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The Lottery: Part One

July 25, 2010

For the last seven or eight weeks the local lottery has been up around 50 million dollars so I’ve bought a few tickets. I call it buying a dream because for the next five or six days after I buy the ticket I can imagine and refine what I will do with my winnings. You could do a lot of good with 50 million but I certainly don’t think it would be healthy for me to keep it all to myself. I’d like to think that I’d dedicate my time to yoga and volunteering but I think I know myself too well. I’d start getting lazy and extravagant, eat out all the time, drink too much and stay in luxury hotels until the money ran our.  50 million would have to be shared for my health and the welfare of others.
So I’ve been contemplating, daydreaming really, of what I’d do.  In fact, I haven’t checked the numbers yet this week so technically I’m still dreaming.  Maybe I won, and I don’t even know it yet!  So in order to save my soul, I will put down in public, in writing, what I would do with my winnings.  I call this ‘Pay it Forward’.

Step one, establish your niche.  Okay, single, don’t own a home and in the Vancouver market, that seems very out of reach.  Hmmm, I know of a lot of single women just like me…. They work in the arts, in education, daycare, home care, geriatrics, addiction counselling, social services, social workers, support workers.  They work in jobs with no company pension and not a very rosy outlook for retirement, if they do indeed retire….I think I’m on to something.  If I owned a home outright, I could live a better quality life, a more secure life and still do the work I do to support the world around me.  Let’s face it, all you parents out there, you want quality daycare for your children but you don’t want to pay more than $18/hour, am I right? (For the record, I don’t work in daycare and this example is an example only)  But how does a daycare worker survive in Vancouver on $18/hour?  Let’s say take home after taxes, based on  a 40 hours work week would be about $3120/ month gross so after all deduction their take home is about $2550.  A one bedroom apartment in Vancouver averages about $1000 but lets say our daycare worker is really lucky and only pays $900.  Now we have phone, cable, hydro another $150 bucks.  Maybe they were really lucky and they bought a car while they still lived at home with their parents and so they just have car insurance at another $100 bucks a month.  We’re now at $1400 dollars left for the month to cover food, medical insurance, clothes, dental visits, prescriptions, haircuts, parking, bus pass, household expenses and gas for the car – let’s say all of that is $800 if they never go out at all ever.   So let’s give our imaginary daycare a good head on her shoulders and she has a savings account, $50/month, regular contributions to RRSP $200/month we’re left with about $350/ month or $82/week for unexpected expenses, car repairs, computer repairs, debt repayment, and maybe she gets to go to the movies once a week….

She could probably get by, except at Christmas and Birthdays where she dips into the saving or maybe takes out her credit card which starts another vicious cycle.  She could find cheaper ways to live, roommates, a sketchy low rent area of town but does that mean our daycare worker is refreshed and ready for her day with your child?  Maybe. Or maybe she gets burned out, quits and becomes an accountant.  Then where are you at?

Now you can totally pick apart my math above and come up with your own numbers and say, hey, our imaginary daycare worker is doing alright!  But would any bank give them a mortgage? Would they be able to save enough for a down payment?  Probably not.

This is where my plan comes in!  When I win the $50 million, I want to buy 50 homes for single women over 40 who need a little leg up.  But wait, there’s more.  I think I can buy 50 homes under $500,000 in the lower mainland.  They don’t have to be single family dwellings, some might be condos, townhouses, we’ll see but, I’d spend about 25 million on it. 

So that’s it? You’re just going to give away some houses? Glad you asked. There are a few agreements that go along with accepting the home.

1. My friend Roger would handle all the real estate deals.  He’s an amazing, caring man who is just getting into real estate and this would give him a leg up.  So I get to help my dear friend Roger.

2. Each of the women who receives a home has to donate $500/month to the charity of her choice for 25 years.  I’ve been playing with this number a lot.  The women who receive these homes will still have monthly expenses, property taxes, strata fees so I don’t want the amount per month to be too much.  I want them to be able to continue saving for retirement and maybe a vacation once in a while.  Not a luxurious life but good quality life.  This translates to $300000 in charitable donations a year spread amongst lots of deserving charities (50 people x $500/month for 12 months).  That takes the pressure off me to decide which charities should get the money.  I hope this habit of charitable giving will encourage them to give more and pass on the values of charity and community to their friends and family.

3. What if they sell the property before the 25 years are up?  Glad you asked.  They would owe the balance of their charitable donations, $150000 ($500/month x 12 months x 25 years)  less any donations they’ve already made.

4. Okay this next item may cause a bit of flack but I’m pretty firm on this.  In the event of one of the recipients getting married, remember we are single and over 40 so chances are slim, there must be a pre-nuptiual agreement in place that the value of the property remain solely with the woman in the event of a divorce.  I’m fully prepared you are going to call me a man-hating female chauvinist…and maybe I am but the point of my program is to give these community and social serving women a leg up not some smart gold digger who reads the paper and perhaps preys upon one of these lucky gals. 

5. In the event of the woman’s death before the 25 years are up, the balance of the charitable donations would be made but the property would stay as part of her estate.

I’ll let you know about the remaining $25 million in my next post.

Don’t hate me. Ranting responses will not be printed but constructive or helpful tips will be.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 22, 2010 9:15 am

    Thank you for the very kind and caring words of support. And if the reality of your winnings comes true, I will donate 50% of my commissions in support of your charity(ies) of choice(s)!

    I’ve known you 23 years? Wow! And, I have never thought of you as a man-hating female chauvinist, because you’re not!

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