Lining Up My Ducks: Preparing for Life in General

These is something to be said for preparing.  I know I’m not going to win the lottery tomorrow (I didn’t buy a ticket, and I don’t think there are drawings on Mondays. I could be wrong.).

BUT fantasizing about winning the lottery gives me a glimpse of what I want my life to be like if I had means.  Even if I did win a bazillion dollars tomorrow, it’s not like I could have my house on the market by the end of the day.

So what would it take to be prepared? What are the ways that I would see my life change and how would I lift some of that burden now?

Not to say that it’s a burden, but some of these things can be done NOW and improve my life NOW. For instance, going to back the the house preparing to sell example.  My house isn’t what many people, especially my sister, would call “clean”. But if I make small changes today that grow into habits that would sustain a naturally clean house that would be sale-ready, more power to me.

Even more-so, what changes would I make to my house in order to sell? That bathroom in the basement could sure use a makeover, the walls in the kitchen need to be painted, and the carpet in the basement should be replaced. I’m certainly not going to put that all my schedule for next weekend, but it’s not out of reach to do a $1,000 remodel of the bathroom over the next 2 months.  One weekend would be the tub, then the floors, then the toilet seat, then the paint.

In reality, I would probably bite it off in 2 large chunks because I wouldn’t be able to stand it being half-finished.

The upside of all of that is that I’m still living here to enjoy my hard work – not just fix it just for the next guy.

Bonus: When life catches up to my dreams in that we will be ready for a new house in two years, most, if not all, of the work will already have been done.

With this all in mind I’ve been looking at a lot of my life goals this weekend and taking an inventory of where I am and where I want to be, and how to get there.  I researched a number of apps to help set and monitor goals and the tasks/habits that get me there.  I settled on two: One for work and one for me. Goals on Track came the closest to what I was looking for in terms of being able to state a goal, put sub-goals and tasks under each of those.  Furthermore, some things I just want to be a habit and serve no higher goal. It can track that too.

The other App that I’m going to try out for work – both where I work and the business we bought – is Nozbe. I’m not completely sold on this app yet.  I’ll get to work on it tomorrow morning and see how things go.  I wish it had one more hierarchy under the Projects – like Sub-Projects to support all the extensive pieces of the main project.  I have some multi-faceted irons in the fire and would like to see a tool that could handle that.  Any suggestions out there?


It’s been awhile…

After just a few posts, I decided it was time to DO something.  

So I bought a business.

Not just any business, one that I could work in my spare time from home.  I bought a successful online business.  Ace Chapman was invaluable in the whole process and I can’t thank him enough.

I’m still not rolling in $400 million or even close to being able to quit my job, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just a very long tunnel.  I was thinking it would be 20 hours extra a week, but it turns out it’s more like 40.  And a HUGE learning curve.

But I got this.  In 3 years, all the debt will be paid off and I’ll be able to sell the business for twice what I bought it for.  I’m 9 months in, and I’ve started sleeping at night.  Which is a good sign.

Take care!


Where to live

I’ve always wanted a small hobby farm.  I have a “naked gardening” criteria.  When I can go get the vegetables out of my garden for a breakfast omelette in whatever state of undress I choose without fear of being seen, then I’m good.  I’ll also need a big front porch with a rocking chair to sit in while I shuck peas.

A few years ago I became a big fan of Sarah Susanka and her concept of a Not So Big House.

So again, the name of the game is self-restraint.  A house bigger than 3200 square feet is unnecessary.  But $200 million sure burns a hole in a pocket.

I like Parade of Home tours.  But some of these are so huge my family and I lose each other when we tour them.  This seems to be indicative of the life you can expect to live in these huge spaces… you’d never see your family even when you were all home together.

But my floors would all have radiant heat.

Now to find a renewable energy source.

What would I DO all day?

A large portion of my time spent thinking about winning a lottery was concentrated on what I would do with the money.  But what would I do with all that time?

I was speaking with a very wise man over lunch today who happens to own the business where I work.  He mentioned a bible verse:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15

How dull would the days be if only consumption filled them? Blegh.  I have bad days now that when I look back, these are the days where I accomplish very little.  There is peace to be found in work.  But working is HARD.  When handed enough money to do whatever you wanted for the rest of your life, why wouldn’t your first reaction be to disappear someplace warm and anonymous?

So first question:  Would I keep working?

Secondly: If not work, then what?

My dad is a fantastic worker.  He doesn’t plan to ever retire because he doesn’t know what he’d do with himself.  He always has a project going at home.  It’s fun to visit home because there’s always something to be done.  Of course, there’s always time for a half hour nap in the middle of the afternoon, but then it’s right back to work.  Work hard, rest/play hard.

A huge part of this is his upbringing in a very large, very poor farming family.  Another part is he’s not a big fan of television.  The hours that the rest of us waste in front of a glowing screen of one shape or another, are all banked and added to the amount of time he has to fill.  And he fills it with work.  Good work.

