The Security of $82,000 in Game Show Winnings

Mental Floss has a terrific interview with Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu. Here’s Chu talking about what his winnings will mean to him thus far:

So, yeah, $82,000 is a lot of money, but is it enough money that you can retire? Of course not. Is it enough money to guarantee you security for more than a year or so? No. So it’s money that takes a lot of pressure off me, but I’m not going to make any big purchases.

I think the biggest thing that money buys you is security and peace of mind, and my wife feels the same way. She always wanted to be a writer, this was her passion, but she couldn’t make herself do it, because even with money in the bank, how can you quit a job and walk away from it—and not know if you’re able to come back, if you try to write and it doesn’t pan out? The more money we have in the bank, the more time she has to figure out what she wants to do with her life and how to manage her disability. So for me, that’s very important. It’s going to change my outlook on life because I’m not going to change the way I live my life. I can keep doing what I do now. I like my job, I like the way my life is set up, and now I know that if something happens, I don’t have to worry, because I have money in the bank. To me, that’s worth way more than buying a boat, or going on some spending spree that’s going to make me happy for six months.

I will say this now: It’s very important to me to give some of that money back. I will not complain about paying taxes on it, and I will give a big chunk of it to causes I believe in. How often do you get a chance to actually make a difference with something like that? So I did mean it when I said the fibromyalgia thing [on Thursday].

I think that’s very reasonable thinking! Chu has been called a “mad genius” for his gameplay strategy—which is essentially starting with the most difficult questions first, and jumping around the board looking for “Daily Doubles” to wager on rather than sticking to one category and completing it before moving on to the next. It seems like it’s worked for him!

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