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What would you do if you won the Powerball jackpot?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 20, 2005

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Photo of Justin Meier

“I would have to find a person to split it with, because my mom works for the Kansas Lottery. Then I would start a church and donate the rest to worthy causes.”

Photo of Fernando Lopez

“I would donate half of it because I don’t need that much money. I would invest a quarter of it and keep the rest of it to start a business or something.”

Photo of April Cavender

“I’d pay off all of my bills and move back to St. Louis. I’d set up my retirement, do some traveling and go back to work.”

Photo of Sabra Thomason

“I would pay off my student loans, buy my parents and myself new houses and cars, do a lot of shoe shopping and go on a big, long tour of the world.”

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Sigmund 12 years, 3 months ago

Wine, women and song. The rest I would just squander.

lunacydetector 12 years, 3 months ago

i would give lots of money to qualified candidates to take back this city come next election.

-this is my 600th post. woo-hoo!

lowoncash 12 years, 3 months ago

I would pay off all of my bills. I would take a trip around the world. Then I would buy myself a new car and a house.

lunacydetector 12 years, 3 months ago is being reported that some 95 year old oregon lady with no surviving relatives won the jackpot!

....umm, well... someone in oregon won it, but i bet they are old.

neopolss 12 years, 3 months ago

I would buy some candy at the store ... and maybe even spring for a soda as well.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 3 months ago

I would have to pay off my outstanding student loan debt.

After that...take a trip to Ireland!

audvisartist 12 years, 3 months ago

I'd donate a large chunk of it to the Douglas County Dental Clinic!

ms_canada 12 years, 3 months ago

A lot of money offers what? A chance to change things in one's life. What would I change? Hmmm?? First I would buy a nice condo in the city and then I would build a lovely big home on a nearby lake. A big log cabin. I would live in the cabin in summer and the condo in winter. I would have lots of friends join me at the cabin. (with a pile of money I would have lots of friends. es la verdad?)
That is all my tired brain can manage at 5:24am

ms_canada 12 years, 3 months ago

jayhawk - can I join you on your trip to Ireland? I know lots of neat B&B's in quaint little towns in Ireland. And lots of neat pubs with great pub grub and terrific traditional music. What do you say, buddy? Want a guide?

canyon_wren 12 years, 3 months ago

I would do some things to my house that need to be done, buy something like a VW Westphalia so I could travel around and camp, help out family members, and give a large chunk of it to the Red Cross and the Nature Conservancy, since I think the latter group is one of the few environmental organizations that is really doing something useful.

Then I would visit Alaska, Italy and the British Isles, and take the "Silver and Blue" trip on the Canadian Railroad from Toronto to Vancouver. I might also buy a small farm in Kansas and raise chickens and maybe have a Jersey cow.

There are probably lots of other ways I could use that money to help others as well, but I would be very careful about donating it to organizations.

Genetic02 12 years, 3 months ago

I would pay off my student loans, car loan, and all other miscellaneous debt I have stacked up thus far and buy myself a nice house and car for now. I would do the same for my parents (and brother) and grandparents as well. With that out of the way, I would make sure all of the previously mentioned individuals were financially secure for the rest of their lives.

I would, also, give generous donations to my grandfather's church here in Lawrence, and I would help out my closest friends too (they know who they are).

After that, I would quit my job and go back to school to get a PhD in genetics.

That's all I can think of right now.

Greg Yother 12 years, 3 months ago

Damn! You stole my army of darkness schtick!

In that case, a dose of reality. Based on the testimony of past winners, the first thing you would have to do is move to another town and try to disappear for a while, or you would be in a living hell. Then hire a lawyer (and of course another lawyer to watch over that first lawyer, blah blah blah) and an accountant. Then if you're lucky, you're life wouldn't be totally ruined. Google the winner of the last record jackpot (Jack Whittaker). The guy can't fart without someone heaping a lawsuit on him. His life is in total shambles. Don't say it would never happen to you! That really makes me think. I can't stand the thought of not being in Lawrence. What the hell would I do if I actually won the damn thing?!? Even if I gave it all away, I'd still probably be constantly accosted by idiots who just too stupid to realize that I didn't have any of the money (that's where the army of darkness would have to step in). I don't know man, I think you'd be better off being one of the anonymous folks who win the $10 mil.

