What Would You Do with a Million Dollars?

… would you give up the Internet?

If it were permanent, I don’t think I’d give up the Internet. :)

Here is what I would do, though, assuming that I didn’t lose half of it to tax confiscation right off the bat, which I probably would! These would be my first priorities, in alphabetical order:

  • Put $50,000 on the side to cover all expenses for the year so that me and the girlfriend can focus our energies on our passions, and see how far we can go with that. This amount should be more than enough to live a normal life.
  • Pay down our mortgage so that we could very easily cover all of the monthly costs for our home with just a little bit of side income. This means probably leaving about $50,000 or so on it. Paying it off completely is tempting, too, but the interest rates are still very low right now, and even if they rise, on a mortgage of $50,000 it will be more than bearable.
  • I would place $100,000 in a trust fund for my grandmother to make sure she’s comfortable and is well covered for medical expenses and other contingencies. She is not too up for travelling these days, but I would throw in a little bit more for a few cruises or something that would be comfortable and feasible for her.
Put a ring on it
  • On top of the business, I would book another $50,000 for world travel… not bling bling style, since the goal would be to see as much of the world as we can. With a laptop and an internet connection, this could be done in parallel with the business idea.

What about the rest?

After all of this I would have about $600,000 left. By paying down the debt, a little bit of side income would be enough to cover basic living expenses. If our businesses were not enough at the start, then a little bit of part-time work would be enough to make the difference without needing to touch what was set aside under business.

Here’s where I would put the rest:

Fixed income
  • The whole idea behind paying down debt is that I don’t need to rely on fixed income to cover my living expenses, so I don’t think I would worry too much about this one. I don’t mind working a bit on contract if I need to, but hopefully side income would grow and take care of this need.
Long term growth
  • Vanguard index funds would be where I put the bulk of the money for long-term growth. The last thing I would want to do is dump a large lump sum when the market is expensive, so it depends on how everything is doing. If we’re in the middle of a huge bull market then I’ll try to find what is cheap, and if we’re in a situation like the end of 2008 then I’ll go all-in. A little scary, but this is for the long-term and long-term I think people will be happy they bought in when it was cheap, even if there are times in the short-term when they don’t feel the same way.
  • I would balance this out by taking advantage of our Tax Free Savings Account and Registered Retirement Savings Plan accounts where it makes sense to do so, with the rest unregistered.
Precious metals and commodities
  • Depending on relative prices, 5% to 10% would go into here in the form of physical bullion. I simply like shiny coins, but I also feel that these metals represent a good alternative to holding cash especially in a day and age where debt is large and the temptation to devalue the currency in order to keep political promises is high. I’m not a guns & ammo guy, but you don’t have to be to see the value in something that cannot be inflated away as easily.
  • My friend Mich over at Beating The Index is the expert when it comes to oil & gas. Oil & gas still have an important role to play in our economy for the foreseeable future, so I would place a good $50,000 or so with him as well.
Strange investments
  • This is where I would have put $5,000 into something like Bitcoin back in its infancy!

A million dollars

Bull and bear in front of the Frankfurt Stock ...

Image via Wikipedia

In short, $1,000,000 would be more than enough to buy financial independence, though not enough to live solely off the capital. Maybe once upon a time that was possible, but not with today’s devalued dollar.

The most important thing is that it would give financial freedom and represent a big boost toward achieving my dreams. My lifestyle would not change that much in many ways; I would not go out and buy a new car, nor a new home, and there aren’t many things that I want that I can buy with a million dollars without sacrificing other goals which are more important to me.

Having the freedom to be independent, not require a large income to cover living expenses, and travel would be the biggest personal gains. Up here in Canada money doesn’t play as much of a role when it comes to old age as it does in other countries, but some money could help make my grandmother’s life more comfortable in other ways. A driver could help her visit her relatives and descendants more often, as well as with the small things like groceries, and this would be a huge gain for the family.


Read more on what others would do at the roundup over at Yes, I Am Cheap. Lots of great thoughts and discussions!

So, reader, what would you do if you had a million dollars? Would giving up the Internet permanently be an acceptable option to you?


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  1. says

    I would totally give up the internet for a million dollars. On top of our current savings that would be enough for my SO and I to be financially independent. Plus I like receiving snail mail 😉

  2. says

    Since I rely on the internet for generating income, it would have to be a lot more than $1MM. It would have to replace my lifetime earning potential, plus I’d have to have money to pay someone to do research on my behalf.

    I like this roundup. Need to read the new entries.

    • says

      Not sure I could do it for any amount of money unless it was truly astronomical… but that is nothing more than hypothetical @)

  3. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog says

    nice post with nice hypothetical scenarios and alternatives. personally impossible for me to give up the net given the income i generate. i wouldn’t either in hindsight. however, the idea of setting aside $X to focus on your passion is a good one and one that everyone in that position should consider.

