What I Would Do If I Won a Million Dollars

Day 9, and since it’s Saturday, I thought I would take the time to give into my daydreams for today. According to The New York Times, the unemployment rate went to 14.7% this past April, which is the worst it’s been since the Great Depression. I am one of those unemployed people, and it’s a little discouraging to hear that number doesn’t show any signs of going down.

To pull me out of the sad prospect of that, I wanted to let myself daydream as we slow-down on this lovely Saturday. If you want to travel with me down the hypothetical road of “what if” with me, keep reading.


We’re going to assume that I won the lottery somehow. While I don’t really play, unemployment might cause me to start trying my luck. The other assumption could be that I won in a casino, but I don’t think I’m very lucky, so I don’t think that is anymore likely.

It would also have to be this way, because I would want to be discreet. I don’t totally love extra attention, and I definitely don’t want new friends because of the new money. I also don’t need to put a target on my back for robbers and the like.

1. Taxes

It’s not fun to think about, but the reality is that this is how it works. Some people forget that you have to pay taxes, and that might be why almost a third of jackpot winners end up declaring bankruptcy. Hopefully, I remember all I know now if I am ever lucky enough to win the lottery.

Taking taxes into consideration, the better option would be to receive my winnings annually instead of all at once. This means that I’ll receive a little bit of the money every year between 20 and 40 years, and it will be considered a source of income. If it ends up being divided for 30 years, that’s roughly $33,333 per year, and $20,000 after taxes are taken out. Thinking about it this way is a good reminder that the money isn’t an endless supply for life.

2. Open a High-Yield Savings Account

I distinctly remember on a Christmas episode of Big Time Rush, Snoop Dog gifted a fancy account to the boys and said, “You have to make your money work for you.” That’s where this step comes from.

The money I receive the first year would go into a saving account and slowly increase with time. Meanwhile, I will continue to work my normal life for that first year. It’s a good way to stay humble and maintain a normal life.

3. Pay off Debts

I think my logic here is pretty apparent. I don’t want to have to worry about owing anyone, so this is currently the main to-do for me. Luckily, it doesn’t include a lot, but it still might take me 1-8 years, considering the student debt, credit cards, and the fact that I would want to pay off my car and purchase a home. That would add a mortgage that I don’t currently have, so there’s that.

In this time, I would still be working. I would just also be taking maybe 15% of whatever I get and adding it to my savings account.

4. Travel

This has always been the dream, but is especially true now that we’re in quarantine. I wouldn’t say that I’m just going to disappear and be in a new city every night. Like I said, I would plan to continue to work during this time, and I would say that I might travel a few times a year, whether it be a weekend road trip or something more grand. I would say I would save about 8-10% of what I get/make annually for travel budget.

My heart is really yearning for the time when I could just travel and enjoy the views. Quarantining really has me reminiscing and dreaming.
My heart is really yearning for the time when I could just travel and enjoy the views. Quarantining really has me reminiscing and dreaming.

5. Meet with a Financial Consultant and Make Sound Investments

This expands upon that idea of making the money work for me. I know that it seems like I’ve taken a lot of the fun out of winning a million dollars, but growing up in a household where your parents argue about money makes you more cautious in how you use your money. So I’ve done my research and tried to make myself not go insane over it.

The thing is, I’m a busy body. I would go crazy if I wasn’t working, so I’m a long way from saying that I would quit my job, So I’m probably still working at this point, and it’s probably doing a bunch of jobs that don’t pay much but have the ability to fuel my soul.

6. Take Care of My Family

They’re near and dear people to my heart. The house I buy would probably be the one my parents are still paying off a mortgage for, and I would also buy the car I’m using from them as well. That should give them enough to take car of themselves a bit, and maybe move somewhere they would rather be.

I have 3 sisters, so I would try and start a college fund for them, because I know how hard it is for them. The last thing I would do is hope that my grandma is still around, so we can take a trip together. She contributed a lot to the person I am today, and I would love to visit Vietnam with her one day, and make other stops with the rest of the family.

7. Give Back

Honestly, philanthropy is something that is important to me. I am so fortunate to live the life that I have, and to be given the opportunities that I have received. I want to give back in some way. Yes, I can do that through charity, but I have always dreamed of a more hands on project.

You see, I talk a lot about how my grandma has influenced who I am, and I want other people to have that. So once I’ve taken care of myself and my family, I would want to open a place where preschoolers can interact with people in nursing homes. I’ve seen videos of them on Facebook, and I’ve even read this article from The Atlantic. I’m so lucky that my grandma has been able to have such an impact on my life, and I think I’ve helped her a lot too. I would want to replicate that for someone else.

Here's one of my favorite photos of me with my grandma at a mother daughter brunch. I love that it catches her in the middle of a laugh, and the photo is full of light. It reflects on what a light she's been in my life.
Here’s one of my favorite photos of me with my grandma at a mother daughter brunch. I love that it catches her in the middle of a laugh, and the photo is full of light. It reflects on what a light she’s been in my life.

Then at some point I would retire, but that will happen well after I’ve stopped receiving the annual payments from my winnings. At least, if I within the next 15 years. After that, and this plan might totally be different. That is what I would do if I won the lottery. I know it might not be as fun as what other people might dream about, but this is who I am.

Have you thought about what you would do if you won a million dollars? Do you have a favorite philanthropy to donate to? How are you taking your mind off of the current state of affairs? Tell me in the comments below!

Thanks for joining me on my little daydream today. If you enjoyed what you read, please like it and share it with your friends. You can also make my day if you subscribe to my blog, which assures that you get notified as soon as I post something new.

Love Always,

Kristi My