What Would You Do With $8 Million?


This morning at St Mary’s Park, I struck up a pleasant conversation with a man, perhaps in his late twenties, about exercising. Judging from his slightly disheveled appearance, I suspect he’s homeless, or at least poor.

Before he left the park, he brought over a copy of a daily tabloid that he had pulled out of the trash and read me a short piece about a man who was been awarded $8 million dollars by the courts as a result of a traffic accident with a MTA bus.

I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask my park friend what he’d do with that $8 million if he got that much money. But as I walked home, I started thinking about what I’d do.

An $8,000,000 Windfall

To my surprise, I found that even the thought of having that much money made me uncomfortable.

Things I ruled out quickly.

Buy stuff.
I wouldn’t buy a bigger, fancier place to live or a second home, or a car or jewelry or clothing or much of anything. Perhaps I’d buy more expensive theatre tickets and eat out at my favorite restaurants a bit more often. But not much more than that.

Travel lots and stay in fancy places.
Nope, I wouldn’t do that either.  For me, a bit of travel goes a long way. And while I like a nice B&B, the idea of staying in a Trump-style hotel gives me the shudders.

Here are some things I would do.

Pay off the mortgage.
Yup, I’d be happy to do that.

I’d tuck a chunk of it away, investing in something not very risky.

I’m sure I’d give my daughters some money, but not so much as to cause them problems. I’m sure I’d have interesting conversations with them about what would be helpful.

I’d pick a few organizations I have a connection with already and I’d give gifts appropriate to their level of operation. I’d give quietly, perhaps even anonymously. No big, visible giving for me.

Ask for Advice. 
I’d ask my philanthropist friends for advice. I know they’ve wrestled with the consequences of having wealth. And I’d want to learn from them.

A Burden or a Pleasure?

Having lots of money requires careful thought and attention and stewardship. And the more visible the money is, the more challenging I’d find it. The more I think about having $8,000,000 fall into my bank account, the more uncomfortable with the idea I become.

If I run into my friend at the park again, I’ll ask him what he’d do with it.  I think I’ll ask my friend Clemetin, too. Stay tuned for another post!

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Consider Carefully: What Would You Do With $8 Million?

I’m so curious. What would you do if you woke up tomorrow to find that someone had deposited $8,000,000 in your bank account with absolutely no strings attached? What comes to your mind first? And then when you sit with the idea a while, how do those ideas mature and grow? Would you save it all? Spend it all? Give it lavishly? Would you change your life style?

Do share what you’d do in the comments below, or sashay (in your new finery) over to Facebook and share your thoughts over there.

Copyright: Volodimir Kalina / 123RF Stock Photo