MEGAMILLIONS MANIA!! Four Hundred Dollar Flip Flops Are Dumb

Hurley the MegaLottery winning character on ABC’s LOST

Maybe you were out of America traveling or trapped under something heavy and didn’t see the news about the huge Mega Millions National Jackpot. There were 3 winners and they are in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas. The total prize was estimated at $213 million for each winner. Then, after taxes and the store’s commission the winner is left with…umm, well a shitload, of life-changing money.

If you aren’t Mark Zuckerberg, and hear “a half a billion dollars” you cannot but help to think what you would do if you came into that kind of money. Immediately most people jump to what they would buy. Oh I’d buy a house. I’d buy a Bentley GT. I’d buy buy buy buy. Take it back 10 notches. There are some key steps lottery winners should absolutely take to ensure they don’t blow through the money and end up in a mental institution.

Interestingly in Maryland it is NOT required for lottery winners to reveal their identity. Nice to see Maryland protects and respects the winner. Instantly the win is a benefit and not a burden for the Maryland winner. Regardless of whether one slips under the radar or has a ticker tape parade how one chooses to navigate their windfall will determine the quality of their life and if truly lucky, the lives of others.

A billboard with the $640 total. The largest in history.

I am all for having nice things but I have seen that people who are charitable with money and time seem happier and don’t feel guilty for having the things they have. There is a term in Kabbalah called “Bread of Shame.” It’s a simple concept that basically says things that come easy, without work or effort are taken for granted and not appreciated. The best way to overcome “Bread of Shame” is to work. So how do you work when you win millions and don’t have to work another day? Well that’s the tricky part. Your job becomes figuring out how to best use this money so that you have a full happy life. I believe how one regards money and spends their money is telling of their character. Below are the steps I would follow immediately after winning a lottery.

 

HOLYSHIT I WON!!

Step 1.  Check the number 15 times, jump up and down, flip my shit and muster all the strength in me NOT to call and tell anyone. ANYONE. AT ALL. PERIOD.

Step 2. Update Facebook status to something vague and true to character. “Wow! What a game changer. I am blessed and grateful. Now, the work truly begins.”

Step 3. Call the financial planner. Tell him “dude you need to call me back IMMEDIATELY. It’s game changer level important.”

Step 4. Go claim the giant sized check. Try to get out of any and all media appearances. Yep that’s right. If I can claim anonymously that’s absolutely the way I’d go. Otherwise, if I can’t, then I’d participate in press conferences and draw upon my PR skills to develop key messages beforehand. Lisa what will you do with the money? “I will do good for myself, the people I care for and will try to bring the world closer in a fun, interesting way.” Lisa what is the first thing you will buy? “Milk actually, I need to go to hit Publix hard. My fridge is empty.” Lisa, after food shopping what will you buy? “Well after food shopping, I have to pay my bills. My rent is due. I need to chat with my financial planner, get a plan in place and then take it from there.”

Step 5. Buy a world map, a cork bulletin board and 20 darts. Hang the world map on the wall and proceed to throw darts at it. Where the darts land is where I will travel.

Step 6. Find a lawyer who specializes in estate/wealth management. Begin to draft confidentiality agreements that anyone hired to do anything for me will need to sign.

Step 7. Go condo shopping at Continuum, Portofino, Icon Grande, Icon Murano, and Icon La Piaggia, and of course, Apogee. Buy one…CASH!

Beachfront Luxury at Continuum South Beach is my top pick.

Step 8. Hire a design student to help me decorate the space but here’s the catch I want everything to come from places like West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Home Goods and IKEA. I’m serious. There is no need for a $35,000 sofa. I mean please. When I am watching American Idol in my comfees or am hung over on Sunday watching football all day a $2500 sofa will do just fine. Just because I now have millions doesn’t mean I now turn into an asshole. I’d rather people come over and say oh Lisa I love coming to your home it’s so warm and cozy than have them ask me if my sofa costs as much as their car. The design student will be able to add the project to their resume and I’d of course serve as a reference. Then I’d pay the kid’s semester upon completion of the project.

Step 9. While my new living arrangement is underway, I’ll draft a “Life Plan” that spells out exactly how I plan to live the rest of my life on the amount of money I have won. I’d put myself on a salary that would be auto deposited from one less accessible account to a more accessible bank account. It would be as if I work for Lisa Inc. and every 15th and 30th of the month I get paid.

Step 10. I’d retire both sets of parents by opening up an account separately just for them then I’d put them on a salary equal to $150,000 per year. They can choose where they want to live, what they want to do, just as they would normally, but ultimately the set amount of money will come from me in portions. When they ask me where this money is coming from I’d just say, “Don’t worry about it. I came into some money and I can afford it.” No other explanations. There’s no need to buy dad a Bentley, no need to move the parents into some mansion. But they will be taken care of. They won’t have to worry about money for the rest of their lives which God willing is between 25 and 35 years. They can have a nice, comfortable retirement. Whatever else I choose to share with them is in addition and will come out of my salary.

Step 11. I’d research private jet shares because there’s no way I’m ever flying bullshit commercial ever again. SCREW THAT! I wouldn’t buy my own plane, unless it makes sense financially (I can buy the plane and rent it out) so I’d have to investigate that.

Step 12. Hire a Personal Crossfit trainer. (Who is smoking hot to look at and will get me into the best shape of my life.)

Now THIS is a personal trainer I can get sweaty for.

Step 13. Schedule my annual physical and mammography. Then at my appointment I’d randomly pay someone’s co-pay just because it’s a cool thing to do.

