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Toxic Money March 29, 2012

Posted by bobv451 in business, ideas, money.

Last night in Second Life while waiting for Mike Stackpole to show up, we discussed the matter of the half a billion dollar lottery drawing due up tomorrow. Nobody actually expects to win such a treasure trove, of course, since the odds against are greater than being struck by lightning or eaten by a shark. Or being struck by lightning while being eaten by a two-headed shark in the Sahara. 1 in 197million, more or less.

But the idea of being so close to that kind of money is beguiling. OK, yeah, I have a ticket. Look for megaball #23. But there is no chance I will ever be this close to half a billion dollars any other way, which makes even NBA and NFL players’ salaries pale in comparison. For that brief instant, a single winner would be richer than all but a handful of people in the country. Gates and Buffett would be 100x richer, of course, but they don’t pay taxes (or has the IRS finally collected from Buffett?)

But a half billion would put you in the category of almost rich enough to date Sara Blakely, if you didn’t mind her being not only richer but married.

James Lileks points out some of the pitfalls of winning so much. You might think your friends wouldn’t change, but they would. So would you. Howard Hughes probably became a hermit for a reason–driven to it. (My former lawyer is representing one of the cases against Hughes’ fortune). Getting so much money in a lump brings back the underlying theme in the old TV show The Millionaire (Voiced by the immensely talented Paul Frees–was there much difference between Boris Badenov and John Beresford Tipton, other than JBT succeeded in ruining lives and Boris didn’t?) I never really watched but can remember only one episode where the money actually improved the recipient’s life.

But the fantasy! To be not only rich but super rich in a day when $3m is considered “rich.

For a brief day or even split second to have the potential of having so much money in the bank (watch out, though–accounts are only insured to $250k and SIPC to $50m, so be ready to split that money into a lot of accounts)

Fingers crossed until tomorrow 😎



1. D Gary Grady - March 29, 2012

I wish I could remember the name of the comic (maybe Chris Rock?) who said that if he ever won a lottery jackpot, he’d probably be the first winner who wasn’t an idiot. He said he heard someone who’d won millions asked in an interview what he was planning to do with the money, and the guy said he was thinking of getting a guitar, or maybe he’d get his truck fixed.

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