The Largest Powerball Winner Could Be You & Here's How You'd Compare To These Really, Really Rich People
With a staggering $1.4 billion jackpot announced Monday, more and more people are asking: Just how rich would winning the Powerball jackpot make someone? Like most things in life, the answer depends a lot on tricky little details — like where you live, where you bought the winning ticket, what tax policies your state subscribes to, and if you had a couple million tucked away in the bank to begin with. (Side note: If you're sitting on a couple million dollars, what are you doing playing Powerball? Leave some for the rest of us!) But if we close our eyes for a moment and pretend we’re living in a world where the taxman — federal or state — doesn’t come a-knocking (isn’t this nice!), the Powerball’s current cash value would make the winner richer than many celebrities and presidential candidates.
The official Powerball website lists the current jackpot's cash value at a cool $868 million, with the next drawing scheduled for Wednesday. So whether you define a multimillionaire as filthy rich or stinking rich, you should still expect to slide into the list of America's top one percent. Life after a Powerball win could include jostling elbows with the next president or swapping vacation stories with the Kardashians.
Here's a quick rundown of how the winner of the Powerball's $868 million cash value would compare to some of America's wealthy elite.
According to Forbes, someone who took home the Powerball would be wealthier than all but one of the 2016 candidates. Donald Trump's estimated net worth of $4.5 billion tops even the current total Powerball jackpot. Trump, however, claims he's worth closer to $2.9 billion. With an estimated net worth of $58 million, Republican contender and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is the second-richest candidate. The Powerball's cash value prize easily beats the net worths of her and GOP candidates Ben Carson ($26 million), Jeb Bush ($22 million), Mike Huckabee ($9 million), Ted Cruz ($3.5 million), and Rand Paul ($2 million), to name just a handful.
The winner would also have a net worth greater than Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton ($45 million), Bernie Sanders ($700,000), and Martin O'Malley, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes to be "virtually zilch" due to a mortgage and multiple student loans, among other things.
Sadly, the near-$868-million prize won't put you in the same league as the business world's crème de la crème. Compared to Bill Gates, whose $76 billion net worth makes him the richest man in America, the Powerball prize is paltry, even before taxes. With a net worth of $40.3 billion, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg isn't likely to be friending the Powerball winner, either. The jackpot also pales in comparison to the net worths of Tesla CEO Elon Musk ($13.3 billion), Star Wars creator George Lucas ($5 billion), and the Koch brothers (both Charles and David Koch are estimated to each have net worths of $41 billion).
The good news is that $868 million makes a person richer than a lot of Hollywood's movers and shakers. Singer Taylor Swift is estimated to have a net worth of $280 million. Quite a feat for a 26-year-old, but still not enough to put her in the Powerball winner's squad. Lady Gaga, who won a Golden Globe on Sunday, falls not far below Swift, with a net worth estimated at $275 million. Even Leonardo DiCaprio ($245 million) can't side-eye that kind of cash.
While a Powerball winner would be richer than mogul Beyonce Knowles ($250 million), her daughter Blue Ivy has a net worth estimated to be over $1 billion, thanks to her superstar parents' combined incomes. Caitlyn Jenner's estimated net worth of $100 million puts the Olympic gold medalist and reality star — along with Kim Kardashian's $85 million in net worth — among those a Powerball winner can easily flaunt their cash in front of. Funny girl Amy Schumer would likely make an excellent friend, but don't expect the comedian to pick up the tab, what with her net worth of $10 million.
While the odds of actually winning the Powerball jackpot are one in 292.2 million, the answer to how rich a winner would be is simple: Richer than most, poorer than Trump.
Images: Getty Images, Celia Darrough; Confesions d'un jeun parisien/Tumblr