The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to $1.6 billion, making it the largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history. While your chances of winning are slim — one in 302.6 million, to be exact — it's fun to daydream, right?
So, let's say you win. Lottery winners can choose to receive the money in an annuity — annual allotments over 30 years — or a smaller lump sum. The lump sum on the $1.6 billion jackpot would be $904.9 million according to USAMega.com, and if it goes to a single winner, the federal tax withholding would be nearly $217.2 million (24 percent). That's about $687.7 million. (In reality, you can expect to owe the difference between that amount and the top federal income tax rate of 37 percent too, plus there could be state taxes — which vary from zero to 8.82 percent — and other taxes may apply.)
Stumped on how you should spend over half-a-billion dollars? Here are a few ideas, based on $687.7 million.
Bugatti recently debuted its latest Divo hypercar for the hefty price of $5.8 million. What makes these wheels so special? The sports car can accelerate from zero to 62 miles per hour in 2.4 seconds, with top speeds of 236 miles per hour.
Though the company sold all 40 of the limited series cars, a single Mega Millions winner could afford the entire collection... and then ask Bugatti to nearly triple it for a grand total of $684,400,000 for 118 cars. That leaves $3,234,000 for gas and speeding tickets.
Harvard University, one of the most prestigious (yet expensive) colleges in the U.S. pegs its total cost for attending in the 2018-2019 school year at $67,580, which includes tuition, room, board and fees. If you're gunning for a four-year degree, the total tab climbs to $270,320 (if tuition doesn't go up).
A lone winner could finance the education of 2,544 Harvard University students for $687,694,080.
A trip to space is certainly out-of-this-world, but as a jackpot winner, it's financially feasible.
As a multimillionaire, there are several options: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin reportedly plans to start selling $200,000 to $300,000 tickets in 2019 to send tourists on 11-minute suborbital space flights. And Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has tickets to space for about $250,000 each, with its first "more than tantalizingly close," according to Branson. ('s SpaceX recently announced Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be its first customer for a private space flight around the moon, but the cost has not been revealed.)
A wealthy winner could buy 3,438 $200,000 Blue Origin tickets or 2,292 $300,000 tickets, or 2,750 Virgin Galactic tickets.
Then there's the more expensive option with Space Adventures, a sort of space travel agency that matches people with the resources to go to space with Russian space program rockets that have available seats. When company co-founder Richard Garriott went to space as a tourist for 12 days in 2008, it cost $30 million. Though the cost has likely gone up since then, at that price, a single Mega Millions winner could afford to go and also send 21 friends.
Earlier this year, the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 bottle of whisky sold for $1.1 million at an auction in Edinburgh, Scotland. The malt whisky was distilled in 1926 and aged 60 years in sherry casks, then was released in 1986.
Win this jackpot, and you can afford to spend that on cocktails. In fact, a winner could buy 625 bottles of the booze (if that many existed) and still have $224,000 left over for aspirin to treat the hangover.
The Mark Hotel in Manhattan, New York has the most expensive hotel suite in America, a 10,000-square-foot penthouse that costs $75,000 a night.
For $687,675,000 the Mega Millions winner could spend 9,169 nights, which is roughly 25 years.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson famously purchased 74-acre Necker Island in the Caribbean for just $180,000, a fraction of its $5 million asking price. In 2006, Branson estimated the island's value at about $60 million, according to Business Insider. Though it was devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017, it is being rebuilt and welcomes its first guests this month.
Though the island is worth more than it was 12 years ago, at that $60 million price, the Mega Millions winner could buy Necker (if Branson were willing to sell) and 10 others like it.
In September, Amazon made history when it briefly reached a $1 trillion market cap, the second public company in the U.S. to ever do so. Want a piece of that pie? The person who wins the Mega Millions can afford it.
Amazon's shares closed at $1,789.30 on Monday; at that price the winner can afford 384,353 shares for $687,722,823.
In July, the two most expensive houses for sale in America were both in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel-Air, according to The Wall Street Journal — one was listed for $188 million and the other for $180 million.
The Mega Millions winner could buy them both and still have over $319 million to spare. In fact, the more expensive mansion is apparently still for sale. The 38,000-square-foot estate has 12 bedrooms, elevators lined with crocodile skin and an infinity pool.
This article was originally published on Oct. 19. It was updated Oct. 22. It was also updated to clarify that the actual federal tax would be up to about 37 percent.
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