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Posted on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

$500 million Powerball jackpot: What would you buy with half a billion dollars?

By Kyle Mattson

A rush for tickets has sent the Powerball lottery drawing jackpot soaring to $500 million Tuesday afternoon.


AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Although the odds of winning may only be one in 175 million, meaning that you had a much better chance at beating Obama in November's election, isn't stopping the rush of dreamers from flooding gas stations and convenience stores.

So what could $500 million buy you (ignoring taxes)? Well, you could take 100,000 of your closest friends to every Michigan football homegame for the next decade, construct 10 new underground parking structures, or build a 2.5 mile long monorail around downtown Ann Arbor.

If luck is on your side at 10:59pm Wednesday night like it was for Erik Hennigan of Pinckney for the Mega Millions drawing in April, what would you do with the winnings?



Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 4:07 a.m.

I would create a non-profit program to provide quality treatment and support for children who have experienced abuse and violence, and their caregivers. Something that can be costly and unobtainable for those who really need it (without the right insurance, some facilities won't even consider treating a child). We don't have enough facilities or good resources to help these children as it is. And, as a bonus to everyone, I think this would help society as a whole. This problem is more prevalent and destructive to society then some like to think. Second to that, I would work on an organization that provides good legal support and advocacy not only for these children but for all foster children. Not only are the children our future but, they accurately portray our present. Mistreatment of them should be unacceptable and their healing and well-being should be a priority.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

First off I would pay someone to eliminate anyone that has offended me in the past. Next, I would get drunk.

Steven Murphy

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 5:44 a.m.

And here I thought I was the only one wanting to get back in a big way .... .


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

the odds too win big in the lottery are much greater then just one time ,so keep playing and maybe one day you might wll a million.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

Crush my enemies. With $500 mil, you could hire a bunch of lawyers to come up with some very creative and legal means to make them wish they'd never been born. Next, I'd hire a toady to kiss my rear 24/7. (Yes, Mr. Zeeba. Right you are, Mr. Zeeba! Excellent idea, Mr. Zeeba, sir.) And a 24-year-old Central American housekeeper with exaggerated assets and get her a supply of maid uniforms from Frederick's of Hollywood. But in all honesty? I'd play a lot of golf. And travel. In fact, I'd probably do a lot of traveling to play golf. And support some carefully selected charities as well.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

@skyjockey43......I do my banking at a credit union(I detest banks).


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Get an unlisted telephone number!


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

good idea!

Kai Petainen

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

I'd spend $40 million to create a ballot proposal that would serve my needs. I'd lobby as I know they listen to my money and not the people. I'd make a $1 million reward for information leading to the conviction of an unsolved environmental crime. I'd give $1 million to kids who'll never get the chance to go to certain schools, because they can't afford it.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

"I want a brand new house on an episode of Cribs And a bathroom I can play baseball in And a king size tub big enough for ten plus me I'll need a, a credit card that's got no limit And a big black jet with a bedroom in it Gonna join the mile high club At thirty-seven thousand feet Livin' in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap We'll all stay skinny cause we just won't eat And we'll hang out in the coolest bars In the VIP with the movie stars Every good gold digger's Gonna wind up there Every Playboy bunny with her bleach blonde hair I'm gonna dress my ass with the latest fashion Get a front door key to the Playboy mansion Gonna date a centerfold that loves to blow my money for me" Nickelback has the right idea

music to my ear

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

and this is sung to the tune money by pink flloyd there you have it ladies and gentlemen.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

I would pay Nickelback 50 million to never write another song

zip the cat

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Before cashing in the ticket I would Change my name,phone number. Move Hire a good tax lawyer Change my apearence,Just for the big day. Do all of the above then go cash in the ticket. For all of those who think you don't have to say whom you are to get your money, Well your dreaming News 2,4,7 cnn,on and on would be in your driveway non stop

music to my ear

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

I believe when the pot is that big, it is required in the state of mi to reveal yourself, how ever you can sideline that by attaching a group name like a lottery club .mine is called me myself and I.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

Let me know when you find a good lawyer.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

I would never announce that I was a winner. Too many people do come out of the woodwork, especially family that I wouldn't want to deal with.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

I can just imagine how many lives will be ruined when it comes to winning this amount, I'll opt out. Too many lives have already been altered and not in a good way when winning large amounts, I would probably just give it charity, feed the hungry and help those in need.

Steven Murphy

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

So you wouldn't even treat yourself to a nice mean?


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.

I would buy a suite at the Big House. And sod my entire lawn. And several nice cars. And take trips all over. And setup a foundation. And ...

Steven Murphy

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 7:32 a.m.

I would build two wonderful facilities for kids that need a place to stay until they become of age. One facility would be here in my adopted state and the other some place in Michigan. Said facilities would be top-notch and would be staffed by bright adults that would genuinely care about the kids and look after them. I would also do lots of nice things for birds and other animals.

An Arborigine

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 4:15 a.m.

My daughter would be a VERY wealthy young woman!

Kai Petainen

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:18 a.m.

"construct 10 new underground parking structures, or build a 2.5 mile long monorail around downtown Ann Arbor. " LOL... ... you have a funny sense of humor. =)


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:47 a.m.

Here's a sad fact: historically 80% of lottery winners with at least a $100 million dollar payout are bankrupt within five years.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

Not sure of the 80% but it's true-so many people end up broke because they take the lump sum, spend it like crazy, don't invest it, etc. They buy lavish homes, cars, etc. So many of these stories have been in the news over the years.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 5:44 a.m.

