Ask the Readers: What Would You Do With a Million Dollars?

By Ashley Jacobs on 26 May 2015 114 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Donna, Suz_Glo, and Trezlen for winning this week's contest!

Many of us aim to be millionaires, and even more of us dream about a million bucks landing on our laps. A windfall like that, with no string attached, can be the boost you need to get out of debt — or a really great vacation.

What would you do with a million dollars? Are you aiming to be a millionaire right now? If so, what steps are you taking to reach this goal?

Tell us what you would do with a million dollars and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

For Extra Entries:

  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:

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If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, June 1st at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after June 1st on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
     
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
     
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
     
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck! 

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Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

I think I would use the money to start a family business so that my children would be automatically employed when they finished college.

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Wayne

I'd slowly buy up rental properties that I can find at 2% monthly rent to acquisition cost after utility expenses (if any). With leverage, one can buy up to $5 million worth of real estate and expect a return of 20-25%. I'd quit my day job around $2 million purchased.

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Elena

I would pay off the house and would travel around the world.

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sfmitch

I'd invest every last cent and use the income (dividends, bond interest, perhaps rental income) on living the good life.

The newfound million plus what I have now = instant retirement.

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Trezlen

If I had a million dollars, I'd start by paying off all of my student loans and consumer debt. Then I would decide what I really want out of life and pursue it.

Guest's picture

Make another million, of course!

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Michelle Taylor

So many things with a million. Obviously save so that when I'mold enough I can retire. Pay off all debit. Really get serious about other career options and living out a dream.

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Christie

My hubby and I have talked about this -- hypothetically speaking, we would first hire an attorney, take a month long vacation with the attorney handling all the calls asking for money, give away $100,000 to charities that mean something to us, set aside $100,000 each in trust for our children, put $400,000 away for taxes, then put $250,000 away for retirement. The remaining $50,000 will be the fund for that attorney for the month and the month-long vacation! :)

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GuestJ-man

Never share with an attorney.

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Julie Wood

I would remodel my house, and take an exotic trip if I won 1,000,000 dollars!

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Gina

I would buy a house and stop paying rent! I'd also pay all of my other bills and then set aside an emergency fund. And then I'd go on vacation! I'm working as much as possible and learning new skills to get better jobs to make it happen.

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A

Remodel, or buy a new house; and an exotic vacation.

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Tina in NJ

We would retire. We are only 5-7 yrs away as it is. With that kind of money, we wouldn't have to wait. I'd also insist on donating to several excellent causes.

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Varun Narula

Buy a 250k home and keep the rest in high interest savings. Retire.

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Jenn2

If I won a million dollars, I would continue to create 'What my Coffee says to me' daily illustrated series, because it makes me smile and it spread happiness and joy throughout social media.

Each day I love to create a new coffee inspired illustration and, I do them for fun and they are free :) I post some of my illustrations for sale on Redbubble, because I want to raise money for financial literacy for kids and mental health.

A million dollars would also mean I can start writing and illustrating children's books and creating a program which uses art, creativity and journal writing to bring victim and bully together.

As you can see I can do many things for others with my million dollars :)

Thank you :)

Jennifer R. Cook
Cats in the Bag design/creator of What my Coffee says to me daily series

Guest's picture
Ernest S.

I would keep working, but use the extra money to pay off all my debts (student loans, car, etc.) and invest the remaining in the market. I would slowly do my best to live off the returns, and work to build it up.

Guest's picture

I'd invest half of it into p2p loans and I'd use the other half to invest into my business, buy a house and take a couple great vacations with my wife.

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Joe

I would tithe off the top to my church/charities, buy a house for my family, take a year off of work to get my MBA, then use the remainder of the million to go into business for myself.

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Guest

I would help my Family They need the help and I would get a nice house sick of living in a trailer.

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Scott

I'd simplify my life as much as possible, then figure out how to best increase the remainder.

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Kevin

I would set up a charity to financially help those families who lost a child due to gun violence.

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Catseye

I'm taking classes at a Tech college to earn a certificate. If I had a million dollars, I'd go on to earn a Bachelor's degree, at least. I'd probably start my own small business and buy a home. The rest of the money would be invested, of course.

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Bethany M

Complete homeownership, and then retirement investing.

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Lauren

I would buy a new house.

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Brady

If I had a million dollars I would first pay off all of my student debt. Second I would take 1/4 of the remaining half and invest it in stocks, ETF's, mutual funds, bonds. I would take another 1/4 and buy a house/apartment, and I would invest the remaining amount in investment properties.

