Winning the Lottery: What Would YOU Buy?

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Lotto 5-4-3-2-1 logo in use from 2008 onwards
Lotto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately, when I decide to get up on time, I have been privileged to enjoy the amazingness that is riding the bus. Standing out on the corner in the rain while the bus running 5 minutes late reminds me that being frugal is sometimes a bummer. Saving $5 a day on gas looks like me spending almost an extra hour on travel per day and bearing the elements. The nice thing is, I am able to do some blogging on the bus, so it’s not a complete waste of time. Though I do end up motion sick after about 15 minutes, so I only have a limited amount of time to download my brain into the computer before feeling like I have been spinning in the teacups ride at Disney for an hour! So….anyways….what was I going to say…?

If I Won The Lottery

Oh yea, the lottery. So there I was, standing out in the beautiful 48 degree June rain (thank you Seattle) and I saw the bus drive by with a big lottery sign say $171 million jackpot. For a few minutes after reading that sign, I drifted off into wonderland and thought about what I would do with $171 million dollars. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. PAY THE FREAKIN’ TAXES! Having done some reading on lottery winners going broke, one of the biggest mistakes they make is not paying income tax on their winnings. I would take 40% of the winnings and write a big, fat check to the IRS. If I was in a state with a state income tax, I would probably send 50%. OUCH! I think I’ll do ok with only $100 million to play around with, though.
  2. SETUP A BUDGET! Hey, just because you can afford ANYTHING doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice discretion with your purchases and still have a monthly budget. I would probably add a little (read: a LOT) of wiggle room in our spending cash, date, and vacation budgets.
  3. PAY OFF MY DEBT…..EVEN THE HOUSE! My first REAL order of business would be to pay off my student loans and house. It would be pretty awesome being debt free. It would free up most of my income to go towards investing, savings, and giving.
  4. BUY OUR DREAM HOUSE! We do love our current home. It fits all of our current needs, has a new fence, and is great for having people over. BUT, we will outgrow it someday, and when we do, we were planning on moving into our last home, our dream home. If we had the means, why not just MOVE NOW?
  5. QUIT MY JOB! This is actually a tough one. I like my current job, but with $100 MILLION in the bank, I feel like it would be a full time job just to manage that money. I would still give 2 weeks to a month notice and train a replacement because I wouldn’t want to burn any bridges.
  6. SETUP A NON-PROFIT! Most likely, I would want to spend a large chunk of my time on philanthropy. I would setup an organization that would help me give properly to the church and to other causes that I believe in. Giving is something I know I am called to and now I would be able to do it full time.
  7. GROW MY EGG! I would want my money to work hard for me, so instead of cashing it all out and burying it in the backyard, I would want to invest it wisely and try to get the best returns possible. Honestly, I would love to get my Series 65 and learn to invest the money myself (along with trusted advisors). Maybe I could help other philanthropists invest as well to make our money stretch even further.
  8. BLOW A MILLION! And by blow, I mean “stimulate the economy and help create jobs.” Heck, I would probably do this. I think it might take me a while because the thought of spending that much money makes me sick right now, but it would be fun. Take my wife on a complete tour of Europe for a month or two. Get a boat (I like boats). Purchase a 2007 Subaru WRX Wagon Limited in World Rally Blue. Throw some awesome house parites. This would just be awesome!

As the bus arrived and I snapped back to reality, I felt a little warmer inside. Not because money would make me happy and fulfill all my needs, but because it’s fun to dream a bit about what you would do with no restrictions. Like I’ve said before, I think that where your money goes shows what is truly important to you. I would LOVE to use money as a tool to help as many people as possible, for sure. And you know, it would be pretty awesome to blow through a million!


Comments: I know you have spent some time thinking about what you would do if you won the lottery. What are some of the things you would do if you fell into $100 MILLION overnight? Also, will this rain ever stop? EVER?

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Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

12 thoughts on “Winning the Lottery: What Would YOU Buy?”

  1. that’s easy..
    two chicks at the same time.

    (hopefully you have seen office space)

    in reality, i always told myself i would travel a lot more and dedicate myself to charity if i ever won the lottery..

  2. Oh man, when the lottery was at it’s all-time high a couple months back, a bunch of us at work got together and bought like 300 tickets. I rarely ever play the lottery (like 6 times in my life)but this provided some entertainment and some much needed morale at my workplace. The first thing I would do, like you is pay the taxes. I would probably throw $20 mil into an EF just incase something was messed up with the taxes. Pay off all debt. Then buy a huge piece of property, 200ish acres and build my dream home (log cabin). Also on the list would be my dream car 67′ Pontiac GTO and a couple brand new dirtbikes, and an RV. That’s pretty much it lol. A man can dream can’t he?

    • I bought a ticket myself that morning. Didn’t even come close to getting one number right, but it was fun to talk about around the office for sure! 200 acres? Wow! You’ll need a big lawn mower for that property (or a lot of goats!). Nice call on the GTO. If I went classic, a ’70 SS 454 would be my choice. Sounds like you’ve got it all planned out……now….just need to find that winning ticket… 😉

  3. I didn’t realize you were in Seattle Jacob. I’m just up the I5 in Vancouver. It’s definitely raining too much around here for this time of year.

    I couldn’t even imagine winning a sum like $100M. That barely seems like a real number to me. That’s awesome that you would still budget. I know I’d get pretty reckless with that kind of money. Of course I’d be sure to spoil everyone in my family first. It would be nice to be able to help out some charities I like too. An awesome house and car is a given too. Plus plenty of travel.

    • Ah, another Northwesterner to share in my misery. Glad to hear I’m not the only one! Yea, $100M is just ridiculous. Heck, I’d have a tough time even dealing with $100k. I would definitely help my family, but would require them to go through Financial Peace University, or at least my budgeting basics series 😉 Then they could multiply their money and help others as well.

  4. I’d do most of what you mentioned above, but I’d take a few million and buy some small entrepreneurial ventures. I love running businesses. I think spending a few million to potentially make a few more million is worth the risk.

    Charity would also definitely be on my list.

  5. I would buy my parents a new 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom penthouse condo overlooking the water in Hawaii, get them a car and a driver, and then a 2 month luxurious cruise around the world in the best suite.

    I’ll save the rest and invest 🙂

    I owe my parents a lot!


    • That’s awfully nice of you, Sam. And I completely agree on the 3 bathrooms. Most houses just don’t have enough bathrooms to ever have anyone over! And since you’ll be visiting them a LOT in Hawaii, you’ll need to get them a space to accomodate you 😉 . Would you do laddered CD’s with the rest?


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