lottery relief

lottery

i lost $2 a couple of weeks ago.

i spent $2 on two, losing lottery tickets. i never buy them, but the big jackpot was just too tempting, and i gave in.
i hope the people who won the $640 million spent my $2 well.
maybe those $2 will go to pay the taxes on the winnings, or to buy the cup of coffee they purchased at the convenience store when they bought their ticket.

whatever they use it for, i hope they use it well.

i know i had some plans for the money. like most everyone else in the U.S., i spent the latter part of two weeks ago dreaming about “what if” scenarios and loading up virtual shopping carts in my mind.

and while i should be crushed that i didn’t wake up to a steak and eggs breakfast, but instead had my usual bowl of Special K, i was somewhat relieved.

i had some personal doubts if i could really handle the money. in fact, i really went through some personal ground rules to make sure that when my numbers came up that friday night, i was ready to handle my newfound riches.

but there was a problem with my plan.
you see, i was hoping to be a secret millionaire.

oh, don’t get me wrong, i was going to throw down some cash.
but i wasn’t going to change my lifestyle too drastically. we would upgrade some cars, our home.
make some financial decisions on work, vacations, etc based on factors other than just budget.

but there was a serious flaw in my plan.

unlike the people who are now claiming their prizes anonymously in other states, in the state of Georgia you don’t have that option. i actually found that out before the numbers were drawn.

when i read that news online in the hours before the big-drawing, i no longer saw the big moment that night as exciting. i looked at them with dread. in fact, i started to panic.

i thought, what have i done?
i wished i would have kept my $2.
at that moment, i didn’t want to win.

the imaginary cash jackpot went from something that would liberate my life, to something that would ensnare it.

if i would have won, and my face would have been plastered all over the news, my life wouldn’t be the same.
and i don’t mean that in a good way.

it would change the safety of my family.
school wouldn’t be the same for my kids.
and things would just be . . . different.

and that $2 that once seemed like insignificant to blow on a one in millions chance would have cost me dearly.

so while there are people who are enjoying a much larger bank account weeks after the big drawing, i’m not sure $640 million is the life for me. sure, it’s fun to dream about. and i could drop at least one million in a day with my wish list. but i’m just afraid of what it would cost me.

the Bible speaks a lot about the dangers of money. i always thought it was just about your own heart and how it can change you. but i guess also there are multiple dangers outside you as well.

sort of gives me a new compassion for the wealthy, and maybe i’ll be more inclined to pray for those who have a lot more instead of just envying the perceived freedoms that i think they have.

now granted, this may have been a different blog post if i would have the option to remain anonymous. i’ll totally own up to that. and i would probably be writing this from my new mountain home or cottage on the beach.

but i guess like many things in life, sometimes what you give up may not be worth losing what you already have.

contents on this site are © 2012 tim walker. all rights reserved. i would be flattered if you would like to publish this content somewhere. just contact me through this blog.

6 Responses

  1. While I didn’t buy a lottery ticket for the $640M drawing, I did become fascinated with the idea of what it would be like to win. In addition to the standard daydreaming, I did some research to learn more about lottery and tax laws, as well as best practices for big winners. Fascinating… if you’re a nerd like me.

    You’re right about Georgia; only five states (DE, KS, MD, ND, OH) allow lotto winners to remain anonymous. Also interesting to note: states tax lotto winnings differently, and you’re taxed on your winnings based upon the state in which you live OR the state in which you purchased the ticket, whichever is higher. Eight states (including my own, TN) don’t tax lotto winnings at all. So the ideal winning ticket was purchased in Delaware by someone who lives in Delaware, the only “anonymous” state that also does not tax lotto winnings.

    HOWEVER, I’ve read that it’s legal for corporations, trusts, and LLCs to claim lottery winnings. Apparently, some clever lotto winners in the past have formed anonymous trusts to claim their prizes without revealing their identities, as well as shelter some of the money from taxes. There are all kinds of neat little tricks like that, which is why the first thing a big winner should do (after signing his ticket and putting the original in a safe) is assemble a team of legal and tax professionals to inform some big decisions before he claims his prize.

    So, it may have been possible for you to be a secret millionaire after all! 😉

  2. I spent $2 too. First time in probably ten years. The temptation of wining was too good to ignore entirely.

    Funny thing about that $2 though. $1 wouldn’t have been enough and $3 would have been too much. It must mean something, but I haven’t figured out what.

    Your new site is great.

    1. I meant winning, of course, not wining, which is too close to whining for comfort.

      Also, how come I submitted my comment at 9:02 a.m. but the time is shown as 1:02 p.m.??? Is your server in Iceland or something?

      1. some things are a mystery to me, that is one of them. i choose to believe that wherever the server is, it is a magical place filled with sunshine and lollipops—and if it is Iceland, maybe lots of frozen treats. thanks for the comment and the compliment about the new site.

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