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90 Million: what would you do? - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
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?
23 have fought ~ fight the power!
From: dawnstar_au Date: June 30th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Honestly? Buy up all the properties around ours in Vic that surround the national park and effectively extend the park. Proper dog fences, pest species eradication programs and generally give back to my parents.

Anything left over I'd just travel always to return home
tania From: tania Date: June 30th, 2009 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
That's brilliant. I'd like to do the same sort of thing in Tas around the national parks down there - buy up swathes of land under threat from logging and habitation, then donate that land to the government under the EXPRESS terms that it must be made into a permenant national park. And if I felt there was any chance they'd reneg on that, I'd just hang onto the land, and ensure that in my wills, any inheritor was required to keep that land protected, owned by my family, and development-free or else they'd lose their rights to any inheritance.

I can see how a lawyer would come in handy.
radam From: radam Date: June 30th, 2009 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I often think about this... I don't think I would tell anyone... Except for Hammond (who gets 39.68% of my winnings) and my dad (who would be my accountant, and get me a lawyer.) My second call would be to Woolworths to tell them where they can shove their job.

Why a lawyer? So nobody finds out who I am that won $90M. All my business dealings would go through said lawyer. I think that if people found out, all the "friends" you'd ever known would come out of the woodwork and be asking for some cash money. Get fucked, cunts.

Other than that, I think I would make my parents debt-free (and then some), and then some strategic investments would make me set for life. I don't think I'd really change the way I live... I'd still got to uni, work as a paramedic... It would just be a better class of mediocrity. And, if I get bored I can stop for however long I want, then come back.

Hmm. It would be a good life.
tania From: tania Date: June 30th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd let it be known... I'm giving moneys to my friends anyway, and anyone who comes for a handout will be instantly showing themselves to be the sort of friend I don't really want. I guess if I do have any friends like that, I'd rather know and get them out of my life early on.

That said, I'd probably also move away, and when I moved to the new place I wouldn't make it known that I had so much stashed away - I guess that kind of gets around the problem twofold, don't it?
tania From: tania Date: June 30th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, wanted to add - I'm the same as you re: work, I can think of nothing more boring than not having some sort of professional pursuit. I'd probably change mine to slightly more impractical things though. For instance, rather than painting for poker machines all day, I'd paint for picture books, and do some writing... the sort of thing you can't usually make a real living from.

Oh my god it would be heaven. :)
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: June 30th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
The way you've described the charity donation set up is pure genius. I had never considered that, but if I ever become a bazillionaire, I certainly would do it that way now.

As for me, the FIRST thing I would do...is pay taxes. ;p I don't know how it works over there, but over here, Uncle Sam would take over half of those winnings. I'll estimate that I have $40 million left afterwards (I don't know if this is OVERestimating or UNDERestimating, but it's an easy figure to work with).

Most of my list would be similar to yours--helping out friends, paying off debts, building a few houses, investing in charitable stuff--but I would also leap into some independent film projects I've been dying to do. There are a ton of ideas I'd like to see realized, and ideas of friends I'd like to help along, and I'd love nothing better than to have a whole bunch of money and dive right into it.
tania From: tania Date: June 30th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Hahaha, such an appropriate icon! :D

Believe it or not, there's no tax on lottery winnings in Australia. None at all. I LOVE this country. ;) Of course the instant you start receiving interest income, there's tax on THAT, so that's something for me to keep in mind - so for example, with my $7 mill per year on charities, the tax would probably cut a good 30% of that amount. :P I consider myself reasonably good at logically planning my finances, but when it comes to tax, that's where I'd be wanting a financial advisor.

I'd also considered the independent film thing, I think for me that amount would come out of my donations to the arts. I'd love to give the Australian film industry a helping hand.
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: June 30th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
See, that makes perfect sense to me. I never saw why someone should pay taxes on prize winnings. This even extends to non-cash prizes like cars and houses. We actually had a situation here with a charity raffle where someone won a $1 million house and wound up in dire financial straits because they needed to come up with the money to pay the taxes and couldn't find anyone to buy the house off them. It's so stupid!

And I always try to have context-appropriate icons. XD I think it's my goal to cover every conceivable situation.
tania From: tania Date: June 30th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I heard about something similar happening when Oprah gave a car to every person in her audience - it sent half those people bankrupt. Yeesh!
sigmoidal_suseq From: sigmoidal_suseq Date: June 30th, 2009 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Free all the puppies in the world? Or create some kind of magical cute island.
boatswain From: boatswain Date: June 30th, 2009 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I would buy everyone who's reading this an education. Man, 90 mil is a ton of money. I'd put enough to live by away and start funding some astronomy research. :)
fragile_alchemy From: fragile_alchemy Date: June 30th, 2009 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah I also bought at ticket for the 90 million lotto draw and have been daydreaming ever since.
I think I'll clear all of my friends' HECS debt as it kinda just sits there gaining interest and only gets cleared after heaps of work/time.
As others have said, your plan for donating to charities is excellent. Such a great way to help out!:)
c_eagle From: c_eagle Date: June 30th, 2009 08:27 am (UTC) (Link)

those are wonderful plans!

wow... your dad is really in deep... Very generous outlay and list...and sweet of yoo!!
hammond From: hammond Date: June 30th, 2009 09:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think I would tell many people. Not LJ for sure and only the closest of my close friends. Those friends I'd like to set up nice little funds for to earn interest from but probably not enough to live of, just enough to make them comfortable and not have to worry about money.. sort of like pocket money on top of their wage. I'd also be tempted to arrange for life and health insurance for them as well.

