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What if you won the lottery?

Go ahead and dream a little. Would you still work? Would you budget? Thirty annual payments or one lump sum?

By MSN Money Partner Aug 23, 2011 10:55AM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets are Sexy.


It's hard not to get excited about today's topic of interest -- winning the lottery. Every single one of us has dreamed about it at some point, I'm sure.

So today's your chance to share your thoughts with the rest of us. And I give my girl over at Dinks Finance a shout-out for coming up with the questions today, as I'm stealing them straight out of her "The lottery changed my life" post. Thanks, Kristina!


OK, here we go with this week's questions: If you won the lottery:

  1. Would you still work?
  2. Would you care what people think?
  3. Would you share with your family?
  4. Would you still live on a budget?
  5. Would you splurge?
  6. *Bonus* Would you take it over time, or in one lump sum? Let's say either $200 million over 30 years, or $100 million (taxes out and everything) all at once in one lump sum.

I go first:

  1. Yup! I'd still work, but then again my version of "work" is blogging and building things -- the exact stuff I do now and enjoy. I'd do a lot less of the stuff that comes with it that I don't like that much (like marketing, advertising, accounting, and all that other boring business stuff), but no way I could sit still and not use my brain. We A.D.D. kids are always on the go!
  2. Nope. At least I hope I wouldn't care what people think. But really, who knows until the day actually presents itself to us. And believe me, it WILL come! Do you know how often I play every week? Seriously, though, money does some crazy things to your brain, so who knows what I'd be up to if someone handed me $100 million.
  3. Of course! Who wouldn't share it with your family? That would be pretty messed up. Even if I didn't trust them with the money, or what they would do with it (I do trust them, but just saying), you could at least buy them stuff they need like a car or a house, or pay off all their loans/debts/etc. It would depend on how much you win from the lottery, but we'd definitely hook up our direct family. And Mrs. BudgetsAreSexy comes from a large one, so we'd be popular.
  4. Uh-oh … the trick question! Would I, J. Money -- King Lover of All Things Budgets -- continue using one? I sure would. But the numbers would look a bit different, I'm sure. Not that I'd be increasing my lifestyle by a crazy amount or anything -- we'd invest a huge chunk, and then donate a lot from the start -- but we'd definitely be taking a nice break from being all hardcore-like up in here. And I'd hire an adviser ASAP too. No way I'm going to venture off into this one without a little guidance.
  5. You know I would! I’d buy that c300 I've been slobbering all over for the past two years, and then a ton of new clothes and shoes I've been too frugal to buy too. But really, other than that, and maybe an upgrade in our housing situation, there wouldn't be much more on that list. I'm pretty satisfied with the actual "stuff" I have, and the idea of having a ton saved up/invested/given to the less fortunate would be much more satisfying to me than just blowing it for the sake of blowing it. Oh! And I'd extend my traveling addiction too.
  6. *Bonus* I'm leaning toward one lump sum just because you never know what can happen down the line with the rules, etc., but then again it would be a fat salary. Yeah, I'd probably take the lump sum though. Better to manage it all from the beginning than over time as it comes in, I think.

OK, your turn! What are you going to do with the $100 million or $200 million you're about to win?


More on Budgets are Sexy and MSN Money:

Aug 23, 2011 4:09PM
Excellent questions!  I'll take a stab at them.

6. (Bonus question first!): Lump sum with all taxes, etc. already withheld.  If I'm still alive in 30 years, I'll probably be too decrepit to enjoy much of anything, and I have no heirs.

1. No and yes.  I would probably resign from my current high-stress difficult-schedule job, but then I would have time to do lots of volunteer work for causes I believe in but just can't make time for due to my current job.

2. No way, no how, no further discussion.  Anyone who knows me well already knows that. Smile

3. Yes, but.  In order to protect myself against a couple of family members with known spending problems, I would send everyone checks for $1 million, with a notarized contract enclosed stating that if they deposit or cash the check, they forever forfeit their right to ask me for any more money.  (I'd include all the nieces and nephews, too - no more college tuition worries!)

