We were at Pizza Hut the other day (yes, nothing but the best for the Schroeder Clan!) and one of the kids’ menus had a bunch of “what if” questions.  There were the usual “what if you had three wishes” and “what if you were President for a day”, but the one that got me thinking was “what if you had a million dollars”.

I remember as a kid thinking that a million dollars was a near-infinite amount of money.  Via time, inflation, and perhaps just the general realities of adulthood, I now realize that a million dollars isn’t actually all that much money.

Granted, it’s a mountain of cash and I wouldn’t turn it down, but it’s not like you can retire on that these days.  Since that’s one of my big goals for the next six years or so (retire at 40) it would certainly help me hit that goal, but by itself it’s just not enough.

So, pondering a bit, I wondered what I would really do if I received a million-dollar check today.

Would I stash it all into investments, playing with stocks and mutual funds and so forth?  Would I buy a bunch of real estate (in this market– yikes) and hope to cash out in a few years?  Although these are probably sound financial moves, they’re pretty boring.

To be less boring, maybe I would blow it all on powerboats and elaborate vacations and spiffy electronic gadgets.  That would be fun until I ran out of cash and the next year’s gadgets came out and were all ever-so-slightly better than the ones I have.

Perhaps there would be more reasonable things to buy: two new cars, since both mine and Laralee’s are struggling at 12 years.  Pay off the mortgage.  Redecorate the house and replace the ancient particle-board bookshelves.

And then there’s the philanthropic aspect to consider: donate money to a worthy charity.  Give lavish gifts to friends and family.  Help the people I know are struggling financially by sending an anonymous chunk of cash.

In short, I really don’t have any idea what I would do.  I suppose the answer to this question would reveal a lot about one’s personality, and how generous (or selfish or short-sighted) they are.

What would you do?