Esurance-save-30

What I Would Do If I Won The EsuranceSave30 Contest ($1.5 Million)

People play this game all the time, “What would you do if you won a million dollars?” Tomorrow night, someone will actually get to answer that question. It got me thinking, what would I do if I won the $1.5 million from Esurance’s giveaway? Without giving it too much thought, here’s what I would do with it.

Taxes

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a substantial portion of the $1.5 million will have to be allocated to paying taxes. You think that the taxes you owe each year are tough, but things ramp up quickly when you come into significant money in a hurry. Winning this prize would instantly boost you to the top tax bracket, which is about $128,000 and almost 40% of anything over $457,600. By my rough calculations, you will owe approximately $550,000 in taxes on the winnings, leaving you with just under a million dollars after taxes. Ouch.

Donations

Everyone always acts like they would give away a large portion of their winnings, but I honestly think that most people would do so. If the number is about million, then at a minimum, giving away 10% to tithe is reasonable. Because of the circumstances (coming into money I wasn’t expecting), I would like too give away an extra 10% for a total of $200,000. The primary beneficiaries would be my church (Ethos) and organizations that I care about in Mexico (City of Children) and Honduras (Jovenes en Camino). Note: I’m not tooting my own horn here! I feel like plenty of people would give away just as much if not more! It continues to blow me away that people are always so generous with their possessions. It inspires me to try and give more.

Loans

I put the donations section before this one because I wanted to seem like a good person, but the first thing I would do once the money was transferred into my account is to pay all of existing debt. Student Loans, House payment, and everything else with a red number associated to my name. My goal going forward would be to try and pay everything possible with cash to avoid taking on more debt. There is something freeing about not owing anyone anything.

Guitar

Shortly after paying off all of my loans, I would head to the nearest guitar stores to purchase my dream guitar, the Gibson Les Paul. I don’t know exactly what model and color it would be, but I would chose the one that my soul connected with. I’d have to have a beautiful amp to go with it of course. That would probably be it for my luxury item spending. It seems like a million dollars will go a long way, but irrational spending will drain it pretty quickly.

Celebration Trip

This one would be primarily up to my wife to plan, but I’m pretty sure we would take a few weeks off to vacation somewhere. This would likely entail a trip to Europe or some exotic beach. Things that would normally be out of the question financially speaking like first class airfare or suite rooms would be in play.  We couldn’t be gone too long or we would probably be fired from our jobs. While people would instantly think about quitting their jobs, $1 million isn’t quite retirement money… Needless to say, this would be an epic trip(s).

Savings

The rest of the money, probably about $500,000, would go into various savings or interest bearing accounts. I would probably want to setup some education funding accounts for my future kids (Lord willing) and set aside some others for retirement. I realize this is boring, but I am about as practical as they come, so it wouldn’t make sense to blow it all.

How It Would Impact My Life

The great thing about this amount of money is that it won’t completely change your life like winning the lottery would. Lottery winners often complain about being much more unhappy after winning it, and a high percentage of them end up going bankrupt. One million dollars, while enough to greatly impact your life, likely wouldn’t change it entirely. It would be incredible to have to money to be able to bless others. It would be a relief to not worry about bill payments or pending debt. But these are all ancillary things in life. By tomorrow night, someone will be a new millionaire. Hopefully their life will be positively impacted by it, and they can bless others with it.

Sleep well tonight everyone. Who knows, tomorrow night, you might be a millionaire.

Super-Bowl-XLVIII

Best & Worst Commercials from Super Bowl XLVIII (2014)

The Super Bowl this year was a bust. It was touted as being one of the greatest matchups ever (rightfully so), but didn’t deliver because only one team showed up to play. We all know that the game was miserable, but did the commercials save the day? My answer is a resounding “meh”. There were a few good ones, but most felt forced and unnatural. Here are my thoughts on the commercials…

Big Winner – Esurance

The biggest winner of the night didn’t even have an ad during the Super Bowl, but instead decided to air it right after the game, saving them $1.5 million dollars. In a stroke of genius, they decided to offer up these saving to one lucky winner through Twitter. Naturally, this hashtag has exploded, creating millions in “free” marketing for Esurance. Others will likely try to mimic this tactic in the future, but Esurance will be remembered as the first.

