What would you buy if you won the biggest jackpot in American lottery history? Strong ticket sales in advance of Wednesday’s drawing has bumped the Powerball jackpot up to US$1.4 billion.
$1.4 billion is a big number—an impossibly big number. It’s an amount that most of us don’t deal with very often (well, ever). So, if you’re the lucky winner of Wednesday’s draw, we’re offering to help you spend it.
Now, technically, the winner won’t receive the full $1.4 billion. But more about that boring, but accurate stuff at the end.
For now, let’s just spend $1.4 billion American dollars!
Purchase a small Carribbean country. Consider buying out the island nation of St. Lucia, which had a GDP of US$1.4B in 2014. Also on the imaginary table, Antigua and Barbuda with a GDP of $1.2 billion each, or for a real steal, Grenada (above), with a 2014 GDP of $900 million.
Invest in a private island. If taking on a country isn’t on your bucket list, become ruler of your own island instead. Consider purchasing Rangyai Island in Thailand for only $100 million, and add the Shelter Island Estate in Montana for pocket change ($45 million). But, you’re going to need to get there, so why not purchase a $500-million pimped-out Airbus A380 while you’re at it.
Trade it all in for $1.99 billion Canadian dollars. Thanks horrible exchange rate!
Consider owning a football stadium. The new arena under construction in Atlanta has increased in cost to $1.4 billion.
Why buy a stadium, when you can buy a team? The St. Louis Cardinals are valued at $1.4 billion. Or, if you want to keep it in Canada, consider purchasing the Montreal Canadiens, and throw in two seasons worth of player salaries (cap estimate: $72 million).
Give Alberta a hand. In 2005, Ralph Klein spent $1.4 billion (Canadian) to give $400 cheques to every man, woman and child in Alberta. He called it a prosperity bonus. The rest of us called it Ralphbucks.
Buy more Powerball tickets! At a cost of $2 a ticket, you could throw 700 million tickets into the ring for the next draw.
Bust through ice with a new fleet. Travel in luxury to the poles with the world’s first polar-capable yacht. Helicopters, submersibles and a heated outdoor bar included! Your sweet winnings could purchase at least 10 of these.
Sponsor a refugee—or thousands. Feeling altruistic? At a cost of approximately $30,000 each, give 63,300 Syrian families of five a chance at a new life in Canada.
Help Canada’s poor. Almost five million Canadians live in poverty. With your winnings you could give $380 to each and every one of them.
Buy a handful of Playboy mansions. Feeling decidedly un-altruistic? You’re in luck! The Playboy mansion has just been put on the market for $200 million. Buy one for seven of your friends.
Buy a house—no mortgage! But only the world’s most expensive private residence will do. Located in Mumbai, Antilia (above) is officially valued at US$1 billion. The 27-floor building employs a staff of 600 and is owned by the chairman of Reliance Industries.
Make Star Wars again and again and again. The Force Awakens cost $200 million to produce, so ensure the franchise continues to your liking by putting up the money for about seven new movies. Unfortunately though, you’ll have to win a few more jackpots if you want to buy the franchise, which is priced at $10 billion.
All right, let’s get back to reality. There’s no way you’re going to walk away with all $1.4 billion. That estimated prize is only if you take your winnings in annual payments over 29 years. If you opt for the lump sum cash payout, you’ll be up only $868 million.
And then there’s the matter of tax. In the United States lotteries are taxed as ordinary income. If you chose the lump sum, you’d be left with about $524.3 million once federal taxes are subtracted. If you live in the U.S., you’ll then have to contend with state and municipal taxes. Things get even more complicated if you’re a foreigner.
Taxes suck. In reality, you’re only going to be making two Star Wars movies. Why even bother?