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The Lesson at the Liquor Store

So, I’m standing in line at the liquor store, holding 2 bottles of a Chardonnay on sale for $3.99. (Who can refuse a bargain like that?)

An elderly woman is paying the clerk. Behind her, in front of me, a scruffy guy with a bottle of Jack Daniels fumbles with the Lottery machine.

“Maybe I’ll win,” he says to no one in particular.

I say, remembering an article I read, “Did you hear about the couple who won a $20 million lottery and gave it all away because they didn’t want it?”

The elderly woman whips her head up and says: “I’d give it away too. What would I do with $20 million?”

And the scruffy guy agrees: “So would I. Hell, I’d probably just spend it all on booze anyway.”

Refusing the temptation to ask him why, then, he was buying a lottery ticket, I declared: “Not me. I’d give some of it away, but there’s a lot I could do with that money.”

You’d think I told them I was about to shoot the Pope. There was a collective gasp, a look of shock, and for a split second, I actually felt ashamed of wanting millions.

And then I realized—People are about as rich as they want to be.  For many, wealth is more a burden than a blessing.

But the real epiphany came when I turned to the woman behind me, and asked what she’d do.

“My first thought,” she said, “was I’d have enough money to paint my house.” Then she chuckled. “It just occurred to me how small I was thinking. I mean, I could buy a bigger house with that money. Maybe I need to start thinking bigger.”

Maybe we all need to start thinking bigger!  So, in the spirit of thinking bigger, ask yourself: What would I do if I won a $20 million lottery?

Want bonus points?  Answer this: What steps can I start taking now to bring those dreams to life…even if I never win a lottery???

I’m betting you, my readers, will have a different reaction than the liquor store patrons. Am I right? Let me know in the comments below.

Take action to bring your dreams to life. My virtual community, The Wealth Connection, is the place to find the support you need. Join Today!


Comments & Feedback

  • Stephanie Neimiller

    I have so many things I’d want to do with that 20 million. First invest a good portion to make sure money keeps coming in. Next… I love my house, but the stairs as I get older are a pain in the but… great exercise but a nusance when carrying groceries or wanting to do things with the house. So, I would build a house to my specs or find one already close and then remodel to fit my desires. Next I would invest in some property on the beach that I could rent out when I’m not there. Again more income. I would also build my dream video/photo studio. Right now it’s in my basement and I’ve done a great job building that, but it needs to be bigger to accommodate more people who want video shoots and podcasts. Maybe a separate building at the new house so I don’t have clients coming to my front door. Then Charity… I work with several non-profits and would like to support their efforts and get them supplies and equipment they need. And put money aside for travel or an RV so I could really explore our great country and film my travels. So would I give it all away – absolutely not. But I would give back and help those causes near and dear to my heart and any family needing assistance or college funds for nieces/nephews. I’m blessed. And even if I don’t hit the lottery, I will make this happen.

    • barbara huson

      I LOVE your well-thought-out and enthusiastic response, Stephanie. Wish you’d been at the liquor store with me to inspire those others! And I don’t doubt that either way, you will make this happen!!! Thank you so so much for posting!!!

  • Stacy

    There was a lottery winner in TN who said that he didn’t want to buy a bigger house with his winnings because then he would have to clean it. I’m guessing he could’ve probably hired somebody with the amount he won. Talk about not dreaming big enough. 🙂

    Me? I would travel first class to a number of different places. I would also buy a home on the water near where I currently live. I’d get a boat. I would make sure that my parents, sibs, nieces, nephews, and sons were provided with a nest egg from which to build wealth.

    I would be bored, though if I didn’t do something for others. Something that helps fulfill a purpose.

    I would set up and be actively involved in a foundation to help economically disadvantaged kids like the ones I currently teach. The foundation would help support kids in dreaming big and attaining the skills they needed to get out of the poverty and violence they currently live in. It would provide opportunities for them to experience things that are currently out of their reach. Things like concerts, plays, travel. It would give them the chance to see bigger things, things to aspire to.

    Barbara, I have read a number of your books. I’m hoping to take one of your classes soon so I don’t have to win a lottery in order to do the things I want to do and to be who I want to be. I’ve learned from your books that money is a tool and power. And like all tools and power, it can be used for good. You’ve helped me change my relationship with money and I am forever grateful to you for that. 🙂

    • barbara huson

      Stacy, thank you so much for your kind words about my work. I’d love to have you in one of my groups one day…so I could thank you in person and help you accomplish the amazing things you want to do with kids. Your description really touched my heart. I’m so glad you posted!!!

  • Ada

    I loved this post and I love to dream big. I felt the inherent challenge in your line Barbara that we are only rich as we want to be. Inspires me to dream bigger. Thanks for the love and wisdom!

    • barbara huson

      Thank YOU, Ada, for your comment. I encourage you to dream big and at the same time, take teeny tiny steps in the direction of your dreams. You can do it…I know you can!!!

