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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Powerball and Other Life Lessons

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24/7 Wall Street has run a pieceon twelve things not to do if you win the now $403 million Powerball Lottery. I recommend reading the article, not only for the fun it might bring by helping you imagine what life with these millions would be like, but also for the practical advice.

Much of the advice applies to everyone, such as the following:
The 1980s film Brewster's Millions may have made it seem impossible to blow $30 million in 30 days. That was then -- now that can be blown in days or hours without even being that creative. The ongoing costs of private jets, mega-yachts, private islands, mega-mansions, luxury cars, extravagant parties, private concerts, buying luxury goods or art and collectibles, and having an entourage add up quickly. These may sound great at the time, but only until you honestly factor in the ongoing costs for a lifetime of that. Any combination of those could go over $100 million, or even $500 million, again without even being that creative. [format edits, bold added]
That reminds me of a time, way back in college, when a friend bought a new car and offered frugal, car-less me his old beater for free. It took me only a short time to consider what it might cost to own a car vs. my income to turn him down. Sure, the car might have solved a few problems I knew I had, but it would have created others I could easily imagine, and maybe a few I couldn't. (Insurance didn't even cross my young, inexperienced mind, right then, for example. That thought came to me in the form of added relief a few days later.)

It is likewise with gobs of money out of the blue. This is a worthwhile article because it repeatedly shows these things: (1) Life is not fundamentally different for the wealthy, and (2) any situation, no matter how apparently good, requires knowledge you may need to acquire to face properly. And so it is that, for much of the advice, there is food for thought for the non-lottery winners:
If you just won tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars, it seems obvious that you would want to tell everyone you know. After all, how could you not share that with friends and family? Reality check: Do not dare do this! try to keep your lottery winning quiet for as you can. Sadly, your friends or family members cannot be trusted to keep your secret a secret.

Telling everyone you know before you collect your winnings can put you in danger. That is danger in more ways than just one. Everyone who has ever done anything for you now may come with their hands out asking for something. You may even become a target by rather unfriendly people. You may have heard of kidnap and ransom insurance before. [bold added]
Your circumstances have just changed radically, and you will have enough to think about without having to factor in what everyone you know or even random strangers might do with this information. The huge amount of money here merely underscores the value of managing what other people know, when possible. It can thus be a useful thought exercise to see how being careful about other, less earth-shattering information can give oneself more control over his own life. If you have ever been burned by someone with loose lips, maybe you don't need this one, but the article has plenty of other good advice.

Read it all for fun and profit.

-- CAV

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