If I had a million dollars…

I’ve been participating in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for over a year now. The end result is that I’ve written approximately one blog post per day for the entire last year. That’s a lot of blog posts!

For November, NaBloPoMo is sending out a bunch of daily prompts. Actually, they always do this, but not usually by e-mail. The prompt for last Friday was this:

If you found one million dollars in the morning and had to spend it by nightfall, what would you do with the money?

Naturally, I was immediately concerned that anything you could spend one million dollars on would take longer than one day to get approved and actually make a payment on, even if you had the cash in your bank account.

So I took a deep breath and thought more about the point of this exercise.

The question really is: You’ve got $1 million and you can’t invest it. How do you get rid of it?

Turns out that one million dollars isn’t very much. I’d pay off my house and buy a reliable car or two. Pay off the revolving debt. I’d still have quite a bit left after that.

I’d consider buying a new mass spectrometer and a facility to put it in, but my million dollars wouldn’t quite cover that, plus it would take months to make all the payments. I don’t think this would be allowed under the rules put forth above.

I could buy some plane tickets and pay for some registrations so that myself and students could go to some of the important and expensive meetings.

Still, this is all chump-change compared to a million dollars. Even after paying off the debts, buying a couple of cars, and paying off the house, I’d probably still have more than half of it left.

What to spend it on?

I guess the obvious thing to do is donate it to a good cause. We all have our favorite causes. I would donate it to a cause dear to me.

One might think I’d donate it toward science communication in some way, but there are actually more pressing issues to me.

Today, for the umpteenth time in the past few weeks, my son got sent home from school early because of behavior issues. He’s high-functioning autistic, and has some troubles dealing with the stresses of school. So obviously, some of the money would have to go to organizations supporting the study of autism.

The other thing we found out today is that my son might also be struggling with depression. For that reason, at least some of the money would also have to go to organizations working on better treatments for anxiety and depression.

Thus, my plan for my million dollars would be to set myself up at zero debt, and then help as many other people as possible by supporting research into autism and depression.

What would you do if you found a million dollars in the morning and had to spend it by the end of the day?

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