On October 19th, the Mega Millions lottery jackpot failed to produce a winner for the 25th consecutive time. Because these drawings have not produced any winners, the jackpot has reached an all-time high of $1.6 billion dollars. It ties the 2016 Powerball lottery game, which also reached an estimated $1.6 billion in January of that year, as the largest lottery grand prizes in this history of the United States.
Your odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery are zero if you don’t play. However, if you do decide to buy a ticket then your odds of winning are 1 in 302.5 million. Let that number sink in for a moment. Now that you have reread those odds, let’s compare them to other things that are more likely to happen to you than winning the lottery:
There are two options to choose from when collecting your winnings: lump sum or annual payments.
Lump Sum – According to CNBC, if you choose the lump sum option then you will receive $904 million dollars of the $1.6 billion jackpot. From there, the Federal government will take anywhere from 24% to 37% in taxes, which means up to another $335 million. Depending on which state and city you live in, there could be taxes up to an additional 10% of your winnings. That means up to another $90 million will be taken in state and local taxes. In the end, the jackpot winner could end up with $490 to $570 million depending on the amount of taxes paid. So, at least 45% of the winnings are owed in taxes.
Annual Payments – the winner could take the annual payment, which spreads $1.6 billion dollars over 30 years. However, they still would be on the hook for high taxes up near 45% depending on where they live.
The following is a list of the largest U.S. lottery jackpots of all-time:
They say that “money doesn’t buy happiness,” but it certainly can buy a lot of things that would make you happy. The following is a list of things you could now afford if you won the $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot:
An NHL team – The National Hockey League is the 4th most popular professional sport in America. With your winnings, you could afford to purchase a hockey team and still have plenty of cash to spare. As of 2017, the average going rate for an NHL team was $500 million.
Buy a Zoo – Last year, a Texas zoo and wildlife was on sale for $7 million dollars. Depending on the size of the zoo you want to buy or build, it can cost anywhere from a million dollars up to $50 million. Don’t forget that larger zoos have multi-million dollar budgets. It’s a good thing that your jackpot winnings can buy a large zoo and sustain it for decades.
Your Own Car in NASCAR – Move over Ricky Bobby because with your lottery winnings, you could purchase over half of the race field each and every week. The top NASCAR teams have an estimated annual budget of $20 million dollars. You could sustain a NASCAR team for over 20 years on your winnings, and that’s based on not generating any revenue each year. Just remember: “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
Purchase Your Own Town – Located roughly 225 miles south of Portland is the tiny town of Tiller. It’s a charming community located near the South Umpqua River, surrounded by green hillsides. Just a few months ago, this town was available for $3.5 million. Not only would you be able to purchase the entire town and its contents, but you could literally build your own city out there. Now, that’s leaving a legacy behind.
Purchase Berkshire Hathaway Stocks – Berkshire Hathaway is run by Warren Buffett and the stock has a cost of roughly $310,000 per share. If you are wanting to invest and play with the financial big dogs then 1,000 shares would get you noticed and also cost you over half of your winnings.
Move to the Bay Area – California’s Bay Area (including San Francisco and San Jose) is the most expensive place to live in America. If you want to buy a house in this region, the average single family home costs $1.27 million dollars. Fortunately, this Mega Millions jackpot will allow you to buy multiple homes in this city and any other city in America.
Only in America can we dream of turning $2 into $1.6 billion dollars before taxes. With that said, it costs us even less to dream about what we would do with those winnings. For me, I would do everything on the list above and more. I would also open charities, help the Veterans, create sanctuaries for homeless people, open foster homes, increase my Star Wars and GI Joe collections, make sure my family never had to worry about money again, and donate to my church. Of course, I would also hire a financial manager and a tax advisor.
With that in mind, we are all winners when it comes to dreaming about spending the $1.6 billion dollar jackpot. But, unless you spend at least $2 on a ticket, you won’t have any shot at winning.
Just in case you don’t end up winning the jackpot, make sure you have a backup plan in place like becoming the next president or winning an Olympic Gold Medal. Also, avoid those unstable vending machines, shark infested waters, and stay inside if you hear thunder or see lightning.
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