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Amanda Sakovitz

I would move to somewhere warm and take a long vacation.

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Mary W

I would donate to my favorite charities, give money to family members throughout the year especially the Grandkids, remodel my house and invest wisely.

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Susan P.

I would set aside a good chunk for taxes (paid quarterly), set up trust funds for my 2 daughters, invest a good chunk to live off the interest and dividends, and take a trip around the world.

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Nicole Dziedzic

With a million dollars, I would buy a few cars for family, a house, travel, and donate.

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SerenityNow

I'd pay off my student loans, invest some, share some with family, and I'd finally get a dog!

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Jillian

I'd pay off our student loans and my house! Then maybe buy an income property. Or have our house repainted after all these toddler fingerprints! The rest would go straight to our Early Retirement fund.

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jeff

set aside enough for taxes and invest the rest.

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Donna D.

Schedule some doctor appointments. My health insurance at work has a seven thousand dollar a year deductible and it is killing me and it is the lowest deductible plan they offer us. I'd also look into purchasing our own health insurance plan and try to get a better plan.
I'd invest the vast majority of it for retirement, but make sure to take modest vacations while we are healthy and can enjoy it.

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Natalie

I would give some of the money to church and then save the rest of the money in my savings account.

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Guest

Pay off my bleeping student loans, buy a house in the mountains, rent my current city house as an Airbnb (so I can still come back when I want), work part-time and spend way more time sleeping, cooking, hanging out with my husband and relaxing.

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Shauna

I would donate as much as possible working with healthcare on whose medical bills that are so extensive. Children that are fighting cancer and cancer families are a huge one, most people until you are in those shoes--don't realize how big those bills for hospital stays and treatments can add up. My husband's cousin years ago was diagnosed with cancer and he is fine now but they had to refinance their house to pay their share after the insurance paid.

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Jen

1. Pay off student loans
2. Pay off car
3. Purchase an RV
4. Invest the rest
5. Travel

Guest's picture
Eri

I'd prepay the mortgage (would not completely pay it off, but significantly reduce the balance), do some upgrades to the house, and the rest goes into our investment account. One million... ahh, I wish!

(...but I'd happily take a $20 Amazon gift card instead lol :))

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Kelli

Pay off my mortgage, travel, and donate some to animal shelters.

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SmArtsyChick

Pay off my loans and travel the world for a year! Then I would buy a house, invest the rest and get back to work!

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Nico

I'd help out my Dad and a good friend, and play secret santa all year. I'd continue to live in my RV, but I'd build a nice deck. I would also hire a financial advisor.

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Holly

I am older, already collecting full soc sec benefits so I would be in a spend mode.

First thing I would do is set up education/home buying trusts of $100k for each of my 5 grands. $500k spent.

Next I would look into a MAJOR around the world kind of trip(s). I have not had any vacations since 2008 and the ones from 2005-2008 were done on the cheap: driving, bringing/prepping my own food.......

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Jessilyn

I would buy my disabled mom a little farmhouse somewhere she can have horses. I'd pay off my sisters student loans and pay for the rest of her college. I'd talk my brother in to having the chest surgery he needs and pay for it. I'd start my own business and employ my jobless dad. I would hire contractors that wont steal to finish my grandmothers home. I guess i would like a bigger apartment. And i would pay of my credit card. I would spend some time trying to figure out what i want to do with the rest of my life. I'd look into different thinks i like to do. The remainder would go into a savings account.

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Liisa R

Pay off debt, pay cash for a modest house and two newer used cars, set some aside in savings, give the rest away!!!

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Christina

I would pay off the house and any other debt, travel a bit, save some, and use the rest to help start a business.

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lostAnnfound

Hook up the camper and hit the road! Travel around the United States and learn about the history of the places we visit. Stop and see some of the natural wonders.

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cherie

I love this daydream LOL. A million dollars - let's play it's after taxes since we're daydreaming . . . hmmmm . . . pay off my mortgage, three trusts for my kids andthe rest in a nonprofit corporation as seed money to go out and fund good works

Guest's picture
Carrie

If I won a million dollars, I would:
$250,000 for state and federal taxes
$100,000 to the church for tithe
$150,000 for my mortgage payoff
$50,000 for my sons student loan payoff
$10,000 to pay off all short term debt
$50,000 to purchase the lot next door and start my small farm
$50,000 to daughters college fund
$50,000 to other son for whatever he needs
$100,000 renovations on the house
$30,000 for my husbands new truck
$160,000 to have as combination savings, rainy day fund, and spending.

