June 30th, 2009

Tania pratfall

Silence in the Library

I've been a bit quiet lately guys, sorry about that. I'm not down or anything, just cruising. And plotting, and planning, and all the usual. Also amassing computer gear, apparently.

I'm thinking of doing a correspondance course, just to push my creativity a bit. I've tracked down a couple of online courses on writing and illustrating childrens books, and I'm sorely tempted by those. I want to explore a more illustrative style now that I can paint digitally - my entire portfolio at the moment is really just coloured cartooning, and I'd like to see that change.

Seeing the family last weekend was great, despite the usual transportation woes. They're all doing well. My little nephew Kyson is bigger now, and becoming rather more interesting, having started talking and crawling and generally being more aware of his surroundings. I forgot how much fun it is to make a baby smile and laugh. Endless entertainment! I changed his diaper once (fair's fair) but only when it was wet. I ain't doing the other until it's MY kid producing the poop.

Oh yeah, a sushi joint opened up over the road from work. It's pretty much the most exciting thing that's happened in Taringa since I started working here. I've had sushi every day since. :D
Tania pratfall

90 Million: what would you do?

So tonight, like all the other schmoes out here in Australia, I'll be entering the lotto. I know the stats on winning: I'm more likely to drop dead, be stung by killer bees, get struck by lightning or perish in flame when the earth is squished by a giant meteor. This is why I only enter lotto about once a year, and when I do, I consider it money well spent. I'm not paying to win, I'm paying to legitimately daydream about what I would do with the winnings. A few dollars for a day or two of blissful fantasy? Totally worth it!

I'm told the reason everyone else is entering this week is because the jackpot is $90 million, which is the largest in Australian history. I'm aware you guys in the US routinely see bigger jackpots, but with our smaller population, this figure is pretty exciting. :) I find it interesting that so many other people who don't normally buy tickets are doing so. Is the usual ten- or twenty-million jackpot not a sufficient drawcard? Honestly, I don't think I could figure out how to spend an entire $90 million on myself, which is where charity comes in... but more on that in a second.

Tonight Joe and I are seeing Transformers and then doing one of our epic walks home, and tonight's topic of conversation, we've decided, shall be "What Would You Do With $90 Million?"

This is what I would do:

First, I would buy myself two nice homes: one up on the Coast so I could be close to my family, and one in Tasmania so I could be close to nature. Neither home would be extravagant; I can't imagine Joe and I ever needing more than 4 bedrooms maximum. And I don't like luxury for luxury's sake. I like old things, things with personality and history. So neither home would cost more than 500k max. That's 1 million so far... 89 to go. :D

I would pay off my debts. These are negligible: around $50k on my block of land, and $2k for my new computer. I would also pay off Joe's debt: $1.5k on his laptop. I'll pay off our university HECS debts, about $5k each. Then I'll buy us a nice car each, nothing ridiculous, just two good cars. Probably something retardedly tiny and cute for me like one of those little eco-cars you see in Europe. For Joe, probably something fast that he could take to racetracks. I would also buy us an RV. So round that up to another million. 88 to go.

I would pay off my mother and my father's mortgages. That's $1 million for dad, $200,000 for mum. I'd buy them both RVs so they could travel, and give them enough money so that they could both retire, do up their gardens, and not have to worry about working again. I would buy my mother's partner Geoff a fishing boat and my dad's partner Jeanne a new car. So all in all, my parents and their partners are taken care of for approximately $3 million. 85 to go.

I would pay off Joe's mum and dad's mortgages and do all the same things for them I did for my parents. Knock another $2 million off there. 83 to go.

I would pay each of my art department coworkers $500,000 on the condition that they all quit with me on the same day (We feel a wee bit unappreciated at times) and spend the next couple of years chasing their creative pursuits. That's another 5 million gone. 78 to go.

I would take Joe and I on the most kickass world trip you can imagine. We'd be gone for at least a couple of years, after which I'd want to settle down a bit. Say $4 million for that (though I can't imagine being able to spend $2 mill per year while travelling, not the way I like to travel!) That leaves $74 mill.

