You Didn’t Win the $1 Billion Mega Millions Prize: What Happens Next Is Up To You

I’m going to let the cat out of the bag right away: I didn’t win either. 

That’s because I didn’t even buy a ticket. I completely forgot about it this week. Last week the grand prize was $960 million I believe. This week, it was over $1 billion. Maybe they should have changed it to the Mega Billions, am I right? OK, all dad jokes aside, winning $1 billion is no joke.

For those wondering, and for the purpose of this article, after factoring in taxes, the lump sum payment comes to $740 million. Ok dads, we’re back in Mega Millions territory. The first question that comes to mind isn’t “What will you do with the money if you win?” No, it’s, “What will you do with the money when you win?” Every one of us has thought about it I’m sure. Every one of us has thought we were going to win, because, like duh, obviously.

Some people can’t even fathom one million dollars. Now, try multiplying that by SEVEN HUNDRED AND FORTY. $740 million. That’s enough to buy an entire sports team. Regardless of your sport. That’s enough to buy your own island. A lot of millions to buy a lot of Bitcoin, too. If you can imagine winning that much money and then what you would do with it, ask yourself these three questions: Would it make you happy? Would it lead to a better life? Would it help others?

I came to these three questions because that’s what I asked myself. In talking with various people, I came to the same conclusion every time. My life would not change (all that much). It would not make me instantly and longingly happy. It would help others though. These three questions, in turn, should also be what we ask ourselves whether we have just won $1 billion or if we have $1. What are we doing in life, or with our lives, if we aren’t doing all of the above?

Would taking home the lump sum of $740 million make you happy?

Instantaneously, I’m sure. That initial excitement and unfathomable amount of money heading your way would lead to shock. After, then what? Do you go on a few cruises with your friends and family? Do you retire (most likely much earlier than planned)? Do you buy things? Do you upgrade your house or vehicle? Do you start down a path of drinking and drugs because now, why not, you have time and money to blow (no pun intended). Do you become lazy with your newfound time off? Do you have any desire to do anything anymore? 

My point is, that no amount of money can create a passion inside of you to keep living life as intended. To keep grinding away towards a better future. Not every person who wins the lottery is cursed, do not misunderstand me please, but there are some to whom the many millions becomes a curse. There are some people who actually lose all of the money, or even in debt. There are some winners who end up dying because of leading a life they never had lead before. No amount of money can or should make you happy in life. True happiness comes from within.

Would it lead to a better life?

My answer on that is no. Again, living quarters and a vehicle may change when $740 million hits the bank account, but the life you have now is still the life you have with millions of dollars or billions of dollars. We get one life. Circumstances can change, for the better, but life itself is what you make of it. Just as money cannot buy happiness, money cannot live your best life. Only you can.

After all the jet-setting trips and lavish dinners and spending aimlessly, then what? Let’s say you retire (I would not, honestly). What do you fill your time with? Do you take the time to work out now that there are no more excuses? Do you start that dream job, or create a company of your own to do so? Ah, but then you’re not retired. You’re back to working and grinding. Just because you have the money to start something, that does not mean it will automatically take off and cash flow you even more so. 

No, it takes time. It takes hard work. It takes… you. To live a better life than you have now (and we should all strive for greatness), you need to go through it. You cannot just “buy” a life. We only get one. Live your best life, but understand that it takes what you have within to live it. Not millions of dollars. Life is absolutely what you make of it.

Would it help others?

This is the one question that should bring a resounding YES as an answer! Even if you were given a few million, by being smart with that money, it is plenty to live out the rest of your time. Whether it is five years from now, ten years from now or even fifty years from now, a few million dollars should be able to get you by. As I detailed above, all of those expensive new items and trips, aren’t a necessity in life. Is traveling and seeing the world good for the soul and helping aid happiness in life? I believe it is. Very much so. But I also don’t need to fly first class to Paris every year. Or buy a new Bugatti every season. 

There are a lot greater things that can be done with $740 million. Let’s say, for total argument’s sake, you keep $40 million for yourself. You didn’t buy that sports team, or that island, you were prudent with your lump sum. Good for you. Now, with $700 million left over, imagine the wonderful things you could do for someone else. Imagine what you could do for an entire city. An entire state. Actually, an entire country. Shoot, let’s say the world. 

You want world domination? Take a big chunk out of getting clean water to everyone in the world. How about taking out a lot of the world hunger? Maybe starting your own foundation, helping literally anyone you can think of that needs help. Build houses. Feed and clothe those in need. There’s so much good that can come from $700 million.

I’m not trying to tell you (yes you, the lucky winner) how to spend that money. Far from it. It’s yours. You won it, you get to decide how every penny is spent. For me, personally, I would do exactly as I laid out. I would keep $40 million of it. I’d build my own cabin in northern Wisconsin (where I reside). I’d buy a nice little farm house and tend to my animals. I’d buy a Tesla Cybertruck when it’s released. I’d play in some high stakes poker games while also investing heavily into cryptocurrency. When that subsides, I’d buy into the funeral home I work for, allowing the owner to retire, while still keeping the name (just with my name also on the sign). Money would not change me continuing to be a funeral director. I would simply become: funeral home owner.

Some of you think that as a waste, and maybe it is, but again, that’s just what I would do with it. I’m still left with probably $36–37 million (with the majority of the $3–4 million being spent on the funeral home). I still have $700 million to help the world with. I haven’t spent too much on unnecessary items or have any desire to continue to do so. My escape is going to the lake and fishing. I am not entirely happy in life, which is why I need to keep grinding. I need to get there on my own. Money would not change that nor aid in that so quickly. Only I can change my life. And only you can change your life.

Focus on the believable, not the unbelievable. The believable would be doing great things with your life with or without money. The unbelievable is waiting to win the lottery and hoping that solves all of life’s problems. We still have to go to work. We still have bills to pay. We still have priorities in life. If money is going to change you, and your life so drastically, is it really worth it? Is it really worth $740 million?