OHIO VALLEY — While you’re waking up to find out if there’s a winner in the record $1.5 billion Powerball Jackpot this morning, some local residents had a few ideas of what they would do should they be lucky enough to own the winning ticket.
As of Wednesday before the 7 p.m. drawing, the Powerball jackpot grew to an eye-opening $1.5 billion, and people who normally don’t buy lottery tickets were flocking to area outlets to purchase a ticket or two for their chance at the record prize.
Ohio Valley Publishing on Monday asked on its Facebook pages, “What would you do with $1.3 BILLION (now up to $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion) if you win the Powerball jackpot?” The responses included the usual purchases and donations to charity, as well as lending financial help to family and friends.
But before we get to those responses, here’s a reality check: The winner or winners will not receive all of the $1.5 billion. Taking the cash option rather than an annuity, which many financial advisors suggest for people 35 and older, leaves just $930 million before taxes. The feds will take a chunk — 39.6 percent to be precise, the rate at which big jackpots are taxed — costing about $368 million, reducing the winnings to $562 million.
And don’t forget state and local income taxes, if they apply. Tax rates on high-income individuals in many states range from 5 to 10 percent. Using the 7.5 percent median approach, state income tax would lop off another $42 million, leaving the jackpot winner with a not-to-shabby $520 million.
Here’s a look at what one can buy with all that dough:
- Nine private islands, including Bonefish Cay, a small 6-acre island in the Bahamas and a 110-acre island off the coast of Thailand for $160 million.
- 23 new Gulfstream G650 private jets at $65 million a pop.
- 53 1956 Ferraris valued at $28 million each.
- 1.5 billion items off the McDonald’s $1 menu.
- Purchase the Baltimore Ravens for $1.5 billion and move them back to Cleveland.
- Purchase both the Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals.
The following are all five responses to our question from followers of our respective Facebook pages for the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, The Daily Sentinel and Point Pleasant Register:
Debbie Simms: Cash the check to make sure I won, put some money in the bank to live on the rest of my life, help my children and grandchildren get what they need, pay taxes, and help those who need help.
Jerry L. Molnar: I’d buy church buses for the churches in & around our area to get the kids in church.
Bobbie Stutes: I would help my family pay off (their) homes and bills. Send grandchildren to college. Also would want to build homes for the homeless. Give money to charity and churches so everyone could live a better life. Then I want to buy an island and move away and travel.
Carla Pasquale: My family would get a home, car and nice bank account. We would have a vacation home to share. I would fund a perfect dementia nursing home and set up something to help people in need, those who try and struggle and I would also set up a fund to pay for services for children lost too soon … since I lost 2 grandchildren of my own. Simply giving out money would be a dream come true. Paying for layaways, buying random groceries, how awesome would that be.
Paige Cleek: Donate!
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.