If you pay any attention to the news, you are aware that there was a HUGE Powerball Jackpot recently. I play the lottery like 2-3 times a year. If it goes over $400 Million, I buy a ticket. I don’t really believe that I’ll win the lottery, but I’ll pay $2 for the chance to dream a little.
What fascinates me about the lottery is the conversations it brings up. At work, there are inevitably conversations about what people would do if they won. These conversations are mainly between lawyers who make a good, if not great, living. On the Tuesday before the drawing, my boss dropped by my office for a little morning chit-chat like he often does. He asked if I had purchased a ticket. I responded that yeah, I had bought 1 play. He started talking about what he would do if he won.
The details of his exact “plan” are not that terribly important, but several of the things he said fascinated me. Everyone has different money-handling styles. I mentioned that I would keep just a few million (haha! I like saying “just a few million” as if it were a few hundred. Pocket change.) and give the rest away. He said, no, he would keep a lot and invest so his family could be wealthy for generations to come. In fact, he said he would give his two sisters very little, if anything. This is amazing to me. I cannot fathom not sharing newfound wealth with my family and friends. What fun would it be to be a millionaire if your friends and family were not? It seems like the hard feelings that would create would never, ever be repaired. Money is never worth a family relationship to me. Ever. I realize losing some friendships would be inevitable, but I would like to keep the old ones around if possible. New friends when you have just become a gazillionaire seem like they might be a tad supericial. 🙂
Second, my boss said he would most likely continue to work as a lawyer because it made him feel needed and like he was useful and giving back. So much of his identity is wrapped up in what he does for a living that he could not imgaine a world where he was not a lawyer. This stood out to me. I am not that attached to my career identity. Give me a few million and I am OUT. Not even necessarily to somewhere exotic, but definitely living at a slower pace. Also, I think there are much better ways to give back than by being a lawyer. It made me wonder, is it a gender thing? Do I feel like my highest calling now is to be a good parent is because I’m a woman? Is it an ego thing to put so much of your self-worth into your career? A need to have people feel like you are smarter and better at something than they are? I don’t know. Knowing what I know about lawyers and egos, I’m leaning towards the latter. 🙂
The last thing that stood out to me was, he said he would travel. Would love to practice law, but have other people working for him so that he could travel to see the world. I asked him why he didn’t travel now. He has money, his kids are in their early teens and could easily stay with grandparents while he and his wife see the world. He already has people working for him to handle things (hello? That’s me.). He just said he didn’t have the time or money. That seemed ridiculous to me, but I let it go. I have no idea what his personal finances are, but since we work cases together, I have a very good idea of what his annual income is. It is MUCH bigger than mine. However, I recall back to last spring when my husband and I went on our 2-week tour of Europe. He was actually jealous. So was his wife. I do not understand this. If you want to travel that bad, do it. Don’t wait to win the lottery. If you want to help people and give back. Do it.
What a person would do if they won the lottery, to me, gives a reflection into a person’s inner thought life. It shows what they dream about and how they handle their finances. For me, I think I am a fairly generous person, but not to everyone. I’m generous to a fault with those I know and love. I would give my friends and family anything, even if it hurt me to do so. However, I usually do not give those hobo guys on the exit ramps with sad signs anything. If it did, it would probably be a buck or two, maybe food.
What about you? Did you dream of hitting it big last week? Did it reveal anything to you about your money-handling style?