Guest's picture
Carrie

If I won a million dollars, I would:
$250,000 for state and federal taxes
$100,000 to the church for tithe
$150,000 for my mortgage payoff
$50,000 for my sons student loan payoff
$10,000 to pay off all short term debt
$50,000 to purchase the lot next door and start my small farm
$50,000 to daughters college fund
$50,000 to other son for whatever he needs
$100,000 renovations on the house
$30,000 for my husbands new truck
$160,000 to have as combination savings, rainy day fund, and spending.

Guest's picture
Carolyn

I would help my children pay their student loans after tithing the original million. I would travel to visit relatives, invest the remainder and use only the dividends for charity or expenses.

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Justin V

Assuming we had all 1 million to work with, and taxes were already handled, first $100,000 would go to our local church. Next we would pay off the rest of our house and finish the kids college funds. Replace both of our 10+ year old cars with late model pre-owned cars. Take a vacation in Italy and Spain. With the remaining $450K, $350 would be added to retirement accounts, and the remaining would be used for Investing in mutual funds.

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Guest

I would save most of it for now, as I am single and currently renting an apartment (not stationary enough to buy yet). I would use a small portion of it though to replace some things I have been avoiding.

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Olivia

Tithe. Hire a reputable tax adviser. Pay the taxes. Then we would do what we already do, but on a larger scale. Give to organizations we believe in. Help family. Put savings towards retirement and a visit to friends in Italy.

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Louly

I would pay off all my debt, invest a chunk, and give myself a decent allowance to live on.

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Donna

I have actually thought a lot about this. First, I would not spend any of it until the IRS and state income taxes are paid on it. Once I KNOW my true balance, I would pay off my sons debts, school loans and house loan. I then my help out a few people I know really need some help. I would try to keep the rest in mixed investments which I would hand pick one at a time after much research. I don't need much to survive but I would like the security of having money for the future for helping others and my own emergencies.

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Karen L

I'd have my mom retire, fund college for my grandson, renovate my kitchen and donate to charity.

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Judy

Since I have stage 4 bilateral lung cancer, I would first pay the tithes to my church, then pay off my mortgage, medical and other bills, so I could retire and not have to work while fighting this.

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Nancy

First, I would re-landscape my front and back yards for drought-tolerance and put in drip irrigation. Second I would at least investigate putting in a grey-water system diverting water from laundry, showers, bathtubs and sinks to the landscape. As you can probably tell, I live in a dry area of California where droughts are long and common. Then, I would bump up our emergency savings and put aside enough for a good, low-mileage, economical car (ours is in good shape but aging). Then, because our house is already paid for and we have no revolving debt, I would invest the rest conservatively because I'm 65 and my husband is 72.

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Bekki

I would pay off debt, donate some, and invest some.

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Margaret Davis

First and foremost, pay off my mother's mortgage and set her up in a senior living community townhouse. Second, pay off my brother-in-law's student debt. Third, set up a fund for my in-law's. Fourth, pay off the remainder of the debt for my husband and I. Fifth, invest in my husband's business for new equipment, upgrades, building repairs, etc. The remainder would be invested to give us some additional income down the road. Both my husband and I enjoy working and are young enough to continue to do so.

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An G

I would invest and pay off some family debt

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Doug

Invest for solidifying my retirement. If anything else remains, help children with some basics (ex: down payment on a first home, etc.). Then see what I can do to assist charities

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Michelle

I would make a small instant gratification purchase and then place a majority of the money in an investment to go towards my retirement. I hope to manage my money well so that I can retire early and live comfortably.

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Michelle

I would make a small instant gratification purchase and then place a majority of the money in an investment to go towards my retirement. I hope to manage my money well so that I can retire early and live comfortably.

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Jamie

I would pay off my fiance's and my debt (~$100,000 in student loans, car payments, wedding planning stuff, and CCs), purchase a house outright (~$250,000), invest about $100,000, establish a travel fund to cover vacations for the next 20 years (~100,00) then give the rest to my parents and his in laws.

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David

I would buy 5 or 10 wooded acres and build a house designed to live off the grid.

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Raina

I would donate a chunk of it to various charities, travel the world, and sock away a lot for retirement and future children.