On the other side, I’ve seen people retire and become such homebodies because heaven forbid they miss an episode of Days.  These people also tend to be uninteresting and a bit bitter.  Worse yet, I can see myself VERY easily become one of them.

I’m not a naturally ambitious person.  I have to work at working.  Given the option between a Monday and a Saturday, I’ll take a Saturday.  It would take a whole lot of willpower to keep working, but I think I’d be much happier if I did.

Which raises another issue: How valuable of an employee would I be?  I certainly have days where I want to dump everything off my desk, tell off a few choice people and storm out for good.  Would I be a completely different employee if I didn’t NEED the money or want a raise?  How would my job change tomorrow if I started acting with that type of confidence (of “I don’t need this job”) today – without the $100 million the bank to back me up?

I really enjoy my job and most of the people that I work with.  It’s a great family-like atmosphere.  But there are nights where I lose a lot of sleep thinking about how I spend too much time at work, or a big stress item is circling in my brain and won’t land.  It can ruin weekends and vacations and what little family time I do have.

On the other hand, I have a whole schedule made up of how I’d spend my days if I didn’t have a job and didn’t have to worry about money.  This schedule necessitates willpower as much as keeping a job. Family, exercise, education and creativity fill out my days.  A calendar heavy on the vacations breaks up many of the months.  There are a thousand things that I could be doing if I didn’t have a job.  But would I do them?  The current direction of my Saturdays would argue “no”.  I’m a master procrastinator.  The shining example is the family room closet.  It has been overflowing and begging to be sorted for years.  It makes its way onto a To Do list every now and then, but I find ways to avoid it.

So the best option for me I believe would be to keep my job, but negotiate a super-flexible 8-5 job, rather than the 8-7-ish job it’s been lately.

A voice in my head is screaming profanities at me and telling me that I should sleep in as long as I want everyday, but the logical side says that would sink me into a depression I would have a hard time climbing out of.

So fine.  I’ll keep my job.  Whatever.  I’m not happy about it, but it’d be what’s best for me.

Not a winner

Nuts.  I’m not the big winner of tonight’s Powerball drawing. I had two of the six numbers, but that doesn’t count for much.

The pot will get big again… the dreaming is what makes it fun!

Statistics of Lottery Winners

Numbers, numbers everywhere.

I found this interesting nugget from 55% of people who win the lottery are happier.

While I don’t know how scientifically accurate a statistical sample of 34 can be, but the nature of large lotto winners leaves us with a rather small population from which to pick samples.

Only 2% reported being less happy than prior to when they won the lottery.  It would be interesting to know how long after winners collected their winnings this poll was taken. Additionally, did this take into account the 70% of the winners who file bankruptcy?



The spreadsheet that I mentioned has existed for a long time.  Years.

The whole purpose behind it was to make sure I didn’t lose my head when/if my numbers were drawn.

At the bottom of the first column it says “GO SLOWLY! Savor the process.”

Is past-me smarter than the fictional-winner-me?  Would the “winner” be wiser than the “dreamer”?

So after the Real Cash Value is calculated, I divided the remainder 60/40 in “Give” and “Keep”.  To be honest, the high amount in “Give” was driven more by the potential rage directed at me by the more, eh, assertive members of our extended families if they were to get less than a particular amount.  So, yeah, fear of judgment.  On the other hand I think wanting to preserve healthy family relationships is a valid reason for decisions.

So here’s the whole first section of my spreadsheet in it’s entirety:

Column1 - divide the spoils


The spreadsheet certainly does not end there.  Oodles more on multiple tabs, of course.

Man I love Excel.

It in REAL life – how much would this change?  When faced the the temptation of $111,136.000.00 in my bank account, how would my thinking change to reason away all the prep-work in the spreadsheet?  What would the little voices in my head use to justify cutting down on giving, gifts and other things that don’t directly benefit me?  Would I be a good enough person to win the lottery?

I’d love to have the chance to find out.

Winning the Lottery: the big numbers

I want to win the lottery.  Sure, there’s like a 80% chance I’d be broke in 3 years, but it’s a risk I’d be willing to take.

I have it all planned out.  It’s on a spreadsheet even.  Everything from taxes, contributions, disbursements to family members, even the catering budget on my Win Party.

$400,000,000 is up for grabs in the Powerball drawing this week. The net lump payout is projected to be $230 million.

In my generous mind, I’d set aside 20% of charity.  But half of that would be to set up our own Charitable Trust.  The remaining balance is taxable (as far as I know – I’m not a tax expert).  The top federal tax tier is currently 39.6%.

So here are the numbers:

Net:  $  230,000,000.00
Charity  $    46,000,000.00 20.00%
Taxes  $    72,864,000.00 36.90%
Cash Value  $  111,136,000.00

At the end of the day I have $111 million to play with.  Started with $400 million, left with $111 million.

I’m okay with that.

Tell me what you think:

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