What would you do with $425 million?
It's a question many people across the Hudson Valley were pondering Monday as they bought chances to win a record Powerball jackpot, to be drawn Wednesday night.
"I would go retire," said Ray Tam, 53, of Yonkers, who owns 4th Avenue Electronics in Mount Vernon. "Buy myself a nice house on the West Coast."
Tam is a big spender when it comes to playing the lottery, though he keeps it a secret from his wife.
"[My wife] will kill me ... if she knows that I spent $100 every week," he said. "But I know once I share [the jackpot] with her, she will be superhappy."
Like Tam, many others said they would use their new riches to buy a home.
"I would like to get my dream house," said Mimi Dwarka, 33, who works at Ankerson's Pharmacy in Mount Vernon, where people were buying tickets Monday. "Also, help my family members. Put the rest in the bank. Save for later."
Dwayne Williams, 42, of New Rochelle, said he would first make a sizable donation to his church.
"Then help some family members out, pay some bills and take a long vacation," he said.
Lottery officials said the Wednesday total could go even higher than the estimated $425 million because sales tend to pick up before record drawings as people seek to win big. A possible winner from Wednesday night's drawing could get a lump sum of $278.3 million or annuity payments for the full sum over 30 years.
The previous record for a Powerball top prize was $365 million, won in 2006 by eight workers from ConAgra Foods in Lincoln, Neb.
In late March, Mega Millions had a jackpot of $656 million. Three winning tickets were sold, one each in Kansas, Maryland and Illinois. The ticket in Illinois was bought by a retired couple in Red Bud. Ticket-holders in the other two states were not required to be publicly identified.