There are certain conundrums fraught with human drama, gut-wrenching ethical concerns, or complex geopolitics. How to spend the exorbitant winnings of the Powerball jackpot is, emphatically, not one of them.
But while figuring out how to spend the now-$1.5 billion booty is hardly in the same league as, say, bringing peace to the Middle East or responding to global warming, the prospect of having such a sum at one’s luxurious disposal is daunting.
Sure, there’s the issue that the winner won’t actually get $1.5 billion. The taxman cometh—in a big, effing way.
Federal, state, and municipal taxes dramatically shrink the winnings, varying somewhat depending on where you live.
CNN Money broke down what a Powerball winner is actually left with: “Lottery winnings are taxed like income, and the IRS taxes the top income bracket 39.6 percent. The government will withhold 25 percent of that before the money ever gets to the winner. The rest has to be paid at tax time.”
Then, there are state taxes, CNN Money notes. For example, New York State has the highest tax of the 44 states involved in the Powerball lottery, with 8.82 percent. And if you live in the Big Apple, municipal taxes mean another 3.9 percent loss due to taxes, with an ultimate sum of $577 million, according to CNN Money.
Still, even in that stingy scenario, nearly $600 million is nothing to sniff at—and The Daily Beast has a few tips for how to blaze through the winnings in a diverse array of indulgences.
Should you be that lucky holder of the golden ticket, you could purchase your own fanciful candy factory.
While you couldn’t actually afford the Willy Wonka brand (it’s part of Nestlé, which is valued at $247.3 billion), you could easily start your own Sweet Factory franchise.
According to the company’s website, it’s an estimated $350,000 to $1,500,000 in initial investment—a drop in the (Charlie) bucket from even the tax-trimmed winnings.
Or, perhaps, you want to satisfy your sweet tooth in a different way. If, like me, you’re addicted to frozen yogurt, you could start a 16 Handles franchise for $450,000-$650,000 and eat all the red velvet froyo with wet walnuts that your digestive system could handle.
If you want the real deal ice cream, purchase a Ben & Jerry’s franchise for around $226,000 to $467,800 to stuff your face with Phish Food and Cherry Garcia.
If you want the ultimate in high-end dining experiences, consider feasting at Sublimotion in Ibiza, Spain.
The restaurant offers what has been deemed the world’s most expensive tasting menu, at 1,500 euros, or $1,627, per person before taxes. Only 12 guests are permitted to the “greatest gastronomic show in the world,” which includes an open bar and 12 dishes, designed by a staff of 25, according to Sublimotion’s press materials.
Maybe your tastes are a bit boozier. There was a panicked (and, therefore, expensive) run on Pappy Van Winkle bourbon this year after the Buffalo Trace distillery in Kentucky, where it’s manufactured, yielded “about half as much” of the treasured 20- and 23-year-old supply as it had the previous year, according to press representative Amy Preske in a prepared statement.
Fortune reported that previous bottles were listed for as much as $2,700 on reseller sites. Let’s throw in a dozen of those.
Perhaps your libation preferences are a bit more cosmopolitan. You could buy not just a bottle, but a whole case of the most expensive wine of 2015, according to the site, Wine Searcher. The 1985 Richebourg Grand Cru, from the Côtes de Nuit range, costs more than $15,000 a bottle on average.
Hell, buy your own vineyard in France while you’re at it.
Consider purchasing this lovely château and vineyard near Bordeaux, listed by Christie’s for a mere $6,956,141.
Built in 1782 with a history going back to the 13th century, the château offers seven bedrooms, so you can have plenty of guests over to partake in your wine.
In case you were curious, the Christie’s listing specifies that the grapes are “55% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec” and the “average age of vines 40 years old.”
Maybe you’re a bit of a cigar aficionado. Consider buying Mayan “sikars,” which are 900 years old and cost $200,000 a pop, according to Hudson Mod. Buy a box of 50, costing you a cool $10 million.
Even after these extravagances, there’s still plenty to spend. Let’s move beyond the world of food and drink (and other vices) and to the mall.
Maybe you’ve always had a thing for Victoria’s Secret. Why don’t you buy the $2 million Fantasy bra and panty set that Lily Aldridge wore for the runway show this year. According to Entertainment Tonight, 126 diamonds were used just to encrust the panties.
Who wouldn’t want to have a Carrie Bradshaw moment, or a hundred of them? Pick up 100 pairs of the “New Very Riche” crystal-encrusted Louboutin pumps at $4,995. They’ll go perfectly with the Victoria’s Secret fantasy set.
Or, consider the Ruby red slippers designed by Stuart Weitzman. For $1,600,000, you can wear shoes that are even better than Dorothy’s famous slippers, because these have 640 Burma rubies.
If you’re walking down the aisle, you can easily spend thousands on a dress. Why don’t you go big and buy one of the most expensive wedding dresses in the world, the Vera Wang peacock dress for $1.5 million? The incredibly unusual gown is made of, you guessed it, actual male peacock feathers.
And if you’re going to shop, you need some bags. Perhaps, a Birkin? A Himalayan crocodile Birkin bag reportedly sold for $432,000, according to The Guardian.
Or, maybe you’re feel a Judith Leiber-encrusted clutch in the shape of a cupcake. They run $4,495. Earn some good karma and get one for your 100 closest friends.
While you’re at it, why don’t you throw your own slumber party and hire Taylor Swift to serenade you and your pals? That will cost about $1 million.
Add Lady Gaga for another $750,000, Britney Spears for $500,000, and Katy Perry for $500,000. You know you’d be singing “Teenage Dream” and “Bad Romance” at the top of your lungs, anyways; might as well be accompanied by the pop singers.
And you’ll need to get around in something stylish if you’ve got all this loot on you. Why don’t you buy yourself, your mom, your dad, and your grandma each the most expensive car in the world, the Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita?
According to Digital Trends, the Swedish-made car “is literally coated in diamonds,” so it’s no wonder it costs $4.8 million. Buying four will set you back about $20 million.
But why drive when you can fly in the height (pun intended) of luxury? Buy a Boeing Business Jet 3 for $99 million, according to CNBC, which also noted the private plane can carry 230 pieces of luggage. You’ll probably need that cargo space with all your spending.
You will also only recline in the most high-end abodes in your new-found wealth.
Spend the wintry month of January hiding away in the Royal Penthouse suite at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva. At £53,000, or $76,500 a night, the whole month will cost around $2,400,00.
Of course, if you’re going to spend that much on basic shelter, you might as well snag a luxury pad, specifically a penthouse.
The 35,500-square foot Sky Penthouse in Monaco’s Odeon Tower luxury (to put it mildly) building costs around $375 million, according to The Guardian.
That may sound steep, but the penthouse comes with a whiskey bar, billiards room, four kitchens, and its own nightclub with a marble dance floor. When you think of those things, it’s almost a steal.
It goes without saying you’ll need an abode in New York City, even if it’s a relative pied-à-terre compared to the Odeon Tower.
Might we suggest a unit in Manhattan’s uber-trendy Tribeca at 443 Greenwich Street, a restored historic building equipped with a temperature-controlled wine cellar and Turkish baths, according to the StreetEasy listing. A 15-room, five-bedroom unit is on the market for $52,000,000. Totally do-able.
Now, you’ve spent a grand total of $576,937,365.
With a measly $62,635, might we suggest you revisit that sweet tooth. The 24-karat gold doughnuts being sold at Manila Social Club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for $100 a pop are all the rage. Buy five dozen.
Hate to say it, but you’ve spent all your money. Time to find a real job.