Rebecca Jemison, a hospital worker from South Euclid, Ohio, turned in the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket today, staking her claim to $162 million. After consulting an attorney and an accountant, she chose the lump sum payment option, which is for $94 million, or $67.2 million after taxes.
Man, how did $162 million get whittled down to only $67.2 million? Rebecca, if that puts you on a budget, and you need low-cost financial advice, a free trial of TMF Money Advisor is always there for you. Or, here's one option: Blow $7.2 million on whatever you want right now. Stick $30 million in a bulletproof short-term savings account. Then invest the final $30 million in an S&P index fund. You might expect to make 10% annually on that money, which would give your kids about $523 million 30 years down the road. Or just bet it all on Black!
The rest of us, of course, will just keep getting ripped off, dropping our hard-earned money on the lottery every week to no avail. Congratulations!
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- eBay Has the Power
- Quote of Note
- Gateway's Big Picture
- Discussion Board of the Day: Wal-Mart
- TiVo Dishes It Out
- Shameless Plug: Motley Fool Hidden Gems
- More Fool News
- And Finally...
eBay Has the Power
We should have seen it coming. For the third time in four years -- just as they're recovering from New Year's hangovers -- eBay
The Feb. 2 fee increases range from 17% for some lower-priced items to as much as 45% for auctions starting at $500 or more. While that means a difference of just $1.50 per auction in the latter case, that certainly adds up for frequent sellers. Meanwhile, it will cost twice as much in some cases to conduct a reserve auction. On the flip side, fees for those listing items in their personal "eBay Store" are being cut by more than half.
As a casual seller on eBay, I'm not exactly looking forward to the increases. As an investor, however, I expect nothing less from management. As the site draws more and more buyers -- there were 37 million active users at the end of the third quarter, a 55% year-over-year increase -- it becomes more valuable to sellers.
Pricing power can be subtle. For example, Anheuser-Busch
eBay's power is more obvious. While there is competition out there -- Amazon
In the words of ShelbyBoy, a more active seller and long-time contributor to the Fool discussion boards: "Based on the increase in overall number of users, and specifically in the number of bids and winning bid amounts I am experiencing, eBay's increase is not even noticeable."
Quote of Note
"And he is oft the wisest man, who is not wise at all." -- William Wordsworth
Gateway's Big Picture
The road to reinvention is often paved with quicksand. That's a sad truth that Gateway
That Gateway expects to post an operating loss over the pivotal holiday quarter is not news. The company has been bleeding crimson for some time now. However, it had initially guided investors to expect the top line to come in between $925 million and $975 million, but is now looking to post fourth-quarter revenue of just $880 million.
This is Gateway's reality check. While it was right to back out of the personal computer wars better waged by the likes of Dell
And with hungry consumer electronics specialists like Best Buy
Of course, knocking Gateway must be done with balance sheet in hand. The company has preserved cash despite a dramatic makeover and perpetual deficits. With $1.1 billion in cash and short-term investments, that's nearly $3.40 a share right there. Investors may be impatient, sending shares lower on the slower-than-expected quarter, but Gateway's got enough quarters to keep feeding the meter for a long, long time.
Eventually, Gateway will get it right. When it does, times like this, when the stock is selling for little more than its liquidity, may seem awfully like opportunities in retrospect.
Discussion Board of the Day: Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart is the latest to up the ante on the stock repurchase game. What do you think of corporate buybacks? Is Wal-Mart simply in a post-holiday buying mood? How do you think the company's December results will pan out? All this and more -- in the Wal-Mart discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
TiVo Dishes It Out
Let's do the TimeWarp again. In this instance, though, that line has nothing to do with the cult flick The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Rather, it has to do with a cult favorite of the living room, TiVo
According to news agencies, TiVo, which is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick, seeks monetary damages and an injunction against new sales of EchoStar's DVR players. The patent in question relates to similar features that allow users to play back a program while recording a different show.
Not so long ago, Comcast's
Since August, EchoStar -- which competes with major TiVo partner DirecTV, a unit of Hughes
Looking back, TiVo has been involved in several patent litigations that ended well for the company. One with rival ReplayTV (once owned by now-bankrupt SONICblue) ended in 2002 when both companies dropped the lawsuit, saying in a joint statement, "We believe our energies are better spent expanding the market for Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) rather than fighting each other."
Another high-profile lawsuit with Gemstar-TV Guide
Fast-forward to the here and now, though, and serious competition looms in the form of cable operators. Is it "no more Mr. Nice Guy" for TiVo? TiVo investors will eagerly await developments here -- namely, to see whether it can get other companies to pay for what it claims is its intellectual property. Now that the competitive playing field seems to be reaching a critical point, it seems a perfectly good time for TiVo to protect its turf.
Sha meless Plug: Motley Fool Hidden Gems
Last year was a great one for small-cap investors and especially for Tom Gardner and the members of his Motley Fool Hidden Gems newsletter service. With a little more than six months under his belt, Tom has considerably outperformed all relevant equity benchmarks. And this month, Tom offers his readers a review of his picks to date as well as those of his guest analysts. There's probably no better time to climb aboard and get spun up. Did we mention the trial is free? All you have to do is click.
More Fool News
- Pumatech Still Growing
- Isis' 2G Drug Shines
- Building Keeps Booming
- No Madness at Wendy's
- Hollywood Hammered
For all today's stories, see Today's Headlines.
If you're like most (and not like Rebecca Jemison), you're probably not saving enough for your retirement. Don't panic, the day is young. But you do need a plan. If you chose to accept, Dayana Yochim gives you Mission: Retirement. If you'd have bought Home Depot instead of that Pearl Jam disc back in 1993, we wouldn't be having this conversation. OK, that's a bit much, but check out David Forrest's Home Depot: $80 Billion and Counting to see what all the Tomfoolery is about. Last but not least, Tim Beyers recaps an exciting day at the MacWorld trade show in The Apple of My iPod.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Sam Edwards, Paul Elliott, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Jeff Hwang, LouAnn Lofton, Alyce Lomax, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Dave Marino-Nachison, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim