Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mega Millions

Somebody won.  I heard the winning ticket was sold in Maryland.  That's not real far away from where I live on the east coast of the Delmarva peninsula.  Close enough.

I heard the jackpot was $640,000, over a half a billion dollars. After taxes (ya 'all know the state and federal government have to get their it too don't you?), the winner (or winners) still will take home a chunk of cash.

So now we await to see if the winner is some 85 year old man or a group of factory workers who chipped in together and brought 35 ticket.  BORING.  We won't hear from the winners for at least a week during which time they will try to hide the fact who they are so they won't be besieged by previously unknown long lost relatives, financial "experts", and other assorted scam artists working feverishly to try and part the lottery winners with their new found riches.  One thing is for sure, if and when we find out who the winners are we will be profoundly disappointed because the only winner that would make us happy is if we won the damn thing ourselves.

Now admit it, you didn't really want to win anyway?  Did you?  Just think of what would happen if you did win.  Would it bring you happiness? Oh sure, I've heard the argument that "money can't buy me happiness but I sure as hell will give it a try."

I used to play the lottery all the time.  I played Powerball.  I brought three tickets on Wednesday and three on Saturday.  I did that for about six years from 2005 until last Christmas, six dollars a week for six years, $312 a year, $1.872 for six years.  The most I ever won was $7.00.  A few time I had the Powerball and twice I had the Powerball and two numbers.  Big whoop.

My lottery tickets over the years.  Each one is three dollars, some more.
Total winnings.....$24.00.

Why did I play?  I wanted to pay my mortgage off.  I wanted to have a lot of money so I could be Mr. Big. I wanted to travel the world.  I wanted to be Mr. Big.  Guess what?  It doesn't matter diddley squat.

First of all I was fortunate in that through an inheritance I was able to pay my mortgage off.  Thus I wasn't faced with having to work until I was 95 years old just to keep pace with inflation and paying my mortgage.  Big burden off of Ron's shoulders!

Now why did I want to win?  Really, why?  I couldn't come up with a good reason.  Have more friends?  Really?  The type of "friends" that I would make by coming into an obscene amount of money is not the type of friends anyone would want to have.  Seriously, you wouldn't want to have THAT kind of friend.  Believe me, I know.  Back in my prime when I was doing all right money wise I had THAT kind of friend.  When the money leaves, they leave.    Even when you have the money, they aren't the kind of friend you want because they take, take, and take and have no respect for you anyway so what is the point?  I learned the hard way believe you me.

If I won what would I do with all that money? Travel the world?  Sure, I would like to visit England, my ancestral homeland.  I would love to take a cruise around the world.  Only one problem, I can do that now if I wanted to.  I have enough money left over from my inheritance to travel.  I would clean out what little savings I had left but I could do it.  Then I would be living month to month again.

I choose not to except for our annual Trip Down South (which is coming up).  The rest I keep for my old age because some day I will probably be alone in this world (Bill is thirteen years older than me) and no one is going to take care of my except myself.  I've been to the Financial Abyss more than a few times in my life and I had no desire to visit that Cliff to Doom again.

Give the money to charity?  Perhaps, but it would be a charitable cause of my own choice.  Like say perhaps a No Kill Animal Shelter.  I could give money to friends who are in dire need.  I would love to do that but I'm afraid I wouldn't have enough for all the new friends I would descend upon me.  If I had all the money in the world it wouldn't be enough to solve the problems of the world.  There is only one Bill Gates and he isn't me.

I look around me and I think "I have everything I want now, why do I want more?"  I have a home that is just right for me (NO MORTGAGE!), a loving and caring spouse, all the toys I could possibly want (I'm not a big Toy person but I do like my Apple toys), and I have a wonderful job working with some really nice people.  If I could have anything I would like to restart my life back twenty years to when I was fifty years old.  Of course that is with the qualification I have what I have now and know what I know now.

However, that isn't going to happen.  I am approaching Serious Old Age now.  Every day is precious.  I don't want my remaining years on this planet to be stressed out by any demands which undoubtedly would happen if I won't a half a billion dollars (do you think?)

Oh yes, I am very happy with my lot in life right now.  I may live another twenty years or maybe just a few months or maybe some crazy Pennsylvania driver could kill me tomorrow on Route 1 on my way to Walmart.  One never knows does one?  So I treasure each day that I get up in the morning and thank God (or whoever) for giving me one more day on this earth in a body that still works relatively well and a brain that still functions (most of the time anyway).

I wish nothing but the best to whomever or whoever won the Mega Millions jackpot.  I'm just happy I got off of that fantasy trip to nowhere.  I'm saving my money.  I need it.


slugmama said...

It's a sad fact in this country that a LOT of people's retirement fund/plan for their golden years IS playing the lottery. Talk about gambling with your life!?!?
People seriously use the lottery as one of the legs of their retirement stool and many people have a 2 legged stool of playing/winning the lottery someday and a social security check.
2 legged stools are not very stable, are they?lol

Then look at what happens to the vast majority of big money lottery winners 5 years out from their win. A large percentage end up broke again, mostly because it boils down to their totally unrealistic view of money and wealth and what defines being 'rich'.