OK! On with the light hearted fun! (geeze, I'm sorry)

oldfashiongirl 12 years, 3 months ago

First, I would pay off all my worldly debts-that would be $11.34 my current gas bill. Then I would buy my 2 children's choice of houses, give my daughter who cannot walk after back surgery enough money to take care of her for the rest of her life, give my siblings $50K each, contribute to my church to pay off it's debt, contribute to our sister church in Klintsy, Russia to build an orphanage.

The thought comes to mind: My church would frown on its members gambling on the lottery--would they refuse my gift if they knew the source from which it came?

Would someone please tell me what the T is. They mentioned last week "taking the T from Lawrence to KC.

Also I take it the roundabouts has something to do with traffic. I was in England several years ago and I think they called them roundabouts, a sort of six sided ramps at different exit directions, very confusing. While I was there two deaths ocurred, both were American drivers who couldn't figure the blooming things out.

thunderbuns 12 years, 3 months ago

It'd never happen cuz ya gotta play to "win". I've never put one red cent into gambling in my life. There are an infinite number of losers in any game of chance as compared to "winners". All for what? A chance to "get gain". Mammon (wealth). Ye can not serve God and Mammon. Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve.

If there is chance, there is no God. Gambling is a snare of the evil one.

ku_law 12 years, 3 months ago

If you won the latest powerball, 340,000,000.00, you would give your siblings 50,000? Wow, you are a cheapskate.

bankboy119 12 years, 3 months ago

Whoa whoa whoa thunderbuns. I don't think God is going to frown on putting $1 in the Lotto if you come out 340 mil ahead. You're not serving wealth just because you put $1 in a game of chance. Now if you get addicted to it that's a different thing.

angelofmine 12 years, 3 months ago

Oh I would be very generous, that is for sure. I know I would donate to at least two churches, and quite a bit would go to breast cancer and children's cancer research. I would be calling my boss to represent me and to find a replacement for me to train....I wouldn't be working too much longer! LOL I'd be building a house post haste too.

On another just have to check this out! You can move him around and everything! I'm not a hater, but this is just hilarious:

thunderbuns 12 years, 3 months ago


You've just defined "a snare" of the evil one. Your philosophy is exactly what he wants you to think. Be very, very careful my friend.

enochville 12 years, 3 months ago

I'd take annuity payments instead of the lump sum; that would still work out to be over $10 million a year. I would pay off student loans, take care of my family, relatives and loved ones, and invest some of it in diverse options to let it grow. I am not an extravagant person and aside from having a nice home, I wouldn't be buying anything that flaunts my wealth (and I would do the same for my relatives and such). I believe being materialistic and prideful corrupts the soul.

Now, with the rest of the money, I have several projects that I would like to fund. Since I don't gamble, I'll never win that kind of money, but perhaps I'll be able to carry these projects to fruition even without money falling into my lap. I'd like to create a self-help software program. I'd like to first fund research into our prison system and then fund an overhaul where we would truly be helping inmates to better their lives while protecting society. I'd like to develop software for kids to help them learn productive and effective ways to cope with what life throws at them and get their needs met. I'd like to fund television shows, movies, songs, radio programs, books, software, and internet sites that teach principles of life that would be to the benefit of all mankind. I'd like to promote programs that help the elderly who want to do more, contribute to society by sharing of their free time and their years of experience. They could compile nuggets of wisdom from the best books, be serogate grandparents for single parents, serve missions where they share of their love and testimony of Christ to those in need, they could labor in genealogy, or compile the life stories of others their age, etc.

