(I’ve been toying with this post for a long time – at least four years – and it never felt completed before now. More synapses freed for other thinking!)
Below is my list of my top ten priorities for if I ever win a million or more dollars. This is the stuff I would hope to do within the first year of winning. Clearly, some of them would be executed differently depending on just how much the amount was, and if I could receive it as a lump sum or annuity.
1. Hire a personal financial adviser. There’s no use to winning a big sum of money if you can’t manage it well. This comes with the caveat that I would likely first talk to the lottery commission, past lottery winners, and any random rich people I can locate to create general recommendations about what to do to manage my winnings.
2. Pay off the remainder of my student loans (If it was a lot of money I’d probably also help some of my close friends get out from under their burdens.)
3. Pay off a significant chunk of our mortgage, not necessarily because it is the soundest investment, but to free up income for other priorities. Also, make some sundry home repairs, like our chimney – which I will never otherwise pay to fix. (If it was beaucoup bucks, I would buy or build a bigger house with a pool and design a detached recording studio. We’d probably keep our current house, for sentimental reasons, but also to use as a visiting bands hotel or something.)
4. Secure or invest enough money to retire comfortably at 50. With the immediate financial drains out of the way, I’d want to firm up my future. All the frivolous living post-lottery could be a lot of fun, but eventually I am going to get older, and I’d rather work a little harder now than have to relearn how to work after spending all of my easily-earned winnings.
5. Evaluate lots of band stuff. Hire a booking agent. Upgrade/repair everyone’s instruments to their personal ideals. Likely record studio EPs or full-lengths as a solo act, with both Arcati Crisis and Filmstar, as well as with my new super-secret project. (If it was mega money, I would consider if I could salary enough of my various band members at a high enough pay to make it worthwhile for us to go on occasional (or: frequent) tours.)
6. Hire a personal trainer, voice instructor, nutritionist/chef, web designer, and maid service (all things I am terrible at doing on my own). Possibly also a French instructor, see below.
7. Get one or more graduate degrees, or go back for my undergrad in music.
8. Look into some form of timeshare in Paris. (Living there full time would interrupt a lot of other bits of life, but I’d certainly love to have a way to stay there more frequently)
9. Establish scholarship funds at Masterman and Drexel, potentially for single-parent children. (If I still had piles of money to spare at this point I would probably do something really huge for Masterman, like add floors to the building or something.)
Do you notice what that list doesn’t say? Go on crazy vacations. Quit my job or alter my career. Change my entire life. Why? Because when it comes to the basics, I’m already living as if I won the lottery, and you should, too. Clearly I might wind up in a touring band or going back to school for communications, but neither of those things are so different than what I do every day right now.
Or, at least, that’s what I say now. E proclaims it to be very boring, but these are the sorts of things I dream of doing! Who knows what would happen if I actually won.