Friday, March 30, 2012

What Would I do if I Won the Lotto?

Interestingly enough, this is a blog topic on my to-do list. With the huge jackpot, I find it an appropriate time to elaborate my thoughts on this. When I was younger I was adamant that having a lot of money wouldn't change me, but that was rather naive of me. Everything changes us all the time. What we do and what we don't do, every experience that we go through and are exposed to changes us even in subtle ways. To inherit a ridiculous amount of wealth, it's impossible to not change.

Much in the same way I became anti-domesticated because of gender role exposure I had growing up, I was experiencing another extremist position. I was brought up told that it was a woman's job, place, and purpose to cook, to cook for her man. I thought that was the most condescending, disrespectful, and dumbest concept of all time. I still believe that. Women in my culture are often seen as inferior cuz our role is within the home. If we're so inferior, then why is it that men are unable to do it themselves since it's so simple was often my snarky response. My dad was helpless in the kitchen. My response went unanswered with the remark that I'm a child and I don't deserve such an answer cuz it was an adult's world. And yet I was expected to be a part of this adult's world by cooking. I wasn't having it.

I refused to contribute to a belief I didn't have. It wasn't until I lost the TiVo remote and saw the Food Network channel for an entire day that I rushed to the grocery store and began cooking because I didn't want what restaurants offered; I wanted what I saw on TV! Those exact dishes! I was in a relationship with a guy who did the cooking at that time, so I didn't mind it. This experience showed me that I can cook without compromising my feminist integrity. It's empowering to take my health into my own hands, and I'm important enough to make a priority. So cooking is one of the best ways to do it.

When it came to wealth, I had the same one-sided distortion, that money corrupts people. So I was determined that it wouldn't happen to me, but the truth is I would've been far more susceptible to it then than now. Not every change is bad, and I do want to change if I came across such wealth since I don't plan on letting it sit in a bank. I want to enrich my life, allow myself experiences I wouldn't otherwise have a chance to have, and make the world a better place with my resources.

My perspective has evolved a lot more since I thought about wealth cuz my focus hasn't been on money. So what would I do if I won the lotto? I'd donate a substantial amount to some of my favorite charity organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Foundation, and Haitian Foundation. I'd also invest resources into finding the best organizations for other causes such as animal rights, children suffering from cancer, health insurance, and a myriad of other concerns. I'd create a list of as many issues and uncover the best charity organizations based on how much money goes into the cause and how the rest of the money is distributed. I don't want to waste my money on organizations that re-circulate most of the funding into marketing. That doesn't help the people who are in need.

I'd like to be anonymous. I wonder if that's possible. I wouldn't change my life instantly. I would continue to go to my fairly entry-level job as a receptionist, while I brainstorm how I'd like my future to change. Since I read Personal Finance for Dummies and I'd have no excuse for being not being financially-responsible, I'll invest my money into mutual funds like money market funds, short-term bonds, and long-term stock.

I'd get my mom a place. She just had reconstructive knee surgery, so I'd like her to live in a place that's easily commutable. She's finally able to move, so I want her to be located in a central spot where she can enjoy her surroundings like a nearby beach, coffee houses, bookstore, and other social spots. She may be old, but she's not dead. Trust me. I call her and she can't talk cuz she's in Vegas, while my brother and I text each other on Friday and Saturday nights while we stay home...

I don't want to give her an allowance, so to speak. As much as she'd love to have a house, I'd refrain from it. Please hear me out. It isn't cuz of the money especially since it's so substantial! It's just that she's a very kind and generous woman. People tend to take advantage of that. I'd like to see her in a small apartment that's appropriated to accommodate just herself. She needs to learn how to make herself a priority, and she won't do that if she has a huge house that allows her to sustain her current entertainer status. It's that very habit that forces her to live paycheck by paycheck.

