Powerball: 1.5 Billion – POLL

The Powerball lottery is up to $1.5 Billion.  That’s not what you get, but… what you get ain’t nothing.

Sooo… how many chances/tickets did you buy?

I suspect this might prompt some interesting discussions about statistics.

For the 1.5 Billion Powerball Lottery, I bought...

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The combox is also open for your dreams about what you would do with the money (after subscribing to a monthly donation at Fr. Z’s Blog).

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. mburn16 says:

    Bought five for myself and in a pool at work for $5 each. So 7.5 tickets total. I’ve had a mind to comission a series of large stained glass windows for the parish I attend, which is decidedly lacking in such ornamentation. Powerball would make it far easier.

  2. norancor says:

    I would found the 3B Foundation (Brick By Brick) to fund the restoration of all things in Christ.

  3. Kensington says:

    Just to start, if I ever won this kind of money, I’d set aside ten percent for general charity, another ten percent for the Church, and another ten percent for giveaway purposes (for friends and whatnot — people who I would enjoy helping but who may not qualify as “charities”).

    Aside from that, I pray I’d be very frugal whilst looking at more sensible opportunities to give it away whilst maintaining enough to protect myself from bad times.

    I wouldn’t buy any gold-plaited toilets or mountain villas, though. Nothing crazy.

  4. Kensington says:

    But, in fact, I almost never buy lottery tickets. It just seems like throwing money away.

  5. Michelle F says:

    I thought about buying a ticket, but I really don’t want all of the dreadful problems that come with being wealthy. [There’s always the donation button on my sidebar.]

  6. joan ellen says:

    I agree with Michelle. Besides I find great joy in seeing how little I can live on…comfortably. (I have a cousin who competes with me in that.) Go figure. That kind of money would ruin a good thing. So…not interested in it.

  7. tz2026 says:

    One ticket.
    1. The Mystic Monks probably have other needs which I would fund, but one thing would be a freeze-dryer so I could get instant coffee. And it would be an excuse to visit. Often. They have a beautiful place.
    2. Donate a proper Altar for the Extraordinary rite (back wall) and (maybe removable) communion rail for St. Barbara’s.
    2a. Also buy some kind of bus for “Mass transit”, especially for daily mass. Several families have large numbers of offspring, and it would help the senior citizens. Maybe also do a reconciliation RV to make that sacrament more available.
    2b. The church just bought some property and there are other shortfalls which could be filled.
    3. Pony up for a shooting range at Wyoming Catholic College to make extra-curricular activities more convenient, and so they could field competition to the Wyoming Desparadoes.
    4. Purchase rights to an online homeschool curriculum or two so everyone in my area or Wyoming that wants can get a proper Christian liberal (trivium/quadrivium) education.
    5. Pay enough voting moochers in J-hole to leave so Wyoming will have no more “Sanctuary Cities” than ACLU offices (they closed the state ACLU office last April).
    6. See if I can endow a history and law school at WCC – and get Thomas E. Woods and Judge Napolitano to teach there. Maybe add Lew Rockwell, and Pat Buchanan – they all AFAIK prefer the Latin Mass.
    7. A monetary project involving minting miraculous medals in a special alloy.
    8. A cyberspace project to save western civilization when the paganized and secularized areas burn.

  8. One friend buys lottery tickets once in a while simply for the entertainment. A held ticket makes them imagine and fantasize about what they’d do with the money. If there’s two bucks to spare, that’s what some prefer. Like a trip to Las Vegas, you decide how much money you will lose to be entertained by the gambling melee and free meals.
    I dunno, gambling doesn’t appeal to me in the least but how can you win if you don’t play?

    I would pay off some very big bills, find a nice place to live and pay to fix it up [since I’m past the age of high energy and stamina]. Set aside badly needed money for old age. And boy, would I have fun giving money away. One particular item would be to restore the little church in which I was baptized and confirmed. I’d also search out people that need help. Having been very poor at one point, I understand the debilitating effect of grinding poverty and not being able to provide adequately for one’s child. For years I longed just for a simple vacation.

