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Your Take: What Would You Do With A Million Dollars?

Earlier this week Nickel [3] sent me this awesome video about someone building a ridiculously posh treehouse in their backyard [4]. The video’s background music is If I Had A Million Dollars done by the Barenaked Ladies Bluegrass Tribute (I think!) and so I thought to ask a few personal finance bloggers what they’d do if they had a million dollars. Would they build a treehouse in their yard?

Surprisingly none of them wanted to build a treehouse in their yard. In fact, the vast majority did exactly what responsible pfbloggers always advise people to do, pay off debt, save for the future, and then spend a little of the rest on yourself. Here’s what they said:

Flexo [5] said:

Start a foundation promoting arts education, a million is just enough to get it started.

Paid Twice [6] said:

I’d get out of debt, buy my parents a house where we live, pay taxes, give 10% away, and whatever is left, put into retirement and college savings for the kids.

Nickel [3] said:

If a million dollars suddenly fell into my lap, I’d invest the vast majority of it. The concept of “financial freedom” is very attractive to me, so I’d focus on building up that nest egg. I’m not saying that I’ll necessarily quit my job when we reach that magical crossover point, but it’s hard to put a price on being in a position to make that decision.

JD [7] said:

I would leave it in the bank. I’m old and boring.That’s not quite true. I’d put it in index funds until it reached $2-$4 million, then go all Suze Orman and shit, putting it into bonds and living off the proceeds.

Lynnae [8] said:

[I double posted one quote and managed to lose Lynnaes….]

MrsMicah [9] said:

Get out of debt, buy a house, help out our parents, give some to church/charity, and invest the rest.

MoneyWatch [10] said:

Pay off mortgage (approx $300k) save $300k invest $300k and spend the rest – holiday, car etc.

NCN [11] said:

I would purchase a nice home on a few acres, and put the remainder in savings. Over time, I would use the savings to pay for kids college and future ‘major purchases”. And, I have one or two close friends / family members that I would like to help.
I might upgrade a few things in our house, but the last thing I need is more ‘stuff’. I’d use it as a major-league security blanket. We’re homebodies, but we might be inclined to take an extra vacation or two a year, if we had that kind of money in the bank.

Trent [12] said:

Put it in something that earned a very secure 4-5% in perpetuity – t-bills or something – and then basically stop worrying about the day-to-day crunch of my life.

Cap [13] said:

If I’d ever win the lottery or receive some large windfall, I’d love to be able say some grand things such as I’ll properly invest it and make it grow so that I can help notable foundations or charities. But when I really think about it, I think realistically I’d take care of my immediate loved ones first. It’s a bit strange… when I was much younger; I would most likely dream of the wild things I can acquire from winning the lottery. These days, as long as my family and loved ones are happy and content with their life, I’ll feel pretty rich — regardless of our material possession. This may sound like a cheesy canned response, but it’s the cheesy truth!

What would I do with a million dollars? I’d replace the roof to our house, buy my lovely wife a Prius, then invest the rest in a good mix of income generating stock market investments and subsidize our current income with the earnings. A million bucks is a nice chunk of change and makes for a good “life subsidy.”

What would you do with a million?