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What Would You Do If You Had $10,000,000?

It’s a great question, isn’t it? And one I’m guessing most of us ask of ourselves from time to time. For you it may be $100m or half a million or it may not be a specific amount at all, but just ‘enough’ to allow you to forget about paying the bills.

I was with with a client recently who was trying to work out how much money he needed so he no longer had to worry for himself, his wife and his kids.

I listened to this and got quite concerned. I wasn’t aware there was an amount that meant we had to worry, and another that meant we were ok allowing us the freedom to focus our worrying skills on other areas of our life.

“Shit” I thought, “I don’t have enough money and I’ve been fooling myself by not worrying about it for at least a couple of years now, I’d better step up my game and start contemplating all the things that can possibly go wrong with my life, just in case.”

As my client wrestled with how much money he ‘needed’ to be worry-free and which direction to take his two businesses, I threw a question at him;

“If I deposited $10,000,000 in your bank account this afternoon, what would you do?”

He stopped mid-sentence and I could literally see his posture change, his face light up and then the tonality of his voice shifted completely. He was no longer weighed down by imaginary money concerns, but relishing the potential of total financial freedom.

Mixed in with the usual responses of travel the world, buy a house with a gym, pay off his and his wife’s student loan etc I had two way more interesting answers that told me a lot more than the previous half hours conversation about money had;

  • Close down one of my businesses
  • Start up a not for profit business

I asked which business he would close down and when he told me the answer followed up with,

“So close it down NOW then because it’s not what you want to do”

For a moment I know he was about to agree with me, but then came the hesitation before he laughed a kind of nervous laugh and said;

“That would be cool, but I can’t, I need the money”


In an instant his state had returned from whence it came. He was immediately worrying about money again and focusing on potential problems rather than looking for solutions.

At times like these clients will almost always rush to justify their reasons for not doing what they really want to do, and this guy was no different.

However, I switch off completely because the first gut response I get in these kinds of situations is nearly always the only one I’m interested in.

The reason being, it comes from our unconscious before we have time to challenge it. It’s our authentic self trying to enunciate what it really, really wants.

Unfortunately, we become skilled at intercepting these thoughts within a split-second of them arising and then rationalizing them away as either unrealistic, dumb, impractical, selfish, foolhardy or any other combination of the 101 excuses I hear on a regular basis.

So ask yourself;

“If I had $10,000,00 in my bank account, what would I do?”

Listen very carefully to the first answer(s) you get and the ones that really make you come alive?

Is what you’re doing now designed to get you there? If not, what could you do differently ? Are you reigning in your hopes and dreams because you think they aren’t achievable? What would you do differently if you didn’t have that belief?

I’d love to know what you’d do with your $10m and to kick things off I’ll tell you 5 things I’d do.

  • Buy 1,000,000 copies of How To Be Rich and Happy and donate them to good causes
  • Buy a house with a stables so my wife can have her own horse
  • Stop charging for life coaching and only do pro bono work for those less well off
  • Buy a pair of season tickets for the St Louis Rams
  • Take a 3-week cruise to the South Pacific with a group of family and friends

So what about you?

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53 comments to What Would You Do If You Had $10,000,000?

  • Great post Tim! Definitely something to think about and post on my monitor.

    Here a few of the things that I would do:

    1. Buy a house with at least 3 bathrooms (my 3rd daughter is due 9/1, so I will need all of them!)

    2. Develop a program that I can use to teach children about being positive and living their best lives.

    3. Pay off all of our debts.

    Thank you for giving me something to think about today!

  • First, I would give my parents a good chunk of cash so they don’t have to worry about anything anymore… Second, I’d by myself a nice house in Halifax, buy some acres to start a summer camp for less fortunate kids and then finally open a pub. With the rest of the cash I’d invest…party…help people…party…and possibly build an empire.

  • What about partying? ;-) Good stuff man!

  • G’day,

    First thought to question… I would take our business to the next level and be more of a prescence in the Gulf of Mexico… Helping those that need help, putting those to work who are willing, learn more about what I can do to save the Gulf from being a Dead Sea…

    Without the ‘having’ to your question, I can still keep trying to find the resources we need to be at that level…

    Thanks for letting me ponder to know I’m on the right path!

