It may be less likely to win the billion-dollar-plus Powerball jackpot than getting struck by lightning while drowning, but someone is going to win eventually, and why not plan for the possibility?
To preclude the onslaught of sob stories and requests for handouts, I thought I’d just lay out exactly who would be benefiting from my winnings. I’ve already picked out my charitable recipients, and the list would only be added to with my husband’s input. Who I have not consulted about this before writing. (Oops!)
First, we would pay off all our debts. I would keep enough money (invested in a manner recommended by professionals who are good at that sort of thing) for Tom and I to collect an income of $150,000 a year until the age of 100. Hopefully the return on our investments would help this amount keep up with inflation. I would put enough money in a trust fund for TJ, from which he could start making withdrawals at the age of 18, for him to collect $50,000 a year until the age of 100. This would ensure that he would not have to worry about paying his bills, but he would still want and need to work to keep himself busy and improve his standard of living.
I would build my dream house, which likely wouldn’t even cost more than $400,000 to build. I don’t want a mansion, but I do want everything to be energy efficient, and that costs extra. I would give my brother Joe’s family enough money to renovate their 100+ year old house, my childhood home. I would give my brother Josh enough money for his own home. We’d give enough money to Tom’s brother’s family to own their house outright with no mortgage, because I think they like where they live just fine. I’d give my mom enough money to pay her rent in the apartment she loves for the rest of her life. Heck, and the apartment above hers, so she doesn’t have to worry about noisy neighbors. We’d give Tom’s mom enough money for a ground floor apartment either in a senior living community that could drive her where she needs to be, or somewhere else where she could hire a home health aide. We’d give Tom’s dad and stepmother enough to own their home outright, too.
This is where it gets more interesting. There is no possible way one family could keep close to a billion dollars without it changing them for the worse. (See also: the Walton family after their father died.) And there are too many people I wish I could help. There are some tangible things I would like to do, and there are organizations I would like to give money to so they could figure out how best to spend it.
First, I would set up the Mantle Cell Lymphoma charity my brothers and I want to start in memory of our dad. Then, I would build an apartment building for use by Wellspring. It would be donated to them so they could handled the administration of it. I would also build an apartment building for use by the City Mission and donate it to them as well. I would set up a scholarship fund for students at our local high school, possibly earmarked for students on the autism spectrum.
A list of organizations I would donate money to, alphabetically:
- American Cancer Society
- Autistic Self Advocacy Network
- Friends of the CPH Library
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Novel Writing Month
- Planned Parenthood Action Fund
- Postpartum Progress
- Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY
- Save the Children
- Solve ME/CFS Initiative
- St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
- Union of Concerned Scientists
How About You?
How would you spend a billion dollars? Which organizations would you donate to?