The Writer's Coin posited an interesting thought experiment: What would you do with $1,000,000 (after taxes)? It's an interesting idea, as most of us will save for much of our lives to get somewhere near that amount by the time we retire. (Especially adjusting for inflation, since one million now will have the same purchasing power as nearly four million dollars by the time I plan on retiring in about four decades.)
That in mind, here's my 'off the top of my head' answer to what I would do if I woke up tomorrow and found I had inherited one million dollars:
-Tithe ($100,000) - I'm not a terribly religious man (and honestly, I have my doubts about most of the religious 'leaders' in the world, even in my own faith), but I love my church, and I'd want to do what I can to help it out. Plus, given the fact that I'd need a miracle in order to get that much money handed to me, showing some thankfulness is probably in order.
-My Mother ($50,000) - My mother has done so, so much for me over the decades, and the least I can do is try to help her out as she nears retirement, as much as I am able. And I most certainly would be able to help her out if I suddenly had one million dollars to my name.
-A House ($200,000) - Living in my mother's house is not the styling lifestyle I had hoped for in my mid-twenties. Getting a place of my own, preferably near enough to my girlfriend that she can move in with me, is one of my first priorities. I can probably get a nice house near her for this much, or perhaps even less.
-A Diverse Portfolio ($500,000) - The best idea of what to do with a windfall is to put it into investments that can help fund my lifestyle. If I can invest a half million dollars so that it yields about 5% (easily done with an investment of two-thirds stocks and one-third bonds, let's say), that will be $25,000 a year on top of whatever I can earn from work. Although, if I had a million dollars...
-My Dream Career ($150,000) - No, I don't believe that I can buy a perfect career with a few hundred thousand dollars. Rather, this is the money I'd use to live off while I endeavored to live my dream. I can easily get by on less than fifty thousand a year, allowing me to have at least three years to do whatever I want and attempt to build up a career of my dreams.
What career, you ask? Well, if I could be anything I wanted, I'd like to make a living as a professional artist. Which is one good result of this thought experiment; I see that I should be spending more time with my art, hopefully developing my skills more and getting more talented at something I really enjoy.