Have you bought your lottery ticket yet? Today's the day, here in the U.S., for the $1.6B MegaMillions winner to be revealed. Yes, that's a B for billion.
So let's pretend you win. You are statistically 400x more likely to be struck by lightning, but let's pretend anyway.
First, you'd decide to take the lump sum payout, which would probably be about $1B. Then, you'd probably pay close to half that in taxes, ending up with $550,000,000 or so. Smiling yet?
Now what? Well, you'd better hire a tax attorney and a big-time wealth management firm, not to mention a public relations company. You'd also better change your cell numbers and email addresses, and delete your social media accounts ('cos your phone "blowing up" may sound cool, but 10,000 requests for reply in a week would not necessarily be fun).
Now the fun part: What do you spend your money on first (after all the lawyers and accountants)? Take 10 seconds to really consider it...
Do you payoff credit card debt? A student loan? Do you buy a new car? A new house? A trip around the world? Do you consider giving a large gift to your favorite non-profit? Family members? If so, which ones and how much?
If you could suddenly afford anything, what would you buy? And what does that say about your deepest desires, or most vexing problems?
Whatever it may be, know this:
We don't want the money; we want the feelings of personal power and autonomy we think we'll have when we get the money.
We don't want to be rid of debt; we want to get rid of the guilt of our past choices, and the anxiety that comes with knowing we've already spent whatever we may earn in the future.
We don't want the fancy car; we want the feeling of social validation (and mechanical power) we'll feel in the leather seats.
We don't want to give gifts to family; we want the relational power, or healing, or acceptance we think would come with it.
What feeling would you chase after with your lottery winnings? Validation? Autonomy? Freedom? Absolution for past sins? Healing in your family relationships? Optimism about the future?
Is there any way you could pursue those feelings today, without having to win the lottery?