As you can imagine, much of the talk around the Radio Ranch this week has been about "what would you do if you won the Powerball?" My stock answer for years now has been to purchase a first class ticket on the next flight to Maui, immediately buy a house in the secure section of Kapalua golf resort, and disconnect from the world. But the more I think about it, I may have to change my answer.
While we focus exclusively on the big number in the jackpot, what you actually win in the lottery is the prize of time. The old business adage is "time is money"--but that goes in the other direction as well--"money is time". I work an average of 60-hours a week and take off (meaning not coming to the office or working at home at all) about two weeks a year. Take that away and suddenly I have 3000 hours to do something other than worry about what is going on in the Fox Valley and with our cantankerous computer systems.
I'm a big believer that experiences are more valuable that items when it comes to spending discretionary income. Seeing the sunrise on Haleakala on Maui or being on the Maid of the Mist below Niagara Falls and recalling those memories are better than having a TV that is 12-inches wider than the one I already have. I probably wouldn't be one of those people you see on "The Lottery Changed My Life" on TLC who bought 20 cars, a house with two pools, enough gold jewelry to embarrass Mr T and a collection of suits of armor and swords. I'd be the person who spends the first two years after winning the jackpot touring the world--and blogging about what its like to stand before the Taj Mahal, to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, to walk on Antarctica and to watch herds of wild animals cross the Serengeti.
$675-million dollars would mean extended time with far-flung family and friends, time to volunteer for non-profit agencies and taking the "long way" to our next destination--instead of driving as fast as possible on the boring interstate. So as you stand in line this week to buy your next set of tickets (spending only what you can afford to lose) don't think about what you can buy with the jackpot--think about what you can do with the time you will actually be winning.