  • Wow, I appreciate this post today and those questions. I would buy a house so we no longer rent, continue with two or three of the sites I am now operating, and start a nonprofit that would work with military spouses whose spouse are deployed. It is a long time dream of mine to do that. Thank you for making me stop and answer that question today as it does shed light on some things that I am doing now that I can stop to move closer to building what I do have with that in mind.

    • Kathy do you know any organizations like that? I’d love to get copies of HTBRAH into the hands of military wives.

      • I actually DO know of two that I’ve been working with, through Spouse Buzz and Wings 4 Women. I have that and it would be awesome to be able to do that! Is there a way we could work together on it? If so, just drop me an email.

  • Thanks a lot! I loved this one. I observed myself in surprise when I couldn’t come up with my five things with the speed of light. Maybe that’s part of the problem for my scattered mind and the way I’m lost between too many goals, too many projects, too many commitments. What do I really want if money wasn’t a problem? Are the things that I think I want really what I want from the heart? OK, now honest answers after much thinking:

    1. I’d buy a house, but not a big one. It would look like an Edward-Hopper-painting-house. But not more than four rooms and two bathrooms please. Yet, with a huge garden with lots of age-old trees. I’d learn to do gardening. And also vegetable gardening. I’d have lots of hydrangeas in my garden. I’d have a pool built outside because I hate traveling to another destination for the sake of having a holiday. I’d have swings and a treehouse built! :) I’d live there happily ever after with the love of my life. I’d also have a professional music studio built for him where he can play his guitar and record his music whenever he wants to. I’d also buy a house in the neighborhood for my son so that he can enjoy freedom as well as the warmth and comfort of being near us.

    2. I’d leave my job immediately and keep building web sites and blogging. I really enjoy doing it. I would purchase training sessions and material without worrying about how much they cost. I’d establish a special online membership course where I’d train bright but penniless young people, especially young mothers to discover their passion, choose their niche and become confident entrepreneurs with an online business. I would choose them carefully but not charge them.

    3. Instead of thinking about an online coaching training, I’d arrange to learn it from the life coach I’d resonate with the most and receive one-on-one training. I’d also want to go through a whole psychoanalysis session. I’ve always wanted to do that.

    4.I’d send my mom on vacations and have a huge art studio built for her so that she could paint in a spacious environment.

    5. I’d take some private lessons from the best fabric artist in the world.

    Geez! I invaded your comments area! Sorry, but I loved it. Thanks for the prompt. I think I’ll create some mental triggers related to what I wrote above. I hadn’t thought in detail about this question for such a long time. I feel this process can carry me forward.

    • Is part 2 not plausible? Web site designers can earn great money if they’re good at what they do.

      • I wish I could do design professionally, but I taught myself just a bit more than the basic skills. Sometimes not having a million dollars is beneficial too! If I had had money for it, then I wouldn’t have been forced to learn those skills since I would have outsourced the task to a professional :)

        It’s amazing to see that so many people want to give and make others happy.

  • I have to admit to reading your wishlist incorrectly the first time and thought you very rude for buying a house with a stables so your wife could have her own ‘house’!!! :)

    It’s a good question, and maybe my next question is best answered in a separate post (or in actual life coaching sessions)…

    Now that your client has identified what he wants to do – and now that you’ve identified what you want to do – how do you go about achieving it without the money? Having read HTBRH (and I’m probably misquoting), I know it’s not ‘how’ to do it but ‘who’ can help… but it’s a serious question – once you’ve realised your money-no-object desires, what do you do about the ones that need money?

    • On the whole it’s the who not the how, but on occasions how can be useful too.

      That’s a HUGE question mate because it depends to heavily on individual circumstances. If you require ownership of a small Caribbean Island to feel fulfilled, then that may be trickier than starting your own business.

      This question is designed to isolate objections and then it depends heavily on what the objections or barrier to success are before you can work out a plan of how to beat over come them.

      I know that’s a cop out!

  • Great post! Did you ever figure out what the right amount of money was to stop worrying?

    1. I’d buy up all the commercial buildings in my town from the selfish *!$# who owns them and is letting them rot, unoccupied. Put them into community ownership and find (local) entrepreneurs to do business in them and rebuild our community & local economy

    2. I’d buy all the books on my ‘to read’ list (incl. How to be Rich & Happy – and of course I’d donate a few copies)… and read them … preferably somewhere warm and sunny … with a beach nearby … mmmmmmmm

    3. I’d build an outlandishly eco-friendly home (with a huge library!)

    4. I’d create my dream garden – veges, fruit trees, chooks. Enough to feed the family … I’m creating it anyway – but with a bit of spare cash I could get it done with much more flair (and from more of a supervisory stand point!)

