It might have been you. A single winning lottery ticket was drawn in last night’s Mega Millions lottery and now someone is wealthy beyond even their wildest fantasy. The C-store that sold the ticket stands to receive a healthy half million dollars, a tidy sum for an average of 35 seconds of work (per lottery transaction). Unless already fabulously wealthy, life is going to change for this person……..a lot. The odds (some 300 million to 1) are such that winning exceeds fantasy level thinking, so exercises in the distribution of such suddenly acquired wealth are without merit. So what, we are happily retired and travel a-lot, so we enjoyed a spirited conversation about our reaction to such an event during a recent road trip. This is our take on the distribution of our winnings that we, most likely, will never see. Secure in the knowledge that many previous lottery winners have died poor, in legal trouble and unhappy, we dove in.
Sharon and I first agreed this kind of money needs to be put to work. We both would enjoy seeing the impact of sudden wealth on our family members and would convene a meeting to distribute a hefty share to them, with an emphasis on those that have remained loyal over the years. The little guys would be the owner of tightly managed trust funds guaranteeing a top tier education or vocational training at the finest schools. Next we would develop a list of 20 or so friends that we know would answer the call if we needed a helping hand. We would convene another meeting and make them winners, so to speak, of a lottery!
Next up is the care of dogs. We would endow the damndest clinic for the care and research of dogs that exists today outside of a veterinary college someplace. A place that would become the Cleveland Clinic of the dog world with an emphasis on nutrition and cutting edge clinical care. We would then make a substantial donation to the afore mentioned Cleveland Clinic for use in their world famous heart program. We agree that I would not be here writing this if it were not for their exemplary cardiac expertise. On the charity circuit, first up would be the Salvation Army. Despite what you read, they are committed to the idea of helping folks who need help the most. We have a number of non-profits that we support and the change would be in our ability to offer greater financial aid. The various veteran organizations would also benefit greatly from our goodwill.
You’ll notice that Christianity has not been mentioned to this point. We are deeply concerned with the decline in traditional Christian values, values this country was founded upon. We likely would assemble a forum of true, conservative Christian leaders and discuss the avenues that would best preserve our way of thinking. This discussion was lengthy and vexing as we see the current decline gaining strength in our narcissistic culture. Money alone, even a lot of it, is useless in the face of changing moral values. This is a problem that has us stymied.
We would have to move. Folks with this kind of money need security and a middle class neighborhood does not provide it. Suffice to say, Missouri is where our hearts are and our permanent home will always be here. Materially, I’ll still drive Cirrus the Ram, keep the little BMW and Sharon will continue to get around in SUV’s. Health permitting, I would acquire a LSA airplane, likely a Colt, manufactured in Hondo, Texas by veterans. We can’t think of a thing we want that we cannot currently afford and I would still wear Hoka shoes every day whether in a coat and tie or jeans.
As we continue to age, we would give much of the fortune away to folks we identify that need a hand. They would be conservative, law abiding and hard working. Seeing their gratitude would be our reward. We, in this case, would be happy to redistribute our wealth and would love to see our money put to good use. There would be many additional lottery “winners” benefitting from our good fortune. We would set aside a healthy “reserve” and place it in our existing trust.
The lottery is a tax on folks who should know better……but there is a person in Illinois who says otherwise. To him or her, the winning ticket was anything but a useless tax………..you can’t win if you don’t buy one!
Have a great week!