Until a single ticket in South Carolina won the entire pot, the Mega Millions lottery jackpot sat at a record $1.6 billion. To put that in movie terms, that’s roughly the entire amount that 2015’s Jurassic World made in the worldwide box office. With the average American salary sitting around $44,564, the lottery was worth about 35,903 years of work.
In short, it’s a whole lot of money.
It’s impossible to work for a living and not be at least a little bewildered by the prospect of winning $1.6 billion. Sure, the odds were a 302 million-to-one chance of winning (about a thousand times less likely than the odds of getting struck by lightning), and, yes, there are still taxes to consider. The IRS can take up to 37% of your lottery earnings, which amounts to more than $370 million in this case.
Still, that’s a whole lot of money.
And how would you spend that money? It’s the next natural question when faced with such a princely sum, and answers vary widely. As USA Today reports, many respondents began with sensible things such as paying off bills and student loans, or big-ticket items like a house or a car. Investing in real estate is also high on the list, particularly in areas like San Francisco where owning is out of reach for most people.
With the necessary stuff taken care of, many turn to charity next. One respondent, Mik Gaspay, said, “Obviously you could buy whatever you wanted, but what would be a worthwhile thing? It would be amazing to be able to create a homeless shelter, solutions, actually doing things for the community. It seems like just buying stuff would get so boring.”
Despite the warm and fuzzies it gives us that our fellow Americans would use their newfound fortune to help others, we couldn’t agree with Mr. Gaspay more. Buying stuff gets boring, and once the stuff is gone or obsolete, there’s still homeless people looking for a place to sleep and hungry kids looking for some food over the weekend.
But it doesn’t take winning the lottery to make a difference! Just $4 can feed a family of four for an entire weekend. Donate today!