1. I never entered a lottery so I haven’t won either but I did inherit an amount that was sufficient to early retire with all by itself. But the thing was I already had several times that amount saved and invested and a paid for house and no debt. So I spent a few percent to upgrade a couple of toys and added the rest to my portfolio. I didn’t even quit my 9 to 5 because it was still fun at that point. It really had no impact on my life. Now maybe 100’s of millions would be different, but I think once you are financially independent more money means very little. We were already spending every dollar we wanted to spend so adding a big chunk of additional money had no effect on our lifestyle.

  2. Raina

    This is awesome. When you’ve built a life that you don’t need to win the lottery to escape from or radically alter, that is success. 🙂

    I agree with you on giving to literacy causes. If I won the lottery I’d be like
    “And YOU get a library! And YOU get a library! And YOU get a library!” ?

  3. Fire in the hole

    I would start a foundation to give to causes I care about, and would also anonymously help out family and friends who could use some $$.

    The weird thing I would do is to NOT tell a single soul other than my spouse. Meaning, no one, not even family, would know I won. Even in states where you cannot remain anonymous, there are ways to accomplish this – you can set up an LLC or a trust to claim the prize. (Just do not sign the back of the ticket if you want to remain anonymous – there’s a recent court case on this.) Every story about someone’s life being ruined after winning the lottery involves what other people did to the winner. But if no one knows you won, problem solved! No one asking for handouts, no heirs trying to kill you to collect your winnings.

  4. We’re talking MEGABIG windfall, like millions/billions? Pay off our current house house, turn it into a rental, then find and move to our dream farm. Say, 80 acres, with mountains, streams, a lake that’s at least 3 acres so you can boat and jet ski on it, pick up a small herd of horses and a cow or two, plus a flock of chickens, ducks, a pair of turkeys and some quail. And a few pigs for fun. Plant a massive garden, a vineyard, and several orchards. Buy a tractor or two, a pickup truck (because loads of manure and whatnot), a cattle transporter, and build a dream farmhouse with walk in pantry and root cellar / slash most high-tech smart home mansion you ever saw. With indoor/outdoor swimming pool, high speed fiber internet, voice activated lights, indoor theater, huge Virtual Reality space, and all the other required doo dads to tickle the boy’s fancy forever. Build an insulated sound proof recording studio, and a woodworking workshop. Oh and the world’s hugest most drool-worthy kitchen with 2 freezers, 2 dishwashers, 2 ovens, an island with built in touch activated sink, miles of counter space, and a brick pizza oven. And then never leave it. Except maybe once a year for like 2-3 months when we rent it out and travel. How’s that for a big audacious dream? 😀

  5. Shoes are a great way to spend lotto money. 😉

    I think about this from time to time as the lottery gets into the crazy-high amounts. It’s so crazy how people will build it up into this fever pitch over money.

    As for me, I’m right there with ya. I’d pay off the house first thing. Then regularly max out retirement contributions, work only when I felt like it, and prioritize travel. I’d like to be able to help out my family more, too.

    But since there’s a greater chance of getting struck by lightning, instead of playing the lottery I’ll just put my funds towards debts and investments. 😉 At least that’s more of a sure thing!

  6. I always wonder about this when I read about how the lottery is reaching record numbers like recently with Mega Millions and Powerball. I think I would buy a home in full and invest the rest including our son’s 529. Nothing really fancy, just want to accomplish our money goals.

  7. I’m right there with you when it comes to beefing up my giving category. I remember talking with my wife about this at the beginning of the year, and low and behold, it’s nearly the end of October and I’ve done little to nothing about it. So sometime in the next week, my wife and I are going to sit down and figure out where and how much our improved giving is going to go.

    By the way, I’m with you on the mortgage payoff as well. That mortgage is my last debt and I’d love to see it gone.

  8. I came into some money recently (a lot less than the lotto) and a friend asked me what I was going to do with my newfound (relative) wealth. I was like, duh, I’m going to put it in an ETF that tracts the S&P 500, its gonna be lit! Apparently this was not the kind of thing my friend had in mind. It did get me thinking of how I would “spoil myself” if I was determined to. I settled on using the money to improve myself instead of my possessions. Do a homestay in Mexico to improve my Spanish, go on a meditation retreat, work with a personal trainer for a while. Or buy Mr. T style chains.

  9. veronica

    If I won a significant windfall, I would:
    1. buy a golden visa for Europe and move to the south of France;
    2. set up a portfolio that gives me a ‘guaranteed basic income’; and
    3. with whatever is left, I would use it to provide seed money to others trying to make their company/artistic endeavor/organization/dream come true. It’s not quite charitable giving – more like giving entrepreneurial people a chance to reach their potential.

    Sadly I’ve not realized a large lottery win (yet. I do, occasionally buy a ticket). But I am trying to realize my ambitions/goals/dreams none the less. I’m currently living (on a short term visa) in central Spain. Close, but not exactly where I want to be. And I’ve cashed in my real estate assets and invested them in the stock market to try and create a ‘guaranteed basic income’, although the market seems to be hell bent on vexing me on this part of the plan.

    As for No. 3, all I can offer at the moment is a pittance. Like buying a copy of someone’s first, self-published novel to help them off-set their publishing costs. And to (hopefully) inspire them to keep going.

    Ah well. At least I’m trying.

    • That is actually huge, Veronica. I am making it a point to do more to support the creatives in my life. I used to just read financial books from the library, but I figure I can buy a copy to support a blogger buddy and then gift it to someone who needs it/wants it.

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