4. Yes.  The only difference might be an extra zero or two on the end of all the line items. Smile

5. Probably yes.  A nicer house with much tighter security would probably be in order
Jun 2, 2012 10:30AM
1. No,  I don;t work now.  Retired.
2  Doesn't matter what people think.
3. I would set up Trusts for my children and grandchildren but they would only get Interest until a certain     age.  I would have a trust also for my husband and I and only draw interest.  Give a large donation to the Humane Society, keep a little out to play on for a while.
4.  Maintain a budget also.
5.  The only splurge would be a new car.
6.  Take it in a lump sum, pay the necessary taxes up front.  Being retired, never know how long you will be on this earth.
Mar 30, 2012 12:12PM

I would pay off all my bills and house.

Set up college funds for my children.

I would set up a cd or something to earn interest on my money.

I would buy some stocks.

And give to Mark Miller for his search for missing children.

Jun 2, 2012 6:11AM

1. I would definitely work. I've had past medical issues where I was off several months, and it drove me nuts!! I would NOT be doing what I'm doing, but I would look for a business or businesses to invest in. Since I have several friends who are small business owners, I would probably look to partner with them to help them out and have something to do. More volunteer and ministry work would definitely be on the list of things to do.

2. I do care what people think. I want to be able to make a difference in the lives of people, so I would use the money to help with organizations that reach out to others such as Habitat for Humanity, Inner City Missions, things of that nature.

3. My wife and I both come from large families, so we would help them out by giving a certain amount for them to do with what they see fit for their situations.

4. I would live on a budget. I know $100 million is a lot, but I've seen too many stories of 'lottery losers' and celebs who have lost everything they had.

5. I would splurge some...who won't, right?? House, truck, car, a Harley trike, buy and restore a couple of old cars, that sort of thing.

6. I would take the lump sum so that I could help more out immediately and all my debts would be paid. My church would get a large sum to help with missionaries around the world and other charitable outreach ministries. The small college that I graduated from would receive money for scholarships and facilities improvements. People who have stood by me and helped me and been a blessing to me over the years would be blessed.


Jun 2, 2012 5:11AM

1) The work question? I will either purchase or start up 4 to 6 small business each of a completely different type. It's that not having all of my eggs in one basket thing...

As for the nursing thing, I will never again change a diaper for pay. Not saying that I will not ever change a diaper,  just not as a paying job.

I'd love to have the time to do work related to nursing and social services in the community, but not having to worry about being employed while doing it   

2) As for caring what others think, yeah I will keep it low profile. One of the advantages of owning 4 to 6 small businesses, is that people won't be wondering how we make our money. People will assume that we earn it from our business.

3) Hooking up the family? Yes. Some of our family are good with budgets. Others are not. That is what they make trust funds for..

I have a son-in-law working full time and going to college full time. My daughter and he are also raising thier four children. If he could afford to attend school without having to work at the same time it will be great! I will pay him to attend classes. As for close friends, yeah they will get some money also.  

4) Budget, YES! Only spend some of the earnings and never spend the principle. As for an advisor? Yes, but I will sign all of the checks.  

5) Splurge? I will keep my current home, however the ongoing remodeling job will finally be completed. We will update the 18 year-old furnace, add a swimming pool, hard-wood floors, and some other nice additions to the home.

I will purchase a 2013 Shelby GT 500. I will also purchase  a 2013 Camaro ZL1. Why?, just because...

I will still drive my 6 year old 4 door sedan back and forth to Walmart though.

I will also have my 33 year-old fishing boat professionally painted.

6) Lump Sum!!!  I will not live 30 more years, so my family might as well have the procedes.


That was fun!  Now back to real life... I think that there is a diaper down the hall that needs to be changed.

