Continued strong ticket sales have pushed the Powerball jackpot to roughly $ 425 million in advance of Wednesday’s drawing.

The midweek jackpot remains below the record $ 590.5 million jackpot won in May by an 84-year-old Florida woman.  But as it stands, it would be the third-largest Powerball jackpot ever and the fourth largest lottery prize on record.  The changes Powerball organizers made to the game last year are pushing into record territory less than three months after Gloria C. Mackenzie of Zephyrhills, Fla., claimed the biggest Powerball prize ever.

Powerball tickets doubled in price to $ 2 in January 2012 as part of a plan to help jackpots grow bigger, faster.  And when the jackpots reach astronomical levels, ticket sales take off, with jackpots following close behind.

No matter how many people play the game, the odds of matching all six numbers remains 1 in 175.2 million.  Half of the $ 2 cost of a Powerball ticket goes toward the prizes, the rest to the state lottery organization.  Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Each state that participates in the game decides how to use the money.  Some states earmark the money for a specific purpose, such as education, while others use it in their general funds.

If Wednesday’s jackpot hits $ 425 million, a single winner choosing the cash option would collect $ 244.7 million before taxes.

So imagine if you can, winning and choosing the cash option and receiving $ 244.7 million.  Now, the IRS will automatically take 25 % off the top and in my state, it’s another 5 %; so now you are down to $ 171.29 million.  When you file your taxes next year, at worst case you would fall into a federal tax bracket of 39.6 % or $ 67,830,840.  You are now down to $ 103,459,160 or let’s just round it off to $ 103.46 million.  In other words, you just lost 58 % of your initial winnings, but your take home is still over $ 103 million…nothing to scoff at.

Now, what is on your wish list…just imagine, what you could do with that kind of money.

My top 10 list, in no particular order would be:

A new house built to our plans, in a location where the winters are mild and summers are long, beautiful, and almost last forever.

Buy a vacation home.

My beautiful wife could retire and call work and say, that she is taking a long vacation…like for the rest of her life.

We would make our children instantly wealthy and create college funds for all our grandchildren.

I would buy my wife and myself each a car of our dreams.

We would help out my family and my wife’s family.

We would continue our life of giving to special organizations of our choosing.

We would give back to our community.

We would give to our church.

We could travel and enjoy what wonderful gifts…God has bestowed on us.


Now, I just have to pick the right numbers…..