Posts Tagged ‘Winning a lottery’

I was visiting with one of my friends on the phone this morning.  He told me about a former client, Jill, who had won the lottery.  The after tax payment to Jill was a lump sum of $13,000,000.  Where I grew up, that’s a sizeable lump.

Before I could say, “Yeah, but you know most lottery winners are worse off two years after they win the lottery than they were before,” my friend said Jill had told him the lottery curse was complete nonsense.  Almost 10 years after winning the lottery, Jill and her husband were living fun and fulfilling lives.  They didn’t buy mansions and they didn’t adopt any bad habits.  Each year they harvested 6% income from the $13,000,000 (which according to my math is closing in on $800,000), they traveled and they did pretty much what they damn well pleased.

That story got my friend and I talking about the question:  How much is enough?  How we answer that question has a profound impact on the joy and satisfaction we experience, and perhaps even on the level of success we attain.  My friend also shared some advice from a source he didn’t name (or that I don’t remember).  It went like this:

“Give away the first 10% you earn.  Save the next 10%.  Pay taxes and live on the balance.  If you do this, you’ll never be sorry and you’ll never be broke.”

That simple suggestion and its remarkable promise took my breath away.  Of course, many religions teach the practice of tithing and charity toward others.  And we’ve all, no doubt, received the admonition from one of the many financial gurus to save, save, save.  Both of which are sound ideas to my mind.  But when you add the promise, you’ll never be sorry and you’ll never be broke – somehow that ramps the power of these ideas up exponentially.

What if we followed this practice in our businesses?  What if we donated the first 10% – to the church or school of our choice, to the many wonderful private agencies that serve the disadvantaged, to an incubator for new business start-ups, or to the arts?  And then, what if we saved the next 10%?  What would it be like, after a time, to be sitting on a stack of cash?  Wouldn’t that allow us to weather the inevitable storms?  Wouldn’t that allow us to make decisions based on what was really best for our business – without feeling like there was a gun to our head?  Wouldn’t we feel better about ourselves and sleep a bit more soundly at night?

But then I wonder, what would it take to give away the first 10%save the next 10%?  Do we have the will, the generosity, the courage?  If not 10%, how about 5%?  If not 5%, how about 2%?  Could it be this idea is better than winning the lottery?  I’m not sure.  But I am 100% convinced it is more likely than winning the lottery and that the payoff could be huge!