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If I Had 1 Million Dollars Essay

What I Would Do with a Million Dollars

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What I Would Do with a Million Dollars


If I were ever asked when I was younger what I would do if I inherited a million dollars, my answer would always include buying all of the toys I could ever imagine or a mansion or other luxuries that I could only dream about. Now my answer would be different because of a situation that has brought a significant challenge to my life. My mother was diagnosed with MS when I was born. It progressively took over her life and our family life.


Each day was, and still is, a hard, frustrating and stressful time. This incurable disease has had a dramatic effect over the years starting when I was in kindergarten. I remember when my mother started using a cane so she wouldn't fall when she walked. She could still work, drive, and go on outings with me, her only daughter. In the beginning I didn't know how to grasp it all but I gradually understood a little more each day.


By the time I was in second grade my mother needed a walker. Because I loved my mother who was my best friend, I hated to see what MS did to her. I still do. It eats me up inside when I think about how the disease is getting worse and worse. I sometimes tell myself that this is as bad as it can get; but I have been wrong about that.


By the time I had entered middle school she was in a wheelchair. She was no longer able to do her favorite things - work, drive or swim. I wondered why there wasn't a cure for her. Is it because there is not enough money for research? I think every day that this will be over soon and there will be a new medicine she can try. There have been many drugs that doctors have prescribed but none seemed to work. My mother and our whole family get our hopes up so high every time. Nothing seems to stop the progression of this disease.

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MS has taken away a perfect life and for no reason. When something hurts this much you try to fix it or find a way to make it better. That is why if someone asked me what I would do with a million dollars, I could think of no better way to spend it than on research in MS. Then maybe the hurt would go away from my mother's life and from all the people and families who live with this awful disease.

Photo: Tracy O / Flickr

If you had a million dollars (tax free), what would you do with that money? Will you invest it, take a trip, start a business, quit your job, or give it to charity?

Tell us what you would do with a million dollars and be entered in a random drawing to win a $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com!

This drawing is over. Congrats to Lauren, the winner of the drawing! Thanks to everyone who participated.

(See also: Wise Bread Giveaways)

Philip Brewer

There's an old joke people tell around here. One farmer asks another, "What would you do, if you won a million dollars?" The other farmer thinks for a moment, then says, "I guess keep farming until the money runs out."

I didn't give up very much to become a full-time writer (because I had been saving for this for a long time — the closing of the site where I worked just accelerated things by a couple of years). We dropped our standard of living just a bit. If I won a million dollars, we could move back up to the standard of living that we had when I was getting paid a salary. We had also been looking for houses, and have had to put that on-hold indefinitely. (I want a small house within walking distance of downtown. I've got plans to make it super energy-efficient.) Winning a million dollars would make buying a house possible.

Other than that, I don't expect winning a million dollars would change my life a whole lot. I pretty much like my life just as it is — why screw it up?

Sarah Winfrey

I would pay off student loans and then buy a house, though in this market I might wait a couple of years, until we know more of what is actually going to happen with real estate. I would invest a large chunk of the rest of it, though I have no idea how, off the top of my head. That much money is beyond what I know how to invest right now, so I'd read some good books and talk to some good people.

The most important thing (at least to me!) that I'd do with it, though, is use it as an opportunity to quit my job. I have a pretty complex business idea in mind that would play off of my writing, art, and people skills, and I'd focus on that now instead of going slowly at it, as I am now.

Julie Rains

If I added $1 million (tax free) to my assets, I would:

  1. Start a charitable organization, perhaps structured as a foundation, perhaps not that would fund non-profits with great ideas, committed volunteers, and limited start-up resources; these non-profits could be involved in any endeavor but I would look favorably on those who would a) give Internet access and appropriate resources to senior community centers and retirement homes so that senior adults could go digital (don't laugh, once they get the hang of it, they'll be blogging away, making new friends globally, sending digital images of bingo night to their grandchildren, etc.) and b) increase green spaces and opportunities for outdoor activities, mainly for children but for all ages
  2. Buy a second home in the Blue Ridge Parkway, where I will bicycle during uncrowded times, host family reunions and parties, and invite kids, families, etc. to go hiking
  3. Hire a professional organizer as I am nearly hopelessly disorganized when it comes to filing papers, storing legos, placing tupperware containers neatly on racks, etc.

Justin Ryan

Sadly, these days, a million isn't really that much, so it wouldn't go as far as I'd like. Here goes:

  • A 3BR house (one for me, one for my home office, and one for company) in the area I used to live, with a big kitchen, and the furniture to put in it.
  • A new fuel-efficient car.
  • A vacation to London. (I haven't had a real vacation since 1997.)

The rest I'd take in cash, put in a wheel barrow, roll it in to my bank branch, dump it in front of my personal banker's desk, and say "Look at all this. I just don't know what to do with it — can you think of something?" (Based on a running joke between the two of us.)

Linsey Knerl

Assuming it is AFTER taxes, I'd like to start a small family-support office in my hometown. I'd staff some counselors and support workers and contract with the state to assist families in the area.

I'd also like to buy a few hundred acres of farmland to rent out. The land would generate some passive income while leaving something for my children's inheritance.

Andrea Dickson

I suppose I'd pay off my mortgage and my sister's. The rest, I'd split between investing in conservative stuff, like stocks and bonds, and I'd probably invest a hefty chunk in Wise Bread.

Paul Michael

I'd give my $1 million to Richard Branson, telling him he could keep half of the profits he made from whatever venture he decided to start with it. He's way smarter than me, I know he'd turn the $1 million into some serious cash. Then I'd buy my own island and retire there with my family, sipping ice cold beers on a perfect white beach.

William Chen

I would start a small venture capital fund modeled after Y Combinator. The fund will invest $10,000 to $20,000 on small startups like Reddit during their initial development stages. It will be a great opportunity to meet lots of exciting and smart people. Of course, the prospect of hitting home runs and earning billions is a nice bonus as well.

Tell us what you would do with a million bucks in the comments and be entered in a random drawing to win a $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com! Deadline to enter is 11/10. Only one entry per person.

This drawing is over. Congrats to Lauren, the winner of the drawing! Thanks to everyone who participated.

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