Having money is a burden....people who have money will tell you that it's a big responsibility. People who look at wealth from the other side of the coin don't see that, they just see the 'fun' parts of having money.

Giving someone great wealth before you educate them as to how to use the tool that money is, just leads to heartache.

People who have money usually think about money differently than people who don't have money or don't come from a family that has had money. Until you change the mindset of the "have nots", they will never win with money in the long run.

There are very few successful lottery winner stories if you go read up on those who have won. It's sad really.

My mom played the lottery voraciously for many years. She had a comfortable life but it wasn't enough for her, so she wasted many of her resources on that pipe dream instead of being happy with her lot and saving all that money to go toward bills.

Lotteries are gambling. The govt. makes casinos financially support gambling addiction programs, etc. to keep their licenses. But the govt. runs their state lotteries and doesn't put any such restrictions/regs. upon itself. Now how fair is that? The govt. gets free reign to delude the public with no consequences.

The govt. lures the public, encouraging them to waste their money on lottery games(hey, it's ok because they SAY part of the revenue goes to support special interest groups like schools or seniors, etc.)and then when these folks end up broke from their gambling addiction the govt. isn't held responsible.

Done ranting about the lottery now. And no, I didn't buy a

anne marie in philly said...

spouse bought $6 ticket; didn't win. that's OK.

the most he ever won at powerball was $5000 in 1993. he put the money in the bank and when it came time to purchase the house we now have, that 5K was part of the down payment.

we do OK with what we have.

Ron said...

Anne Marie,

Wow! I would probably still be playing if I won $5,000! It's a good thing I didn't. I'm glad you and hubby won. You're the second person who I know who has actually won a significant amount of money from the lottery. The other person is a friend of mine. He won $124,000 before taxes. Wouldn't you know it he was already a millionaire? He owns three homes and has about 2 mil in the bank. This was just pocket change to him.

Ron said...

Slug Mama (I'm sorry but I forget your name)

I agree with you 98% on your rant about lotteries. Yes, the state government are totally hypocritical on lotteries. But they are also being realistic because they know some people will gamble no matter what. Lotteries are actually a form of taxation. It is a regressive tax because the "taxation" is usually on those to can least afford it.
I heard someone say the chances of winning the lottery are worse than being attacked by a polar bear and a grizzly bear at THE SAME TIME. It's true! The odds are almost impossible.
And you are also right in that almost all of the lottery winners do not find a happy life. I am happy now. I have everything I need. Why do I need more? For a while I played because I justified it as a form of entertainment. But that is a poor excuse. It's gambling pure and simple. To me no good can come of gambling. Planning one's financial future on gambling is a fool's game. It never works.
Thanks for your comment. You articulated the way I feel about lotteries.

Jon said...

I've never played the lottery in my life and it's for one good reason - - I never have any luck. The only reason I'd want to win is so I could get the hell out of Texas while I'm still alive.
I like the Scrooge McDuck picture. I discovered that the Scrooge McDuck character was invented by a Disney illustrator named Carl Barks (he died at age 99). His wife Gare Barks was also an artist and I own one of her paintings.
This is probably boring trivia but I thought I'd mention it anyway!

Raybeard said...

Ron, it's odd (at least to me) that your government deducts taxes from lottery wins. Ours doesn't - and wins on the twice weekly Euro-millions lottery are also tax-free, this being the biggest lottery we have - though so far no rollover has come close to the prize of this recent one of yours.
A few years ago here there was much publicity when a chap in his mid-twenties with a criminal record (for GBH, I think) won £7 million (around $11 million). There was the predictable outcry of "Don't give it to him! - At least give it to charity - or run the lottery again!" Of course they had to hand it over, which was the correct and proper thing to do. But I think it was less than two years later when he'd not only blown it all on fast cars (which he liked to crash with his pals), drugs and drink, and women. Not only was he back to living on national state benefits - he was also back in prison!
Of course we all like to think that nobody can handle such huge wins - nobody, that is, apart from we ourselves. But I do think, Ron, that those of our own generation who have at least lived a little, are, perhaps, more likely to use shrewder judgment in the money's application, and less likely to be spoiled by it. At least that's what I tell myself.
As for these recent big-time winners in your own fair country, I only hope that none of the three turn out to be rabidly religious reactionaries who want to swell even further the overflowing coffers of their Churches - and their ugly campaigns. Wouldn't it be wonderful if, among the winners, there was a happily married gay couple?

wcs said...

I'm like you, I played when I was financially pretty well off (good income) in the hopes that I'd win enough to pay off my (huge) mortgage. I think I won the sum total of less than 50 bucks over four years, give or take. When I left my job, I was smart enough to stop wasting money on the lottery.

The best gamble we ever took was buying our house in San Francisco. That baby paid for itself nearly three times over when we sold it after 8 years. It's like what Lucy says she wants in "A Charlie Brown Christmas," real estate.