Most Overrated – Jaguar Villains

I don’t have any specific quips about this one, it just  didn’t quite do it for me. Others praised it as being the best commercial of the night. Oh well, maybe I’m not cool enough to get the appeal.

Most Disappointing – Bud Light Randomness

Bud Light had been hyping their Super Bowl commercials for weeks, which puts immense pressure on them to deliver big. They weren’t terrible, but definitely didn’t live up to the hype.

Most Controversial – Coke’s America is Beautiful

People either loved or hated Coke’s ad featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in multiple languages. My twitter timeline was filled with mixed responses ranging from “best commercial ever” to “I think I’ll buy Pepsi from now on.”

“What Could Have Been” Commercials

This category contains commercials that weren’t bad, but could have been so much more with a few tweaks.

Heinz

This one wasn’t absolutely terrible, but I feel as though they missed a big opportunity. Had they played off of the “hitting the 57” trick to get it to come out, it might have been more memorable and less meh.

Doritos Time Machine

I’m not sure exactly what this one was missing, but it was barely off. Just a few tweaks away from being really funny.

Audi Doberhauhau

Like most the commercials in this category, the idea was genius but wasn’t quite carried out to perfection. The Sarah McLachlan bit was fantastic. This one barely missed my top five.

TurboTax Love Hurts

This one isn’t really TurboTax’s fault per se, but it just felt really disjointed from the company’ product. The first 45 seconds were brilliant, but then the product pitch come along and they lost me. So close.

Bud Light Ridiculousness

The idea here was brilliant but the execution wasn’t quite as sound. They probably could have gone just a little bit more ridiculous, but I’m not really an expert. Overall an amusing but not epic series of commercials.

Worst Commercials

5) Kia Matrix

This one had me intrigued in the beginning, using the classic blue pill vs. red pill motif. It quickly went from intriguing to bizarre when he started opera singing, causing everything to explode… Missed opportunity here.

4) Bud Light Twist

Was this really the time to market a beer bottle with a resealable cap? How many people drink half a beer and think “Yea, this will be really good tomorrow!” and put it back in the fridge?

3) SodaStream

Wasn’t too bad until they tried to make it sleazy, although it wasn’t even that trashy. I’m never for ridiculous trashiness, but it would have at least made it memorable. Fail on every account.

2) Axe Make Love, Not War

I’m not going to waste valuable words talking about this commercial. It was dumb.

1) U2 & BoA Red

No one would have been upset if U2 had just been using this platform to launch their new song. Unfortunately, it had the “RED” name attached to it, and felt like a ploy more than a genuine effort to raise money for a good cause. What if they had just donated the $4 million instead of paying for the ad spot? Maybe I am being too harsh, but it rubbed me the wrong way.

Best Commercials

Honorable Mentions: Audi Doberhauhau and TurboTax Love Hurts

5) Cheerios Gracie

It might not have been laugh out loud funny or make you emotional to tears, but it was well done and sweet.

4) CarMax Slow Clap(s)

The first one (with people) was clever. They took a pretty big risk using the slow-clap because it is pretty played out. The commercial went from good to great when I saw the puppy version of it, which recreated everything from the first. Surprisingly excellent offerings from CarMax.

3) Radioshack 80’s Call

This one was so great because it was self-deprecating in a clever way. RadioShack took the negative stereotype about them and used it with the vintage joke about the 80’s calling. The music was perfect too. Radioshack’s shares were way up this morning, so clearly this one was effective in getting the message out.

2) Microsoft Technology

This one came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. It definitely had me teary-eyed by the end. Heck, the video of the deaf woman hearing for the first time makes me cry every time. Microsoft isn’t normally too adept with marketing, but kudos for this one.

1) Budweiser A Hero’s Welcome & Puppies

We’ve come to expect greatness from Budweiser’s commercials, and they didn’t disappoint this year. I didn’t want to chose between the two, so we’ll give both of them the first place ribbon. Although some will say that it was cheesy and overblown, the raw emotion in the hero’s arrival home was chilling and beautiful. “I’m Coming Home” has become the de facto song for military arrivals, but it worked flawlessly here. What could make the already great horse commercials even better? A puppy. Cute all around. Budweiser wins yet again.