    Heck, being mostly self-taught, getting edu-ma-cated formally in the classics or theology would be really tempting for me. Gosh. A course on Plato or something ‘er other would be like crack.

    I’m not too proud to say I’d like to have some fun too – I’d love a river cruise and trips to Marian shrines. Yea, travel.

  9. CradleRevert says:

    Well, as they say: The lottery is a tax on people who aren’t very good at statistics.

  10. Hornblower says:

    If the Lord chooses to bless me, I would support some Church endeavors, including Fr. Z.

  11. Former Altar Boy says:

    I’ve heard one has better odds getting hit by lightning. Well. I’ve been hit by lightning so maybe I can play Powerball odds, too! I would build and support a TLM oratory in Hawaii, fund TLM seminary tuitions, and support pro-life work among other things. For sure, nearly all of it would be given away.

  12. andia says:

    I bought one.
    Since you already specified how you want the donations to take form – with the rest of it I would:

    pay off my school bills, my brother’s medical bills and my cousin’s medical school bills. Buy a house for myself, either buy my mom’s house and take care of her there or buy the house she wants. Pay for her Art Lessons and generally spoil her.

    Buy a house for my best friend that would be in a better neighborhood, and easier for her blind husband to get around.
    then I would donate 10% to my church – for use for things that benefit ALL the parish, not just one age group.

    and hopefully find a way to partner with Opus Bono to help priests. ( this is my favorite charity — when I was working I donated there monthly.) and set up an annuity for them to continue their work.

    Set up an annuity that I can live on comfortably.

    Set up an annuity for my priests

  13. kelleyb says:

    I purchased tickets for this jackpot, but not before I figured out how I would give 99% of it away.
    I pray for the winners of these huge prizes. It would be so easy to lose one’s soul with the possibilities that are presented by winning millions of dollars. God help the winner/winners.

  14. Norah says:

    I recently discovered that , in America, lottery winners don’t receive the amount publicised; money is taken out by the government. In Australia no money is taken out from a lottery win. Of course if the money is invested and interest is earned that is taxed which is why I would establish a philanthropic trust and put a percentage of my winnings in it for charitable giving. I would also give to my children and other relatives. I would invest some money for my old age so that I would not be euthanized and receive appropriate level of medical care and nutrition.

  15. Polycarpio says:

    This jackpot was brought to my attention by my sister in law, who purchases for a pool party from her office. It’s fun to speculate about what you would do with the money and it is a useful exercise in figuring out the things you care about. Some of those things might be worth pursuing even without $1.5b in pocket (or, better yet, in scheduled annuities to roll in over the next 30 years). Such an exercise can even reveal one particular project which may be worth taking up even if it means readjusting priorities. It’s also worth asking if one were to win, whether it might not make sense to generally keep things as they are (other than charitable contributions). At least for a while.

  16. mburn16 says:

    “Well, as they say: The lottery is a tax on people who aren’t very good at statistics”

    The lottery is the best possible use of entertainment dollars, and the worst possible use of investment dollars.

  17. kekeak2008 says:

    1. Pay off my wife’s student loans, then mine.
    2. Set aside enough money to potentially pay for my children’s college education, but only as a last resort; I’d prefer to have my children pay for their education themselves.
    3. Make sure our parents are financially taken care of.
    4. Help a couple of family members who’ve been struggling financially.
    5. Donate enough money to my local diocese to help them build a proper cathedral and demolish the Protestant-looking building that currently holds that title. I’d stipulate that the cathedral must have traditional Catholic architecture and a high altar. If the bishop won’t have it, then at least stipulate that he uses the money to help the local poor.
    6. Donate to a slew of traditional Catholic charities and 501(c) organizations
    7. Build a nice home in my hometown.
    8. Invest whatever is left.

