The Gray Line Tour
By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / August 3, 1998
Powerball problems and how to spend it
I had a sure thing with the Powerball drawing last week – I wasn’t going to win. Oh, I tossed around the notion of dashing to the nearestconvenience store and dropping whatever the price is for one ticket. Mighthave made an interesting souvenir to have a losing ticket for the largest Powerball drawing in history. But then good sense prevailed, as it usuallydoes. I work too hard for my money, so why toss it away on an extremelylong shot? As many people did this week, I also tossed around the notion of what I would do, suddenly getting a windfall of that proportion. In short, howwould I deal with a quarter of a billon dollars landing in my lap? Bill Gates seems to have little problem dealing with his riches. Samething with Paul McCartney or Ted Turner. They all have more money thanthey or their children will ever spend in three lifetimes. So what wouldyou do? The immediate responses when people are quizzed about this are the usual – pay off all the bills, buy a new house, buy a new car, set up funds for the children and for retirement and for burial insurance.
Then what? Travel is always a popular idea with such winners. Taking the Concorde tobreakfast in London, lunch in Paris and dinner in Rome sounds like fun, just to know you could. But what about the next day and the next and thenext? After you buy all the “toys,” there’s still millions in the bank.
Charities often will come in at that point and there’s advantages to selecting worthy recipients. Perhaps there was a school or universitywhich helped you on your way. Perhaps some medical researchorganization could use a few million dollars. Polio was whipped in thisway and there’s been some terrific advances in cancer research, thanks to continued funding of research.
Then what? There are always the dangers involved in the sudden acquisition of wealth.
Just try giving a bouquet of flowers for a birthday present when the recipient knows you’re sitting on millions of dollars. See the response youget.
And what of your family? Think of the dangers to them. What if somenutcase decides to see how much you value Grandma by kidnapping her and sending you a ransom note, wanting half of those millions? You, personally, also come under such danger. Some nut may think you’rewalking around with gold in your pockets and try to mug or kidnap you. So,you end up spending loads of money protecting yourself and your loved ones. This, of course, cuts down on your enjoyment of this sudden wealth.All in all, I think it’s easier to just not buy in. It’s easy to say you’d liketo try unlimited wealth but it’s not worth it.
I’ll likely end up poor but happy.
Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur.
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