There are so many good things that I would like to do with $340 million, hopefully, another way will be provided to make these things happen.

italianprincess 12 years, 3 months ago

I spent $5.00 last night to win nothing, but if I did win this is how it would be spent.

First and foremost I would set my mom up. Pay off her house, buy her a new car and give her enough money to not have to worry about much. My dad would also get some so he can restore his 51 Merc that he has had since he was about 18.

My boys would come next of course. They wouldn't have to worry about college at all. I would put enough money in the bank for them to receive when they turn 25. Give them each some to spend now, not much but enough to have some fun with.

My family would each get some also. The younger ones would get theirs when they also reach a certain age.

As far as myself........I would love to own a little preschool attached to my house. Therefore I would buy a larger house then we are in right now and have a little preschool built next to it. The building would be large enough to have at least 50 children and an indoor play ground. I love teaching so for me not to work would probably drive me crazy.

Invest of course, give some to charity and help others who are less forunate then I am.

The weather is calling for showers this Saturday. The benefit is still planned to go on, so say a prayer for us that the rain goes away.

muzeick 12 years, 3 months ago

First, pay off my bills and those of my family. Buy each member a new car and a home. Set up a trust fund for my brother's children, give my immediate family each $2M and let them decide how they want to handle it.

There are a couple of non-profit agencies in Lawrence that would get an amazing donation.

I would save the rest.

thunderbuns 12 years, 3 months ago

To all you "noble" people who'd give your "winnings" to charity and churches and breast cancer research, blah, blah, blah:.

Here's an idea: just give the money that you use to buy lottery tickets to them to begin with. The chances of you "winning" the lottery are nil anyway. Think of all the dollars you've thrown down in your life to gambling. Wouldn't you rather have all those charities benefit from your money than the slim controlling lottery money? Someone's getting rich of the lottery money --- and it ain't the schools! Mammon. Serve it if you will.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

e_m: I think jumping off the bridge has been banned, better check before trying, just in case. I know how you want to be compliant :)

I would hire a detective to identify posters to this board and take them to dinner -- in Bali, or Rome, or Barcelona, oh well, we can decide that later. First the group would have to take a trip to Houston to find o_m_b. I've heard he hangs around street corners playing air banjo.

Oh yeah, then I would take jayhawk226 and ms_canada to Ireland -- what a trio we would make -- everyone would think he was a fine young laddie escorting his grandmothers through the old country .

lunacy: aren't you the prolific rascal -- 600 -- congrats!!

Greg Yother 12 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry, I just can't stomach getting all of the answers to life from someone who calls themselves "thunderbuns"

enochville 12 years, 3 months ago

thunderbuns: I agree with your point in general. If you read my message, you'll see that I, like you, do not gamble. However, if you want to promote giving to charities and discourage gambling, you'd be a lot more effective if you did not use such a demeaning and condemning voice when you are writing to people. People respond to judgmental voices by shutting them out and will not listen to your suggestions. "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar".

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

As a disclaimer I have to tell all of you that my chances of winning are not very good at all. I don't buy lottery tickets, so you see, no hope at all. Sorry!! How about lunch at Free State Brewery instead?

I'm too cheeeep to be a gambler. Even the boats hold no appeal for me. Something about me betting the casino that I will win (in their house) and them betting me I won't. Just doesn't sound right to me.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

Ceallach, apologies for misspelling your screen name late last night, nothing intended. you weren't last after all!

not such hard work at KU today?

no gamble, no win, fine with me

oldfashiongirl 12 years, 3 months ago

KU-law: No, I'm not a cheapskate! All my siblings (10) have college degrees (I do not) and that alone would amount to $500,000.00 What with lump sum payout and all the taxes you have to pay, I think that is overly generous. All these siblings have children, most all are little ingrates. In fact one of them said at a family reunion that "if anyone is going to leave me anything on their death that I would prefer having it now so I could enjoy it." These are the same ingrates who never write a thank you note and think of only themselves. My will covers my siblings, and anything their children receive from them, probably including the $50,000 I would give, would end up in their greedy little hands.

thunderbuns 12 years, 3 months ago


You've got a good point there, and I shall strive to do better.