  18. Grumpy Beggar says:

    I had to check off the 0 (zero-nada-niente-ne rien) but not the “are you nuts” part. It’s just a bit far to drive on my budget. In this location of the chilly land north of the 49th, it only takes between roughly 50 minutes and an hour and a half to drive down to the border that joins us with the US – depending on which border crossing one goes to (either Vermont or New York are closest respectively ). Stories continue to circulate here – on the radio and otherwise of people who have made the short trip down(for last week’s draw), crossed over into the ” land of the free and the home of the brave” and bought a ticket or two both for themselves or for friends and come back. Apparently the same is being done for the upcoming draw.

    I think that part is kind of cool – that it’s open to Canadians too. Not that I think lotteries are all that great, but one excellent musical instrument company in the US whom I bought from frequently, always had these amazing product giveaway contests which were never open to Canadians – though I gave them a lot of my business.

    So. . . mixed feelings – cool that it is open to Canadians , but equally worried . . . that if a Canadian does win the 1.5 billion, we could possibly end up with our own Canadian version of Donald Trump (face-palm).

  19. APX says:

    If a Canadian won it, it would be $2.1 billion and he wouldn’t have to pay taxes on it. Sometimes it’s good to be Camadian.

    Personally, I have no desire for such large amounts of money. All I want is to pay off my student loans so that I can enter religious life.

  20. Priam1184 says:

    Haven’t bought one yet and probably won’t because I live in a non-PowerBall state BUT if I did and if I won then I think that the first thing that I would do is to buy the Playboy Mansion (which is now for sale), demolish the thing, and endow a chapel of some sort where Mass could be offered in the Extraordinary Form and Confessions could be heard in that place.

  21. I would start buying properties owned or rented by Planned Parenthood so I could chase them out. If that turned out to be impossible, I’d neglect basic maintenance and send the rent money to pro-life organizations.

  22. lmgilbert says:

    Besides building a 20 bedroom country house with chapel and furnishing it with an incredible library and language laboratory and surrounding it with gardens and a ten foot high brick wall, hiring security guards, an accountant, a financial planner, a gardener, cook, maids, a butler and providing living arrangements for a live-in retired scholarly priest and someone to manage the nocturnally free roaming Dobermann Pincers and often having interesting, learned weekend guests to dine at an 18 ft long table ( think every Agatha Christie movie you ever saw), I would really like to. . .

    1. Solve the financial problems of a number of contemplative convents, including building a new convent for the NJ Dominicans. Religious communities pray for their benefactors and I would want wisdom both to avoid incurring guilt and to bring down the blessing of God in my disposition of these funds.
    2. Give a chunk of money to the Laboure foundation, which pays the student loans of young people with vocations to the priesthood and religious life so they are free to enter.
    3. Give a chunk of money to Aid to the Church in Need.
    4. Pay off the student loans of the graduates of Thomas Aquinas College and the University of Dallas.

    For the live-in-priest position, Father, after you put on two or three more decades, submit an application and I will certainly consider it, if I am still able to consider anything at 92 or 102.

    However, to do all this my financial needs have escalated to the 3 Billion vicinity, so it may be a few more weeks before these plans begin to unfold.

  23. MrsMacD says:

    I heard about the blond joke where God tells the blond that if He’s going to give her a winning ticket she has to buy one. It’s only by some crazy grace that I’d get to heaven with that kind of money, so because I’m weak and sinful I won’t tempt God by buying one but if He wants to give me one He won’t need me to buy one, after all He’s God and He can do anything.

  24. arcanum_divinae says:

    Even with a jackpot this big, it’s still clearly negative expected value. But I got one – it’s a fun social event. I’ll earmark some of the hypothetical money for Fr. Z donations :)

  25. Ed the Roman says:

    1. Pay some bills for a relative.
    2. Establish th.e “Father and Mother of Ed the Roman’s and Their Descendants’ Old Age Care Trust.”
    3. Organ for parish.
    4. Inform the parish that I will match their salary to a new music director.
    5. Grunch of money to the OpenBSD Foundation.
    6. Grunch of money to Boy Scout Council and troop.
    7. House repairs.
    8. Car replacements.
    9. And yes, donation to Father Z.