Sorry, but unless you can quote a study on this, you are pulling things out of thin air. The fact is, 5.5% of those who win a lottery between 10k and $150 k file for BK within 5 years. The study was conducted by Pitt, Vandy and Kentucky researchers. They did NOT look at $100 million winners. There is no credible research that backs up even part of your claim. Sad fact is, you do not know what you are talking about.

Dog Guy

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

With $500 million I could buy a mayor, a city council, and 25% of a timeshare U. S. senator.

Randy Weir

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

None of your Business what I would do and nobody would know !


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

After flying this weekend on a regular flight I would buy a Gulfstream g650 for 60 million, a house in Greece a villa in Italy and a home in Hawaii and any other thing I ever wanted.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

I'd invest it in Solyndra. No. Really. A lottery is a tax on the gullible and the hysterical.

music to my ear

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

and I am both make me rich.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

And those who are bad at math.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Buy my family all the time in the world to do and experience those things we can't or don't because we are too busy doing what we have to.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Leave the US.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

The first thing I'd do is set up trust funds for my kids so I won't have to keep giving them money any more. Then after paying off my debts, buying a few nice things, and helping my family out, I'd set up a charitable foundation with much of the rest of the money. In the long run, I'd get more enjoyment from the money by helping others than spending it on myself all the time.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

Cash payout after tax is somewhere closer to $235 million. The problem is that -- either way -- it is far too much money for most people to handle. They would simply lose perspective, or grounding, and therefore would lose friends, too. Of course there would be new "friends" to try and hitch a ride. Best to give away 95% of the total, keeping around $11.75M in the bank, and living sensibly off of the investment return of $350K - $500K a year. But that answer isn't much fun, is it?


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

JMA2Y -Lump sum payout on $500 million is about $327 million, so minus 35 percent taxes gets you $212.5 million up front. Most financial analysts agree the cash up front is the best way to go. What happens if a lottery winner dies before receiving all 25 years of payouts? Are the remaining payouts considered part of the estate? That could be a big legal problem.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

Johnny A2- I simply said that if you take the money up front, you'll only get about half-because they don't give you the full amount unless you take it over time; and then you'll lose about half to taxes which is true, plus there's state tax on top of that. If you take it out over time, you only pay tax-and yes, whatever the current rate is that year-on what you actually receive that year. And overtime, that's less tax paid out and more money for you not just because of tax but because you're not losing half of your winnings up front to the lottery. So, take $500, and if you take it up front, you'll have about $250-not counting state tax-and then half it again. You'll start out with about $130 while I'll have about $275 after a 25 yr payout-approx, depending on tax rates and how many actual years is the payout.

music to my ear

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

but if the lottery god gave it to the right person (me ) there will not be any lost on perspective oh honey I came from poor, and I have the right mindset to share it with the less fortunate .lets just hope someone who or someones who wins will do good.because at the end of the day, we have to live with our greedy selves.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 5:20 a.m.

JMAY2Y- Then you obviously have concept of the time value of money. If you had invested the money in the stock market on a lottery winning from 30 years ago that mirrored the DJIA on December 31 1981 and took your last payment December 31 2011 You would have made a 14 times return on your investment. Or to make it simple with this exact lottery. Lets assume 35% tax rate (highest current marginal rate), so my lump sum winning will be $212,810,000. Your yearly payout will be $10,833,334 every year for thirty years. We keep all the money in this account that will not be taxed until we sell it after 30 years. You add to your each year and keep compounding the interest, and I keep compounding mine as well. We do not use ANY of the money. At the end of the 30 years I will have over $919 million. You will have $719 million. In fact, if I make 8 % on my money, and you make 10%, I STILL come out better off than you do. There is also the fact that I believe marginal tax rates will rise and make your yearly payout less than if I take it ALL now and count it as income. The only way your idea makes sense is if you think the top tax rates will decline substantially over the next 30 years. If you think that, I have a ticket that I just bought for the powerball that has all the winning numbers and i will sell it to you for the cash out prize and you can take your yearly payments.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

JMA2Y- Wouldn't that be assuming the winner taking the payout spends all the winnings? I'm sure there are plenty of debates that have been on this, but my personal choice if I won (which would require me actually buying a ticket) is to invest a good portion of it in various business ideas. Of course some would go to some more 'safe' long term investment/saving options as well.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

And most people take the up front payout-big mistake. You lose 1/2 up front, then 1/2 to taxes. $500 million becomes about $130 million. Best to take the 25 yr payout or whatever the timeline is. You'll pay less in taxes. It will keep you on a budget.

music to my ear

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

I would buy me lots of land, it will be turned into my town , I would build homes for me family and I. I would also build a town for camp take notice with some work for them, something of production ,so as they can one day take care of themselves. get them a little business going (like fire wood) lots of people need fire wood .of course I find them a spot with lots of woods I would donate to the homeless single mothers .get a program for them to. travel, travel .travel. and build a dog mansion and a butler because they drive me nuts I would visit often


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

OK, Sweety, time to get off the computer. Mommy needs to do her work.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

I like your answer...kind of tells a little story...


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Stick the overwhelming majority in the bank and not tell ANYONE.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

Michigan law requires big winners' names to be made public.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Bcar you can remain anon.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

too bad they make your name public...


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

Brilliant plan. Then when that particular bank collapses you'll still have 250K protected by FDIC.