Jun 2, 2012 7:29AM

1) Would I still work? Probably, but not for money. With the unemployment rates being what they are, I could not take a salary away from someone who needs it.

2) Would I care what people think? Again, probably, but not enough to live my life according to someone else's rules/ideas. I would care, but still do what I want and let them deal with their disappointment.

3) Would you share with your family? Not much. I have no kids and a very small family. I would limit my sharing to absolutely necessary support like health care, and optional support like helping nieces/nephews and their kids with college. No trust fund babies, no professional students. I would much rather help my larger family, the community, the church, maybe set up a scholarship program for poor kids.

4) Would you still live on a budget? Of course. I don't need to die rich, but I don't want to die broke, either.

5) Would you splurge? Buying a luxury condo in a good downtown/uptown area. I love city life and love to walk around in cities. I would get myself subscriptions to all the operas/symphonies/concerts. I would travel. I don't need/want expensive jewelry, shoes, $1000 purses, etc. Maybe some artwork for my condo.

6) *Bonus* Lump sum. I may not live another 30 years. Hell, I may not live another 20.

Mar 29, 2012 9:32PM


Aug 23, 2011 5:06PM

1) probably.  Some days I like my job, and some days I think I'd be happier if I never had to leave the house again.


2) I don't care what people think now.  Why would that change.


3) coming from a large extended family I don't know how much I could dole out, but I'd at least make sure my Mom and grandparents were taken care of.


4) I'm of simple needs and wants so I'm not sure I'd have to.


5) Other than some dental work, home repairs, and improving the home theatre, not really.  My tastes are in books, movies, and video games, and it doesn't make sense to buy more than you can absorb.  A stack of unread books would keep me up nights.


6) Lump Sum.  a 100 million is 2 million per year until well past average life expectancy even stuffed into a matress.  I don't hink I could spend that much.

Jun 2, 2012 11:23AM
I would not work, I like to travel,  I don't care what people think, no matter what decision you make someone will not like it,  I would share with the immediate family members, I would help the church, and give some to the needy  and sick children in the hospitals, also the cancer society,  You should always live on a budget, I would hire a professional , to keep my spending down, and to see where everything is going. I would take some out to splurge, that would be fun to do just once. I'd like to see some of that money grow,  so I would hire someone to invest in something. I would take the lump sum,
Jun 2, 2012 10:14AM
#1 I'd  "retire" early but do  volunteer  work. # 2 I don't worry now but I would keep every thing very low key [ My ex would be camped on my doorstep].#3 My Mom would be taken care of for life, the rest would get x amount but not as much as they think. I would also set up an account with a CPA for all those "old" friends and relatives' that  will come out of the woodwork.# 4 Yes!! I'd buy a new house, car, truck for my Husband but even that would be within a price range, I just want a nice comfortable home where we don't trip over each over [ we have 4 kids, 2 grown and 2 school age]. #5 Yes!! I would take a few thousand to just blow and get it out of my system.Then start on # 3 and #4. #6 Lump sum so every thing will set urp in case some thing happens to myself and husband, after all there's no guarantee I'll wake up  tomorrow.
Mar 29, 2012 10:54PM

1 I would quit my job so that I could concentrate on finishing my degree in HR

2.  at this point I don't care what people would think of me

3. I would help my family.  I have a nephew who is in college and 2 nieces starting college in the fall so I would help pay their tution, along with other members of my family

4. Probably, I'm the one in the family that is more frugal. 

5. I would buy a better house, get my husband the car he wants and pay off all the bills.

6. I would take the lump sum.  Why wait.

I would get off my knees more often, though working the soil for producing food and beautiful flowers, this work needs to be done everyday , I try to make it at least twice a week.  I would have a gorgeuos bathroom, to relax, tend to "you've the hands opf a man" be a woman  who needs not to work so hard everyday.  I would comlpete Chelsea's Critter Camp& Bears Bed and Breakfast for all animals who need us.  I would help my brothers and sisters make their lives easier.  I would continuer to donate to my charities with more money and kindness.  I would buy a working car, that has breaks, new tires(donut) I would like a BuickI would write some letters to ask  those I admire , can I meet you ?  I would finally live in my own home with everybody and everything I mentioned above.  I could sit and rest and enjoy LIFE for as long as I can, imagine and create with my own creation . LOVE & HELP our world. 
Jun 2, 2012 10:12AM
Here are my answers...

