29 May 2024

Like to win some really big money? Well, good luck with that

| Sally Hopman
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woman standing outside newsagent with powerball ticket

Region’s Alicia Webb shows off her first ever Powerball ticket. No doubt she’ll spend her winnings on new homes for all her colleagues, complete with swimming pools and room for a pony. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Here’s a thought. As these lottery prizes edge towards the trillion-dollar mark – well, almost – have you considered what you’d do when/if you won?

The prizes these days are bordering on the obscene. Clearly I’d think differently if I won one but, seriously, this week’s $150 Powerball million offering is wrong on so many levels. Why ruin just one person’s life with all that money when you could make 150 others happy with a million each?

$150 million? Sure you could almost buy a house in Sydney’s eastern suburbs or most of Tasmania, but how would that make you happy?

Just imagine if your neighbours were not your sort of people? Chances are, in that neck of the woods, they’d be more Prue, Trude and Rude so hardly noice, different or unusual folk to live near.

A story came out this week from one of the lottery PR companies, spruiking what past winners had bought. Some folk put it towards paying off their kids’ HECS debts, parents’ mortgages and “my sister’s decking”, whilst others opted for “sensible things” like a fence.

If it was meant as an incentive for the rest of us to buy lott-ery, lott-o, lot-of, lot-less tickets, the message went a little awry. Something to do with powerful balls.

READ ALSO Canberra first-time Lotto ticket buyer wins $2.5 million

Interestingly, an inner-Sydney mum in her 40s currently holds the title for the biggest individual lottery winner in Australia – $107 million in 2019. Wonder what sort of fence she got.

Then there were the really good guys. One winner gave all close relatives a gift of the same amount. They all received a cheque inviting them to do with the gift as they saw fit. Nice. Another winner set up their own not-for-profit so they could do good on a regular basis.

So, let’s say you won. As you float about on your Lotto-win high, wondering what in heaven’s name you’re going to do with all that pesky money, here’s a handy hit. If someone tells you they can quadruple what is already an obscene amount of money, might be wise to give them a wide berth. The old saying that, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, could not be better suited anywhere else than that sentence.

READ ALSO $1.4 million lottery prize remains unclaimed by Curtin customer

Or if it all gets too annoying, just give it away. After all, no less lyrical legend than Bob Dylan sang, a couple of lifetimes ago, that, “money doesn’t talk, it swears” – and he should know, it’s not like he ever struggled to make a buck. Or sing in tune.

Might be best not to advertise widely that you want to give money away. Perhaps check with someone sensible, someone who actually works with people who are doing it tough, someone who could ensure it went to people who actually needed it, rather than their spokespeople/agent/distant relative.

So what would you do? Build an edifice to yourself, give it all away, change the world?

I’d build the RSPCA a new centre, complete with luxury accommodation, the best food, Lassie movies on permanent rotation, a huge recreation area with swimming pools, spas and gym, a scenic walking track, more Lassie movies and a massage therapy room.

I’d also do something nice for the staff.

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