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Roger

Simple, I'd invest it and spend the dividends. Of course later in life I would need to spend down the capital or leave it in a will to charitable organizations.

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Cindy Lilly

Of course I'm aiming to be a millionaire right now. Who isn't? Once I become a millionaire, I want to set up a scholarship fund for minority students, enlist the help of others to distribute home-cooked meals and blessing bags to homeless people every week, and start my own greeting-card line.

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Guest

Donate 40% and buy a house with the rest!

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Susan Smith

I would pay off my house and take my family on a cruise.

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Suz_Glo

Invest it well and hope the resulting income would allow my husband and me to travel, give to charities we love and buy a nice car every few years for the rest of our hopefully long lives.

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J. Pario

Pay off the house.

Work as a Creative (writing/art/voice acting) instead of working for other people.

Invest in my husband's business, Charlemagne Beard Oil.

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Michelle D.

I would take my entire family on an amazing vacation and then put the rest aside for future expenses (college, retirement, etc) and hopefully not have to worry about money any more!

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MELISSA HANSSON

I would pay off every debt, send my parents a big cash gift and put a home tiki bar in our basement.

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Cheryl

With a million dollars...I would pay off my mortgage, purchase a small motor home, quit my job...give some money to my children to pay some of their college debt, buy my mother a better wheelchair. If there is anything left, I would save go to school for raw food chef and nutritionist.

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Cindy Campbell

I would pay all my bills off. Then I would quit my very stressful job. I would like to start a rescue animal shelter.

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Guest

I would put it into a wide variety of diversified investments, and use a portion of it for certain charities, particularly ones that help children and animals.

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Johannes (from germany)

I Would pay off all my debt and after that, i would buy an ETF for MSCI World and live from the returns of this investment. Than i would quit my day job.

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Joyce

I would invest half and then use the rest to make life easier.

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Guest

I would open an animal sanctuary and rescue center and live happily ever after.

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Matt

I would go down to Brazil and work on my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu almost every day for at least a year. I would study Brazilian Portugese and try to help poor kids learn English.

I would go down to Mexico and live there a year and get a job in a restaurant to learn how to cook every dish until I mastered as many as possible. I would study Spanish and teach kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I would return to the US or Australia and open up a cantina.

I would fix up old muscle cars like Camaros, Corvettes, Mustangs, etc. and go out to racetracks where I could drive them fast....legally. To me, it is all about experiences, not possessions.

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Sheryl

I would retire!!!

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Jill

I would give some money to my parents. Put money down to buy a couple rental properties. Do some renovations in my condo like replace the ugly parquet floors with something updated and modern. Then invest the rest in dividend growth stocks.

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Abby

I would pay off debt, tithe some and then build our dream home!

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Toni B

#1 I would hire a financial advisor/tax accountant
#2 Buy a new car
#3 Sponsor a WiseBread Chat
#4 Buy a house
The rest I would have a little fun, invest, and save!

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Marcia

I would buy a building so each of my kids could have a rent free place to live, send the two youngest to college, give to my church and save some. I would love to go on a vacation since I have not had one since 1992.

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tiffany dover

I would pay off my parents house, buy them both new vehicles and pay the insurance and upkeep on them for many years to come. Purchase my husband and I a house and new vehicles, get our boys some new toys, buy my sister in law a car because she's a single mother and has no vehicle at the time. Pay off my parents bills, tithe to my church 10% and invest the rest!

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Justine P

Pay off student loans, have a down payment on a house, invest, and give to others in need.

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Betty

I would invest the million to ensure a comfortable retirement.

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Elle P.

I would invest a lot of the money and save it for the future.

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Arthur Fox

I would save for retirement and give to my church

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GB

I would go on a nice, long vacation.

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Guest

I would buy a house!

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Kim

Pay off debt, buy my parents and sister whatever they want, and invest the rest!

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Jennifer

My parents are retired but I am concerned that they will outlive their money so I would set aside $100k for them in case it's needed, plus $30k to fix up their house. $100k each to my niece and nephews in trust until they're older and $200k for my brother for his retirement account. The rest into my own retirement account.

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Richard

Pay off my credit cards, buy a house, and invest the rest.

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CM

Pay off the house, invest the rest in my early retirement.

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Jennifer

600K to pay off student loans and mortgage, 50K to a new car and other debts, 100K to my sister to help her buy a house and invest the remaining 250K (there are no taxes in imaginary land of course.)

Guest's picture
Linda

I would do some renovations on my house.