  26. WYMiriam says:

    First, I’d pay off a certain person’s “helicopter bill” and see to it that she never wants for the means to live to an even riper old age at home with her family.

    I’d plunk a good-sized portion into investing to take care of my “retirement” years (right now I’ll have to work until the day I die, which doesn’t bother me much, because “my Father owns the cattle on a thousand mountains”).

    I’d pay off any mortgages my siblings still have — if they would allow me to do it — and probably buy sensible homes for nieces and nephews who are married with families.

    Find a way to arrange it so that a nephew (actually, a nephew-in-law) could go back to school and become the pharmacist he’s like to be so that he can provide for his family as he’d like to provide for them.

    Get at least two pairs of shoes hand-made. When one has feet big enough to fit the body that goes with them, and unique arches to boot [pardon the pun], finding well-fitting shoes is practically impossible, even putting aside the question of money. Get more made as my feet change as I grow older.

    Set the pro-life Elliot Institute up with enough money to ease their fundraising problems for decades to come. Ditto with a couple of other pro-life organizations I know quite well. (Andrew Saucci, your idea was great!! If I were to come into enough money, I’d send some to you, too, for your project.)

    Send lots and lots of money to the Little Sisters of the Poor. I’m talking GOBS of money here.

    Provide the money to pay for every priest in my diocese who wants it to take a sabbatical to learn the Extraordinary Form — payable only to the Order which is providing the teaching, and only when the priest goes for it. (Along those lines, maybe fund a foundation for the support, encouragement, and spread of the EF.)

    Find a nice little house that I can turn into a library with a walk-in bedroom, in an FSSP parish, and live out my life in peace and quiet.

    Travel to Europe to meet “the relatives” and, along those lines, take some lengthy vacations there with a niece who does genealogy so that we can (with the right sleuthing and good “luck”) find even more relatives there, both living and deceased.

    And a few other things, like get big signs to put up all around my house and on all my financial records that say, “This is GOD’S money. Treat it like that!

  27. kay says:

    I think it would be too much of a burden to bear. And I hope nobody I know wins. I read somewhere that 84% end up broke in 5 years. I think it would tear a family apart with this kind of money. You might not change but how you are perceived would change and you’d find yourself alone very quickly. I feel for the person that wins. I hope that God protects them and gives them the strength to shoulder that burden.

  28. kay says:

    I should report that my husband bought tickets. I promptly asked for them & he said you’re not going to lose them are you? I said no but I looked really hard at them and said “you’re not a winning ticket”.

  29. Charivari Rob says:

    My wife and I bought 3 or 4 for for ourselves, and I was in a pool for work.

    Looks like no substantial changes in bank balance are coming this week.

    For any substantial prize, it would be some combination of pay down debt, provide for parents, charity (perhaps some leveraged opportunity), invest in home improvements/repairs, and salt some away. Anything in the substantial category would also probably involve engaging an accountant and attorney, to make sure we do it to our best advantage.

  30. LarryW2LJ says:

    We bought 5 tickets. I told my wife that if we had won, that I wanted to donate to our Parish, our Diocesan Bishop’s Appeal, Opus Bono Sacredotii, Cross International Catholic Outreach, to a certain priest whose blog I read daily, and to St. Jude’s Children Hospital.

    I told her that she could keep the rest and she could do with it as she pleased, that I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.