THX1138: I'm with ya. I feel the same way. The moniker just came to me and made me laugh outloud. It's goofy and so am I.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

the proposed roundabout at 14th and Ohio would spoil what used to be called "ice slide roulette."
I knew some guys who actually did this, so I hope by describing it, I don't encourage some other idiot to try! but, if you do, you will probably remove yourself from the gene pool. it consisted of starting at 14th and jayhawk blvd, perhaps with an old-fashioned metal trash can lid on a very icey day (this was the '80s). grease the bottom for better results.
get on the slider/trash can lid. you cannot much stop or steer, hence the roulette. you hit the intersection of 14th and TN, and maybe there's a break in traffic, maybe not. if not, you do get stopped! and, you lose, you're probably outa the gene pool.
now, for describing this dangerous game, my post gets removed in order to protect some idiot who would actually try it?

guess the proposed roundabout could be equipped with a ski jump?

Jayhawk226 12 years, 3 months ago


You are certainly more than welcome to join me on that trip to Ireland. Just treat me to a few pints of Guiness and we're good to go!

ku_law 12 years, 3 months ago

oldfashiongirl- Yes, you are a cheapskate. After taxes and whatnot, that 340,000,000.00 is still well over 100,000,000 in lump sum (according to some reporter on the news last night). So 500,000.00 out of the over 100,000,000.00 you will have...NOT overly generous. Your siblings college education is irrelevant. You are going to give your siblings each what amounts to a year's salary while you sit at home with over a hundred million? BIG CHEAPSKATE. Giving them each one million is still only 10million out of the over ONE HUNDRED MILLION you would have. You are by far the stingiest hypothetical multi-millionaire I 'know.'

enochville 12 years, 3 months ago

You don't start off with $340 million if you get it lump sum. You start off with $116.4 million before taxes. After taxes, you'd have about $80.3 million. It is still a lot though.

ku_law 12 years, 3 months ago

No, 116.4 million is what you get after taxes and everything. That guy who won 325m on powerball ended up with 113m take home. No way the 340m is less. Additionally, people covering powerball last night on the news stated that over 100m figure is take home...NOT pre-taxes.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

e_m, thunder: Left a note at the end of yesterday's thread.

gnome: No problem, it's not easy to spell. It was good to see a little more late night activity on the board. Not so busy today, yesterday was a killer. Our secretary quit so everyone is trying to cover that desk and do our own work, the fun never ends when you work for the state :) Boy did I speak too soon. The office is being invaded by younger versions of the Capitol One ads!!

ms_canada 12 years, 3 months ago

Slainte mhath! Guiness for you, jayhawk and Harp for me and I am good to go, but ceallach will have to stick with ginger ale Ask her why, but I don't understand why a gal with a good old Irish name would not drink guiness. Hey, ceallach, with our millions we could buy up a couple or three of those wonderful B&B's that Ireland is so famous for and settle down as the most congenial hostess's in the whole emerald isle. What say?

enochville 12 years, 3 months ago

The funny thing is, people like Bill Gates could win the jackpot everytime. There are only 146,107,962 combinations the 6 balls can take. If he bought a ticket to play each combination he would spend $146,107,962 (a drop in the bucket for him, and he is sure to win, every prize out there). It would only make sense for him to spend that kind of money if the jackpot is considerably more than the $146 million he paid as the $340 million in annuity payments is. The only down side is if someone else has the jackpot winning numbers as well, because then he'd have to share, but if he played often enough he could make a lot of money. And before anyone says he could make more by investing that money for 30 years, it is unlikely that he would make more through investments unless they were very risky investments.

