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Lottery winnings divided

Published 8:45am Monday, April 2, 2012 Updated 10:47am Monday, April 2, 2012

I have already explained it to the staff — there’s a chance that, come Monday, I won’t show up for work.

Of course, the chance of that is about 1 in 176,000,000.

On Friday, I couldn’t help myself but to buy 14 tickets (four individually, 10 as part of a group) from the MegaMillions lottery, which will yield at least $250 million if I take it as a lump sum, and after state and federal taxes have been paid.

I know, I know. The chances are better that I would die from being left-handed, get fatally crushed by a vending machine, or become president. But I don’t want to do those things (that’s right. Big news flash. I don’t want to be president. I’m not sure why anyone would these days, frankly.) But I do want to win the lottery.

There are some questions as to whether someone would really want to win the lottery. Roughly one-third of lottery winners find themselves in serious financial trouble or bankrupt within five years of turning in their lucky numbers, according to a couple of websites.

Now, some of those winners won a paltry $1 million. Sorry, but while such a prize would be nice, $1 million — unless invested wisely — certainly isn’t going to set you up for life. Just ask Dennis Rodman. He made nearly $27 million during his 11-year NBA career, and that doesn’t even include all of his endorsements and celebrity appearances.

Yet, today, he owes $860,000 in child support, and it is believed he is flat broke.

Still, it’s hard to believe someone, especially myself, would ever burn through $250 million.

Nevertheless, if the numbers on my MegaMillions tickets are the ones called, then it might change me for life.

So in the spirit of Grover Norquist and the “No New Taxes” pledge, I am going to make a pledge that I will be spending my $250 million in the following manner.

• $150 million will be invested. I am going to split it up between all of the Fergus Falls-based brokers I know (If I don’t know you, don’t bother to claim you’re a Fergus Falls-based broker).

Even if they can get me a reasonable 5 percent return, that’s $7.5 million per year, which should keep the nest egg inflation-proof. When I die, I’ll let you know in my will what this money will be used for.

• $50 million will go to the community. Do what you wish with it — a new library, an expanded YMCA, a new aquatic center, new athletic fields, maybe a better hockey arena, a foundation to help those in need. I plan on living here when I’m not travelling, so I’d like to see our community be better off for it.

• $25 million to the family. I’m going to let a lawyer decide who gets what of this, and I’m cutting it off at first-cousins.

Apparently, I have 256 second-cousins (and I think I’ve only met a handful), so if I’m going to extend my generosity that far, the money will go quick.

$20 million to let my wife and daughter buy or do whatever they want. No more needs to be said here, for fear of getting in trouble.

As for the $5 million for myself, here are a few things I would do:

Go on a year-long golf trip, playing 18 holes a day on the finest courses in the world. I figure I can get by on $1 million for the year if I take myself, spouse and child, and a group of people (they know who they are as well) and we go all out with great accommodations and meals.

I’d probably buy a nice lake place around here, a good boat-and-vehicle combo, and maybe a new pontoon. Let’s call this one $1 million.

A nice home somewhere south, preferably by a beach and really nice golf courses.

I’ll need to spend about $2 million to do this, I figure. Nothing too big, but prices are inflated in those vacation areas.

$1 million to simply give me the freedom to buy what I want or donate to what I want. I think I’d like to have at least some freedom in this regard.

There. The $250 million is now spoken for. For those who think it would be worth your time to call me to see if I’ll stray from my budget, you can put the phone down.

Besides, I’m in the middle of a difficult putt on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach right now.


Joel Myhre is The Journal’s Publisher. E-mail him at

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