What Would You do with a Million Dollars

Last night, I watched one of my favorite movies, Office Space.

Samir & MichaelHaving spent a couple of years working on Year 2000 issues, I can sympathize with the characters in this movie.  Sometimes, the dehumanizing aspects of greedy, self-serving corporations can make you depressed.  After I quit my last job, I watched Office Space a couple of times and it really cheered me up.  It reinforced my belief that I shouldn’t put up with abuse at work, just to earn a living.  There are many great companies out there and I am thankful to be working for one right now.

The Million Dollar Question

During one scene in the movie, Peter asks Michael and Samir what they would do if they had a million dollars.  They talk about investing in mutual funds and taking care of their families.  Peter’s answer is that he would do absolutely nothing.  He would just get up every morning and do whatever he wanted.  In the past, I have had a similar “dream goal” of taking it easy and enjoying my day. It’s all about the freedom for me.

My Million Dollar Dream

Now that I have such an enjoyable job, my goals have changed quite a bit.  Instead of slacking off and lounging around, I think I would like to do something for the betterment of mankind.  I would like to contribute to the world in some way that isn’t possible with the resources I have right now.  If I had a million dollars, I would devote some of my time and money, to a higher purpose.

I’m not yet sure what my contribution will be.  But, I have an interest in the field of energy.  I believe the control and pricing of energy is the biggest criminal enterprise I have witnessed in my lifetime.  I grew up in one of the smoggiest cities in the nation.  And, I have always felt we were being poisoned for the sake of someone’s profit.  Having lived through the Oil Embargo, Rolling Blackouts and the recent manipulation of oil prices, it seems we are being cheated for energy at every turn.

Here is some good news.  We are on the verge of a revolution, where people will be in control of their own energy resources.  Just as computers, blogs and the Internet have broken the monopolies over music, news and communications, new technologies will destroy the monopolies over energy.  In a few years, electric cars, solar panels and energy storage devices may be as ubiquitous as personal computers and cell phones are today.  I believe we are nearing the end of the era of burning things to create energy.  And, I would love to do something to help affect this change.

What’s Your Million Dollar Dream?

The real question is; what would YOU do if you had a million dollars?  Would you enjoy a life of shameless luxury?  Would you pay off the bills and help out your family?  Would invest the money and ride the markets?  Or, would you party large until it’s all gone?  There are as many answers as there are dreams and dreamers.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that it’s easy to dream of a million dollars.  But, it’s not so easy to deal with the reality.  The grim statistics of lottery winners will confirm that it’s not always a blessing.  So, be careful what you wish for.  And, never lose sight of your dreams.

“I would rather have a million friends than a million dollars.”

Eddie Rickenbacker – WWI Fighter Ace & Race Car Driver

Recommended Reading

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6 comments to What Would You do with a Million Dollars

  • Sad to say that a millions dollars would not be enough to allow you to live a “life of shameless luxury”. Fun to dream though!

  • What a great problem to have, Bret. I have thought about this question before. Here are a few things I would do:

    1) Start my own business. I would never dream of doing what Peter suggested, as I believe that lazy path would only lead to personal disaster
    2) Ensure my parents and in-laws were set up such that they were comfortable in their retirement.
    3) Continue to live my modest lifestyle, although I would treat my family to a very nice 2-week vacation to some awesome locale at least twice per year.
    4) Although I would pay for my kids college or vocational schooling, I would probably end up donating most (not all) of my earnings to charity.

    That’s my $0.02 (after taxes)


  • @simplyforties – With a million dollars, I could live a shameless life of luxury for a couple of years or a frugal life of luxury indefinitely. I would pick indefinitely, because I cherish a life of freedom more than a bunch of expensive stuff.

    @Len – I have always dreamed of starting a business instead of working. The reality is that most businesses are like jobs, but with longer hours. If I had a million dollars, I think my new business would be making my investments grow enough to support me.

  • Very true. BUT, if you are lucky enough to tackle a job that you have a *real* passion for, then I would argue that the long hours would be trumped by the level of personal satisfaction you would get from the job.

  • Mneiae

    This response or plan might be a little unusual, given my situation. The first thing that I would do would be to fund my 529 plan, as I am in school and plan to get my MBA and JD after I finish up my undergrad. Then, I would set up something for my parents’ retirement. And last of all would come my own house, which I would pay for in full. As far as having fun with the money goes, I would probably go to LA and chill for a month with no worries.

  • […] than enough money in the bank to do whatever you wanted?  Think about it.  Bret shares with us his “million dollar dream” and it is an interesting one, to be sure.  Check out Bret’s post and then let him know what […]