# If I had a billion dollars I would...

Calculated to 9 significant figures, the probability of winning the PowerBall jackpot is the same, whether you buy a ticket, or don't.

Got it.. year 2 I’d buy a bunch of lobbyists and Senators to keep GA alive forever!
This is the first serious cash burn idea that I saw.

Calculated to 9 significant figures, the probability of winning the PowerBall jackpot is the same, whether you buy a ticket, or don't.

Not exactly, not buying a ticket has zero chance of winning. Buying a ticket gives you a very low, but non-zero chance of winning. ANY chance is infinitely more than zero.

Not exactly, not buying a ticket has zero chance of winning. Buying a ticket gives you a very low, but non-zero chance of winning. ANY chance is infinitely more than zero.

You missed "9 sig figs." The chance of winning is equal to 0.00000000. 0.00000000 does not equal 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000....

You missed "9 sig figs." The chance of winning is equal to 0.00000000. 0.00000000 does not equal 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000....

Only one of your examples has a chance to win enough money to pay a prominent mathematician to come give you a wedgie for this bit of pedantry.

1 > 0

infinitely.

Always fun to fantasize. I'd invest it and use the income at first. I'd probably tear down my house and build a better one in its place. I actually love my house, but it has some quirks that can't be fixed without starting over. I'd hire people for the upkeep on the property (7 acres) as my husband and I are getting old. Give a bunch to my nieces, including paying off their mortgages. I don't know if I'd buy a new airplane. I like my C182A and am comfortable with it. Might buy a Gulfstream and a pilot to go with it, though, and get the training to be co-pilot; not really interested in trying to become PIC of a fighter jet at my age.

Then I'd start giving it away. Endow a couple of professorships in conservative studies at my alma mater, which was the birthplace of political correctness and now is over-the-top woke, just to stick it in their eye. I would love to have that conversation, watch them drool over the potential money but recoil from the criteria. I'm not actually all that conservative, but they are beyond the pale.

Then I'd endow a bunch of scholarships in geology at places where I've taught and student research and travel grants at a couple of my professional societies. All that might cut into the principle a bit. Probably leave the rest to my nieces and a passel of charities in my will.

Don’t leave out POA!
Like I said, a passel of charities. That could include POA, if y'all are nice enough to me.

Like I said, a passel of charities. That could include POA, if y'all are nice enough to me.

Well, you did get your new avatar, after all...

Buy a Marchetti SF260, based near my new villa in Arizona. Share the hangar with my Cessna Caravan. Maybe do political contributions each year to whoever is opposing a Soros candidate.

It’s completely voluntary and is in essence a tax on stupidity. What’s not to like?

Some people think the state shouldn't be exploiting the stupid. They have enough problems as it is without their own government taking advantage of them also.

Some people think the state shouldn't be exploiting the stupid.
Unfortunately, exploiting the smart is a much more difficult task.

2. Ban me me's
3. ?
I would not tell you guys a dang thing!

Oops, I mean, oh dang it. Carry on.

You missed "9 sig figs." The chance of winning is equal to 0.00000000. 0.00000000 does not equal 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000....

No, your argument is based on a rounding error. 0.000000000 is not really zero in this case, because maybe the chance is 0.0000000000001, while rounded is the same, is not zero.

If you buy one ticket, you have a non-zero chance of winning, however low that it. If you don't buy a ticket you have zero chance of winning.

Some people think the state shouldn't be exploiting the stupid. They have enough problems as it is without their own government taking advantage of them also.

No, the states just decided that those people were already gambling, so why not make it legal and take it over.

There was one group, that when the original pick 3 games came out, started just using the official lottery numbers for their numbers business. No one could complain about them gaming the numbers, and people still used the numbers games because the runners came to them to take their bets and pay their winnings.

Eventually, the lottery was so convenient, that most people started playing the "legal" system.

I would spend half on wine, women and song, and the other half foolishly

I would spend half on wine, women and song, and the other half foolishly

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.” - Benjamin Franklin

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.” - Benjamin Franklin

You left out women and song.

You left out women and song.

