"What did you do when you won the mega million dollar lottery?"
At first, I'd do absolutely nothing. Well that's not 100% accurate; I'd put that valuable printed ticket in the safest place in my home[if I had one]; and I'd have some time to think things over while America was wondering if the lucky winner would ever surface.
MegaMillions would already be making promotional hay; they would have announced where the winning ticket was purchased; might be speculating on the total after-tax amount to be paid to whomever produced the now magical slip of paper.
The local media would have discovered the name of the local merchant whose employee had sold the lucky numbers to me for only one dollar. This merchant would be due a nice bonus payment for having sold it; he[she] or the employee that had sold it might even be the subject of news interviews in my absence.
Meanwhile, after speculating on the other two winners who'd identified themselves to MegaMillion's accountants; guessing what their take would be after all the aggregate payments were made to the millions of smaller jackpot winners in the many participating states; after 'ballparking' a figure that might be coming to me[probably in equal payments made yearly over the next twenty years], I'd be consulting an attorney about the 'proper' way to present this luminous ticket to the obligated payers of this incredible income stream in order to minimize the tax implications and better protect my gambling proceeds from others who might have designs on them; I'd be setting up some TRUSTS to manage the business of paying for the items and services I'm sure I would require as the primary trustee to at least several of these, as well as managing endowments for some of the things that I truly care about; things that either already exist in my now wider community, or should and these various trusts could be about the business of creating them.
Let's just say, for ease of calculation here, I have just won 200 million U.S. dollars; easy to see how that translates into $10 M paid to this taxpayer in 2012; all of it considered taxable income if I step forward and accept my first payment as an individual; and a SUBSTANTIAL portion of it due to the IRS no later than APR 15, 2013! If I were to make a good number of other individuals equal partners in this windfall, the tax consequences could be substantially reduced. I have one year from the date of the drawing to identify who these partners will be when we must step forward and claim our winnings.
Did any of you happen to notice how quickly this MegaMillions jackpot reached into the 'stratosphere?' I watch those numbers climb on the sides of the Metro buses that pass by the Library every morning; saw how quickly it jumped up to $540 M, before I heard there had been three winners with all the numbers; heard they were to split $700 M! The rapidity with which over $700+ M in lottery ticket sales can be accomplished in today's economy is causing/creating new economic stresses that few of us even pause to consider; to consider its effects on us.
In Georgia, 50 cents of the dollar spent on the game goes to education; each state that has instituted such a lottery has its own latitude about such expenditures, and a portion of the ticket sales from the two big mega-lotteries is furnished back to the participating states[based of course on sales there], to be directed by their 'gaming authorities' at whatever pleases the constituents there enough to tolerate the greed, graft & inappropriate financial agreements that such huge sums of money will sort of naturally promulgate. Contracts for ticket printing; salaries for oversight bureaucracies; prize money and other promotional expenses going to merchant-vendors; $30 M paid out to those three big winners last week. That still leaves $570 M unaccounted for by my count!
One of those TRUSTS created by what now would probably be a team of attorneys, accountants & associates[potential partners] would endow a group of investigators journalists and internet publishers who would be charged with the responsibility to discover exactly where the appropriate amount of U.S. dollars required to fund the next nineteen payments of $10 M each that my friends would be receiving had been invested[also by whom, & with whom], and make the public aware of these and all surrounding facts, hire reputable firms to derive figures indicating the magnitude and rate of growth of this huge pile of invested dollars[and of course make public these findings] & begin the political process necessary to demand that the government/politicians protect us from the fallout created by this new pseudo-institutional investor that threatens to outgrow the combined mutual funds & compete head-to-head with the banks and insurance giants[and the few ailing pension funds left in this arena].
While everyone's head was turned by all the hooplah of a media campaign my friends would be stirring up, I'd be plotting a course for the land trusts created to hold legal title to the developments endowed by them of vacant properties clustered together like erstwhile villages here in Roanoke. There would be so much work involved that all my able-bodied compatriots in the Rescue Mission would all be working[not at minimum wage this time; and their health insurance would not be limited to 'workmen's compensation']. Those unable to perform such tasks would be receiving the necessary information & help[from a separate trust set up just for this purpose] to begin receiving adequate disability payments to allow them to take residence in any of the newly renovated houses in the new non-eco-village slowly beginning to take shape. The same guys who had been living in that shelter together, still living together, but magically transformed into 'productive' community members and neighborhood property owners.
I might even have to give some thought to setting up one trust to acquire and manage the Rescue Mission's facility, since a place to warehouse over 400 people would no longer be needed in Roanoke; perhaps a vocational training facility would be of some use to this community going forward.
I'd probably get myself one of those expensive haircuts; a new pair of bifocals[I think 12 years with the same pair and the same lens prescription may be a little longer than is generally suggested] are in order; some very expensive dental work could be in the cards[I'd want to display a brilliant smile when all those photo-journalists finally showed up at my office door].