b_asinbeer 12 years, 3 months ago

In regards to Mr. Meier's comments...Start a church??? What is this now, a business? I understand if you want to spread your faith and support local charities, etc. that's all good, but start a church? You don't "start" churches, churches get developed by support, trust and can fund it if people demand it. He's making it sound like he wants to develop his own following. At least, that's how I understood it...

enochville 12 years, 3 months ago


If the news guys said what you are claiming, they were wrong.

ku_law 12 years, 3 months ago

According to the Missouri Powerball site and another Kansas City info site, the lump sum before taxes on 340mill is 166m. After taxes, that amounts to roughly 116m.

ku_law 12 years, 3 months ago

My apologies, pre-tax, it is 164.4m.

ku_law 12 years, 3 months ago

In short, it says "If you win tonight's $340 million Powerball jackpot - and that's a mighty big if - you'll probably take it as a lump sum. Most people do. That'll leave you $164.4 million, of which the feds will take 25 percent.

Leaving you with $123.3 million. "

bankboy119 12 years, 3 months ago

I would take the annuity payments. I'll invest on top of what interest it's already earning. And oldfashioned, I'd only give them that too...if they deserved that. Handing people money isn't the answer to anything, just look at the welfare program.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

ms_canada: It's my Cherokee stomach that causes the problems :)

enochville 12 years, 3 months ago

ku_law: I am sorry. I had remember $116.4 million instead of $164.4 million. I thought the news guy had made the common mistake of thinking that the cash payout was the jackpot amount minus taxes, but it turns out that I had misremembered the cash amount and the correct amount was no longer on the powerball site for me to double check.

Redneckgal 12 years, 3 months ago

I'd pay off my house. Probably sell it or give it to one of the kids and build me a bigger one. Then I'd buy me a brand new pick-up. I think I'd probably still go to work-I'd just be a little braver about speaking my mind while I was there!

ms_canada 12 years, 3 months ago

i_ching - speak to Tom Delay. I hear that it is possible.

samsnewplace 12 years, 3 months ago

I would buy the City some real "ART", not this junk that looks like a left-over piece of construction that some company forgot and left behind at the courthouse. The one that really bothers me is at 9th & Mass., looks like a sawblade...I keep waiting for the LJW story on "kid running and pokes his eye out on City Art". That would be my first buy for sure.

enochville 12 years, 3 months ago

Ceallach: Do you have Cherokee blood? According to family legend, I do too, but have been unable to find any evidence of it, yet.

craigers 12 years, 3 months ago

I would tithe 10 percent off the top when I received the annuity payments. Then I would buy a new house for me, my mother-in-law, parents, and townhomes for siblings in college. Start trusts for nieces and nephews for college, and get a couple new vehicles. The most extravagant would be a porshe since i don't need a ferrari or lamborginni. Oh yeah, and I would give the houses that I, my parents, and in-laws had to people that can't afford a house of their own. Have my wife stay home and adopt some kids in addition to the five we would have. I would like to still work, but you know how annoying that would be with people bothering you all the time and that sort of thing. Oh well, I guess there is a price to pay for having that much money, but more people in this country have that much money than we know.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

enochville: I do. You might try the nation's website there may be a way to find an ancestor if they were registered.

Be sure to check out the left nav bar, it is so cool. On mouse-over you see an alt tag with the English pronunciation and the English word changes to the word in Cherokee. btw, the great Patriot Chief Sequoyah, he developed the Cherokee written language, was only 1/4 Cherokee. They are a very inclusive tribe. The Cherokee Nation is also part of the Five Civilized Tribes. Visit Tahlequah, OK sometime, lots of research prospects there.

harrierist 12 years, 3 months ago

Go to Montana, buy a log cabin in the wilderness, with all the conviences and then check out of modern society.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

