*sigh* No, I didn’t win.
As I write this (late morning, Thursday, Jan 14) three winning tickets have been identified for yesterday’s obscenely large Powerball grand prize of $1.5 billion. Had any of my picks been a winner, it would have been (at least) the fourth. A quarter of that much money is $375 million. Since I would have taken my share in cash (as opposed to the 30-year annuity), they would have given me about $233 million, of which about 40 – 45% would go to Uncle Sam and Uncle Doug (Ducey). That would leave me with a measly $127 million or so, on which I would have to survive for the rest of my life.
I have actually given some serious – okay, maybe not all that serious – thought to what I’d do if I ever won that much money. Without going into specifics, because everything would depend on exactly how much I won, here’s some of what I’d do:
After conferring with a select group of advisers (lawyer, accountant, etc.) I’d give enough money to my relatives to seriously disrupt their lives, too. Misery loves company, right? I also have a select group of long-time (and long-suffering) friends whom I’d like to buy off – I mean, reward.
I would obviously set aside enough to take care of my personal wants, like a serious chunk of land somewhere (so I wouldn’t have to live in a subdivision any more). I also have a list of toys I’d like to have, like an Icon and a P-51. And I’d build (or, more likely, have someone build) a custom 1927-ish Dodge (or Graham) Brothers stake-bed truck with modern running gear and seating for four.
There are some experiences I’d like to accumulate, too, like cruising in my own yacht from New Orleans up the Mississippi and other rivers and canals to the Great Lakes, out through the Saint Lawrence Seaway, down the Atlantic coast to Key West, around the Gulf of Mexico to the Panama Canal, and then up the Pacific Coast to Seattle or Vancouver.
I would make substantial gifts to Penn State and the University of Arizona. I received my BS from Penn State and my MS from the UA, and while I give to them every month, I’d like to do more. (The thought of getting my name on a building or something has no bearing on this. 😉 ) In other areas of education, I’d like to sponsor a school’s worth of sixth-graders from disadvantaged backgrounds, guaranteeing them a four-year degree in whatever they want to study, wherever they want to study it.
There are some national organizations, like the JDRF, to which I’d give money. One of my daughters is a Type 1 diabetic and I would like to substantially help the JDRF’s research efforts to find a cure (and a way to prevent it in the first place!).
There are also some local groups that I’d like to support. One of them is a no-kill cat shelter that’s in the middle of a fundraising campaign to raise money to rebuild their home. I’d like to step in and say, “Here. All done. Go build it.”
There are some infrastructure projects in Tucson, too, that I’d like to fund. One of them involves the roads near my home. Before the Great Recession, both of them were supposed to be rebuilt, with medians, bike lanes, sidewalks, and so on. That was cancelled, and I’d like to get it put back on the schedule because the roads *need* to be rebuilt. The other involves an early bike path in the city that desperately needs resurfacing. I’m a recreational bicyclist and use this path on many of my rides. It would be *much* nicer to ride on new pavement than on the 30-year-old worn-out path that’s there now.
The biggest chunk of my winnings, though, would go toward establishing a “flight experience” museum at one of the local airports. Tucson boasts the Pima Air and Space Museum and the Titan Missile Museum, both of which are excellent facilities. If I remember correctly, Pima Air and Space was in the running for one of the Space Shuttles. It also hosts an SR-71 and a B-36, among a *lot* of other planes. And, of course, the Titan Missile Museum is a one-of-a-kind facility where you can go see how the US protected itself during the Cold War. I think a flight-experience museum, where you could actually *fly* in historic aircraft, would be a good fit.
Had I been the sole winner, or even one of only two, there are, of course, other things I could do: Buy a flight to the International Space Station; give money to more organizations; ruin more people’s lives with cash gifts; and set up some kind of enduring legacy through a trust or foundation.
What would you do?