Like many Americans, I work more than one job. As a result, I posted a sappy status on Facebook last night as I sat in my car after work at 12 AM. Give me a break; I was delirious, exhausted, and returning home after a 16-hour day.
Dramatic, I know.
Before I stumbled up the stairs to my apartment, I checked my mail. Wearily, I opened the envelope that was “protectively sealed” and bearing a “corporate judges seal” from the Judging Office & Decisions Center in Kansas City, KS. I thought to myself, great, I owe more money to someone or something… when will it end?
As I unfolded the three-part document on my counter, I realized it was the opposite of bills. Money… sort of? It was a letter notifying me that I had won an award. No, not a paper document saying I rocked at life (which I actually could have used at the time). It was a “lump-sum jackpot Award of 1,230,946.00.” Cue wide eyes emoji.
I had two award options and seven days to return the letter to the judges with my decision (or the late reply will result in automatic termination). This is where you come in. Should I take Option A: “The amount of AWARD by a single check of $1,230,946.00,” or Option B: “a 30-year annuity for the total of $2,000,000.00”?
While $2 million would be more ideal than $1.2 million, would $66,667 be enough for 30 years? That’s not even that much… heck, the Financial Advisor that will be helping to budget my money makes that. You’re telling me that’s the salary I get with a total $2 million? That’s depressing. Should I just take the lump sum of $1.2 million and be done with it?
Now before you go and start judging me for being a total and complete idiot for believing this, you must know… I didn’t believe it. Not for a second. #Gotchya But I will admit that I waited ten minutes to let the idea flourish before I Googled this letter only to find what I thought might be true. (The big red flag was the $11.87 I owed for acquisition fees… yeah, ok.) It was, as always, a scam. Surprise, surprise. Never saw that coming.
But what if it wasn’t a scam? I allowed myself to fantasize as I drifted off to sleep… what would I actually do with $2 million?
Here’s how I’d prioritize:
- Hire a financial planner/tax advisor. That is, before I even decided what withdrawl option to go with, I would hire an advisor. This is absolutely necessary. And so are many other precautions, according to experts.
- Eliminate student loans (and other debt). I’d do anything to get this debt off my back. I hate student loans so much that I think I’d throw $5,000 to five deserving individuals who had no option but to finance their own education. (It might not be enough… but it’s something.)
- Give 10% away. (That’s $40,000.) No matter how hard it would be, my mother’s favorite lesson to teach is to give 10% to those in need. What you give, you get back ten-fold, right?
- Start investing. Many of you might be wondering why this isn’t higher on the list… you can make your own priorities
- Aid family members. My parents and grandparents have done more for me than I could ever ask for. I’d hand a check to my parents to take care of their mortgage (or at least part of it), and take my grandparents on a trip to see a few of the world’s must-see places.
- Perform A.R.K. In addition to the 10% I plan to give, I also feel the desire to perform acts of random kindness, whether it’s paying for a stranger’s gas, surprising a friend with a weekend getaway, or surprising my co-worker with coffee. I’ll never forget the day I partook in the Starbuck’s I’ve-got-the-car-behind-me line. Yes, there are good people in the world.
- Buy a home (and property). I’d say so-long to renting and invest in a house with land. At least this way I’d get money back.
- Purchase a car outright. I’m not saying I’d buy a million dollar sports car—that’s so irresponsible. But I would kill for a car without a cassette player and fewer than 150,000 miles in its history.
- Schedule time for vacation. This would be necessary for whenever I lose track of my brain in the crazy journey of going from middle-class to first-class in the blink of an eye. I’ll need it to remember to just breathe.
When I awoke this morning, the delirium had worn off and I snapped back to reality as I got ready for work. While I wasn’t looking forward to another 16-hour work day, I concluded that money isn’t real. Happiness is, and I can find happiness anywhere.
So for all of you juggling multiple jobs while continuing to be beautiful people, this one is for you. Bright, positive personalities bring me more happiness than $2 million ever could.
My friend Kollin said it best:
All the people telling you “it can’t be done” and “you can’t do that” will be the same people asking “how did you do it?” and “show me how” in five years. So just keep keepin’ on and keep your pimp hand strong, my friends.