  • Tami Mathisen

    First, I sit with it awhile, after tax meetings, financial advice, estate planning updates, I sit awhile. That kind of windfall is going to bring up some money belief tsunami! It has an adjustment period whilst I reconfigure how I see and value myself. AFTER that shitstorm, then I would be ready to ask, what shall I do with it. Discovering how I emotionally / intellectually react and act with big fluxes in wealth and earnings, I’ve discovered , for me there’s an adjustment period before im rational again. Being an overachieving Under earner, I can change my mindset, my beliefs and my habits but those visceral reactions, those are still a work in progress. ,

    • barbara huson

      Brilliant comment, Tami. I hadn’t even thought of taking time to adjust and deal with the emotional repercussions that kind of windfall could generate before making any major decisions. Which is why most lottery winners are broke within three years of winning. And equally brilliant is the idea of consulting with financial ;and legal professionals before making any decisions. Really great points, Tami. Thanks so much for responding!

  • Maria Wynen

    May I offer another perspective? I know that your encouragement to dream bigger is rightly aimed at giving women the opportunity to change, in ways we mostly haven’t even imagined before. And thank you, bless you for that! But I have a twinge of uneasiness when I hear “bigger” being correlated with “better”, whether intentional or not. The reason is that when “bigger” is applied to material possessions, this often means a greater toll on the environment to provide and if we want the planet to last for our children and grandchildren to live on, we really need to consider living in a more modest manner. I’m not saying that it’s not impossible to do both but needs conscious thought and intention. So maybe we could start thinking “better”? I’ve built a 2 bedroom eco-conscious house on a 10 acre block in New Zealand, so if I won $20 million I would pay off my mortgage, develop regenerative agriculture systems on my land, invest so I could retire earlier, share with family and then support charities that work with disadvantaged people and those restoring ecosystems in different parts of the country/world. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on the first two and buy a Lotto ticket occasionally, just in case lol!

    • barbara huson

      Maria, what a beautiful, heartfelt response. I absolutely agree with everything you wrote. Bigger AND better are much better together…something to really embed in our consciousness and incorporate into our values. I so appreciate you pointing this out to me!!! I needed to hear it. Bless you!!!!

  • Raqui Beuviere

    The first thing I would do is give my tithes. Then I would split the rest in half. Half of it would go into my brokerage account to trade pennies according to my trading plan. The other half I would use to start my perfume and skincare line as well as pay off my debts, help my family, and help in my causes.

    • barbara huson

      I like your plan Racqui–dividing the winnings into tithes, investments and your business along with paying off debt and helping others. Makes great sense. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Lisa

    Brilliant, thought provoking article, Barbara!

    There’s something about playing the lottery that comes across as so ignorant and desperate…..The last time I saw someone play the lottery was my friend’s unemployed husband in his late 40’s when I came to see their new baby during her maternity leave. He picked the unsuccessful numbers in the car wearing his track suit pants. I didn’t want to come across as a nasty know it all, but I felt like telling him the best thing to do would be to get into his Uber car and pick up some passengers or save money for occasions like this.

    Must admit, I used to scratch a lot of casket tickets in my late teens when I felt uncertain about the direction of my life. I learned while studying statistics the probability of winning the jack pot is about 1 in three hundred million (close to the population of the USA) and there’s probably a higher chance of getting struck by lightning (I met someone on a bus who got struck by lightning, however I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting anyone yet who’s had a big win on a lottery ticket – it’s only something I’ve read about it in the news).

    My parents played the lottery. My dad said “you’ve got to be in it to win it”, however if the whole population of the USA were in it to win it, I believe the grand amount of the prize would get reduced. Dave Ramsey describes the lottery as a tax on the uneducated and poor and someone else described it as entertainment. If you want to buy lottery tickets you would give up the opportunity of doing something like going to see a movie or a show.

    The first thing I would do would be to find a good accountant who could tell me exactly how much money I really have left over after paying tax and when the tax is due. Some of it is deducted immediately and some of it needs to be paid later depending on what state you live in. I think there’s federal tax, State tax and maybe capital gains tax. I’ve read somewhere after deducting tax you have anywhere from 60- 70 % left. So that’s not 20 million anymore, it’s 10 million! A lot of people don’t take this into consideration and get into tremendous amounts of debt.

    I would probably upgrade the apartment I live in to something larger. Living in a mega mansion is not my style. I don’t want to hire a team of people to look after it wandering around my home and I don’t want to feel “trapped” in my home. I love to go out! I would definitely like to have my own private marina space in front of my apartment with two jet ski’s on a state-of-the-art automatic docking system to go on exhilarating rides around on water way around my home and do a little bit of snooping around. That would cost a pretty penny!! Knowing myself well, I would only use the jet ski’s a few times a month.

    I’d like to invite / pay for my friend and her family (the one who’s husband play’s the lottery) to come with us on a vacation at least once. She was an amazing friend to me when I lived in her city and I don’t think she’s ever had a real vacation. She now has a health problem and as soon as she moved in with her husband she went straight into financially supporting him. I would like her little boy to experience a nice beach vacation.

    I would probably give up my full time job to manage the charity I’ve been volunteering at for the last 7 years, (which I’ve been asked to do a couple of times previously) while also concentrating on my part time creative work. Right now, I can’t focus on both of these, because I need to work full time.

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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