Most lottery winners, when they find out they’ve just become instant millionaires, well, let’s just say they get pretty excited. But not this guy. His name is Aaron Monsey. He’s a carpenter from Sterling, Virginia, who bought a Powerball lottery ticket at a gas station there back on June 21.
That was a Saturday. The Powerball drawing was that night. The next day, Monsey checked the numbers on his ticket. He saw that he missed the Powerball number — but matched the other five.
That meant his $2 lottery ticket was now worth a cool $1 million. That should make anyone pretty happy, right? After all, how many people ever earn $1 million in a single year, much less in a single moment?
Not very many, that’s how many. For example, in 2011 — according to the Internal Revenue Service — about 140 million Americans filed tax returns. Of those, a mere 235,000 reported earning at least $1 million in that year. That’s just over one-tenth of one percent, or 0.001 percent.
A pretty elite club. So what was Money’s reaction when he found out he’d joined it, at least for 2014?
“There wasn’t any yelling or screaming,” the carpenter shrugged, when he showed up to collect his million-dollar check Monday.
Yes, Monday. December 15 — for a winning lottery ticket he purchased on June 21.
Aaron Monsey waited just four days less than the 180 days he was allowed under the state’s laws to collect his lottery winnings — even though he knew he was a million-dollar winner since the day after he bought the ticket.
He purchased the Powerball “Match 5” lottery winner at Sterling Park Exxon station, located at 209 East Holly Avenue in Sterling, Virginia. And that’s where he went on Monday to pick up his winnings.
Why did Monsey wait so long to get his hands on his money? At first, Monsey was reluctant to answer, saying only, “Just because…”
But he later opened up a bit, after revealing that rather than celebrating his winnings, after picking up his check he was simply heading back to work at his carpentry job.
“It’s not enough to retire on,” Monsey sneered.
Monsey may be right about that. A million dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to. Back when the Powerball lottery started in 1992, a million bucks was worth what $1.7 million would be worth today. Looking at it the other way, the $1 million Monsey won is equivalent to just $600,000 in 1992 dollars.
And then there’s the matter of taxes. Virginia withholds four percent in state taxes from lottery winnings on top of the 25 percent already withheld by the feds.
Apparently, at least according to Aaron Monsey, being a lottery millionaire isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.