What would you do with $30 million? This is a game I learned from my granny when I was really young. When there’s a big lottery jackpot, you figure out what you’d do if you won it all.

This week’s Max lotto jackpot is $30 million. When I saw that this morning, I (of course) bought a ticket (I buy a ticket whenever it’s over $12 million); and then I started obsessing over what I’d do with that money.

It’s lunch time, so I started trolling the internet for houses in Ottawa over $1 million. Man, there’s some nice houses. There’s even one in my neighbourhood. The funny thing is, I can’t tell where people who have that much money have such bad taste in rugs. I mean really… the overwhelming clash of patterns between oriental rugs and faux french furniture is really really jarring. But, i digress.

So, I was looking at houses and thinking “gee, it’d be nice to live in one that didn’t shake when a truck went by”. I live on a main street, a highway exit, to be precise. It’s a great house, but tends to be a bit dodge when the trucks go by, and will continue to be until they repave it.

So, here’s what I’m thinking with my cool $30mil:

  • Sell current house; replace with similarly swanky new house somewhere nearby but on a quiet street (net: $400K)
  • Pay off my brother and sister-in-law’s mortgage (around $250K)
  • Get non-Ikea shelving ($2K)
  • Get a hybrid SUV. Yes, I’m a sucker for the height, and it’s all my dad’s fault. ($40K)
  • Pay off my best friends’ mortgage ($400K)

Those would be my immediate expenses, and I think that adds up to $1.1 million. With over $28 million left, I think I’d quit my job and not work for a while until I figured out a master plan. Cost of not working? Food, hydro, gas for the car and the house, gym membership and cable/internet. And various insurance payments, cause let’s face it… I’d feel weird without insurance even if I didn’t actually need it anymore. So, maybe $20K.

On my time off, I’d take a trip. I think I’d like to be pedestrian and go to Europe. Castles and cathedrals sound pretty good to me, and I love old architecture. Copenhagen, Oslo, Paris, Munich, Lisbon, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, Dublin, Edinburgh. The big places, with a smattering of countryside thrown in. I’d fly some people out to meet me for different legs. Project cost: $30K, cause I’m staying in decent hotels, and might fly business class.

I’d hire a financial manager with serious cred (like, I’m going to Toronto for this one) to help me set up a foundation and a stream of income coming from the money. I figure I can live forever off $10 million, so the other $17 million or so I’d put into the foundation. (Cost of manager $250K)

Here’s the tricky part. What do I want the foundation to do? Obviously give money away, but to do what? To what end? What would my criteria be? Domestic or international?

That’s what I’d do on my down time on that year off. Research and planning.

That’s what I’d do with my money. What would you do if you won the lottery this friday? Did you buy a ticket, or are you planning to?