For my brother Chris and his partner Jess, I'd buy a house to the value of a million, and give them another million in a locked fund of some sort so that they'd always have a steady income of approx $50 grand per year from the interest. For my nephew Kyson (and for any further neices and nephews) I would create a college fund so the kid wouldn't be saddled with a big HECS debt. But I would not automatically leave him money... I definitely want the kid to go to college... there's nothing worse than slack rich kids with entitlement complexes. Actually I can see this attitude creating friction between me and Jesstopher, who would demand it all outright, but if they don't like what I'm offering they don't have to take it. I am less subsceptible to emotional manipulation these days. This leaves, say, $70 mill (because Jess is likely to continue producing nephews and nieces for me).

For my oldest and dearest friends - Hammond, Rachel, etc - I would do one of three things: if they had a mortgage I would pay it off and give them whatever was left over out of a million. If they didn't have a house, I would buy them one up to a million in value. And if they were not yet ready to settle down, as I suspect Hammond is not, I'd put a million dollars into a term deposit for him so he could live a nice lifestyle off the interest for five years or so, then buy a house when he was good and ready. I haven't really calculated how many people I'm that close to, but let's allow for five. That leaves $65 million.

I'm not really allowing for extended family. I barely know them and we're not involved in each other's lives at all. If they rocked up after I had a big lotto win I'd be even less inclined to send 'em anything, because that would be awfully telling. Frankly, I'm much closer to my workmates. I say this without a trace of bitterness, I just don't care; these relatives are non-entities in my world.

Having now done everything I want to do with the present, here is where I start planning for the future:

I'd pop about $20 million in the bank for myself. This would give me an interest income (I think, because I'm shit at such calculations) of about $1 million per year. I don't want to become the sort of person who ever spends more than that amount each year.

This leaves $45 million, and this is where I run out of things to do with the money. So that's neat, it looks like I set up myself and pretty much everyone I know with half the total amount. Nice!

With the other $45 million, I wouldn't donate directly to charities per se... I think a lot of them are badly set up and the money would be used inefficiently. I would put that $45 million into a seperate bank account to my own money. The interest on it would be something like $7 million per year. Rather than blow the $45 million in a single year, I feel it'd be more logical to donate that yearly interest once annually over the course of my lifetime (with the principal to be donated to my chosen charities upon my death, or alternately, set up as a trust to do the yearly-donation thing ongoing after my death). This way, if I live to be 80, I would wind up donating $280 million to charities rather than just $45. And when I die, they'll get the $45 million too, or continue receiving the original amounts. Either way it's much more awesome than a one-shot donation of $45 million.

For the yearly interest donations, I would choose 7 causes that I'm passionate about and ensure each receives $1 million per year. Off the top of my head, these could be:

- Conservation (particularly Tasmania's ancient rainforests, parts of which are under threat).

- Wildlife conservation (seperate to above; funding a conservation park for rehabilitating wildlife).

- Research into renewable energy sources. I would research what's being developed each year, and personally donate to the researchers I felt had the best chance of creating something practical.

- Arts industry in Australia - I would create various grants for emerging artists.

- Museum - I would build and continue to fund some sort of gallery or museum. Haven't thought this one through but it's something I'd really like to do.

- Aid to a third-world country. I would like this to go to a group making a marked difference in communities over there - digging wells, building schools, developing GM crops able to survive harsh environments. This counts as my sixth AND seventh choice, as it is a larger problem than all of the above (except renewable energy) and requires more funding.

Theoretically I could create a larger donatable income if I invested that $45 million, but I've never felt comfortable with the stock market - I may wind up with less income through interest alone, but at least it's a guaranteed income.

Oh yeah, and I'd make some bank manager personally apologise to me for all the times the bastards overdrafted me. ;D And I would NOT be putting any of these funds in the Commonwealth Bank. Muahahaa.

There ya go, for a QuickPick that's going to set me back just a few dollars, I've already gotten at least a couple hours entertainment out of this, and will get still more when discussing it with Joe tonight. Which we will be doing after seeing Transformers, which is going to cost us about four times as much as the QuickPick and probably be four times LESS entertaining.

As for what I'd do with the rest of my life? Write. Draw. Explore the world. Go on ridiculous long expeditions into the wilderness searching for Thylacines and such. Jump out of planes, visit remote places, take zillions of photographs. Get involved in the arts and museum scenes. Get involved on a personal level in the charities and causes mentioned above. Do some good with my moneys. Make anonymous cash gifts to the people who were kind to me along the way, specifically those who were unaware of my financial status. I'm talking helpful bus drivers, shop assistants, etc.

So... what would YOU do with $90 mill?