"If anyone won 1 million (after taxes etc) in SoCal, just buying a regular ranch-style house in a subdivision would eat half of it. For those talking about paying for college: living as a student at a University of California (UCLA for example) is estimated at $31,902 per year (that does include tuition, books, housing, estimated transportation costs, and a modest budget of $1300 for personal expenses). If someone wants to live the "rich" lifestyle of the mansion and fancy car, and world travel, they'd need to have an income above $1 million per year."
Again, it's a matter of perspective. Sure, buying that house eats half of your money, but you have a mortgage payment of a back-breaking $0 a month to keep up with coupled with the fact that you've still got $500K in cash after the purchase and you're no longer paying any kind of rent or other mortgage. At $32K a year for college, you could attend college nonstop for three decades on one million dollars, not counting any interest earned in that time. And one doesn't need to live the "ultra-rich" lifestyle to change one's life. Earning a living wage without having to go to work is a significant life change for the vast majority of people out there.
"Virg you make good points, but just believe me when I say that me, my DH, and our financial planner are well aware of the amount of capitol we need to have in our savings and 401K's before we retire to live the lifestyle we want and a $1mil pot isn't it."
Add a million dollars today to what you already have, and I bet it's a lot closer to what you're aiming at. There are few people who wouldn't consider cutting years or possibly decades off their retirement savings efforts (or being able to retire years or decades earlier) to be life-changing. And again, we're talking about adding forty thousand dollars a year in earnings with no loss of the starting million dollars, and that's a very conservative earnings number to boot. As above, I'm not talking about jet-setting, but getting Robin Leach to take notice isn't necessary to change your life.
"Having said that, a post-tax $40,000 extra per year would make a very nice supplement to the income. Sadly, it would require actually buying a lottery ticket, and I have more faith in statistics than luck."
Then here's a little factoid that will allow you to dare to dream. If you look at any lottery, they'll tell you the odds of winning the grand prize. For Powerball, the odds of hitting the big number is 1 in 180 million ( it's less, but this is comfortably rounded and compensates for multiple winners in the statistics). Add in the lesser prizes and the fact that the ticket costs two bucks, and when the Powerball jackpot rises above about 220 million, the risk-versus-earnings ratio says that a Powerball ticket becomes an investment-grade security! OK, it's not exactly accurate, but it's a fun concept and it's inexactly accurate, so it might convince you to buy a ticket when the pot gets huge.