9 things we would do if we won a million dollars tomorrow

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Remember back in the days? You know, way back when life was simple? You woke up, ate your cereal, went to school, came home, made a little snacky snack did your homework all so you could go outside and play with your friends.

Like most kids, a good portion of our childhood was spent alone in our thoughts in deep imagination. But as adolescent years fade and you venture into young adulthood, those thoughts don’t just go away. Rather, they evolve into more ‘mature’ but equally silly questions like “what are you looking for in a husband or wife?”, “what kind of car will you drive?” or “how many bedrooms do you want in your house“?

The other night, as we were watching our sweet baby boy frolic around in his own little world, we wondered…”what is he thinking right now“? Watching his little wheels turn gave us flashbacks to our own childhood and one of those old lingering unanswered questions; “what would you do if you won a million dollars tomorrow?”.

Admittedly, and thankfully, the day we become millionaires is within sight after years of paying off debt, investing in the stock market, buying rental properties,banking bonuses and living well below our means. But there’s a big difference between the slow and steady grind and a sudden windfall of $1 million dollars falling in our laps overnight. So for the sake of our imagination, we decided to give it some thought.

Here’s exactly what we would do if we got $1 million dollars tomorrow.

Ok, we don’t share all of our numbers here but it’s safe to assume we’re not starting with any debt and our net worth is south of $1m today. Also, for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume it’s a net $1 million [no taxes] as in the payout you might receive if you were the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. Given the current market conditions, our current income levels and portfolio’s here’s exactly what we’d do.

1.Kiss the job goodbye

Mr. r&R works on the blog full-time so Mrs. r&R would quit her job immediately. An influx of a million would push us past our FI number and enable us to ensure that we have enough to live comfortably off our investments, cash and income producing assets. We’d likely work on the blog for a few more years, at our own pace taking a series of mini retirements in between.

Balance on $1m = $1m

2. Pay off the mortgage [$45K] on our first rental property

Today, we have about $45K on our rental property so we’d wipe that out to boost our net profit on rental income and lighten our debt burden. This is also just a matter of getting pesky inconveniences like a tiny mortgage out of the way.

Balance on $1m =$955K

3.Invest [$350K] into low cost index funds

Today, the vast majority of our mutual funds are in tax deferred accounts and Roth IRAs. Since we can’t technically “touch” that money until we’re 59 1/2 without paying taxes on it or paying an early withdrawal penalty, our goal would be to put that money to work in a taxable brokerage account. This way, if we need to make withdrawals, we can do it simply by selling some shares. Vanguard’s VTSAX fund [or something comparable] is our go-to fund so there’s no reason to change up now.

This brokerage account is referred to as a bridge” fund. This ‘bridge” is the money we would have access to between now and until we’re able to withdraw from our tax deferred accounts.

Balance on $1m =$605K

4. Pre-pay [$75K] our bills for one year

We first heard of this idea from a friend of ours and while we were intrigued by the concept, it didn’t really sink in until Mr. r&R jumped fully into entrepreneurship. The primary objective of doing this is to give you the capacity to focus on your business without having to “think” about paying bills. Secondly, it gives you a runway of a year to build your business without fear of not being able to support your family. So for us, this would boil down to pre-paying utilities, HOA, mortgage payments and setting aside cash to pay for food and other knick-knacks to last us a twelve month stretch. We don’t spend that much in a year, so it’s safe to assume this would also cover some vacations and random splurging

Balance on $1m=$530K

5. Invest [$250K] in apartment buildings

We’ve grown more and more intrigued by apartment buildings over the past few months for a variety of reasons. First, Atlanta is steadily becoming a hub for more creatives and entrepreneurs which is bringing in more top talent into the city. Secondly, as climate change continues to wreak havoc on coastal cities and other major cities struggle with inclement weather, we firmly believe more people will look to escape the extreme weather for cities like Atlanta. Lastly, as the student loan debt crisis continues to weigh on our generation, more people will find it practically impossible to build up enough of a down payment to buy a home which makes them renters for the foreseeable future.

Balance on $1m = $280K

6. Invest [$150k] in small businesses and entrepreneurs

We believe in small businesses, digital entrepreneurs, content-creators and micro-enterprises. We personally know or have access to tons of people who have great brands and business models that just need a small influx of cash to help them grow their business and better support their families. It could be to fund equipment, buy inventory, outsource tasks/hire help, pay off debts or invest in marketing but if they can convince us of the viability of their business, we’d be happy to invest and make a return in the process.

We’d be particularly interested in minority owned businesses with a stronghold in the marijuana industry, digital content creation and [financial] technology.

Balance on $1m =$130K

Start saving money and eating BETTER today

7. Make f(r)amily problems go away [approx. -$50K]

The fact is, there are some problems money can solve. We have friends and family with old homes, old cars, opportunities to study abroad, overdue bills etc. Many of these are problems that a couple hundred dollars can solve so we’d probably spend a few months making a list and cutting checks to make those problems poof…disappear

No, this doesn’t correct behaviors or solve for bad habits, but at a minimum, it does provide some much needed relief to the people we love that could use a break.

Balance on $1m = $80K

8. Upgrade our lifestyle a lil bit. [approx. $-60K]

We’ve been in our home a few months now but since we’re building a business and down to one steady paycheck, we’re still taking our time to get our home to where we want it to be. Knowing the summer season is coming, it would be great to spend more time outside on our patio, have better movie nights with our son in the basement and entertain our loved ones at home.

All of this requires money and furnishings we don’t have today, so we’d splurge a little bit on ourselves to make our home nicer. We’d also upgrade our vehicles to something more fuel-efficient and spacious. Lastly, while we’re at it, we’d probably do some wardrobe refreshing. Let’s just say, the frugal life is cool…up to a point.

Balance on $1m = $20K

9. Start a donor advised fund [$20K]

We’ve dreamed of the day we can start our own “foundation” and a sudden influx of cash would be just the time to start it. While this is a relatively small amount to start with, our goal would be to take proceeds from our other business dealings or investments and grow this fund over time.

The benefits of donor advised funds include, tax deductions on contributions, transfer-ability to our child and outsourcing of the day-day-day management of the fund.

So there you have it. Nothing fancy, just good old fashioned putting that money to work, planting seeds for the future, solving problems with a small side of splurge.

Thoughts? Have you thought about what you would do if you won a million dollars tomorrow? Comment below.


  1. Why pay off the mortgage on a rental when the tenant is paying it for you? I like your idea of buying apartments: instead of paying stuff off or investing in index funds, I’d gather all that money and go buy a cash flowing apartment. That alone would build your net worth and lead to early retirement faster than the other options.

    • Paying off the mortgage gives us one less thing to think about in our portfolio….and it’s a pesky $45K that would be paid back in no time.

  2. Understood except, there is an opportunity cost tying up your cash in “dead equity” in a home when you could be putting it to work, making more income for you in another rental property (apartment). But I’m sure Dave Ramsey would say to pay if off.

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