Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
You've dreamed about it, haven't you?
You've been suckered by so many ads that tell you some version of "you never know."
You've even bought a Powerball lottery ticket or two in the complete knowledge that your chances of winning $1.4 billion are even smaller than your chances of riding a camel with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence through London's Trafalgar Square. While declaiming the complete works of Pablo Neruda and having your eyebrows waxed by the entire staff of CNN.
But as you look around your life, into your wondrous Apsara Sauvignon Blanc or over your cubicle toward the one window that serves the whole office, you ask yourself: "What would I do if I won?"
I am here to help you.
More precisely, I am here to help you hear the words of Mark Cuban, who came into quite a lot of money once upon a time and now seems to enjoy it rather a lot.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the Mavericks owner and TV star has six simple things you should address if you power your way to the ultimate ball of money-laden fun.
1. Hire a Tax Attorney.
This seems eminently sensible. But can you imagine the face of the tax attorney when he or she realizes who the new client is? I would therefore want to amend this one. Hire a tax attorney, and be very clear how much the person charges and what you will and won't pay for. Tax attorneys can be slippery beings.
2. Don't Take the Lump Sum.
The idea here is that if you suddenly have all the money, you might not be able to control your more spendy impulses. Let's face it, if you win the Powerball you'll have more than enough whichever way you spin it. Best not to have it all under your control while your head is still spinning.
3. If You're Miserable Today, You Won't Suddenly Be Happy.
Some people will find this dubious. You win a mountain of money. This must mean that so many of your troubles dissipate like the fog in a warming sun. Cuban fears not. He feels that if you weren't happy yesterday, you won't be happy tomorrow. I wonder. It depends on your definition of "happy," of course. I do feel you might feel a whole lot better.
4. If You're Happy Today, You'll Be a Lot Happier Tomorrow.
I worry about this one, too. Happy people can sometimes be discombobulated by sudden events. One should surely examine why he or she is happy in the first place. All this money could cause more problems than it's worth. The money might make the person feel insecure, there to be preyed upon by burglars, banks, and tax attorneys. He or she might worry about what to do with all this money. The very administration of it could become painfully burdensome. The person might become miserable.
5. Tell All Your Friends and Relatives No.
Some are going to be more subtle than others. They will ask, though. Cuban has some true wisdom here: "Anyone who asks is not your friend." Personally, I would find enormous joy in surprising those who truly need the money--or those whom I just plain like--with a large, even insane gift. Of course, I'd also worry that the sudden windfall would turn them into brassy ingrates. What am I saying? They're my friends. There again, how well do I really know them? You see, even thinking about winning this Powerball is terribly stressful.
6. Just Because You're Suddenly Rich, It Doesn't Mean You're a Great Investor.
There's nothing wrong with just putting the money in the bank, says Cuban. You will sleep deeply, knowing that you won't make big losses. And, let's face it, with a $1.4 billion Powerball win, you should be all right. Unless you suddenly start competing with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to send rockets to Mars. I still have a concern about this piece of advice. I'd worry how much the banks that contributed so much to wrecking the world financial system would make out of my money. There it would be, just sitting in their vaults or on their screens. I wonder how big a house I'd need to store around $650 million (the after-tax winnings) in cash.