I would try not to change how I live, just have it there to help me to buy things. I'd probably set myself up with a nice little modern townhouse somewhere with a decent, but not extravagant car. I'd also get onto some kind of financial advisor to see about investments and hedge funds and all of that. I'd rather a professional look after my money.

I would like to do random nice things for people. Say, for example (which I just thought of reading a friend's journal) my friends wants to buy a new graphics tablet for her daughter who is a budding and talented artist; I'd fund that for them. Or like maybe use it to help people at work that can't afford to have cancer treatment.
tania From: tania Date: June 30th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah I'd be doing little things like that too. Also for strangers, and anonymously... I think it'd be just awesome to be able to touch people's lives like that. (It'd keep life interesting too, as you yourself would never want for anything again!)

Joe and I talked about this last night and we both agreed that we wouldn't keep it a secret. Perhaps that's naive, but we both feel that most of our very close friends are the sort who wouldn't let it change anything. It is certainly something to consider though; I have heard of people winning lotto and winding up more miserable with the money than without. Personally I'm of the opinion that if you were unhappy before the win, you'll still be unhappy after... but if you were happy before the win, you'll be happy after it too. Beyond a certain point (the ability to feed, clothe and shelter yourself) I don't think money has much impact on happiness.
jesskat From: jesskat Date: June 30th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always said that if I won the lottery, I would try to keep it hush-hush. Maybe do "small" things here and there like buy a new house or travel a bit, but nothing that screams out to the world "look at me! I'm Scrooge McDuck!". However, in such a case we're talking something like $4 - 10 million. $90 million would be a little difficult to keep a secret.

As long as we're talking about unrealistic and unattainable dreams....I'd hire a bunch of top-notch traditional animators (we're talking Disney or Dreamworks veterans) and make a movie based on my Assassins.:D Or just start up an animation studio in general. Why not?

I'd buy a bigger house in a nice, green area in Holland and a second home in Finland. I'd pay off my Mum's mortgage and if she wanted, a new house, plus an allotment garden. She's always dreamed of one, but can't afford it. As for my dad, I'd probably make sure somehow that he could manage for the rest of his life without actually getting his hands on the funds himself. If he did, he'd likely spend it all on booze.:/

I'd donate some money to my friends around the world to come visit me, and visit them in return.

As much as $90 million seems, I'd definitely invest a portion of it. On what, I'm not sure. If for nothing else, it would be to ensure I wouldn't blow it all on anything stupid and be left penniless for the rest of my life. I know people who've spent their entire lottery winnings on something like a fantastically expensive collection of old cars. It's easy to go overboard when you've got so much money it loses its meaning.

I'd also donate to charities, maybe set up one or two of my own. I'd like to see a lot more money spent on preserving endangered animal species and nature and on "green" research - developing non-polluting cars and houses.

Alternatively, I could spend it all on development and research for a space elevator.
alby_lion From: alby_lion Date: June 30th, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I'd hire a bunch of top-notch traditional animators (we're talking Disney or Dreamworks veterans) and make a movie based on my Assassins." I'd do that too, if you'd let me. :)
earthminor From: earthminor Date: June 30th, 2009 10:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alright, a Queenslander won $53 million... was it you? I reckon you will still get a lot done with $53 million! ;D
tania From: tania Date: June 30th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was not, but it should have been! Whoever won can't have possibly had such a well-thought-out plan on how to spend it. ;) I shall have to save my plan and mofify it for next time there's an epic lotto draw to enter. :D
alby_lion From: alby_lion Date: June 30th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
1. I'd buy you and Joe an RV if you didn't have one, as well as some moneys for traveling.
2. I'd try to create my own animation studio and revive 2D musicals with characters and stories you actually care about.

You know, over here taxes on that are about 45% though, closer to 33% if you go for annuity and only get so much each year. Interestingly enough, sticking $90M in a standard savings account would yield approximately $800,000 a year in interest. Not too shabby.
tengukun From: tengukun Date: July 1st, 2009 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)
After that kid in Winner won the $200mil on a $5 quickpick in a town so small it only has two lotto sellers.... I figure anyone has a sporting chance. :)
tania From: tania Date: July 1st, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Can't wait for your email, lovely girl - I miss you! And want to know how the handsome lad is. :)
leggz From: leggz Date: July 1st, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just wanted to say, I loved reading this. Maybe I'll write up a similar entry at some point, although I never ever enter the lotto. I can't help but see it as feeding the greedy corporations even more for 'allowing' us to dream big for a day - or some people once per week.

That said, it would be amazing to win a huge amount of money and I would have a fantastic time dividing it up.
23 have fought ~ fight the power!