I want her to not have to worry about money. I want her knee to recover in the best way possible, so I'd like to hire a physical therapist and fitness trainer that specializes in treating knee recovery patients. I want her to have the freedom and opportunity to take time off from work so that she can properly recover, rather than force herself to work to make rent and live paycheck by paycheck. But I don't want to make her life so comfortable that she won't go after it. I want to empower her and give her the tools to enjoy life. So maybe once she learns to make herself a priority, I'll reconsider offering her a huge home. But I won't do it if people are going to continue to deplete her financially and emotionally. It's not fair to her, but she's an adult. She holds responsibility for how others treat her especially in her own home.

Also I feel that I'd be doing the world a disservice by giving her so much money that she'll never have to work a day in her life because she's intelligent, perceptive, open, observant, helpful, empathetic, compassionate, caring, hardworking, and an advocate for others. We need people like that in our world. I want her to have her own workshops, so she can create her own schedule and do consulting work. I want her to continue to help others.

I'm not sure what I'd get my brother, but it'll have to considered. He's a talented chef, and maybe he'd like his own restaurant. I told my mom about a coffee shop I'd like to have and the ideas that I want to incorporate. She really likes the idea of me pursuing it cuz she said it's filled with innovative ideas. The coffee shop or more like coffee lounge would have a very different identity from my brother, but maybe it's a project we could both work on. Who knows. It's definitely a thought I'd explore.

I currently live in a bachelor, which is basically a studio without a kitchen. I want to finish decorating it. I want my chakra painted, a mural painted in place of a bed frame, and a wall decal of some inspirational words. I would put it all together, and I'd stay there for a while before I move. Decorating is a way of expressing our identity through design. It's not just about getting a bigger and better house. I want to repaint my dresser, too!

I'd go through my bucket list - skydiving, sweat lodge, see a psychic, get my aura read, take sewing lessons, learn French and American sign language, travel with a high priority for India and France, jump off of a waterfall, get a purple flower tattoo on the back of my left shoulder with a lotto bonus which is to find a tattoo artist willing to ink me when I'm sedated. I also want to dive deeper into crafts. I keep wanting to complete a bunch of tasks like making a journal, creating a memory box, paint an abstract image, origami, candles, soaps, jewelry, purses, etc., but I never do. Maybe I can hire a crafter. I'd like to do something similar with cooking, but rather than get a chef, I want to create a class where we can gather and make food together. Obviously I won't need to charge people and can supply the ingredients. It'd be a nice thing to offer for people who can't afford classes and would food. It can be centered on foods that can be frozen, pickled, and stuff like that. Multiple meals can be made in a single day and brought home.

I want to start a non-profit for homeless mothers with children who have no history of drug abuse. I want an apartment complex dedicated to these families and function as sort of a halfway home. I want there to be a community garden where the women take turns taking care of it and growing produce they can consume. I don't want to put funding into existing programs such as job orientations cuz it's a waste of time and resources. Even with my wealth, I don't want to waste it. I don't want this to be a free ride. The women will have to be productive. If they aren't working, then they're making food for homeless shelters or involved in some sort of volunteer program.

I'd like a food truck where salads and mashed potatoes are sold. These ingredients can be grown on site, making the costs affordable. A food truck is easier to maintain than a restaurant and since there will be no meat served, it's much easier to meet the health code standards. Portability is a definitely plus. The type of meals being served doesn't require culinary experience and is easy to train, too. Work can already be provided for them.

The one thing people forget in these situations are the children. They're suffering too. I'd like to offer a gardening class, a hiking trail, art class, or some sort of activity for the kids to be a part of. It'd also be good to have, so children have supervision when their mothers are working.

My co-worker said she wants to start a non-profit for immigrants who are trying to enter this country. She'd go through a detailed evaluation to determine the best qualified candidates and provide them with funding to live here legally but only offering resources to people who will contribute to this society. She also wants to create an organization for children who have incurable cancer. I'm guessing she wants to offer them opportunities that'll make their condition more bearable for them. That's such a great idea and I respect her for it. I'd work with her on creating those organizations.

I have a friend I want to invest in. I'd like to give him the resources to start his own bakery. I want to be cautious about giving money away to people, so I'm not sure how I'd approach that yet. I'd compile a list of people who matter the most to people and consider what I can buy them. And maybe it'll just be cash, but I'm really not sure at this point. So far this is my list. I really would love to travel, though.

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