A survey done by Capital One Canada showed that one-third of respondents admit their financial plans include a future injection of good luck, either by receiving a large inheritance (10%) or by winning the lottery (18%).
Surveys like this have been done from time-to-time for several decades and it continues to surprise me that, even though the odds of winning a lottery are about 1 in 16 million, the percentage of people expecting these riches always remains pretty similar.
Related: Are you counting on an inheritance?
Our Canadian jackpots don’t go as high as the U.S.’s Mega Millions and Powerball, but our Lotto Max regularly hits the $50 million mark.
I came across these questions at MSN Money and I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts if I won this major prize.
1. Would it change you?
I’d like to say that I would stay my fabulous self, but think about it. Money is a magnifier. Whatever your personality traits are now they will increase. Thus a generous person will be more so to the point that they may give it all away, a person who seeks approval may become prey to scammers and needy “friends”, lonely people would still sit at home, a controller will give everyone ultimatums, and a miserable old coot would be – well, you know.
Related: What does wealth mean to you?
Research shows that a large majority of people who receive windfalls revert back to their original financial status within a few years.
I’ll change my answer to – I hope I would become a better person.
2. Would you still work?
I would never again work for another person (or company). There are a lot of non-paying activities I’d like to do such as hobbies and travelling the world. I’d create a charitable foundation that would keep me busy, and taking care of my investments would take up some time, also.
Related: Does your job define you?
3. Would you share with your family?
This is a tricky question because both sides of our family have always been much better off financially than we are. I would give our brothers $1 million each to help secure their retirements. My parents wouldn’t need a lump sum, but all their possible future needs – medical equipment, private nursing care, etc. – would be taken care of.
My children would get only a token amount each, maybe enough to pay their mortgages and a few fun purchases. I wouldn’t want them to end up like the folks in this story. Sorry boys, you’ll have to wait until I’m toes up for the rest, if any.
I would set up trust funds for all my grandchildren.
4. Would you splurge?
I have to laugh when I see interviews with big lottery winners. They all say they will stay working, buy a new house and vehicle, go on a trip and share with family. Are they really that boring – or are they keeping their real, and exciting, plans to themselves?
I’d definitely splurge on some things I’ve been eyeballing but I’ve been too frugal to buy. I’d upgrade a few things such as staying at the Hilton rather than the Super 8 when I travel, maybe a classier watch than my trusty Timex, give better quality gifts – things like that. I’m pretty easy to please and don’t need a ton of stuff. I wouldn’t blow it all like this (now famous) winner.
5. Would you live on a budget?
I would still budget, but I’m sure the numbers would look a bit different.
Related: Why budgeting is not a waste of time
It may be hard to fathom, but even several million dollars can run out.
Final lottery thoughts
I’m sure every one of us has thought about receiving a windfall at some point. Go ahead and dream a little. What would you do with the $50 million jackpot you are about to win?