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Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Warren Buffett will insure QuickenLoans, founded by the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert,  and through Yahoo Fantasy invites you to become a billionaire by merely correctly selecting all the winners of March Madness.  Called the Billion $ Bracket, you can register by clicking on that term.

The entry deadline has been adjusted to 1AM Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, March 20, which gives more than 16 hours from the time I post this article.  However, only the first 15 million entrants will be eligible.  You only need to get something like 63 games correct.  The championship final will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas  on April 7.  For the record, President Barack Obama (who did not enter this competition) picked Arizona, Florida, Louisville and Michigan State for his final four, with Michigan State prevailing over Louisville.

If you actually do win, you will only get a lump sum payment of half a billion dollars.  You can, however, choose 40 annual payments of $25 million, for the full billion.  

However, the odds on your succeeding are 1 in 9.2 quintillion if you really don't know what you're doing and guess randomly.  What's a quintillion?  A trillion is 1000 times more than a billion, while a quadrillion is 1000 times a trillion.  A quintillion is a thousand times a quadrillion, or, 1, followed by 18 zeroes.   If you've been closely following college hoops, you improve your chances to 1 in 128 billion.

By the way, if you really want to know what will happen to Planet Earth and our Universe in 100 quintillion years, click on the graphics to the right, prepared by the BBC.  If your eyesight still fails, link to that article, but chances are you will still need to magnify further.

So, returning to this notion of becoming a billionaire, is this exercise a waste of time?  Not really, because if no one wins, the top 20 entrants will each win $100,000.  Further, there is no cost to participate.

Unfortunately, I won't become a billionaire because I couldn't enter.  As requested, I sent my phone number, but the computer recognized this was a home phone and not a cell.  Why cell?  Because they text to you a special five digit code.  So I sent my mobile phone number.  I don't text on my iPhone, so no code came.  This is so disappointing for I have  three NBA fantasy teams and just drafted three Major League Baseball fantasy teams this week.  I'm pretty good at fantasy sports.  But, alas, will not attain billionairehood.

There are many other opportunities, but that was the only billionaire maker.  For example, CDM Sports has a College Hoops Bracket Challenge, where you have until 9:55 AM Central Daylight Time on March 20, but need to pay $7.95 just to win $1,000.

Speaking of becoming a billionaire, the latest issue of Forbes is the World Almanac of Wealth (actually, there are six covers in a row, this one featuring Jan Koum--he came to America penniless from Ukraine twenty years ago, and recently was given $6.8 billion by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook for WhatsApp) where you learn the following:

  • Globally, there are 1,645 billionaires.
  • Added this year were 268 billionaires.
  • Their net worth is $6.4 trillion.
  • The top five are:
    • Bill Gates, USA, $76 billion
    • Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico, $72 billion
    • Amancio Ortega, Spain, $64 billion
    • Warren Buffett, USA, $58 billion
    • Larry Ellison, USA, $48 billion
  • Top countries:
    • USA--492
    • China--152
    • Russia--111
    • Germany--85

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