Step 14. I’d invest in my friend Lisa Kao’s company MyntSmile, the first ever clinically proven toothpaste especially formulated to protect and preserve porcelain veneers. First, I truly believe in the product, know with proper backing it could be incredibly profitable like the kind of thing Johnson and Johnson buys for $75 million BUT better than the return on my investment, I’d be helping a friend who I admire because this girl literally spends 90% of her life thinking about this product. The remaining 10% is spent figuring out how we will have fun during her weekend jaunts to Miami. Hmm do we go to Mynt or Mokkai or both?? Helping a friend realize a dream is a very cool thing.

Step 15. I’d go to NYC twice a month to hang with my Jersey friends and see my family.

Step 16. I’d pretty much proceed with my life exactly as normal.

KEEPIN IT REAL

I’d still ride “Simple” my beach cruiser bike around South Beach, lay out at the local’s beach but I’d become much more philanthropic because the more I have the more I can give. This may put me in other social circles but there would be my “rich charity friends” and then everyone else. I was always good at compartmentalizing the people in my life so this won’t be any different. The Miami charity scene is super social, fun, stylish and giving leads to more getting and not just more money but feelings of good so I’d attend charity events (2 per month). If the cause is one I want to support I will. I won’t go on some insane shopping spree. I’d get what I need as I need it. I’d treat myself to things along my travels as a way to remember the trip but to also help an artisan who can feed his family for a month because I bought 3 pairs of his hand-made sandals and gave $200 (even though the sandals are worth $20 each). I’d see the world and hire a camera crew to document my travels and adventures. Id’ try to bring the world closer in a fun entertaining, very real way. I’d call it “Windfall” which tests the theory that when you give you receive tenfold.

When my mom was in town visiting from New York I took her to Bal Harbour Shops, Aventura Mall, The Village of Merrick Park and the Shops at Midtown. We saw plenty that we liked but other than 2 dresses from Wet Seal at Aventura Mall which came to $50.00, I bought nothing. We walked around and looked at $3000 hand bags, $1200 shoes, an $11,000 Rose Gold Rolex, and appreciated the beauty in what we saw. However, I didn’t feel like I was really longing for or missing out on anything. I remembered a time where I can walk into Rolex at the Wynn Las Vegas point to the watch I saved up for and say, that one. Then I think of my current situation and was instantly comforted. I wasn’t as grateful as I should have been. I took a lot for granted. I no way gave back as much as I should have. But now I’m grateful I can acknowledge this and when you know different, you can do different. I know I have it in me to make more money than I ever made before but this time around I have a different perspective. I hope this economic downturn forces people who once made cushy salaries to swallow a shot of humility. I’m already changed. Before when I’d see a homeless person I’d get angry and disgusted. Eww gross they smell. They should have an island and send them all there. This is how I would think. But now, I’m thinking wow, I wonder how they got here. I wonder if they have family, what they were like as a kid. What their parents were like. Then I realize if we both tripped and fell we’d both bleed the same color so I give them a dollar. The giving makes me feel good. And, every time I give, I notice that within a few days there will be a phone call or an email with some opportunity for me to make money. Try it!

Are Prada flip flops really worth $400??

While walking around the malls with my mom I was thinking if I was a mega millions lottery winner would I just buy whatever I saw and liked? Would I live my life on autopilot as I did before? Nope. Would I trade in my ADIDAS flip flops for $400 Prada flip flops, uggh absolutely not. Four hundred dollar flip flops are just stupid. I’m sorry but it is. When I see people wearing $400 flip flops I laugh inside. What kind of confidence issues does one who feels the need to wear $400 flip flops have? If you want to throw down $1200 on a pair of Christian Louboutins have at it. But $400 flip flops?? Please. Oh and the $300 beach towel. Really?? The $10 beach towel from Bed Bath Beyond will rest on the sand in the exact same way. Stupid. I had a friend who would buy into all this bullshit. She was also on Prozac and had serious social anxiety issues. Needless to say we aren’t friends anymore. She irritated me on a profound level and I felt my soul sucked in her presence. Every time I would return from hanging out with her I would take a 4 hour nap. She drained me. She has $400 flip flops and she made it known to everyone that she did. Blech! Friendship over.

I think there are people who look at a lottery win and immediately think about what they would BUY and then there are those who think about what they would do and how this money will be USED. There is a huge difference. Typically the people who go on a spending spree right out of the gate end up depressed and empty and feel their lives were better before their windfall. This was because they didn’t respect the money. They didn’t make a plan. They took calls from friends and family, listened to their sorrows and handed money out hand over fist. They didn’t anticipate that the windfall would lead to people showing their true colors. They didn’t make peace with the fact that they are not required to give to anyone who asks but that they are required to give.

When you have respect for yourself, taste, and class you know better than to immediately trade in your car for a $250,000 Ferrari just because you can. The drivers suck in Miami so I’d be quite happy keeping my 2005 BMW 3 series that I hardly drive. Claussie is in great shape because I worked hard and saved up for him. I have an emotional attachment to him and we’ve been through a lot together. My enjoyment would come from mobility and the ability to live comfortably in a home-base but then travel and see the world and in doing so give.

I heart my little Claussie.

MEGA FACTS:

Forty-two states offer Mega Millions. Forty-one states have both Mega Millions and Powerball. Seven states have none. Florida only has PowerBall. California only has MegaMillions. Correctly guessing which five of 56 white balls will be pulled and the one of the 46 red balls carries odds of one in 175 million.

The Mega Millions lottery numbers for Friday 3/30/12: 2-4-23-38-46, with a Mega Ball of 23.