Girl with blue wallet full of money

In the Money: Spending 1 Million Dollars the Right way

Most people don’t have a hundred thousand dollars in their bank accounts, much less a million. But that’s the dream, isn’t it? A million dollars. It’s an amount large enough that it can take care of a lot of your problems, but small enough that it’s attainable. You can get a million dollars in a million ways: hard work, the lottery, a grant, an inheritance.

While most people are concerned about getting that magic million out of their fantasy and into their wallet, have you considered what you’re going to do with that kind of money?

You could buy a sports car. Or spend a few weeks at a luxury hotel. Or buy rare memorabilia. But why not use that money responsibly? Here are a few ways you can (hypothetically) put that money to good use.

Ivy League Education for 3 Children

Everyone wants what’s best for their children. For most parents, that includes a top-notch college education, and you can’t get any more top-notch than Ivy League. The average acceptance rates for Ivy League schools vary. Harvard University has the smallest, with only 5 percent of applicants getting in. Collectively, the average acceptance rate is 8.3 percent.

Even if your kid does get in, without a substantial scholarship, a single academic year costs an average of $54,414, and on-campus living costs $17,778. You can calculate that a standard four-year course in an Ivy League school will cost $288,768.

Three kids sent to Ivy League schools for four years will cost $866,304. A million dollars can pay for that time and still leave you with a cushy $133,696 in change. You can put a price on education, but you can’t put a price on how much education can change and mean to your child.

Buy Real Estate

Children may be the best investment, but real estate is a close second. You can bequeath properties to your children in the future, when they could be more profitable. You can also make a tidy profit renting out other properties or selling them for a higher price after adding improvements.

Your million dollars can purchase a wide variety of properties all over the United States. The price per square foot varies from city to city. You can buy a 5,392 square foot home in Tampa for that kind of money, or an 846 square foot apartment in New York. Places with a higher price per square feet tend to be in higher demand. Real estate markets fluctuate regularly, and depend on factors mostly out of your control.

woman showing credit card

Buy a Business

If real state sounds too risky an endeavor, why not be your own boss? If you have experience or interest in any field, you can probably find a franchise dedicated to that field. There are franchises for home improvements for the DIY enthusiast, and restaurant chains for the gourmand. Franchising fees can vary like real estate prices, and they range from $10,000 to over $100,000. A million dollars can open up even the most expensive franchises to you, and still give you some room to take risks.

Clear Your Debts

This is perhaps the first thing you should do if you ever get a million dollars. The average middle-aged American owes $130,000, with vehicular loans, student loans, and credit card debt being among the top sources. A million dollars can wipe the loans of seven Americans, allowing you and six other people to save for retirement. Paying your debt also stimulates the economy, helping not only a handful of people, but also America and the world.

Money matters. But what you do with that money is more important than simply having it. The dollar bill says “In God We Trust,” but you should also learn to manage your money wisely on your own.  A dollar is a chance, an opportunity, and a decision. If you ever get a million of them, be sure to make at least one right decision.