Over the last few days, I've listen to countless plans about how people would spend $1.4 billion when they hit the Powerball jackpot on Wednesday night. Some of the common themes were, buying islands, paying off family debt, using hookers and cocaine, moving to other countries, sharing the money with thousands, rebuilding cities, and becoming besties with Oprah. But, what I heard more often than anything else was the idea that it would be impossible to spend so much money in a short period of time. This got me thinking about that very task. How fast could a person spend such a large amount of money? So I began to examine this scenario by eliminating all the misinformation related to winning the grand prize.
The first bit of false information I needed to eliminate was the idea that the grand prize was actually an instant $1.4 billion. The actually cash payout is estimated at $868 million unless the winner chooses to receive their payout over 30 years. The next task was to figure out how much of the $868 million would the average person be able to keep after paying Federal and State taxes. After federal taxes are paid, the winnings would be reduced to about $524.3 million, and once state and local taxes are considered, some will need to pony up another $130 million. Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming residents are exempt from this tax, as well as California and Pennsylvania residents that purchased their tickets in state. Therefore, the real take home winnings would be anywhere between $524.3 million and $394.3 million.
If you're keeping tally, more than half of the $1.4 billion grand prize has been spent before one penny was used for personal gratification. Just typing those estimates took the fun out of imagining how one could possibly spend so much money. So for the sake of entertainment, I'm going to pretend the grand prize was much larger and the actual instant post tax payout is $1.4 billion. Now let the fun begin.
Here is a list of the fastest ways someone could spend $1.4 billion dollars:
1. Purchasing a Sports Franchise. Most NFL, NBA, MLB, and non US major soccer franchises are worth at least $1 billion. If you want to be the sole owner of a major sports franchise, you may ended up spending the entire jackpot, especially when you consider that most of the current owners are not even considering selling their teams.
2. Run for President of the United States with your own money. President Barack Obama spent roughly $750 million to secure a second term in the White House, but you would probably need to spend a lot more. Unless you have the backing of the national democratic or republican party or you are already a well-known celebrity, you are going to need to do a lot of convincing before most U.S. citizens will even consider voting for you. You are going to have to pull a Ross Perot type of media effort to get into the White House, and that would likely cost you the entire $1.4 billion. Presidential candidate Donald Trump has already said he would spend $1 billion if needed to win the White House. But wait, there is one more thing to consider, you still may lose.
3. Finance a war on terror or start a radical movement. According to most estimates, the Pentagon has already spent nearly $2 billion dollars to combat ISIS. On the flip side, it is rumored that ISIS is the richest terror organization the world has ever seen. Some reports have this group spending nearly $2 billion per year to finance their campaign. No matter which side of the battle you are on, having billions is a must.
4. Purchase and Airbus A340-300 private jet and use it. These jets will cost you anywhere from $600 to $700 million and takes an estimated $150,000 per trip to fuel and staff them. So if you'd like your own top of the line private jet to travel the world, get ready to spend most of your winnings.
5. Build your own top of the line film studio. If you'd like to become a major player in Hollywood, try building your own film studio. While you may have heard Tyler Perry spent millions on his Georgia film studio, it will cost you a lot more to build a studio on par with big time production companies like Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. You could easily spend all of your winnings on this project before seeing one dollar in profits.
These are just a few ways, in which you could quickly spend $1.4 billion, but there are many more.
What would you add to the list?