    5. I’d give the rest to my Dad, for whom money is a hobby and a constant source of concern. Maybe he would finally feel he had enough and it was ok to rewallpaper the house …!

    • Ha – don’t know why your website wants to call me Mrs Appleby. No need to be so formal. Just call me Meg.

    • Hmm, not sure why it insists on calling you Mrs Appleby Meg! Very strange.

      LOL, I’m guessing if your dad has been perfecting his worrying for several decades he’ll still hold back on the wallpapering. Ya know, just in case ;-)

  • Here’s what I would do: I would first go buy my fav truck, then, pack up and visit all my new internet friends. After, a long vacation, I would come home and build my dream house, help out true friends, spread the love and live happily ever after!

  • Quite spooky really as just did some work last week on this very same subject and amount.

    After I’d recovered from the heart attack and was out of hospital I would buy a small island paradise property and spend a couple of years writing everything I had promised I would. I’d pay for all my friends to come visit twice a year and support the local economy.

    Then I would marry the girl of my dreams on the beach and honeymoon right there. After that I wouldn’t need as much money as I’d have everything I’d ever wanted. I guess at that stage I’d go right back to where I am right now. So, do I need to win it in the first place???

  • There’s really nothing I’d do differently professionally if I had $10 million. I really love my life right now. The only things that would change are the things I can only do with actual physical money:

    1. Pay off my parents’ mortgage and buy them several timeshares (so they can visit me and also so we can travel together).

    2. Give my sister a lump sum to go back to school for pharmacy.

    3. Give my brother money to start his own business (preferably with extra money to relocate from MA to CA–I miss my family!)

    4. Give my boyfriend money to make his film. He’ll get it done anyway, but I’d love to make it easier.

    5. Donate to causes for children, animals, homelessness, and mental illness.

    6. Buy homes in both MA and CA so my boyfriend and I can be bi-coastal.

    Oh man the list would go on and on! Though according to my boyfriend, if he (or we) had $10 million, the best thing to do would be put it in the bank, live on the interest, and pass it down to our children to do the same. Always the sensible one…

    • Wow, nothing for yourself then? Maybe giving is the best present we can ever give ourselves.

      • Well, I’d get to enjoy the timeshares and the homes. I’ve found over time that I’m happiest when I’m spending time with people I love and THEY are happy.

        I feel really fortunate to be doing something I love right now (not sure if I told you this Tim, but I just got a contract for my first book!) I’d love to help my brother, sister, and boyfriend on their paths of finding/pursuing their bliss.

        And then my parents, well, I would like if my mom didn’t have to work anymore. My dad worked very hard for most of my life. He got laid off last year, so my mother has been working extra hard to compensate. I’d love to help them both retire early.

        So yes, in short, giving to my family (and being able to enjoy experiencing their joy) would be an awesome gift to myself.

        That being said, if I didn’t feel really excited about my professional life, this list would contain more items for myself…

  • flashynista

    I would give 10% to God
    Give 10% to myself as an savings
    Give 10% to my mom
    Use 10% to start my business
    The other60% would be used to build sustainable house for ppl who need it.

  • Hi Tim – I love your new design. I did ask myself that question a few years ago and it motivated me to sell a business. It meant giving up an income that wasn’t easy to replace but eventually I found that it was more fun to replace that income with more enjoyable things – I actually got a life.

    • Thanks Cath. I think most people don’t do what you did through fear of the unknown amongst other things. It’s the old ‘better the devil we know’ philosophy.

  • I’d use the money to help develop and fund challenging projects that help make the world a better place. Things that bring people together, make the world feel more humane.

    And I’d find a way to make the time to read (and buy lots of books!), relax,and exercise every day. I’d spend money necessary for top quality food. And a cute comfortable house big enough for the hubs, a dog, and a few kids in the future would be nice.

    Oh, and buy all the shoes I want. :)

  • Kim

    I guess I fit right in with most other replies! I’d pay off ALL the debt (& there’s a LOT!) and make sure that all the kids are comfy. I’d be ornery and set up trusts for the kids to assure continued comfort & educations. Then, I’d like to run a foundation to provide money for education for smart but poor people…like most of the folk I know!