  4. says

    Wait, but like, give up the internet in all aspects of your life? Or just at home? I might consider it if just at home, and rely on my phone/library for access, but for everything? Like, to do that I’d have to change careers!

    It’s just not a realistic comparison. If you chose to live isolated in a cabin in the woods in exchange for a million dollars — what good would the million be to you anyway?

  5. says

    I don’t know if I can give up the internet! Good plan on putting most of it on investments. A million dollars really doesn’t go very far these days. I don’t think you can be financially independent with 1M.

  6. Mike says

    Hey Kevin!

    Long Time….Hope all is well with you and Invest it Wisely.

    I like your breakdown. I think allocating the $1million among many different areas of one’s life (including contributing to others) makes a lot of sense. And, I’d have to take a bit and just have some fun…buy a muscle car, go on a long vacation.

    Take Care,


  7. says

    Argh, giving up the internet would be hard. Not so much the surfing or even the writing, but the keeping in touch with other people. So much communication is done via the internet that I would miss out on a lot of family communication! Although if I had a million dollars, I could use the money to fly out and visit family that don’t live nearby.

    I would pay off my house, boost the college fund (I want the kids to pay for some of their college so they have a ‘vested interest’), help out my mom more, help out my mother in law more, invest, and probably take one hedonistic trip!

    • says

      Good idea on the vested interest. I think education willbevery different in 20 to 25 years…when I need to worry about this. I see online playing a huge role.

  8. says

    So much is perspective- A million sounds like a lot, but as you said, it is questionable whether it is enough to live on for most of us today. Your goals are lauditory.

    • says

      Not enough if you want to spend the rest of your life on the golf course… well, maybe if you plan on consuming all of it, but remember, medical technology is improving really fast…

  9. Super Frugalette says

    I like the forethought in the $100K trust fund for grandma. I know all too well about medical expenses.

    Did you mention to your gf that you are waiting for $1m to propose? Was she in financial accord that she wants you to have $1m to propose as well? 😉

    • says

      I know this reply is ages after the fact, but I LMAOed when I read this the first few times. I don’t think she has the patience to wait that long! 😛

  10. says

    Great, fun post Kevin!

    I’ll write one of these later this year!

    I too, like your breakdown, very practical, very thoughtful (grandmother) but also some fun rolled in. I think for me, $500 K would go into sound investments, the rest, other places. I’ll give it some thought. Your posts do that, which I’ve always liked.

    Nice to dream a bit, isn’t it? :)


  11. says

    As much as I love simplicity, I don’t think I’d give up the internet for $1 million. It’s basically a request to stay out of the global information exchange for the rest of your life.

    Maybe I could agree to a trick, and say that I’d do without the internet for $1 mil, and then use three years to compound that mil, and take some time to lightly travel the world without the internet, and then give an inflation adjusted mil back and say “Nope, can’t do it!” and pocket the rest. :)

    Anyway, if I acquired $1 mil, I’d put a third of it into real estate and the other roughly two thirds into a 70/30 stock/bond portfolio. Plus I might use a small portion for some extra vacations this year.

    • says

      Maybe real estate in the US somewhere where decent rental income would be had… that could be nice. I wouldn’t give up the Internet for a million… in 20-30 years not having Internet will be like not being able to hear or speak. I wouldn’t give those up either for $1 million.

  12. says

    Thanks for all of the great comments, guys! I agree, I would not give up the Internet and exclude myself from the global network and economy even for $1,000,000, unless it was not permanent.

    Please feel free to write your own and send me a link, and I will include it in this roundup as well. :)

    • Shamsa says

      I would spend it by starting a business concerning with all kind of stationaries and computer accessories

  13. C Konchar says

    Would I give up the internet for a million dollars? I would cut off my right hand for a million dollars! I grew up in poverty, had twenty years with a man who gave me and my children a “good life” and now I’m alone, no husband, no children and back to struggling again working six days a week to pay bills, stealing from Peter to pay Paul. (Just a figure of speach!) The only thing I have today is a dog that loves me to death and a job that keeps my head above water. Barely! I know what it’s like to be poor and I know what it’s like to be comfortable. I don’t know what it’s like to be rich but I do know this, “If I won a million dollars I would put enough money in the bank to be able to live “comfortable again” and then I’d help others that have needs … I know the pain of going without. It sucks!! That’s why I don’t hit the lottery because unlike most … I would “Pay it forward.” So … would I give up the internet YES, I’d be too busy helping others and enjoying life to spend time on a computer. LIFE would be WONDERFUL again!

  14. Patrick A Hughes says

    If I won a million dollars, I would give most of it to my children and their children for college expenses and overall minimize financial struggles in life and have them do the same for others.


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