Over at Facebook, and in personal conversations (how retro!) I’ve been asking a question lately which has sparked quite a discussion. I started off by asking how people would spend an extra $10,000, but it turns out that my friends are upright responsible citizens. People first wanted to pay off debts, save for retirement, etc. All good ideas, but not really what I was getting at. So let’s rephrase the question this way:
Say you received an unexpected $50,000. You do the responsible thing (saving, paying off high interest loans) with $40,000. We can all agree that the last $10,000 could be fun money, right? So what would you do with it? The ground rules are that, at the end of your life you want to look back and think whatever you did was a cool idea. Some suggestions:
- You and your spouse could fly to Mongolia and then do the 11-day multisport trip REI is touting ($3,599 pp, then figure in airfare). Camel trekking? Staying in desert tent camps? Sounds memorable.
- While we’re over at REI Adventures, you and a friend could cycle from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) to Hanoi ($2,999 pp, then airfare, but actually this is one I know you can do cheaper by booking with a local operator — so you could bring another friend!)
- You could commission a major choral work. As a reference point, the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus pays $1,000 for the grand prize winner in our annual Competition for Young Composers, and we get great entries. For $10,000 you could get a fascinating piece and hire a group to perform it.
- You could underwrite the production of a small and interesting play, or shoot a series of short plays you’ve written, paying something to the cast and crew, and post them on YouTube (hat tip to Erik Sherman, a fellow BNET blogger, for that one).
- Publish a book on your family history — pay a researcher to dig up your genealogy, and pay a writer to turn your family interviews into vignettes to accompany old photos (and then pay a self-publishing outfit to print it).
- Hire an artist to illustrate a children’s story you wrote for your own kids.
- Cruise around Alaska in a suite with balcony, possibly a grand piano (I don’t get why you’d want a piano on your cruise, but hey, you could probably pay someone a few hundred bucks to serenade you for a bit too).
- Via DonorsChoose.org, send 125 kids from a high poverty school in Indianapolis to the zoo for the day… and then do it for 9 years in a row.
- Via GlobalGiving.org, underwrite the production of an album from the winner of a Haitian American Idol-style competition (with proceeds going toward Haiti rebuilding efforts), and then still have plenty left over to underwrite independent news radio in Liberia (an emerging democracy)…or any of zillions of other projects.
- Buy good camping gear and spend a week camping in Yellowstone with your family.
- Take lessons to get your private pilot’s license, and rent a plane for a few hours of flying afterwards.
- 80 1-hour massages. Mmm….
- Lots of people wanted to re-do their master bathrooms. Home improvement sounds suspiciously practical to me, but I’ll take this as an answer if you promise to turn it into a spa-like retreat and then spend hours taking bubble baths.
What would you do if you needed to spend $10,000 in a fun and memorable way?