    • How many smart poor people do you know that would benefit from copies of How To Be Rich and Happy? They are exactly the kind of people we want to get the book to.If you know any groups of 60 or more people, let me know.

  • Debbie

    Ugh – what a burden $10,000,000 would be…first I’d have to lawyer up to protect the assets, disconnect my phones and go underground (temporarily) so not to be bothered by the masses who still think money=happiness.

    But after all that and the usual set aside funds for family health concerns, retirement and nephews college.

    Much of the money would go to the dogs. First and foremost a humungous public education program about the need to spay/neuter and the tragic consequences of animal over-population. Sponsor reduced rate/free spay/neuter through local veterinarians or a voucher system or maybe even a mobile surgical unit.

    I could go on and on….but I would focus on public education so to try to shift the way some people think about owning dogs/pets/critters in general.

  • Debbie

    I’m not one for being in the spotlight and that kind of money would surely bring about some attention. The thought of that kind of money doesn’t bring me down but I don’t believe large somes of money (on their own) instantly solve problems. You may not have the problems you have now, you now have problems associated with having gadoodles of cash.

    I believe if you choose to worry and be bothered that skill/habit will stick with you no matter what the bank account. If you can’t identify the “happy” right now, vacations, homes and cars don’t solve that problem. Exception being – health care. Knowing you have enough money to battle any health care issues, would probably bring some instant peace of mind.

    I’m not a Negative Nelly….the amount of community good that could be done with that amount could change lives now and the future.

    In the meanwhile, I have a job I love, two eyes that see, two legs that keep my fat arse off the ground, enough money to feed my dogs premium dog food and a bright mind to recognize it all and create more. Its a good day :)

    • Well you certainly made me laugh with “two legs that keep my fat arse off the ground”

      You make good points and I agree about the worrying thing. I once had a client that had $300k in a checking account was worried it wasn’t enough!

  • It’s a great question… always fun to think about what you would be doing if money weren’t a constraint.

    (things that i am doing already)
    work on my blog full time
    take a yoga class every day (or as close as I can manage)

    (things that i am *not* doing already)
    yoga teacher training
    life coach certification / training
    pay cash for a 1BR condo in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston
    sign up for personal training at a Crossfit gym
    get LASIK eye surgery
    “travel around the world” (details TBD)
    get licensed as a skydiver
    get licensed as a SCUBA diver

  • Lisa

    Well…We’d give a giant gift to our church. Then we’d pay off our mortgage and those of our parents, children, brothers and sisters. We’d take the rest and establish a foundation. My husband and I would pay ourselves modest 5-figure salaries as board members and spend the rest of our lives giving the money away. Anonymously. (And we’d travel to a lot of cool places).

  • Tim, I didn’t know that was part of the service, please deposit $10,000,000 into my account immediately! Your life coaching represents excellent value for money! ;)

  • saurabh

    have no freakin idea!!!!!!!!lemme count d zeroes first!
    all to the street kids,urchins of bombay.all of id.

  • Eric

    Late comer. But honestly, I’d do the one thing I’ve always dreamed of but just don’t have the time for. I’d write that book I’ve been thinking of for the past 15 years. I wrote a first draft in high school. I’d love to go over it again and make it right. Maybe I need to buy out that time, right?

    • Bullshit you don’t have time!

      If you’d devoted an hour per week for the last 15 years you’d have put in 780 hours. Let’s caution on the low side and say you can do 300 words per hour that equates to a book nudging 1/4 million words.

      That may mean little to some people, but if I say How To Be Rich and Happy is under 75,000 words and Don’t Ask Stupid Questions is only 24,000 words you’ll get the idea.

      Now start writing your fucking book and stop looking for excuses.

      You can thank me when you get your 6 figure advance ;-)

  • Eric: You don’t have time? Really? You can’t find one hour a day, or even 30 minutes a day?

  • What if I have no idea what I’d do with 10mil$? I don’t even want to start to think about it. Seriously, what does it say about me?

  • I really like your answer, but I think that the fact that I don’t want to think about what I’d do with all that money is either that I’m afraid of it, or simply that I’m happy with my life the way it is…

  • Emerson Paul P. Celestial