Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winning the Lottery

My son asked me a few weeks back what I would do if I won the lottery. Coming from a 15 year old, this question is loaded with inherent risks, not the least of which involves a beach, a nice umbrella, and lots of margaritas. So I did what any good father would do and I stalled while collecting my thoughts and devising an answer which would have Solomon qualities without sounding pretentious (no small feat by the way).

The first thing I did was to lay out a financial plan for how much money it would cost to pay off all debts and create several separate accounts from which taxes, maintenance and other associated fees would be drafted for the next 50 years (if I live longer than that, I will count my blessings). The second step was to forecast other living expenses like food, clothing, medical and other family expenses (I do have three children with the potential for marriage and grandchildren). And, the last step involved what I would do with the rest of my life (I hope I am only half way there at this point).

This third stage proved a bit more difficult to map out after the mandatory long vacation with my wife visiting the places we have not had the opportunity to explore. It was here that I realized I like to work; or more accurately, I like to create. And by create, I mean bring ideas and innovations to life; especially with my wife and children. We have been blessed with many talents, most of them involving the performing arts like singing, playing guitar and piano, song writing, movie and theatrical production, and multimedia. The struggle prior to winning this hypothetical lottery has been living day-to-day and living out our passions nights, weekends and any spare moments we can find. And, so it was here I decided to invest the balance of my hypothetical fortune.

On our next long drive, not forgetting my son's original question, I put forth my thoughts and waited to hear his response. With a seriousness only a fifteen year old could convey, my son never laughed or batted an eye, he simply said, "Dad, we need to buy some lottery tickets." And so we did. We have a running agreement that we will never buy for winnings less than $120 million - $60 million after taxes - because starting a performing arts company without significant investment would be ludicrous. And, we only buy one block of tickets, because if it is going to happen, it won't matter how many tickets we buy. And in the meantime, we will work our hardest to reach a point where we can be what we want to be because with God's blessings, just being born into a family like ours is the same as winning the lottery.

- Ken