Did you hear that the one winner of the $450 million Mega Millions jackpot last month was a 20-year-old man from Florida? Can you imagine?!
Jonathan and I have never been much into playing the lottery, but when the jackpot starts to get really big (and makes it all over the news), sometimes we buy a ticket or two — because who knows! It’s funny; despite the odds of winning being 175 million to one, I can’t help but fantasize about what having a windfall like that would be like…
On our drive to work recently, I asked Jonathan what he would do if we won hundreds of millions in the lottery. It’s a fruitless question, to be sure, but I can’t help myself! Fantasizing and talking about this falls right up there with baby names for me!
Of course there are the obvious, respectable answers everyone gives: find an accountant, hire a lawyer, set up an estate, pay off all remaining debt, invest, help family if they need it… But what about the other stuff — the fun stuff?
Would you live large, spending dough like the newfound multimillionaire you are? (Truly, no shame if so.) Or would you be frugal, simply spending what you need to live comfortably and without worry? (Also no shame!)
Jonathan insists he would be the latter, not really interested in luxury goods or a life of leisure and excess, but I think this has more to do with his pragmatism and tendency to avoid falling into a sea of “What ifs?” rather than an actual aversion to nice things.
While I’m certainly not the exact opposite of Jonathan (my dreams fall somewhere in between “life of leisure” and “just the essentials”), I do love getting lost in fantasy. Because if you really think about it, questions like “Where would I live if money wasn’t a factor?” or “How many kids would I have if I didn’t have to worry about the cost of raising them?” or “Where would I travel to first if a First Class ticket was just an anxiety-free click away?” or “What kind of work would I do if salary wasn’t important?” or “What kinds of charities would I dump massive amounts of money into?” can actually help you genuinely narrow down what you want to do with your life.
While money is certainly important, and obviously not having it is a barrier in many respects, if I answer the above questions with “Whidbey Island,” “5,” “Patagonia/Antarctica,” “Write a book,” and “Animal sanctuaries,” shouldn’t I try to make it all a reality, to the best of my ability, regardless of my millionaire status?
Sure, without something like a lottery win, I likely will never get the island estate on the Puget Sound, AND the condo in Seattle, AND the brownstone in Brooklyn, AND the castle in the Scottish countryside I dream about owning as my family jet sets around the world… but maybe one of those things? Maybe something close to it?
Jonathan and I do agree about one thing, though: the most exciting prospect of having that kind of money is simply the idea of needing or wanting something — even basic essentials — and not stressing about clicking “Place order” and then double-checking your bank account to be sure you have enough to cover it. Or putting off important car maintenance while we wait for our tax refund to clear. What a life, huh?
So tell me: Do you ever fantasize about winning the lottery? What would you do if you did? What’s something you’ve always wanted to buy but was just too expensive? (Remember: NO SHAME!) And are the passions you’d try to pursue only achievable or accessible to you with lots of money? I’d love to know!