The Powerball has finally been won! The $580 million prize is the second largest lottery ever awarded, and certainly caused a ticket buying frenzy over the last several days. Although I didn’t buy any tickets (see: 11 things more likely to happen than winning the Powerball jackpot), I love using the lottery as a way to encourage my clients to dream.
Even if you didn’t buy a ticket, I bet you thought about what you would do with all that money. I sure did! Buy a vacation home in the Alps, travel the world, give to charity... the list is endless. Take a minute and write down everything you said you’d do if you won the lottery. If you aren’t already wealthy, $580 million (you would actually get about half of this after taxes and if you took the lump sum, but let’s ignore that for now) is enough to pretty much do anything you want. So... what would you do?
I ask all new clients what they would do with unlimited time and money. A lottery of this size helps put it into perspective. What if they won the lottery? The most common answer I hear is “I’d quit my job.” Other common responses are travel, spend more time with family, and establish a trust to fund college education for family members.
The reason for this question is that we are constantly burdened by reality. We are held back by our preconceived notions of what can actually be accomplished. If I just ask you what your goals are, I hear “save for retirement” but who actually gets fired up about saving for retirement? Not very many people. But giving you unlimited money encourages you to step out of your current reality (in which you don’t have $580 million) and see what life would look like after changing that reality.
Although I can’t give clients the lottery in order to fund their goals, it is an incredibly powerful exercise in finding out what people want most out of life. It is a way to discover someone's hopes, dreams, goals, and life ambitions. We can then work these discoveries into their financial plan. All clients may not be able to quit their job tomorrow, but they might be able to start positioning for a career change. The second home in the Alps may be too expensive, but a couple of weeks on the ski slopes might be doable. Just don’t tell yourself it can’t be done... it may just be your money scripts talking.
So, how would you spend the $580 million? How could you accomplish one or more of those goals today? I would love to hear your feedback!
Alan Moore is a fee-only financial planner and founder of Serenity Financial Consulting in Shorewood WI. Follow him on Twitter @R_Alan_Moore. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 414-455-5313, or visit his website at www.SerenityFC.com. Want more education? Download your free guide to the “10 Easy Steps To Securing Your Financial Future Today.”