If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Hey y’all! For some reason, I love thinking about this :joy:. Whenever there’s a huge jackpot bubbling, my friends and I will fantasize and discuss how we’d spend the money even though I rarely (if ever) play the lottery. It’s mostly just for fun, but I think it actually says a lot about someone’s values and how their brain works.

So let’s say you won a modest $50 million (edit: after taxes). How would you spend it?

Here’s what I would do:

  1. Be debt free, woo!
  2. Give $2MM to some family/bff ($8MM)
  3. Buy a gorgeous apartment in the West Village (NYC) with a backyard for Teddy (my dog). ($5-10MM?)
  4. Get a financial advisor to tell me how to invest/grow $10MM, because I have no idea.
  5. Donate $15MM to 4-5 non-profits that are a) combating climate change and b) finding cures for antibiotic/antifungal-resistant microbes.
  6. Live off the remaining $5MM: Travel with friends, eat at (some of) the World’s 50 Best restaurants. Go back to school. Get a PhD in rhetoric/composition.

Sighh… ok, your turn! :smile:

Is this 50million post-tax? Either way, under that assumption

  1. Also, be debt free!
  2. Give $1MM to each of my closest friends.
  3. Pay off my Mom’s debt and set her up to retire, and pay for my sister’s college
  4. Open my own Fitness Studio specializing in Power Lifting using a Gamified approach.
  5. Travel and live modestly for the rest of my days.

I’m going to take off investing and donating off the table since it’s often implied. For this question, I’m going to try and be as selfish as possible, which might lead to the most interesting outcome. Here is what I would do with the money ($50 mil):

  • If you are an MLH Coach, pack your bags because we’re going on a trip! We’re gonna rent a yacht and go on a vacation on a private island, preferably where the Fyre Festival was supposed to take place. I’ll be a week getaway and all-expense paid trip. I think it would be super lit. One of my favorite things at MLH is going to hackathons and hanging with Coaches. This will be that, but better. Activities include: pirate ship larping, scuba diving, volleyball, and bonfires.
  • If you are a full-timer, we’re going to space! We will buy tickets to those aerospace companies that launch people into low-earth orbit. Beaches are fun, but they are on the Earth. Space? Fewer people have gone to space. Plus feeling weightless and being able to bounce around the spacecraft is very exclusive opportunity.
  • Re-do the Fyre Festival, but actually make it good. I thought the idea behind the fest was actually pretty good.
  • Start a startup, live that Silicon Valley life. Break a few things. Disrupt a few industries. Raise millions of venture capital. Gain millions of users. Have huge success. Raise even more VC money. Experience a hostile takeover. Lose millions of dollars in the process. Get charged with fraud by the SEC. Narrowly escape conviction because of a legal loophole. Pass on the company to my mentee that I have been grooming since his/her birth. Silently retire without anyone noticing. Move to Seattle. Write a memoir about my experience. Teach a class about entrepreneurship at my Alma Mater.
  • Bank roll a play about Game of Thrones. The ending is that it’s all a dream.
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Hey @Salce, wanna join my start up?

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If you are an MLH Coach, pack your bags because we’re going on a trip!

Can I please be invited to the yacht party? I have no desire to go to space. My mom would def not be cool with that.

Assuming Uncle Sam takes 25% of the 50,000,000, I’ll have 37,500,000.

According to several studies, the marginal happiness of increased income peaks somewhere around $75,000 a year. Investing all your money into an index stock mutual fund will net results of 10% return on your investment in the long run. If you want to live off the interest of your investment, you be withdrawing no more than 4% to weather any downswings the economy might have.

This means that to have $75,000 each year for the rest of my life, I’d need $1,875,000 in the bank at all times. Let’s round my investment up to $2,000,000 and say I’ll only have $35,000,000 of spending.

Okay. Let’s get to the fun stuff!

  1. A dedicated poker bankroll

  2. Pay off my student loans

  3. Retire my parents (Dad’s already retired but give him some spending money)

  4. Start a scholarship fund

  5. Convince my brother to quit his job and open a food truck with me

  6. Go full Bon Iver and live in a cabin for extended periods of time, write short stories, take photos of waterfalls, and relaxing in hot springs

  7. Pump millions into mental health resources and awareness charities

  1. That $75k business is total bull, or at least does not hold up with NYC cost of living.
  2. Who is your scholarship for though?
  3. Justin Vernon :heart:
  1. Fair enough, let’s say $120,000 if I were to live in a Metropolitan area. I’d need $3,000,000 in the bank, I’d still have more money than I know what to do with!

  2. My scholarship would be entirely merit based, although not necessarily GPA centered, with little restrictions as to who can apply. It broke my heart in high school seeing our salutatorian not go to his dream school because it was not financially viable. He did end up graduating from Yale, but it took a lot of hoop jumping.

  3. He told me to be patient, he told me to be fine!

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Put the money in a smart mix of investment accounts after paying of any debts of my immediate family. Buy a really fancy triathlon bike and gear. Do more triathlons. Continue going to work normally.


Great question @elysepedra! In addition to setting my family up for long-term financial stability, I’d want to start a bunch of initiatives to help hackers work on interesting things with other smart people. Here are a few ideas I’ve been tossing around:

  • “Idea Fund” for hackers where I’d give out grants to help them get started working on projects.
  • Hacker summer camps as a replacement for internships where hackers can come out for the summer and work on projects with lots of mentor interaction.
  • Grant and mentorship program to help get hackers from underrepresented groups into tech.

Bonus ideas, unrelated to hackers, that I’d want to work on:

  • Opening a chain of airport barber shops
  • Creating and selling a board game
  • Opening a brewery
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I 100% wouldn’t know what to do with all of that money, so the first thing I’d do is get a financial advisor so I could manage/invest it without losing everything. Then I’d make sure my friends and family could live super comfortably. Of course I’d donate a lot of it to environmental charities and lower income tech education programs. Then for the fun stuff I’d probably open a big maker space (always been a dream of mine, I’d call it The Community Garden) and travel around A LOT.

Edit: I’d also adopt entirely too many animals, and would definitely get a domestic pigeon




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