You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?
My mom won the lottery when I was about 11 or 12 – and it was a terrible time for me. You see, all I wanted was that we move away from where we were currently living then, which was right next door to my grandparents and aunts and uncles in a busy street that belonged to my mother’s grandfather. You couldn’t sneeze without anyone knowing about it – and neither could my mother.
I remember how we looked at houses in the nicer parts of town, where all my other school friends lived. They were sprawling houses, with big rooms and airy spaces, so unlike the busy street we lived in, where houses were so close together and medical students were everywhere for there was a university just a stone’s throw away.
All I wanted when my mother won the lottery was her independence. And with each house she looked at, freedom for me – the air, the space – was within reach.
But then my mother did what her parents and all her brothers and sisters told her to do. Instead of moving into a beautiful house in a subdivision away from all the crowded and always-flooded streets, she stayed where she was. She renovated her little duplex, with illusions that made it larger than it was, and then gambled the rest of the money away, including the duplex itself.
So if I inherited a million dollars, this is what I would do. I will know who my friends are, first of all – and that includes relatives and those who will claim to be so (because they will come out from the woodwork the way they did when my mother won) – and I will hire a financial adviser to take care of all my money. I will pay off my debts and with the money left over, set aside a decent amount for my son that will earn interest as he grows up. Then from whatever left over, buy a little house somewhere where there is a lot of sun and trees, not too far from neighbors, and with a yard where I can put up a hammock and read a book, and maybe grow hollyhocks that will grow as high as the rooftops.
For even hollyhocks know how much they need the sun and the space in order to survive and most of all, to bloom.