Montanans are more savvy about winning the lottery than I would have guessed. With another ginormous jackpot on our hands, chatter about "what I'd do with the money" is on everyone's mind.

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash
Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

We just did another of our famous "Informal Downtown People Polls" to find out what locals would do if they won a big lottery jackpot. Keep in mind, this poll was completely informal, in-person, on a Main Street corner. The guidelines were simple:

  • Ask 100 people (or keep asking until we got 100 responses)
  • Respondents had to be at least 21 years old
  • Respondents had to be locals, actually living in Montana full time
  • Respondents could give us their top 2 things they'd do with the money (meaning the percentages below add up to way more than 100 since people could give us more than one answer)
  • Very similar answers we combined into 1 response phrase


Almost everyone was smart to say they'd immediately get a lawyer and a wealth manager. Check. Now, on to the good stuff - what would Montanans buy if they won hundreds of millions of dollars?

  • 40% of respondents: "I'd buy a very large plot of land in Montana."
  • 32% of respondents: "Would take all of my close friends and/or family on vacation"
  • 27% of respondents: "I'd buy my dream house"
  • 36% of respondents: "Would set up some sort of foundation/charity organization"
  • 12% of respondents: "I'd run for political office" (we were surprised by that one!)
  • 47% of respondents: "Would quit my job and travel the world"
  • 18% of respondents: "I'd pay for my kids college education in full, along with family members and close friends' kids"
  • 7% of respondents: "Would move abroad"
  • 39% of respondents: "I'd buy a couple of dream cars"
  • 5% of respondents: "I'd give my roommates enough money to move out and live on their own" (Very interesting! Not surprising, given the cost of Montana living these days.)
  • 2% of respondents: "I'd start a band/Take my band on tour" (my favorite answer!)
  • 22% of respondents: "I'd go back to college/trade school/cooking school/etc"
  • 15% of respondents: "Would buy a nice condo in several different countries"
  • 8% of respondents: "I would hire some staff (personal chef, driver, nanny, etc.)"
  • 1% of respondents: "I'd start drinking higher end booze"
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