Redneckgirl: I don't know where you work, but most places aren't open to people speaking their mind, therefore, you might end up unemployed after all :)

bankboy119 12 years, 3 months ago

Everybody would do the same thing, amazing. Not saying it's a bad thing but amazing that everybody would do pretty much the same thing.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

In addition to the good things I'd do, I think I'd finally learn to say "NO!"

gccs14r 12 years, 3 months ago

There would be a puff of dust and a small thunderclap where I'd been standing as I made a beeline to the airport for the first flight to Darwin, Australia. Once there, I'd find a wife, have a couple of kids, buy an Austin Healey 100/4 for a daily driver, and go climb mountains for fun. Philanthropy is for folks who have real money. $340 million ($85 million after taxes if taken as a lump sum) doesn't count.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

83 here, a little better than yesterday, nothing like greed, sloth, pride, and glutony...

no late night comments from cealach, the barbarians (KU students?) must have worn her out!

probably too late in the day for this so should post again tomorrow: today the city road crew actually graded my alley, second time in one year! not being sarcastic, or other humor, I just want to say thanks! before the semi-annual grading, it contained about a dozen massive craters! now, it is smoother than most pothole infested streets of lawrence!
dunno what my lowly neighborhood did to deserve such wonderful care, but I ain't complainin'.
Thanks road workers.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

Now we're getting down to reality thinking! Those are the types of things people usually do when they win big money. They never wear the same thing twice and plate their cars and/or teeth with gold

Did you notice how altruistic most of today's posts were? If I win I will feet the poor, clothe the cold, take burdens off of my loved ones and give God 10% (after taxes of course, wouldn't want to get too carried away :) In actuality most people become totally self centered and every little quirk in their personality (the ones everyone either overlooks or refuses to believe it is really them) increases exponentially.

I guess no one wants to believe they will get rid of their spouse, cut off their greedy relatives, get their kids out of their hair by giving them enough money to become addicted to the finer things in life such as drugs, alcohol. How many people would guess that in a relatively short time they will be flat broke with no family and no friends.

Gee, that's another reason not to buy a ticket. Now I'm afraid to even go through the checkout lanes that sell those omens of ruination, when all I really wanted was to take the ljw posters to dinner :):)

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

It takes more than a few barbarians to get the best of a Celtic Cherokee!! Hmmmm..... Does that make me a Celtokee?

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

Ceallach, I think you might be a Cherotic...but I'd let you take me to dinner and I wouldn't even make you win the lottery first! ;) p.s. I think I'm a Heinz 57...or a mutt. Oh, and I'd chip in for dessert. Heck, I ain't THAT rich...I'd make you would taste better anyway. (Not bragging, just a bit of a food critic when I have to pay good money for it)

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

Forgot to say "good night all." I farmed my wee bairns to my sis for the night and it's just me and the hubby. SIGH I'm sure I'll find some way to get myself to sleep. ;)

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

One more thing before I go.

Are there any gnomes that aren't bearded? Maybe baby gnomes? Or female gnomes?

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

My Irish grandmother would smack me good if I didn't put the Celtic blood first :) Cherotic wouldn't be bad, but it sounds too much like heretic I'm half Irish, the rest is German and Cherokee -- is it any wonder I get confused? All those mixed messages!!

sun_sue: I'll get the tip :) gnome, you might as well join us.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

Female gnomes.

and, no quote tonight, I posted a whole sonnet will just have to do from last night.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

sun_sue, I'll have to read up on gnomology. I not very well versed on gnomes. It would be cute though, little baby gnomes with little beards :) I may be confusing gnomes with trolls. Oh well, Outer Limits is on, time to say good night Gracie. I can't go to campus in a weakened condition :)


Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

We'll just re-read that one.

Hope all y'all have a good night.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

"without little girl gnomes, what would little boy gnomes do?" (RE Gigi, with apologies.)

if you remember the old computer game Zork, that's my gnomesake "XYZZY."

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

CHEROTIC sounds like a condition of the blood vessels, so stick with the other way. Good night and fortify.

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