  1. Would you still work? - Probably not in a regular 8 to 5 job, but there are some careers that I would not mind exploring.  Having the money would allow me to go after my "dream" job and not have to worry about if I make money or not.  Or I'd become a professional "student".  I love to learn.
  2. Would you care what people think? - More than likely not.  It's my life and I live it in the way that feels right to me.  What I would do with the money is my decision. 
  3. Would you share with your family? - Of course.  I would pay off the college debt of my two sons.  I would set up 529 funds for my grandchildren and my two nephews.  I would probably buy a car for my one son because he is still in school.  Give some money to my brother and sister-in-law to help them a little bit.  My father is ailing, so I would set aside a good chunk for his long-term care.  Hubby and I would also give a chunk to my mother-in-law so she wouldn't have to worry about money because she has helped us out a few times.
  4. Would you still live on a budget? - Most definitely.  All of the money would be handled by a financial advisor and/or CPA.  I would make sure that both have had extensive experience in dealing with things like this and know who to invest and deal with my money in a wise manner.
  5. Would you splurge? - Of course!!!  An upgrade in our housing, probably a nice piece of property that we could raise a few horses on.  A couple of new vehicles (one for each of us).  A condo in a city we love to visit.  A pied-a-terre in another city.  I'd hire a personal trainer to whip me into shape.  And we'd travel.  Lots of traveling.  I would also buy memberships with various museums, symphonies, theaters, and the like.  Very much support the arts.
  6. *Bonus* Would you take it over time, or in one lump sum? Let's say either $200 million over 30 years, or $100 million (taxes out and everything) all at once in one lump sum. - I would take the winnings over time.  I wouldn't be so apt to spend it all at once if I do that.   would also know that I have "X" amount of dollars or income every year beside what I would be receiving from my investments.  Investments are rise and fall.  The payment over time would be a defined amount.  Hence another reason to hire a top-notch financial advisor and/or CPA.  Also by receiving the payments as annuities, I would be able to do the charity work that I have been wanting to do for a long time.  As for the payout, I'm in California and the payout is over 26 years not 30.  A $200 million dollar jackpot over 26 years would be roughly $7.5M/yr and with taxes would be about $4M/yr, coming out to $104 after 26 yrs and that 's not including the interest on investments.  That is strictly principal.

Jun 2, 2012 9:20AM

1.)I'd still work as I own my own company but I'd hire more people to take the things I don't like to do off of my plate but I'd continue the "social" part of my business. Shutting my business down would put 5 people out of work.  2) I would not care what other people think but I'd gloat inside if a select few knew I won the lottery. 3.) I would share with my family on my terms, most likely setting up an education trust. I wouldn't want them to become dependent on me so depending on their level of real need I'd attempt to do things to make their lives easier without enabling them. 4.) I would of course stay on a budget, I'd know how much interest my money was making and most likely only spend the interest, keep the principal intact for the betterment of generations to come. 5.) I would splurge on upgrades to my current home and a new SUV.  I couldn't make a drastic change to my lifestyle as I still have school age children, they need to stay grounded amongst their peers and continue living with balance. 6.) I would take it in a lump sum and peel off the first million for mad money and the rest would be invested and I'd live off the interest!

