Apr 222011

Last Sunday, there was one of those marathons on one of the satellite TV channels, where they play one episode after another of the same show. In this case, it was How The Lottery Changed My Life, in which they showcased people who had won anywhere from one to hundreds of millions of dollars in lotteries. Some of the folks seemed to be pretty well grounded, and made good use of their windfalls, while others, predictably, blew it on big houses, gaudy toys, and partying.

Years ago, I was admiring the gorgeous Eagle bus conversion that my friend Dick Reed, who founded the RV Driving School, travels in. Dick told me that the California lottery paid for his bus.  “No kidding? You won the lottery?”, I asked. Dick replied “No, but every time I wanted to buy a ticket, I put that dollar away, and before I knew it, I had enough to buy a bus.” That Dick is a very smart man! 🙂

Like all of us, we have occasionally fantasized about what it would be like to win the lottery. Of course, since we seldom ever buy a lottery ticket, I’m pretty certain that it will never happen. Yeah, I know, you can’t win if you don’t play. But guess what? That means you can’t lose either!

But the more I think about it, the more I’m just as glad I probably will never be a lottery winner.

First of all, if you do win a million dollars, you don’t really get a million dollars! By the time Uncle Sam and the state tax folks get their cut, you’ll be lucky to clear half that, if you take it in a lump sum payment.

The first thing I would have to do is change my cell phone number, e-mail address, and mailing address, because every shirttail cousin in the world would be knocking on my door, wanting a handout from good old Cousin Nick. Have you seen any of my kinfolk? I’m not too wild about most of the ones I do know, let alone whatever would come crawling out of the woodwork once word of my newfound wealth got out!

Then, I’d have to hide the news from all of my friends. Not because they would come begging, hat in hand, but because guys like Greg White and Ron Speidel, who I can always depend on to fix the things I break, would tell me I can afford it, so go hire somebody.  I’d go through half the after-tax money in the first six months. RV repairmen don’t work cheap! Yes, I could just pay Greg and Ron for all of their work, but I just wouldn’t feel right sullying our friendship with money.

And then, what would I do with whatever’s left? Sure, I’d set up trust funds for my grandkids’ education, but let’s be honest, my people are not all that scholarly to begin with. Is that really a good investment?

Some people say the they would buy a big fancy RV, but not me. I really like my Winnebago Ultimate Advantage, and I haven’t seen anything on the market I’d trade it for. There was a time when I wanted a Prevost bus conversion, until I actually went into a Prevost bus conversion. That thing had so many mirrors on the ceiling and so much red velour that I thought I was in a cathouse. (Not that I’ve ever been in a cathouse, but Greg was once, and he told me all about it 🙂 )

Now, don’t get on your high horse and accuse Greg of sinning. He told me he was just there to fix their computer, and if that story’s good enough for his pretty wife, Jan, it’s good enough for me!

Besides, if I had a Prevost, I’d have to hang around with the Prevost crowd, and they’re really not my kind of people. Before you know it, I might be riding around in a custom golf cart, and Miss Terry would have big rings on every finger, and be toting around one of those yappy little foo foo dogs! How can she make me peanut butter cookies with those rings getting in the way? And besides, I hate those yappy little foo foo dogs.

One of the guys on the TV show got his wife a boob job, and I asked Miss Terry if she would want one if we ever struck it rich. She said no thanks, she’s already got me, and how many big boobs could one motorhome hold?

No, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and you can keep your million dollar lottery ticket. I really don’t need that much aggravation in my life.

But that’s just me. If you won the lottery, what would you spend your money on?

Thought For The Day – Say little, but say it well.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  20 Responses to “A Million Bucks? No Thanks”

  1. I’d be debt free….finally!

  2. I’d spend it on GAS, what else?

  3. I know a couple who did win. Great success story. My best friend in high school won $2.4M some years ago and took the annuity. It came out to @ $86K a year, a good second income. They were *really* money poor early in their marriage but worked hard and were starting to get ahead when the windfall hit. They decided to have a couple of kids and build a new home. We always get together when we are “back home” in Jersey. They still buy a $1 quick-pick every week. You never know.

  4. We’d never win because we never buy a ticket either. But if such a miracle were to happen, we’d probably just be less frugal as we traveled. I doubt we’d change much of anything.

    Thanks for the chuckle this morning 🙂

  5. Winning the lottery is simply exchanging money for best friends. The more money you win, the less best friends you have.

  6. Well I reckon if I won the first thing I would do would be get a subscription to that “Gypsy Journal” newpaper. Other than that like you I already have the things I need to make me a pretty happy guy and can’t imagine that having to much money would be good for my kids.

