would ever need in one, two or three lifetimes. Fifty-million-dollars. So ridiculous I can’t even picture what that looks like. Which is a good thing because I don’t have it. And not gonna. But lets play it out…Even after my ever expanding team of accountants, financial advisers and business managers have done their work.. I’m still probably only dealing with $40 mill.. (still.. this is giggling insanity money). I take care of #2-#4 and I’m still left with oooo…$30 mill. THIS is life changing money.. not just mine and my family, but friends, my community and yes, random people who need it. This is retirement, travel the world, make a difference money. Start a dog rescue, seriously shore up my local food bank, help out a friend or 10. Of course my days are now spent thinking about money, spending money and worrying about money.. having so much means I’d constantly worrying about whether its working for me and whether its going to last. Am I investing correctly? Does the Porsche need a service? Do I have the latest ‘it’ bag? Is the maid stealing? (you have to have a house cleaner at $50mill I think) And does this foundation need it more than that other charity? … in fact.. actually.. its all really unappealing. I think about money a few times a day… the idea that my days would be spent thinking about money -all day – urgh….Winning this type of money – a windfall out of nowhere – surely makes you paranoid that it could disappear as quickly as it appeared. Which to me.. wow.. break out the Xanax.
I think I’ll take the $500.
Ok.. maybe the mill. (I’m not that stupid)