Wednesday, June 21, 2006

If I had a million dollars, I'd buy you a green dress.

(But not a real green dress, that's cruel.)

Unfortunately for the Barenaked Ladies, you can't actually buy anybody's love, even if you have a million dollars. But you can buy some furniture, or a tree fort with a refrigerator in it.

I'm bored at work so I'm doing a little mental exercise. Here's exactly what I would do with a million dollars (tax free, naturally.)

$150,000 - Pay off my parents' mortgage.
$50,000 - Help my sister buy a house.
$50,000 - Pay off some of my aunt and uncle's mortgage.
$200,000 - Put into retirement money. (This is enough to have almost $3.5 million at age 55 at 9% interest. Normally I use 60 or 65 as a retirement age in calculations but hey, I'd retire earlier if I could. If I continue to put $4,000 a year into a Roth, I'd have $4.1 million.)
$100,000 - Buy my dad an annuity or some income-producing mutual funds. My mom has a pension, but he doesn't have anything really.
$100,000 - Put away to buy an eventual house.
$200,000 - Give away, either in $5,000 chunks to individual people (family, friends, etc) or charity. Help one of my friends from college pay her student loans.
$25,000 - Emergency fund.
$60,000 - Pay off my student loans and Boyfriend's loans.
$15,000 - Put away to buy car in the future.
$50,000 - Dinner out every Friday night until I retire.

Things I would NOT spend money on:
- A house for myself, right now. I know we're going to move in a year or so, and just the moving alone would not be worth it. I hate moving. Plus, I like our apartment.
- A car for myself. It would be nice to have one but I would rarely need it. I'd rather just have enough money to rent one if I felt like it. Boyfriend drives most places we need to go, and it would actually take me more time to drive to work (and park) than it does to walk.
- Actually owning any other large asset even if it is for someone else. My sister is looking to buy a house, but I would not want to buy a house FOR her. I would rather gift her the money and she can get the mortgage and have the house herself. And I would not want to own any investment real estate, sexy as that has been lately. I'd rather just own mutual funds and not think too much about it.
- Furniture, etc. Boyfriend and I own too much crap as it is. I might buy some household stuff, and he might buy computer stuff, but other than the curtains for the bedroom that we forget to buy every time we go to Target, we don't really need anything, and nothing else would fit in our apartment. =)
- A scholarship fund or something like that. I know that education is important, but for most people in the world there are much more immediate needs, like food, which I would rather donate my money towards. And to animal and children's organizations, because they are dependent on us.
- Starting graduate school. I do want to get a master's but since I am probably going to move, I'd rather wait until I am someplace that I will stay for the two years to get the degree.
- Jewelry. I wear the same rings and watch every day. Although I have four sets of earring holes, I don't wear earrings anymore since I have lost so many. I would be horrified to lose nice diamond studs or something, so if I did buy anything it wouldn't be more than $10 a pair. I have worn the same two silver rings on the left hand for years, and I change the gemstone one on the right whenever it gets yucky (about once a year cause I tend to buy them for $7 or so.)

What would change about my life:
- Definitely eating out more! Did I mention I love food? Cause I do.
- I would probably drop to half time at my current job, and find some other part time job that would be more interesting. My current job simply doesn't give me enough to do (as you may have gathered from all the daytime posts) so I would actually get everything I need done in half the hours. I'd probably want to work at the local animal shelter, or get a CFP or RP certification and help low income people with financial problems for free or low cost. Ideally I'd like to work out a situation where I don't have to wake up till 9:30 or 10 each day ;)
- No worrying about the future. Since I wouldn't have to save for the normal big goals like retirement or a first house, in the future I could save more money for my kids' college and contribute to their retirement funds. Not having that monthly expense for retirement savings would free up a lot of money for other goals. Right now my retirement money is automatically accumulated, and I have no control over that, but in the future I'd probably just contribute enough to get any offered match. No matter how rich you are, you shouldn't pass up free money. =)

I think playing this kind of mental game is good for helping you determine my priorities. At this point in my life, I don't need much money, and a little would go a long way to establish my future stability. I would give away somewhat more than half of the money, according to the breakdown above, with $300,000 going to my parents and sister. If my parents were more financially stable that amount might be lower, but I think it is money well spent. And my sister would really appreciate not having to buy a "fixer-upper" or a house out in the boonies (unless that is what she wanted all along.. you can never tell.)

Of course, I don't have a million dollars, and I won't win the lottery since I don't play. But it's nice to think about anyway, and I don't see the harm in thinking about it, unless wishing and waiting for someone (or a large windfall) harms your ability to live in the real world and get things done with the resources you have.


Chris said...


I sometimes sit and think about what I would do with $1 million, so I think I will break it down for ya...

$100,000 - Pay off my house
$250,000 - Give it to my parents for retirement or their mortgage expenses.
$60,000 - Give it to Leslie for her student loans.
$40,000 - Budget for a wedding in the FUTURE.
$350,000 - Investments; Could be retirement, stocks, real estate.
$100,000 would be donated to family, friends and some charity's.
$75,000 - Would be put into a college fund for my future kids.
$25,000 - A blow out party in vegas for a bunch of family and friends.

Come on, if you know me at all, you totally expected the last one.

Kira said...

Yeah, I might take everybody on vacation to the beach or something. =) You gotta blow at least some of it or you'll go nuts!

Tiredbuthappy said...


Great post! I love how much you'd give to your family. You must be a very loyal person.

I played this game on my blog a few months ago. Here's what I came up with.

mikeb said...

Wow. I'm from England. I'm 52 and if you were my daughter I would be very proud. You have such a generous nature.

mikeb said...

BTW I forgot you could afford to eat Kraft dinners and Dijon mustard too.