Best Friend Keeps Promise from 1992, Splits Lotto Winnings

  • Tom Cook and Joseph Feeny promised each other they'd split their winnings if they ever won Powerball.
  • 28 years later, Cook followed through on that promise.

I don’t make a lot of promises. Not because I’m a shady person (I don’t think), but because I have a terrible memory. Forgetting is the same as breaking with promises. Not the case for Wisconsin resident Tom Cook. He shook his best friend’s hand back in 1992 and vowed if either of them won the Powerball, they’d split the winnings. I’d like to think if I ever won big money, I’d spread it around amongst my nearest and dearest—like a Daddy Warbucks who pays off everyone’s student loans. 

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash
Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

A Nice Little Nest Egg

Tom Cook enriched Joseph Feeny’s retirement a little and retired himself. They both took the cash payout of Cook’s $22 million prize, leaving them each with $5.7 million after taxes. Five million doesn’t sound like it used to. There are over 2,000 billionaires in the world now. Jeff Bezos is on track to become a trillionaire before the end of the decade. Millionaires are the new middle class. 

Still, for two retired best friends, an extra $5 million in the bank certainly upgrades their sunset years. “We can pursue what we feel comfortable with. I can’t think of a better way to retire,” said Cook, who is looking forward to traveling. Once the worldwide pandemic subsides, I’m sure. 

Might As Well Have Fun

Just being able to retire will soon be a luxury, with Social Security funding running out in 2037. Taking up Powerball may feel like the most viable way to a comfortable future. But the odds of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 292 million. Plus, it costs money to play. If Cook played twice a week for the past 28 years, he invested almost six thousand dollars before his payout. 

It’s hard not to want a piece of Cook and Feeny’s happy ending, however. If you think about it, people in the workforce today are paying more money each week into Social Security, counting on it for when they turn 65. It’s just as risky as playing Powerball every week. Maybe we should all do both?

Photo by G-R Mottez on Unsplash

We should all strive to be the kind of best friend that Tom Cook was to Joseph Feeny. Follow through on the handshake promises you made 28 years ago and share your wealth and fortune with those around you. 

Feeny, an avid fisherman, was pretty surprised to get the call from Cook after he won. “He called me, and I said, ‘Are you jerkin my bobber?’” 


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