Will J said...

I think that you know that winning the lottery only solves problems that money can solve. As Slugmama points out, if you didn't know how to manage money before you win the lottery, you still won't know that after you win the lottery. Yes, I played - a $1 ticket - for just in case. I can still indulge in my lotto fantasies until I check the numbers. And I realize that my lotto fantasies are not huge - fix up some things around the house, pay off the mortgage, replace a 15 year old truck. Becoming an anonomous philanthopist might be interesting, but again, it would be limited to solving only the problems that money could solve.

PS @ Slugmama - cute beagles - but not as adorable as my beagles.

Ron said...

I am not advocating against the lottery. A dollar is a small price to subscribe to one's fantasies. One thing I do like about he lotteries, is that anybody can win. This is one game that isn't fixed (like most games of chance). Have you seen some of the folks who have won? Wow. That's how I knew it wasn't fixed so I thought I would have a chance. My reasoning for my blog entry is that I really don't need to win the lottery now because I have everything I want. I'm not bragging and I'm not rich but I am comfortable. Having worked most of my life (for the past sixty years and still working at 70), I have a comfortable if not extravagant life. I am happy. Would I like to win a lottery? You bet! But I'll save my money for now. I don't begrudge anyone who still wants to play. Hey, someone has to win. One winner always is the government. They still get their taxes don't they?

Ron said...


Please don't take offense but if I lived in Texas I would probably play the lottery too. :) However, since I live on this garden spot on the Delmarva peninsula, I wish for no other place to live except perhaps the hills of western North Carolina.
By the way, I did not know that the Scrooge McDuck character was invented by a Disney illustrator named Carl Barks. Scrooge McDuck was (is) my favorite Disney character. By boyhood friend (and still friends now) and I used to trade comic books but I could never get him to trade his Scrooge McDuck comic books. I will tell him this bit of trivia. We're both trivia lovers, especially about Disney characters! Thanks for sharing.

Ron said...


The fact that our government taxes lottery winnings has always irritate me. This to me is just another government scam that we here in the state have accepted as the norm when in fact it is wrong. Not only does the (local) government keep about half of the money put into the lottery they turn around and tax the winnings again. I blame the lawmakers, both on the state and federal level for this scam which is exactly what it is.
I agree with you that if one wins a lottery, nice guy or not, they should be able to keep the money even if they blow it. Of course you know that you and I would be very scrupulous in our handling of our new found riches.
Yes, for once I would like to see a happily married gay couple win the lottery, just once.

Ron said...


We have something in common. I stopped playing because I felt like I was wasting my money playing the lottery. I'm don't criticize anyone else who wants to play the lottery. I am a firm believer in free will and that I shouldn't impose my will or mores on others.

Also like you Bill and I did very well in selling our house in Philadelphia back in 1980, tripling our investment from $27,000 to $95,000. Or course that same house sold in 2009 for $582,900. Our problem the last time out was that I held out for more money and turned down the first offer of $640,000 and ended up selling our house for $500,000 eleven months later. In the meantime we were paying a $3,998 monthly mortgage on our new $531,000 house. Thus the mortgage. However, we did make out better than the couple who bought our hold house for $500,000. They couldn't keep up the mortgage payment and walked away from it two years ago. The house went into foreclosure. I heard last week a couple brought it for $309,000. Wow. I would have really been in deep doo doo if I waited. No more house selling for me. When I leave this house (which I love) it will be feet first.

Ur-spo said...

I have never bought a lottery ticket; I doubt I ever will. I like to think this is based mostly on the concept I am content with who and what I am. I also fear everyone in the world will come after me if I won a lot of money. I suspect many patients would decide to sue me to get a chunk. This doesn't sound worth while.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

You are spot on. I too am content with who I am now. You are so right, even if you win, it wouldn't be worth while. You sir have a good head on your shoulders. I never cease to be impressed by your intelligence and kindness. I am honored that we are friends.

Hula Hank said...

Could I really be the first commenter to see the photo of your old lottery tickets and ask why you have saved your old lottery tickets????

I wouldn't mind winning the lottery, just not a $640 million jackpot. Not that I wouldn't mind having that type of money, it is because of the publicity of winning a jackpot of that size.

I believe that a jackpot of $20 million and under would go relatively unnoticed and one would be financially set up for a life without "work" (assuming the money is properly mananged and invested).

Personally, I would want to set my nephews and nieces up with education based trust funds, pay off brother's and sisters' mortgages, as well and my mother's mortgage and set my mom up with an account so that she can finally retire and be a travelling volunteer with the Red Cross as is her life's dream. For myself, just buy outright a great little apartment and start up a small lifestyle business.

Alas, I don't buy lottery tickets but maybe once every few years, so my chances of winning are statistically very grim.

Ron said...


There is a very good reason I saved my old lottery tickets. Should I ever win, I could deduct the price I paid for the old lottery tickets from my winnings and thus not have to pay tax on that amount. Saving them is also a reminder of the amount of money that I have wasted buying lottery tickets.