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How to spend your Powerball winnings in one day

Powerball hits $700M
Powerball jackpot jumps to $700 million 00:57

You've won! Against incredible odds, you got the winning Powerball ticket and are clutching it in your hot, sweaty hands as you drop everything (really, drop it now) to collect your $700 million prize.

Now for the bad news. Most lottery winners have not done well. If you don't end up murdered, there's a a decent chance you'll go broke within a few years, beset by distant "relatives" and scam artists. Solution? Spend the money -- and fast, before the media, the ex and your long lost uncle Harvey come after you.

Here's how the math works out in tonight's drawing

The jackpot is worth $443 million if you take it in cash as a lump sum. After paying federal income tax at the highest rate (39.6 percent), you'd be left with $267 million, give or take. You'd also be responsible for state and local taxes. Those vary dramatically based on where you live; for this thought exercise, we'll assume you live in a state that doesn't levy income tax.

Here are different ways you might spend your winnings as quickly as possible.

America's most expensive house

With $267 million in your pocket, you could buy a 38,000-square-foot mansion in Los Angeles and have just about enough left over to pay property taxes for a year or two. (At that point, you might have to sell a few of the classic cars in your fleet, or start renting out the bowling alley to make ends meet.) If you're feeling slightly more modest, how about this double-width townhouse in New York City's West Village? At an asking price of $59 million, you could buy one for yourself and another for the in-laws a suitable distance away.

Inside the most expensive home in America 01:07

Your own island

Talk about going off the grid. There are plenty of private islands available for purchase in a range of climates, from the sub-arctic to the tropical. We think this example, off Florida's Gulf Coast, looks tempting. While the island itself would run about $50 million or less (can you say "bargain"?), true seclusion will cost you more. First, you'd need to get on and off the island, so plunk down $10 million to $100 million for an appropriately fancy private jet or yacht. Many of these islands remain blissfully undeveloped, so if you want features like, say, electricity, indoor plumbing or filtered water, you'll have to pay for that infrastructure yourself. The good news is that a solar-powered generator can be had for a bargain-basement price these days. 

Pre-pay your kids' college tuition

Four years of schooling at today's priciest private schools will run you $208,000 and up, so you might as well pay it in a lump sum now, and pay for your nieces and nephews, too, while you're at it. Note the tuition figure doesn't include room and board, so you might as well grab a few properties near colleges your kid might be interested in. If you're not sure your kids will cut it academically and want a more permanent way to cement your legacy, why not donate part of your winnings to a top-tier institution? For enough money they'll put your name on an entire department.

Finance a movie

As America's newest millionaire, you'd have your pick of artistic ideas guaranteed to lose money. If Hollywood executives aren't already banging down your door, look up the team behind some recent clunkers, like "The Lone Ranger," whose estimated $250 million production budget resulted in a loss of between $91 million and $121 million. Or you could try remaking "Catwoman." Twice. 

Fund a nonprofit, or your local fire department

With $267 million, you could just about cover the yearly budget of a large nonprofit, like the Children's Aid Society, or run a dozen smaller organizations for a decade. That money would run the Food Bank of Eastern Illinois for 16 years, or Habitat for Humanity of San Gabriel Valley for more than a century.  

Finance a stranger's lawsuit

For some, funding personal-injury lawsuits is now an innovative way to make money, but that doesn't matter for you, since you'll be doing it purely as a philanthropic act. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel spent about $10 million in his campaign against Gawker. At that rate you could help 26 people who have been personally wronged.

Report: Silicon Valley billionaire helped Hulk Hogan sue Gawker for millions 03:59

Help save the media

There may not be another Washington Post to buy for $250 million, as Amazon boss Jeff Bezos did, but plenty of local papers, magazines and radio stations would love the support of a wealthy owner. Many of them haven't benefited from the "Trump bump" that's boosted high-profile national papers and TV networks, and it's unlikely that a billionaire would be interested in preserving coverage of school board meetings or local business conflicts. Alaska's largest newspaper and news site filed for bankruptcy a few weeks ago; estimates put its assets at a paltry $1 million. That sum would also fund a year's worth of operations for a small-city radio station.

Buy a sports team

World's most expensive handbag sold at auction 00:17

Major-league football or baseball is, sadly, out of your budget -- the going rate for a team is over $1 billion -- but the aspiring sports investor/sucker will have a better chance with less-popular sports. Take soccer, loved the world over but only now getting big in the U.S., where the cost of a team starts around $150 million. Consider that you'll likely have to commit to building a stadium and have an investment plan for your team to be really, really great, so your total outlay could easily top $250 million.

Go to space

You've already paid $12,500 to reserve your space burial, but, hey, you're filthy rich -- why not also gaze upon our big blue marble while you're still kicking? Elon Musk's SpaceX has announced plans to take two people into space sometime in 2018, and several U.S. companies are competing to run tourist missions to the moon. At this point it's not clear what the cost will be, but the Russians used to take tourists into space for $20 million and $40 million per person.

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