  7. I don’t play the lottery either. But there was a time I bought one ticket a week and so did my Dad. That lottery ticket was so much fun. Dad and I used to talk about what would we do if we won. Now that Dad is gone just thinking about winning the lottery bring back fond memories of my Dad and shared times with him. We never won but we sure had fun going together to buy the tickets and talking about winning.

    If I had won the lottery, it wouldn’t change my life any. I don’t want a big fancy house, car, RV. Peter and I have enough already. We were frugal, invested our money and are debt free. We retired early and are enjoying life. To us, people are more important than things. The people who are important to us like us not our money or our lack of money.

    Would it be nice to have more money each month? Sure. We could travel overseas more, we could give more to our charities, etc. But the truth is we are happy now, we enjoy life now, we have fun now.

    Money does not buy happiness. I saw a show once that followed lotto winners. Most of them were in worse financial and personal shape than before they won. You may win the money but there is not a course given to winners on how to handle the money. You are on your own and most of the winners don’t have a clue how to handle the money.

    Besides you are more likely to be hit by lightning than win the lotto.

  8. And to think that Greg travels with you and still fixes your boo-boo’s? I even heard a rumor he likes you??? lol You are on a roll today and I LOVE it! Thanks for a wonderful chuckle!

  9. I agree with Nick, most people who win do not know how to handle it. We dream of winning, but like Nick we seldom play. If we did win the first thing we would do is set up a education trust for our grandson. We love our motor home and would not change it. Prevost are nice, but I would not want one. It would make traveling a little easier and we would go to Alaska. We have just about everything we want and need. we worked hard for what we have. Friends are more important than money. Like Nick we would have cousins crawling out of the woodwork. No thanks.

  10. Hey, Nick, we thought your Winnebago Ultimate Advantage WAS a “big fancy RV!” At least compared to our 2001 Itasca. If we were to win, I’d buy a new pair of sneakers, then have the Itasca prettied up a little. I’d save the rest for my old age!

  11. It is said that the Lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.

  12. Thanks for the extra smiles this morning. Another great way to start my day. As for the lotto, when I was working at a small college outreach center, almost the entire staff contributed a dollar per week to buy 25 or 30 lotto tickets. We never hit it big and what little we would win would go into a pot that was donated back to our “emergency student loan” fund. Since retiring, we don’t play and don’t even use the phrase “if (when) we win the lottery we would get…”

  13. As an x California stste employee we “loved” the lottery and still do. If I played and won I would also save it for my old age.

  14. We don’t play the lottery either but we’ve had a lot of fun over the years talking about the Publishers Clearing House. We never won that, either. I’d probably get a professional to finish the parts of our bus conversion that we can’t figure out, and with diesel prices what they are, we might be able to drive a few miles before it was all gone.

  15. If I bought a ticket and if that ticket won I’d buy a class B for a toad so I could have my galley and bathroom with me when sightseeing. I’d give some to our only offspring who, I am sure, would buy herself a new 4×4 pick-up truck and pay off the bills the old one cost her. I’d better fund our exit plan. Then I’d give the rest to charity so it wouldn’t tempt me to start buying stuff again. 🙂

  16. Hey, it’s fun to dream but even more fun to laugh! Thanks for the fun!

  17. We decided that if we came into the big money, we would make it immediately known that anyone asking for money would get none. Then we would take our time and dole out the cash as we saw fit. We have several charities that we like that would benefit greatly. So would family and friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if we gave most of it away after setting aside some.

  18. I love the way you wrote this blog. What if I won the lottery? I’d be broke in a second, because I’d be buying the best building and people to take care of the older folks that could no longer be on the road. I’d also feel better about having money on the road for breakdowns so would have more savings for those rainy days.

    I used to buy tickets weekly, now it’s one a month. Oh, if only I could win!

  19. Wouldn’t it be fun to win the lottery and get to play Santa Claus on the road? There are always good people trying to raise money for school programs, meals on wheels for the elderly, etc. Being able to give some real financial help would be super.

  20. Probably not fit to comment, since I agree with the fellow who said lotteries are for those who are bad at math – the chances of winning are so slim that I don’t spend my money that way (I’d rather save the lottery fee for a few days, and buy a good bottle of wine). That said, if I somehow managed to buy a ticket in an absent-minded moment and actually won, I’d put enough of the payout into an immediate annuity to fund my future, then spend the rest on grandkid’s education (and fun, like trips with gramma and grampa in the motorhome), helping my adult children pay off their mortgages and student loans, then the rest to charities that help children in need, both in the US and abroad – for children are the future, and if they are not cared for, we are in for bigger trouble than we’re in already on a global basis!

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