If I Had A Million Dollars…

What would I do with a million dollar windfall?  While reviewing some blogs from the Yakezie network, I saw a question posed by Sandy from Yes I Am Cheap for a personal finance meme last week.

I found this to be a fun exercise and conversation for my husband and I. It gave us an opportunity to define what some of our goals are. I decided to join in and come up with a plan should a get a million dollars (after taxes).

Pay off Debts ($130,000)

Between our student loan and our mortgage balance, we have debt total of $130,000. The first part of our spending will be cleaning our slate and taking care of our financial obligations.

By not having debts in our budget, that frees up about $1,100/month. We can use that for other goals, like travel or exploring hobbies. Believe it or not, we won’t quit our jobs just yet – we love what we do. If anything, we’d try to adjust work location.

Long Term Income Stream ($400,000)

We’d take our time in deciding how we’ll use this money. We would hold off for a few months and speak with some financial advisers about viable options. I have a few ideas, but before committing the money, we’d have to sit down and work out a plan together. We both want the other to feel comfortable with how the money is invested for our family’s future.

I’m thinking of something along the lines of getting a rental property (a building with 4 apartments for example).

Take Care of My Family ($270,000)Some fun ideas on spending a million dollars

I personally would not feel good if I didn’t help out my loved ones. First, I would top off my mother’s retirement accounts and finish paying off her small mortgage balance. My husband would want to finish off his parents’ mortgage as well.

For our siblings, we’d create a small family fund to help them as a safety net should they have an emergency. It’ll be set up as a no interest loan, so if they pay it back there’s money for any future crisis. If they spend it though, then it’s gone. We would keep tabs to make sure one person doesn’t clean out the pot.

Our hope is that siblings can create their own income streams to support their dreams. It’s our hope that once that occurs, we can transfer over that money into our charity fund.

Set Up a Charity Fund ($200,000)

I want to help others, but I feel like passing out lump sums would go too quickly and wouldn’t do much. I would set aside money to set up a charity to pass out a small amount of money perpetually.

This would be another area where we would work with a financial and legal professional to get this off the ground. We like to this project to continue for years down the line.

What Would You Do With a Million Dollars?

What about you? If you had a million dollars, how would use it? What would be the biggest challenge? What would be the most fun?

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Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

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  • jana Jul 18, 2011, 8:29 am

    i like the idea of setting up a charity. for me, i would have to do a foundation-type organization so i could give money to different charities and nonprofits. it’s too hard to pick just one cause!

    • Elle Jul 19, 2011, 11:39 am

      I agree Jana – hard to settle on a few causes. I think I would focus on more personal projects.

  • John Border Jul 18, 2011, 9:18 am

    I second the idea of a charity. It is tough to part money no doubt however giving back to the society is something which gives immense satisfaction.

  • Khaleef @ KNS Financial Jul 18, 2011, 2:19 pm

    I love the fact that you plan to give away much of your windfall!

    • Elle Jul 19, 2011, 11:40 am

      That would be the plan – let’s get a million dollars and put that theory to the test 🙂

  • Jeff @ Sustainable life blog Jul 18, 2011, 2:39 pm

    Great thoughts, I really liked the no interest loan idea!

    • Elle Jul 19, 2011, 11:37 am

      Thanks; I was looking for a long term solution instead of just handing out money for family.

  • 101 Centavos Jul 19, 2011, 7:02 am

    I like the thought of carefully planning out an income stream with your spouse. Investing $400k is not something to be done on impulse.

    • Elle Jul 19, 2011, 11:41 am

      We’ve done a bit of waiting with smaller windfalls, like tax refunds. We’re less likely to squander it.

  • Harri @ TotallyMoney Jul 19, 2011, 11:39 am

    I’m definitely with Jana- setting up a charitable foundation would be tough but amazing- an opportunity to help out lots of different charitable causes. Great idea!

  • Squirrelers Jul 19, 2011, 8:06 pm

    That’s great to desire to set aside that amount of money for charity. Wouldn’t that just be great to be able to truly give and feel secure about it financially? So many worthwile causes are out there.

  • mbhunter Jul 20, 2011, 12:48 am

    Rental property is a good option. Check out John Schaub’s books.

    • Elle Martinez May 11, 2012, 3:13 pm

      Thanks MBH for the advice; as we finish up paying off debts, we’ll be looking at rental properties.

  • Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer Jul 21, 2011, 7:22 am

    Isn’t it amazing how fast the fictional million dollars can be spent? No 529 for your baby?

    • Elle Martinez May 11, 2012, 3:10 pm

      Good question Kay Lynn! If we paid off our debts we can work on our baby’s college savings with work income.

  • I'mnomathswhIzbut... May 11, 2012, 10:27 am

    Maybe buy a calculator first, as you have overspent by $50,000!

  • Mike Gioia Jul 30, 2012, 2:18 am

    That sounds very reasonable but not too fun! What about setting aside a few thousand or so to splurge with? But I guess financial security and peace of mind can be fun.

    • Elle Martinez Jul 30, 2012, 8:14 pm

      I don’t know, having the option to not work sounds fun to me!