Ah Ha! My wife is a music major and thus covers both categories!

No, the states just decided that those people were already gambling, so why not make it legal and take it over

Some people think the state shouldn't be exploiting the stupid. They have enough problems as it is without their own government taking advantage of them also. For example, instead of sinking to the level of the casinos maybe the state should instead tax them and use the proceeds to help those with gambling addictions.

Some people think the state shouldn't be exploiting the stupid.

That's going to make for an interesting legislative campaign. "We need to eliminate the lottery to protect you. Because you're idiots."

How many mayo jars would I need to bury my cash in? Prolly would need to buy a back hoe. Maybe a new double wide. New jugs for the wife. Chevy dually for me. Maybe pay Keith Urban to never produce another song.

How many mayo jars would I need to bury my cash in? Prolly would need to buy a back hoe. Maybe a new double wide. New jugs for the wife. Chevy dually for me. Maybe pay Keith Urban to never produce another song.
I dunno…seems like having both a wife and a back hoe would get expensive real quick.

That's going to make for an interesting legislative campaign. "We need to eliminate the lottery to protect you. Because you're idiots."

Yup. The dumber they are, they harder it is to protect them from themselves.

Some people think the state shouldn't be exploiting the stupid. They have enough problems as it is without their own government taking advantage of them also. For example, instead of sinking to the level of the casinos maybe the state should instead tax them and use the proceeds to help those with gambling addictions.

Uh, they do tax the casinos.

It is hard to tax illegal numbers operators.

"Uh, they do tax the casinos" AND use the money to help those with gambling addictions? A: Some, but not much. And very passively. Hell, they don't even have meaningful laws prohibiting predatory casino practices that target those with gambling addictions.

"It is hard to tax illegal numbers operators"

That's such a small piece of the puzzle that I don't even know if we should care about it. What do you know?

We fixed smallpox. We fixed polio. We haven't figured out how to fix addition yet. And I'm not suggesting that all gambling is done by addicts.

These days, we probably wouldn't fix either smallpox or polio, because there's more money in treating a disease than curing it. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but most of what I hear of from big medicine or addiction/recovery is about treatment, not cure.

If we could fix addiction, though? It would be maybe the best thing for humanity in 100 years. Crime rates would plummet. Domestic violence would almost completely go away. Highways would be far safer. Online shopping channels would go away.

These days, we probably wouldn't fix either smallpox or polio, because there's more money in treating a disease than curing it. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but most of what I hear of from big medicine or addiction/recovery is about treatment, not cure.

Similarly, I believe there will never be a cure for cancer. There’s too much money to be made in the treatment and care.

Similarly, I believe there will never be a cure for cancer. There’s too much money to be made in the treatment and care.

I understand the sentiment, but I hope that's not true. The suffering around that particular disease or set of diseases can be off the charts. Anyone that's lost someone to it, and that's most everyone, has a reason to want a cure.

"Uh, they do tax the casinos" AND use the money to help those with gambling addictions? A: Some, but not much. And very passively. Hell, they don't even have meaningful laws prohibiting predatory casino practices that target those with gambling addictions.
True. Watched a family member donate probably well north of a quarter mil to Jack Binion and his minions. There’s a gambling addiction hotline… that the person has to call themselves; there’s not a damn thing family or anyone else can do.

When she got too old to drive, the casino would send a limo to pick her up at the assisted living place. Then at the cheaper one she had to move to because they’d sucked so much out of her she couldn’t afford the nice one any more.

Real princes, these guys.

Similarly, I believe there will never be a cure for cancer. There’s too much money to be made in the treatment and care.

I think history proves otherwise. Many past scourges, think polio and smallpox as just two examples, were essentially eradicated as soon as someone discovered a vaccine.

Cancer will not someday be “cured”, since cancer is a catchall term for a wide variety of different specific and varied types of cancer. But we can expect that over time, gene therapy and vaccines and/or other interventions will gradually find cures or vaccines or other means to attack each mode of cancer one after another. I can be pretty cynical at times, but not cynical enough to think there’s organized resistance to finding cancer cures.

