You’ve just won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery. You do not have to pay tax on your winnings. How will you spend the money?
Whenever this question is posed I remember a family member telling us: Your chances of winning the lottery are only marginally improved if you purchase a ticket! I thought it was pretty funny then and I still think it’s funny as we purchase tickets rarely. The ensuing disbelief when our numbers don’t roll out of the giant ball popper is gutting. So the notion that we would actually win a lottery means the random numbers lined up. Woo-hoo …
First on the long list of to dos would be to sell the house; not be concerned about the price just get rid of it. The MOTH (man of the house) has a dream to design and project manage the build of our next home. He does like a project and to be in a position to provide him with an open cheque and say ‘go to it’, would make his day. I, who can’t stand the angst of tradesmen not turning up when they say they’re going to or providing the wrong materials, would have to go bush for the duration. Or … I could fulfil my lifelong dream of returning to the place of my birth, Kenya, and working on a mission in one of the outlying rural districts. We’d both be in our happy spaces dealing to the bucket list. There would need to be a time limit on both projects. After all we do like S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Having built the house of our dreams to which we could return at any time, we’d take off in our camper trailer and explore Australia. The size of this country would keep us on the road for a couple of years. It goes without saying that I’d be blogging from all the wild and wonderful places, recording meetings with weird and wistful fellow wanderers and happy snapping to my heart’s content. To effectively blog and snap we’d need state of the art technology which would be all about Mac for me, and all about PC for the MOTH. After 33 years marriage we do “agreeing to disagree” very well. I would need a portable shower and loo. No walking 100 meters from camp and digging a hole for this princess. And there’d have to be a supply of pink bubbles to sip at sundown and reflect soulfully while watching the sun roll over the end of the world.
Keeping such a windfall from the family is going to be the hard part. While we may be considered the poor relations no doubt once the news of our win leaked out our standing in the wider family would notch up a rung or two. Our children are independent although one has done considerably better than the other. However, being reminded that you’re living in the consequences of past poor decisions isn’t empowering so I’d like to be able to help that child into a better place. Therein lies the dilemma: is that enabling. We stopped doing that some years ago and have been told it’s the best thing we could have done. So what to do? Maybe bank the money, use the interest to live on as well as help support people, other than family members, and set up two trusts: one for a charity yet to be imagined, and the other for our children and grandchildren.
One could blah on about saving the world from cancer, diabetes and poverty but honestly, realistically, I don’t think that’s going to happen (shoot me now). What I do think would make a difference is working within my local community to provide much needed education resources for children from marginalised families. Perhaps an adult literacy programme for Indigenous locals and training for elders to carry the baton of literacy forward to the next generation. Written into the terms of reference of the charitable trust (yet to be imagined but getting closer with every thought) would be advocacy and championing social justice for those living on the periphery of our local communities because of poverty, disability, discrimination and whatever else has brought them to their present disempowered circumstances.
Those are my initial thoughts on this lovely hypothetical dilemma. What are yours? How are you going to distribute your windfall?