Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fun Hypothetical Exercise - What Would You Do?

Unless you've been hiding under a rock (or otherwise engaged somewhere) you've most likely heard today's Powerball jackpot is $500 million.

Over at the Guncounter there's a thread going about how you would deal with such a large windfall. I'm going to respond there but I also thought it's a fun exercise for the blog.

It's actually an exercise Chris and I do often, if only because just a tiny bit of hope is a wonderful and needful thing sometimes.

So what would we do?

First, before ever leaving for Boise to claim the prize we'd go right in to the local post office for our CDP and set up a PO Box. This becomes our new mailing address. Bring every single employee there cookies in order to at least partially make up for the extra work we just handed them.

Second, find a good estate lawyer and a good accountant. Fortunately we've got access to both.

That's before we even see the money. Third, go claim the prize in lump sum form. Just deal with the withholding right off the top, it's going to happen no matter what. Go straight to bank, get the branch manager to do the transaction, do not pass go.

Visit with Mo K and family while in Boise. Blow some of the initial cash on good food and good drink.

Go back up to North Idaho. Stop at bank branch in Coeur D'Alene where two former co-workers are now in charge (both highly ethical, good people). Explain situation, and what we're doing. Get both of them bonuses for opening new accounts.

Talk to local news stations and newspapers. Idaho state lottery doesn't allow anonymity, so we'd get the ordeal over with immediately and on our terms. Fortunately we're in a community that doesn't care about wealth. Both Ben Stein and Viggo Mortensen own vacation homes here for a reason, here they are not revered as celebrities or as rich, they just get to be normal people.

Visit with our real estate agent in person. Get him started looking for the big acreage. Buy when the right one comes up. Buy the house we're currently in as well.

Hire another former co-worker, also very ethical and trustworthy, to handle mail and incoming phone calls. Expect to keep her on for years to come as a personal assistant.

Pay back all debts and send money to EVERY person who has ever given us a donation.

Hire a certain friend in California to ferret out gun bloggers and others in the community that are in need. Set up a charitable organization for addressing those needs, and hand said friend the reins. Pay him to do this. 

Also donate to Soldier's Angels, the local animal shelter (which runs entirely on donations, no state or federal funds), the local organization for foster children, etc.

Give each of my brothers, my dad, and Chris's dad lump sums. Set up a medical trust for my brother with kidney failure and my grandmother. Also set up trusts for other family members with medical needs. Put my oldest brother (a very good accountant) in charge of the trusts. This will do two things: take the pressure off of my dad for my grandmother's care, and make it possible for my youngest brother to get off of SSI so he can stop worrying about making too much money and disqualifying himself.

Set up my kids, my brother's kids, and Chris's niece with educational funds. Set stipulations as to what they'll cover, like:
*Only tuition and room and board, and other reasonable costs (with reasonable determined by the executor).
*Only for programs where the total costs are equal or less than 5 years of entry-level wages for the position the education would prepare them for.
*If they choose military service, lump sum payout after they are honorably discharged or once they reach a rank that would be considered average for 4 years in (as determined by both the executor and the large number of retired military in the family). Medical discharges after successful completion of boot camp are considered the same as honorable discharge.

Put my oldest brother in charge of the funds. He was born with brain damage due to forceps delivery. The doctors originally thought he'd never graduate high school because of the damage. He made it through college and is now a very successful accountant, turns out the brain damage was in the more social areas. He's mostly asexual, slightly autistic, and OCD about making numbers balance. They'd have a hell of a time trying to convince him that "beer and girls" are reasonable education expenses.

Pay my oldest brother a yearly stipend for handling the trusts and funds, and pay him an additional yearly stipend for the care of our youngest brother (the brother who has kidney failure lives with him).

Send my father on a Christian singles cruise and hope he finds a nice widow to marry.

Give several cash and material gifts to a variety of family and friends.

Then the fun stuff starts. Visit the Audi dealership and get Chris an S8. Visit the BMW dealership and get me a diesel X5 for the new mommy mobile.

Spend more money setting up the homestead with everything we want.

Splurge on shoes, lingerie, and good cosmetics. And guns, of course.

As for how to deal with the people asking for money... that's what the personal assistant is there to screen for. As for family, there's a really good litmus test. If they bring up my brother's medical expenses fund as a "justification" for why they "deserve" some too, they'll never get any. Ever. Everyone who hasn't talked to me in over 2 years is similarly taken off of the "maybe" list. Everyone else is assessed according to need.

Invest everything else.

What would you do?