(UPDATE: The final total for the Powerball drawing was $2.04 billion. Someone in California won the jackpot.)
Monday night’s Powerball drawing could land a lucky winner with a record $1.9 billion, and some of our local seniors weighed in on how they would spend the money.
Last week, Central Oregon Daily News spoke to some preschoolers about how they would spend their lottery winnings. On Monday, we spoke to some folks with a little more life experience at the Aspen Ridge Retirement Community in Bend.
“I’d start paying my bills until the money ran out,” said resident Gene Faltus. “I wouldn’t mind going fishing, but I wouldn’t want to go on a cruise or anything like that.”
“I would probably buy Aspen Ridge and give it to the residents,” said Don Marheine.
“I’m older than God, I’ll be out of this place in no time at all, and so I’d give it away,” Evelyn Brown said. “I’d find people that were having a tough time paying their mortgages, and all at once their mortgage would disappear.”
For most, the first step would either be hiring a financial advisor or giving money to those who need it.
“I think the first thing I would do would be to give half of it to the Salvation Army, because they’re big enough. They’ve done a wonderful job worldwide and they’ve got the organization to distribute money,” Don said. “I think they would do a good job. The other half I’d spend doing things for people, and my hope would be that the money would run out at the same time I did.”
Resident Marc Dismuke said he would divide his winnings to give to multiple charities.
“I’m retired Navy, so the Veterans Association. Mostly Wounded Warriors probably, or something like that,” Marc said. “My wife, she would kill me if I didn’t give to any animal rights groups. And then St. Jude’s.”
Bonnie Hester said she would give her money to various mission organizations and toward building wells around the world.
“I can’t think of anything else that would bless me more than to see that the needs are met for those that have less, that I guess that need spiritual, financial and nutrition needs,” she said.
Some residents gave a word of warning to whoever does end up with the big prize.
“Think very carefully and get some advice from people who who have knowledge of how to work with this vast amount of money,” Jean Egle said. “This particular lottery is so huge. I don’t think I could even write down the numbers with all the zeros.”
“Be smart, don’t think it’s going to last forever,” Marc added. “Too many stories over the years about especially athletes sign big contracts right out of college or even before they graduate from college, and five years later, they’re bankrupt, because they never had that kind of money before. And they just keep spending and spending. And the next thing you know, it’s all gone.”
Though material things would undoubtedly be a plus, a big lesson this group has learned is the art of contentedness, with or without a big pile of cash.
“My needs are met, and that’s all I need,” Bonnie said. “And if I could just help others…to see that those needs are met would be such a blessing to me, to know that the money would be used to help others.”
“I’m happy where I am,” Bobbi Dismuke said. “And I know there’s so many without, and I’ve got what I need so I need to give it to others.”
“Just doing something for people and helping them would be the biggest gift that would continue giving for a long, long, long time,” Don said. “I have no desires for things at all.”
The odds of winning Monday night’s Powerball are 1 in 292.2 million.