Opinion

If I had a million dollars…it’s just not enough

Ihave always been of the opinion that when it comes to these super jackpot lottery cash prizes, the money should be spread around among more winners.

Why should someone win $5 million, when we could allow five people to each win $1 million, or even 10 people win $500,000.

The response I usually get—and my opinion seems to be in the minority—that it creates more excitement if it’s a ridiculously huge prize, and that $1 million just isn’t enough anymore to be set for life.

I always shake my head at that last excuse, but when you look at the rising cost of living, I begin to feel my position is weakening.

That fact was hit home by an errant email that landed in my mailbox recently. In it, an anonymous Internet talker (aren’t they all?) offered his suggestion to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on how to fix our economy.

His or her suggestions were as follows: “Instead of giving billions of dollars to banks and car companies, that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. There are about 20 million people over 50 in the workforce. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Twenty million job openings, unemployment fixed.

2) They MUST buy a new Canadian car. Twenty million cars ordered, auto industry fixed.

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage. Housing crisis fixed.

4) They must send their kids to school/college/university. Crime rate fixed

5) Buy $50 of alcohol/tobacco/(gas) a week. There’s your money back in duty, tax, etc.”

“It can’t get any easier than that!”

If only that were the case, but since I’m within earshot of being part of the “over 50” crowd, the idea of getting $1 million and retiring seems enticing.

But living in Kelowna, the money doesn’t go far enough. Buying a new house, putting my kids through school, buying a new car—75 per cent of that $1 million retirement fund might be gone. So from a Kelowna perspective, $1 million bucks just doesn’t cut it.

The value of money has changed so much in my lifetime. As a kid, thousands of dollars was a big thing, whereas today you need multi-millions to be in that same financially secure lifestyle.

So while I don’t think living on a $1 million for the rest of my life would send me to the food bank anytime soon, I need to start accepting the fact of thinking bigger is a necessity, especially if you want to be on the lottery winner pension plan.

I have come to accept that one million bucks is not the fiscal golden rainbow it used to be.

And that’s another reason why so many people today have restructured their retire at 55 plan to a work at 65 plan.

Barry Gerding is managing editor of the Capital News.

bgerding@kelownacapnews.com

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