Jun 2, 2012 6:52AM
That's an easy answer. First of all I would definitely retire but not because I hate my job. I love my job but it would definitely interfere with the traveling I've always wanted to do with my family. I would care only slightly what others think, basically the way I feel now. No matter what you can't make everyone happy. I would share with the immediate family only. Our parents and siblings and neices and nephews, thats it. It would also be on a case by case basis. My brother-in-law who doesn't work will not get what the one who works his tail off gets. What they actually get would be one of the hardest to decide. They won't get millions but they would be blessed. We would live on a budget just the numbers would look different. I would try to invest enough that the interest could keep us happy for the rest of our lives. As far as slurging, my goals are clear, buy a large peice of land close to home, build a very nice homestead on it, buy a few new vehicles, the little things that we always would have loved to have, and last but not least, travel. I'm not talking about fancy trips overseas but traveling the U.S., probably by car or RV. The great part would be that other than the kid's school their would be no time limit we could stay as long as we wanted and see and do everything we wanted on a given trip. I have thought about whether or not taking the lump sum and decided that I would. If I had any amount over 100 million I could do all the things I want and live off of the part I invested. Taking the payments over 30 years seems like too long and with our economy I'd rather take half now than a few payments if things go sour. At least I'd have the land I want and a paid off home. If the lottery went belly up I might not have that much.
Mar 29, 2012 9:16PM
if i won this money i would give my church 500,000, get out if dept, give my ex some money because i don't want him to struggle . help my kids and there family out. buy a simple house,and my dream car. and help family out . then invest some and just live worry free. not under stress like i am now wondering where and when is the bills going to be paid. where is the next meal coming from. i am disabled and its real difficult to live off social security disability . so the people out there that just want to blow this money away give it too me. i know what it means to really struggle. its not a joke or amusing.   
Jun 2, 2012 12:18PM

I would definately quit my job! I would set up a trust for my son who has a head injury and struggles every day with so many issues. I would set my sister up so she wouldn't have to work at a job she hates just to keep insurance.  She had major heart surgery last year! I would move my brother  who was in a car accident in the military and is paralyzed and my sister and I share custody of to a private home with 24 hour care and a van that would take him wherever and whenever he wants to go. I would also take care of my daughter who is the blessing of my life.  I have a few others but these are the ones I worry about so much. 

I would live on a budget, because I would take the annuity.  I would splurge to travel a couple times a year.  I would probably buy a new car, something fuel efficient. 

I dream of the lottery more for my family than myself.  I worry about them so much, they say money can't buy happiness but if you can't buy the basics to survive and you suddenly have them, I would say you could be pretty happy.   

Mar 30, 2012 11:13AM

1. I would continue to work since I am in full time church ministry and called by God to my current life of service.

2. I would definately care what people thought since I am in the people business. But I would also be very careful in how I dealt with my new found financial situation. I would keep as low key as possible.

3. I would share with my family since they have all shared with me during my lifetime. There is much peace between all of us since we all serve God.

4. Yes, I would live on a budget of service and goodwill toward my fellow man. There is only so much a sane person should do with wealth. Mainly it is to serve others but not to be set up as a human ATM machine. God is not that way and neither should I be that way.

5. For me and my family, splurging would consist of being debt free and having reliable transportation and a nice place to live. Other than that, it all becomes foolish pride.

6. The annual payments would be the most frugal way to handle great wealth. And go a long way in serving our budget agenda.

Aug 23, 2011 6:35PM
  1. No, I would not work, but it depends on how much
  2. Why, I didn't change, so I wouldn't care.
  3. No, I'm the oldest brother of two; my parents are passed on
  4. Yes, on a budget. A fool and his money are soon parted.
  5. Not really, might buy a nice home and a newer car.
  6. I'd take the money all at once because I am older.

This how I would simply answer these questions, but there is more to winning a large sum of money I'm sure.

Jun 2, 2012 12:21PM
I'm an Inventor. I have one invention in particular that I want to bring to the world that would enhance many peoples quality of life. If I won the lottery I would pursue my inventions and the world would be a better place.

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