Lots of infectious diseases can be cured. Hepatitis C is now curable, a rare thing for a viral disease.

Similarly, I believe there will never be a cure for cancer. There’s too much money to be made in the treatment and care.

There are already cures for some cancers. And tremendously improved results for others. The hard part about cancers is that they are your own cells gone rogue, so it's hard to kill them without killing you. mRNA exists mostly because of the search for cures. The idea is to sequence your cancer and create a curative therapy specifically for you. We are getting closer every day...

Your comment reminds me 100% of what I heard hundreds of people saying in the 1980's. "Cars will always rust because the car makers want you to have to replace them". And here we are in a world where you have to *really* mistreat a car to get it to rust and you can expect to get 200,000 miles out of them instead of 75,000 because people want things that work. And they do the same thing with cancer treatments. When there is a cure available, they buy that instead of chemo, making tons of money for the teams that created the cure.

Lots of infectious diseases can be cured. Hepatitis C is now curable, a rare thing for a viral disease.

The medication to cure it is expensive though...

I suppose I need to dial back the cynicism a bit.

I invest for my real retirement, but regularly buy \$5 a couple times a month to hit the PB, Mega, and State lotto. It's worth \$10/mo to dream, and I don't check them right away, just next time I remember to bring them to the grocery store, so I get two weeks of fun and escapist thinking out of \$5.

If the cash value was 360M after tax and taking it up front, there are a few things I'd do immediately, and a few things I'd think on. Besides doing all the safety and security stuff to protect my family, I'd probably have to admit to a small windfall to cover some of what I'd want to do.

I live in a really well off community (there are billionaires in my town) so having hundreds of millions would be unusual, but not unique. Where it would be a problem is my family is all in a very modest town, so I would help them in a way that didn't ruin everything.

I'd probably have to lie to my parents and tell them that I had a \$2M ish real estate windfall to cover getting them better houses (not palaces) and paying them off. I really couldn't count on my mom not to run her mouth, which would cause more problems for her than for me, but she could say "my city son did well on a spec house and paid mine off" without putting herself in danger or attracting bad people to her, but if she slipped that i"m worth a few hundred million, it would cause a bunch of issues.

As for me, I would definitely quit our jobs immediately, we're already trying to find ways to have more time with our kids, and I'd simplify some stuff (sell off a rental house I have, or more likely, have it demolished and sell the lot so there's not liability).

I'd invest in timberlands/etc and for my own security, ensure I had a couple of self sustaining places that were unassailable even if I'm sued/etc. ie, set them up in trusts so I can't possibly have them taken away from me and could always "fail back" to them. This would make me sleep a lot better.

I would invest in self care, ensuring I had a workout/nutrition regimen and coaching and I would likely get an individual tutor for the kids to ensure they got the right education for what they're going to have to do. Again, I'm fortunate in that I'm in a community where I could get to some families with similar wealth and learn that whole world, even though I'm just a poor mill town boy done good.

Honestly, the key is setting it up so it doens't ruin you and also doesn't become a consuming thing. Probably invest the first 6 months in getting everything set up (family office/etc) and then focus more on living.

Yeah, and I'd probably finally get a plane, though instead of a traveler, I'd be way more likely to get a small, slow, fun plane for me, and have a private/charter for getting me places when i want to. I'd be pretty much done with part 121 travel.

The hard part about cancers is that they are your own cells gone rogue, so it's hard to kill them without killing you.

I recall an article in Scientific American on the topic years ago. It made the point that every cell in your body, from brain cells to toenail cells, can trace its history back to the very first cell in an unbroken chain of cell division. So, cells are basically programmed to keep dividing and reproducing and need a very clear signal - basically “Enough already! Stop it and settle into your job.” Cancer occurs when that signal is ignored for some reason and things get out of hand. The conclusion was it’s not so much why we get cancer, but why it doesn’t happen all the time!

I will, of course, stipulate that’s a vast simplification, and will yield to any medical professional or biologist who can poke holes in it.

The medication to cure it is expensive though...
Extremely so. But it’s only a few more years till some of the front-line drugs come off-patent. The generics will be much cheaper.