What Would You Do If You Were Given One Million Pounds?

What Would You Do If You Were Given 1 Million Pounds?

I don’t know about you, but that’s a problem I’d be quite happy to take on the challenge of solving!

I follow as many UK financial independence (FIRE) blogs as I can get my hands on! If you know of any UK FIRE blogs that aren’t listed on my blogroll then please let me know about them asap! Especially if you’re a FIRE blogger yourself.

I recently discovered a relatively new UK blogger SavingNinja who appears to have gotten started with their blog around August 2018. SavingNinja has recently introduced a Thought Experiment series, where a question is posed and different financial independence bloggers answer the same question in a post on their own site. The idea is for each blogger to use a “string of consciousness” approach to answer the question - responding with whatever first comes to mind, rather than composing a pre-thought out, perfectly reasoned article.

Or as SavingNinja more eloquently puts it:

…the blogger will have to write whatever they first think of. No pre-planning or major editing allowed and blabbering is definitely encouraged! It should read like an internal monologue.

I’ve read several responses to the first Thought Experiment question (you can see a list of the posts that I’ve read at the end of this post) and decided it would be fun to join in myself.

So here goes my contribution to Thought Experiment number 1


What would you do if right at this very instant you got given 1 million great British pounds? This could be from a lottery win, an IPO, a scratch card, you name it. No tax needs to be paid, it’s just been plopped directly into your run of the mill bank account.

I think my first reaction would be to check, double-check and triple-check that this was for real. Then I’d get my boyfriend to also verify that I wasn’t dreaming!

Next there would be a couple of phonecalls to just our closest family to share the news. I envisage the conversation starting out something like, “You’re never going to believe this…”

After swearing everyone to secrecy, I’d arrange for us to meet-up later that evening so that we could celebrate together. I always imagined that if I had a big win on the lottery (unlikely given that I never buy lottery tickets any more) the first thing I would do is go out to the nearest supermarket or off-licence and buy the biggest bottle of champagne I could find! So some champagne would definitely be involved.

What Would You Do If You Were Given 1 Million Pounds, champagne bottles

Before the evening meet-up I’d sit down with my boyfriend and start coming up a with a rough plan of how we’d use the money.

I have been saving toward financial independence for several years now. Surely having a cool £1 million would make me/us FI? Of course I don’t think it would be quite that simple though because I wouldn’t feel right keeping the whole £1 million for me and my FI needs. I’d want to share it with those I love, and those less fortunate than myself.

My approach to financial independence involves saving and investing in ISAs and a pension, as well as supplementing this with online passive income from things like book publishing, blogging and merchandise sales. All these things could support our financial independence alongside the £1 million.

It’s also worth noting that I have different tiers of FI goals:

  • a super frugal FI: where I live an extremely cut-back version of the life I have now - no car, no holidays but importantly no need to work
  • a medium FI: where I have a basic car and some nice-to-have things, but no frivolities, no big holidays
  • a more extravagent FI: where I can have a big holiday once or twice a year, indulge in some expensive hobbies and have a nicer car

So I really think, that with existing investments and passive income producing products I should be able to at least achieve super frugal FI instantly with the fresh £1 million in the bank.

In terms of how we would break down what to do with the £1 million, my initial thoughts go something like this:

  • £225K: Pay off the rest of our mortgage (leaves £775K)
  • £330K: Invested for my Financial Independence/Early Retirement (leaves £445K)
  • £330K: Invested for my boyfriend’s Financial Independence/our future expenses (leaves £115K)
  • £100K: Shared between our close family members (leaves £15K)
  • £15K: Donated to charitable causes

Of course I don’t know the most tax efficient way to invest the money before it can be squirreled away each year into ISA’s and pensions, so we’d look for a good, independent financial advisor on a fee (not commission) basis. Someone who was not tied to any financial establishment, so that we could trust the advice was truly impartial. We would definitely max out a stocks and shares ISA allowance each year with investments in index funds (I’m talking about you Vanguard).

What Would You Do If You Were Given 1 Million Pounds, Vanguard logo

On the above basis this would allow me to enjoy the more extravagent FI with immediate effect, assuming I was comfortable with a 4% safe withdrawal rate. I’m not sure what my boyfriend would choose to do as I think he’s actually pretty happy in the job he’s got, so he may decide to keep going with that - knowing he has the fallback of being able to quit anytime he likes!

Compared to some of the other posts I’ve read I feel like this leaves us very light on the charitable donation front. However with all the free time true financial independence would bring, I would really like to get involved with charitable fundraising and philanthropic work. So I can make peace with this.

I suspect if that £1 million actually landed in my account, plans would vary slightly from the above, because who knows - in the actual reality of having a sudden influx of money - I have no idea how it would affect me psychologically, and there could be things I haven’t thought about which I would feel were important to spend money on.

Overall my gut feeling is that I would want to use the money toward financial independence, because that’s what I’ve been striving toward for so long. To hit FI would allow me so much free time to focus on spending time with family & friends, and on my hobbies/activities that I want to pursue, but never seem to have the time to do justice to.

Well, I stuck to SavingNinja’s brief. This was definitely a conscious stream of thought - I literally just poured my thoughts out into this post as they came to me. Hopefully it’s not too rambly to put people off reading!

If this has sparked your interest, why don’t you have a go at writing an answer yourself? If you do, please let me know your response in the comments below or send me a link to your post and I’ll add it to my list in this post!

Other Answers To Thought Experiment #1

Here’s the other responses to this question so far:


Thought experiment number 1 pinterest image

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