Wealth without millions



All day Saturday I watched the posts roll buy on social media, things like: “I’ve got my tickets! When I win, I’m going to …” And they would go on to describe all the elaborate, joyful things they would do with $900 million.

Wednesday’s drawing was for a reported $1.4 billion, and if you’re reading this, I didn’t hit the jackpot.

It’s fun to dream, isn’t it? Especially when it comes to a huge influx of cash, people show they have the imaginations they didn’t try to hide when they were children.

What would you do with $1.4 billion? That’s such a terrific amount of money; it’s hard to think how a person could even spend it all! Somehow our government manages to spend that much in about a day and a half, but that’s a different story.

I’ve always wanted a house like the one on Silver Spoons, if you remember that sitcom from the 1980s about a young boy and his fabulously wealthy dad and their exploits. When I was a kid, I always wanted a train set in my house, so I could ride it from my bedroom to my video game arcade, then down through a tunnel to the sprawling kitchen.

While that would still be pretty cool to pull the Petzold Express into the station so the butler can cook me an omelet, as I’ve gotten older my dreams have shifted a bit. Instead of a rollercoaster in my backyard, I’d more likely just build a new home with a terrific kitchen, a big bathroom and a sweet home theater with room for plenty of friends to come watch the big game. With that kind of money, you could donate $1 million to your favorite church, school or charity — and still have more than $600 million left, after taxes. Amazing mansions cost $12 million — a person could buy dozens of them!

It’s a staggering amount of money, $1.4 billion. Heck, $10,000 would change my life at this point — and I’m happy. I have a rewarding job, great co-workers, the world’s funniest and most loving dog and friends that I look forward to seeing every day.

There’s a big difference between want and need — and I have all I need. It’s fun to think about some of those wants though, isn’t it? I could finally have my own DeLorean — and actually pay for the upkeep because they are notoriously finicky. Courtside seats for the Detroit Pistons? I’ll take four, please!

I’ve read about all the bad things that happen to lottery winners, and I wonder if that would happen to me — lives ruined thanks to an unexpected windfall of excess. Every long-distance relative would come out of the woodwork looking for a loan; every time we went out for dinner, I know I’d be expected to pick up the check.

I’ve seen far less money drive a huge wedge between family members. Perhaps we should all count our blessings to be poor and not have to worry about how we’re going to spend our millions! bpetzold@mihomepaper.com

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