What Would You Do if You Won 168 Million Dollars?

Posted on: December 25, 2010

The holidays are always a tough time for me but this year my daughter who lives far away has been giving me a lot of updates on how she is making a great Christmas for her son. I sent him his present early, a guitar, so I was “Done” with Christmas. I also gave a guitar to my boyfriend, surprising him in early December instead of waiting for the actual holiday.

On a message board I frequent, a member asked the question “What would you do with 168 million dollars” which was a particular lottery’s prize for I think a Christmas Eve or Christmas Drawing. Here is what I posted:

So here’s my story, I’m a little sappy tonight so bear with me 🙂 Way back when I was a single mom of teens the lottery started being pretty hefty now and then. So when it got really high we would play a few dollars and talk about what we would do with the money if we won:

Don’t tell our friends (which like now are far flung around the country, back then mostly east coast) – then surprise them by having a limo show up at their houses and take them to a plane that brought them to a party catered by Emeril Legasse, probably in NYC since that was where he filmed his show. They wouldn’t need to pack because we would have them in a nice hotel with everything they needed.

Next we would create a foundation that would fund several projects:
Research into their own medical condition (Spinal Muscular Atrophy)
Research into cancer treatment and cures (My sister died of lung cancer – very quickly)
Scholarships for young writers and actors to go to good schools and get grants for writing

Since Dan was a writer and Chris an actor, we needed a completely handicapped accessible home in NYC and LA, with lots of room for friends to stay with them.

And finally buy a private plane that accommodated them to sit in their wheelchairs during flight so they could fly cross country easily without their equipment being damaged by baggage handlers and waiting for literally an hour or more after a plane landed to get their wheelchairs brought to them. Ideally their custom van could fit in the hold of the plane so we had transportation at the other end.

Would I give up working? No. I would always be a photographer and an educator. I would have also been the person managing the foundation.

Since the boys are gone (Dan died in 2002 and Chris in 2006), I would now just want to create a foundation to fund the projects that the boys believed in, put Liz in charge and spend my time helping small businesses, mostly artists and photographers, get started. Many times I’ve been told I should create the next great POD (Print on Demand) company. But I think that would take more than 168 million. I would also be sure to send anonymous gifts and messages to people that needed them. I’m a big believer in anonymous acts of kindness, because after my sons died, especially after the shock of Daniel’s death in a car accident, there were many times that out of no where someone sent an anonymous card, sometimes with a small gift, sometimes with a memento, sometimes with just a message that I was in someone’s thoughts.

My Christmas wish is for someone that will be able to appreciate and enjoy that amount of money win it. Too many people become instant millionaires and are paupers again just a few years later. It isn’t money that buys happiness, it is what you do with it that does.


1 Response to "What Would You Do if You Won 168 Million Dollars?"

For me I would want a home, modest but nice neighborhood.

Then I would want to find someone who has managed money well (oprah) to help me figure out how to make it last for 20+ years.

I would fund more entrepreneurs through kiva.org

The free medical clinics could use money to care for people.

I like my work but would like to do more with photography and travel so I might do more.

Maybe put someone through college although college is less ROI than it used to be.

Finding the right people to help is good but keeping some so you aren’t broke in a year is important too.

Finding a way to join with an organization that already helps people. I would not do red cross because the skim to much out for executive pay. I have found over the years some of these organizations take too much for themselves or discriminate.

I have started to play the lottery in hopes of funding. Looking back over a year to see what numbers came out the most. Not sure there is a way to figure a pattern to win but I sure would like to find it.

Thanks for this thoughtful post.

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