  31. The Egyptian says:

    1 of course you Fr Z will get an endowment (to be used for all the vestments your little heart desires)

    2 assemble all my bros and sisters and yes even inlaws and pay their mortgages, set up a small college funds for the kiddies and so on

    3 set up my beloved parents so they never have to worry again, travel and nursing home if needed, mother in law also

    4 now i am going to get slightly underhanded, set up an anonymous million dollar trust fund for each of the parishes in the “Land of the Cross Tipped Churches” find someone to direct and manage them so as to be used for restoration and upkeep of their respective churches, payment of Pastors and of course, the diocese will get their yearly cut, with the understanding of the Bishop that they will, in the space of 10 years, all receive their own priest again instead of “clustering” 5 parishes and all the “lay (meaning women) administrators will no longer needed, the institution of the EF in some of the parishes on a normal Sunday schedule, If the conditions are not met the trust is revoked and money goes to the Dominicans of Nashville.
    Is that underhanded, maybe, however us country folk up here get no respect

    5 after all that build my poor suffering wife a new house not fancy but easy to heat and clean
    6 I would love to travel, first class, see Germany and the rest of Europe while it still exists.
    Crap that will probably take up 25 million how will I live on the balance ???????????????

  32. jeff says:

    I don’t understand why so many people trust their dioceses. Even if your bishop today is orthodox who’s to say that the next one will be?

  33. jeff says:

    Start a charitable foundation that provides affordable rental accommodation to traditional Catholic families suitable for large families and all within a few square kilometres. It would be run by a small group of men with adult sons who are weekly mass goers. This would solve what I feel is the biggest problem besetting traditional Catholics at the moment which is the large distances that trads have to travel to get to mass and, particularly the large distances separating each other. Of I could create a trad Catholic neighbogoers where Catholic children play with other Catholic children at the park then a lot of the other issues will work themselves out.

    If I had money left over I’d bankroll a trad school in the same area.

  34. That Guy says:

    I would buy the Playboy Mansion and turn it into an Opus Dei Retreat Center. Then I’d use the rest to scrub the devil out of it, bleach “The Grotto” and provide for appropriate statues and decor.

  35. slainewe says:

    Can anyone answer this question? I can’t find anything official online.

    If the winning ticket is given to a 501(c)(3), will any taxes be withheld? I can’t imagine making the decision to keep, say, 100 million after taxes, when it would be worth 200 million to just give the ticket to a 501(c)(3). It would be like throwing 100 million away!

  36. HeatherPA says:

    We would pay off the remaining debt we have, fix a few things around the house, put enough by for the kids remaining college needs and give the rest away. That much money is too much trouble.

    Our parish would get some, FSSP scholarships for any and all priests to get full expenses paid to attend EF training (to include vestments and other things needed after training), Sisters of Life would get a large donation, Fr. Z a donation, Opus Sacerdoti would get a bunch, and also a fund set up to pay off debt of men who want to become priests but are hindered by student debt, debt of living, etc…
    That’s all I can think of off hand that would happen for sure.
    Oh, and I would buy the Fishwrap and make it into a TLM/ EF monthly magazine, featuring the best and most inspiring of the month. :P

  37. Imrahil says:

    There is, by the way, some actual sense in the national-organized lotteries.

    Chesterton said: “To be clever enough to get all that money” – that is by the way of business -, “one must be stupid enough to want it.” And even then without any certainty, nor high probabilities. And with a lot of heavy, possibly vain, work which you may be shy of, because you rather want to fulfill a decent job honestly, get your fair pay and go home and play with your children. (This is not lazyness.)

    And oftentimes, you may resort to sin, and even when you don’t and all what you do is legitimate, you may lose what is generally called “being a nice person” (which contrary to some rumours is a very good thing). It is hard not to look down on people (probably) when you think you have entirely earned a massive amount of wealth.

    Still, it is nice to be rich, right? I mean both in the ability to do good, and the legitimate commodities for one’s own person.

    So, people have agreed that they put away some small amount of their money which they can do without, play a lottery with it and make some from among themselves rich. (And the State gets a large percentage of it, which he’d otherwise have to exact in taxes.)

    Does not seem so senseless.

    Still haven’t ever bought a ticket, though.

    (There’s a nice movie that deals with some of these aspects on wealth… including the dangers … which is, Has Anybody Seen My Gal.)

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