If I Had a Million Dollars

This post is part of a Yakezie post meme created by Sandy @ Yes I Am Cheap. Participants are supposed to imagine that we’ve inherited or won $1 million and discuss what we would do with the money. Go check out the roundup of all posts in this series.


It’s hard for me to think seriously about what I’d do if I won or received a million dollars. After all, it’s not like that ever actually happens to people! For the sake of this meme, though, I’ll do my best.

What I’d Spend it On

First (and most important), I’d hand half the money to someone smart enough to invest it for me. This would allow me to stop freaking out about retirement. Well, actually I guess I could somewhat stop worrying about money in general! I know this sounds boring but it’s the best thing I could do with a lump sum of money. (Remaining balance: $500,000)

Second: Pay off debt. This includes my house, car, student loans, and my parents’ house and car. Altogether this would eat up probably $300k, which is totally worth it. (Remaining balance: $200,000)

My next step is probably the most fun to think about - I want to give away a crap ton of money. Like leaving a $1000 tip for a waitress. Or walking up to a mom struggling with three kids in Walmart and giving her $10,000. Or paying the guy who sells produce in a local parking lot $5,000 to take a day off and hang out with his family. Of course, this would require a camera crew so I could capture the looks on their faces, but I’ll assume someone would donate their services for something so awesome. I would do this for total strangers only, not the random friends and acquaintances who I’m sure would be lining up with their hands out. (Remaining balance: $100,000)

Finally time to do some selfish stuff with my money!

I want to finish my basement. I want some flipping bedroom furniture already! I want my backyard fenced in and a new deck. I want a pony. (Seriously. I really do.) I want clothes that actually fit, more shoes (like I need more shoes), and one of those super expensive stand mixers. And I’m sure my son could come up with a billion video games and toys he can’t live without. (Remaining balance: 0)

How My Life Would Change

Obviously that fictional million dollars would change everything. No more debt, no more working full time for someone else, no more using a stepstool for a nightstand.

I would have unlimited time to spend with my friends and family. No pressure to do things because I “have” to. To be honest, I worry that I’d become incredibly fat and lazy! I can’t imagine a world where I wasn’t either preparing for something, stressing about something, or wishing I had more time. I could picture myself having a nervous breakdown and begging for my job back just to have something to do (shudder).

I don’t know how people occupy themselves when they don’t have to do anything. And I know a million dollars isn’t all that much money these days, so it’s laughable to think it would solve all my problems. But as I’ve moved from a consumer mindset to one of concentrating on what truly brings me happiness, I find that it’s less about using the money to get stuff and more about using it as a tool to get where I want to be.

I don’t need a lot of things to be happy. I’ve got way too many things as it is. I just need the peace of mind that would come with being out of debt and financially secure. And that’s why I’m writing this post on this blog right now, and why I stopped recklessly spending in the first place - someday I want to know what it’s like not to freak out and worry. Is a million dollars going to fall into my lap tomorrow? Nope! But it’s nice to know I’d still be me either way.

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  • http://retireby40.org retirebyforty

    I wouldn’t hand over 500k to a financial adviser if I were you. It’s difficult to find a good financial adviser. IMO, you would be better off parking it in a few index funds while you take the time to learn more about investing or finding a great financial adviser.

  • http://www.optionsdude.com/use-puts-to-lock-in-profits.html optionsdude

    I would echo what RB40 says. No way should you hand over that kind of money to someone. No one cares as much for your money as you will. If you don’t know enough, educate yourself. There are lots of books on myriad investing topics from mutual funds, index funds, ETFs, real estate, options, etc. I know someone who lost 50% of her retirement account in 2008 when her instructions to the financial adviser were to sell at a 10% loss. It takes a 100% gain to recover from that kind of hit. Even the market as a whole lost 38%. I lost 18% because I used put options for protection.

  • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert @ The College Investor

    I agree with Retireby40. Do it yourself! Don’t pay someone.

  • http://www.sooverdebt.com Andrea @ SoOverDebt

    I guess I should clarify - when I said “someone smart enough to invest it for me,” I was thinking about my dad. :)

    He’s trying to teach me, but my brain is very stubborn when it comes to investing. Something to work up to!

  • http://spruceupyourfinances.com/ Ken @ Spruce Up Your Finances

    Paying debt is definitely on my agenda as well if I had a million dollars. Nowadays, $1 M may not seem much but I would surely invest half of it as well!

  • Jen Abbas de Jong

    Don’t forget about taxes. That’s going to be a BiG chunk of your million!

  • http://www.sooverdebt.com Andrea @ SoOverDebt

    I was assuming I had a million after taxes. :)

  • http://www.investorzblog.com Investorz’ Blog

    If I had a million dollars, I’d invest it all in silver etfs.

  • Jen Abbas de Jong

    lol…wishful thinking! :-)

  • http://yesiamcheap.com/2011/07/if-financial-bloggers-had-a-million-dollars/ If Financial Bloggers Had A Million Dollars | Yes, I Am Cheap

    [...] at So Over Debt discusses her (for once) practical plan to save, give away, and spend her million [...]

  • http://blog.familymoneyvalues.com Marie at FamilyMoneyValues

    When you don’t have to do anything, you get to make up what you want to do - you get to decide what is done, not someone else.

  • http://nickelbynickel.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/yakezie-round-up/ Yakezie round-up! « Nickel By Nickel

    [...] Guy Skinny Wallet posted What Would We Do If We Wong $1 Million? So Over Debt’s post on this can be found here. I wrote my own post about this a while back; If I had a million dollars… well not quite. [...]

  • http://www.investitwisely.com/what-would-you-do-with-a-million-dollars/ What Would You Do with a Million Dollars? | Invest It Wisely

    [...] If I Had a Million Dollars (Soover Debt) [...]

  • http://www.101centavos.com 101 Centavos

    This the first million-dollar wish list I’ve read that includes a pony. Excellent!

  • http://www.joetaxpayer.com/million-dollar-roundup/ The Million Dollar Roundup » JoeTaxpayer

    [...] Andrea at So Over Debt - A nice mix of investing half, paying debt, and coolest of all, giving away $100K to a number of people just because she can. [...]

  • Marilynhadey28

    It sure would be nice if I won that $10,000.00 Dollars from the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes so I could pay off my dept & maybe travel back to Oviedo Florida