Jen Juneau
January 13, 2016 3:24 pm

At 11:59 p.m. EST, one or more people could win the biggest U.S. lottery jackpot ever. That, my friends, is because tonight is the Powerball drawing, and thanks to the fact that no one won the last drawing, the prize money is now estimated to be about $1.5 billion. Wowzer.

Ok, now forget about the odds. Forget about the fact that the chances of winning are something like one in 292.2 million, and think about what it would feel like to hold that winning ticket in your hands. Are you thinking about it? Is there a dollar sign shaped pool involved? Good.

We asked some of our editors and writers what they would do if they found themselves with a billion dollars overnight, and people had some pretty thought out answers. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she? And we all now how important it is to be prepared . . .

Leonora Epstein, Executive Editor

First, I’d give at least half away to charity. Then I’d buy a house in the Silver Lake hills (let’s say, like, max $3 million). I’d get a new car, nothing flashy. Maybe a Volvo. I’d give a lot to my parents and definitely to friends — to help pay off their loans, or pay for their weddings. Spread the love!

Margaret Eby, Features & Essays Editor

I would get a full Disney villain-level crazy palace, where I would swan around in Armani while eating caviar with Cheetos, dripping with diamonds, swarmed with golden-retriever puppies. DIAMONDS (cackles). PUPPIES AND DIAMONDS AND DIAMONDS THE SIZE OF PUPPIES.

Um, no. I would definitely let it accrue compound interest, right? And invest it sensibly. And buy a vacation island. Made of diamonds.

Gina Vaynshteyn, Social Media Manager & Associate Editor

My very own bowling alley (because WHY NOT?) and a fancy beach condo for my parents.

Lilian Min, Associate Editor

The first thing I’d do is straight-up save a quarter or so of the final winnings, because I’m low-key always paranoid about money. Next, I’d set aside funds to cover both my sister’s medical school bills and my parents’ and my boyfriend’s parents’ retirements, pay off my friends’ student loans and donate seed money to folks with non-“regular job” projects, and fly the fam and the BF over to China to visit my grandparents and other assorted relatives.

Then, I’d donate a bunch of money to various non-profits and causes, especially Planned Parenthood and, uh, high-speed-rail projects in the U.S., help fund human-rights organizations and international infrastructure investment. After the dust settles on that, I’d buy a seaside property in NorCal, start a (non-“exotic”) animal sanctuary, and spend my days fishing, reading, writing, and making experimental music. I would definitely still work and earn income afterward.

Also: I’d get a bathrobe that looks like the coat Sabriel (from Garth Nix’s Abhorsen book series) wears, because I am a giant nerd.

Sammy Nickalls, Staff Writer

OK, so first I’d do practical stuff: paying off all my debts, giving some to family/friends and charity, etc. And then I would travel ALL over the world and take a million fun classes and buy every shade of NARS lipstick and get a beach house so that when I’m done traveling, I can spend all my days there with my dog and a good book. Also, if I could throw money at the mere chance of meeting Benedict Cumberbatch, that would so happen.

Jill Layton, Staff Writer

If I win the jackpot, first I’m going to try really hard not to lose the ticket (those things are small). Then I’ll high-five myself and my wife for never needing to work for money ever again. Then I’ll buy a house on the beach and a new wardrobe, travel to everywhere, give a million dollars to each of my family members and friends, hand out cash to strangers who could use some help, and then donate millions to so many charities. And I’ll probably also buy tons of snacks. Not all in one day, though.

Jen Juneau, Contributing Writer/Columnist

After exchanging the huge cardboard check for gold coins and diving into it Scrooge McDuck-style, I’d pay off my husband’s student loans and my parents’ debt, give some money to my family and close friends, buy a huge house in downtown Winter Park (the area of Orlando everyone wants to live in but no one can afford), and travel around the world for, like, a year. I’d buy a mansion in New Orleans’ Garden District for my parents. I’d also donate to a ton of charities for animals, the homeless, and finding a cure for cancer. And eventually open a cat shelter/farm, because why not?

Oh, and quit my job and go to Walt Disney World every single day because DUH. I’d also probably go back to school to take lit classes just for fun, learn all the languages, and/or start my own Hogwarts.

Jess Tholmer, Contributing Writer/Columnist

If I won all that money, I would bitterly pay off my student loans, buy my mom a house (complete with a bedroom for my cat), and probably take a six-month trip to Europe. Upon my arrival home, I’d try to convince Leonardo DiCaprio to marry me. IDK if the money is necessary for that, but I would use it to my advantage.

Anna Gragert, Contributing Writer

If I won the Powerball jackpot, I’d want to create my own charity for people coping with mental illness. I’d want to provide others with free resources, care, and medication, so they can focus on bettering themselves and not worry about the unfortunate financial burden that’s often put on those who ask for help. Above all, I’d want to build safe spaces – ones where people from all over the world can go so they feel less alone in their struggles.

Christina Wolfgram, Video

I would assume a secret identity and try to live as much like Oprah as possible. I’d get my cat a nicer scratching post, buy my parents a mansion exactly 20 minutes away from me, and leave secret, ginormous tips everywhere I go out to eat. Also, I’d like daily tap dancing lessons.

(Images via Wikipedia and Giphy)

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