What would you do with $10,000,000?


Does money define who you are? Do you treat people differently because they more money or less money than you?

Isn't it sad that we seem to treat rich people differently than poor people? Do you say hi to homeless people when you walk by them on the street? Or do you ignore them and try not to make any eye contact?

I'm certainly guilty of ignoring homeless people from time to time when I walk past them. Interestingly enough, Mrs. T was telling me last night that she walked by a few homeless people the other day and said hi to them. It made their day because she treated them like everyone else. I think I need to change my perception and start doing that too.

Mr. 1500 on 1500 Days to Freedom wrote an interesting article the other day on how money is nothing more than a tool for him to rule his life. As he wrote in the article:

No matter how much money I have, my life wouldn’t change. If I came into $10,000,000 tomorrow, I wouldn’t move. I wouldn’t trade in my car. I wouldn’t get a new phone. I’ve reached my level of Enough and I’m perfectly content.

Mr. 1500 then proposed a few very interesting questions:

Does money define you?

  • How would you deal with a $10,000,000 inheritance?
  • Is money a means to buy stuff like cars or clothes?
  • Or, is money a tool that you prefer to put to work to make more money?

For me, money will always be a tool. I prefer putting money to work to make more money so I don't have to. Doing absolutely nothing and still get paid, who doesn't like that right? I’ve always liked the concept that we should treat each dollar like a seed. We can either eat the seed (i.e. spending it) or we can plant it, nurture it, and wait for it to grow and to produce more seeds. This is exactly why we're building a dividend portfolio so our dividend income can one day cover our expenses.

The most important and fun question that Mr. 1500 asked is the inheritance question. If I were to inherit $10,000,000 what would I do?

Initially I replied the following on his website:

1. Donate $1,000,000 to a charity of my choice.
2. Break the remainder into two piles.
3. Invest the first pile ($4.5 million) for living expenses
4. Invest the second pile ($4.5 million) for yearly donations.
5. Stay the same lifestyle. Maybe re-consider about this whole “job” thing.

After reconsideration, I think this is what I would do if I were to inherit $10,000,000...

First of all, I would allocate $2 million to paying off mortgage, travel fund, and money for investing in small businesses. I probably will give a small amount of this money to some family members.

Next I would donate $1 million to a charity of my choice. Able to write a $1 million cheque and donate to a charity is a big dream of mine.

With the "left over" $7 million dollar I would split the amount in half and invest them.

The first pile of $3.5 million would be invested to replace our active income.  I would stick to the dividend growth investing strategy and pick 30 dividend stocks and invest $100,000 each. Then I would invest in 2 ETF's at $250,000 each to further diversify. Which stocks would I pick?


The stocks I picked are either dividend aristocrats/all stars, or with very high dividend growth rate. All of these companies should continue paying dividends for years to come.

For ETF's I would pick
VDU - Vanguard Developed ex North America Index ETF. Dividend yield 2.21%.
VXC - Vanguard Global All Cap ex Canada Index ETF. Dividend yield 1.8%.

This income portfolio would yield $99,845. The annual dividend income will continue to grow thanks to dividend payout growth. This amount of passive income will certainly be more than sufficient to cover our annual expenses.

Note 1: For simplicity sake, I assumed that the US to CAN currency rate is 1 to 1.
Note 2: Assuming all the money is invested in taxable accounts, so will need to take income tax and 15% withholding tax into consideration.

The second pile of $3.5 million would be invested for donation purposes. I would stick to ETF's to make life simpler. I would pick 4 index ETF's at $875,000 each.

VCE - Vanguard Canadian Indexed ETF. Dividend yield 2.81%.
VXC - Vanguard Global All Cap ex Canada Index ETF. Dividend yield 1.8%.
VDY - Vanguard Canadian High Dividend Yield Index ETF. Dividend yield 3.77%.
VGG - Vanguard U.S. Dividend Appreciation Index ETF. Dividend yield 1.77%

This portfolio would yield $88,812.50 each year. The amount should increase since the distributions typically increase each year but perhaps at a slower rate than the income portfolio. The entire amount will be donated to charities each year.

Thanks to dividend tax efficiency from our dividend income portfolio and charity donation deductible tax credit, our income tax should be very minimal. There are probably ways to optimize the income tax further, for that we'll need to consult with a tax specialist.

When it comes to lifestyle after receiving this huge amount of money, we will definitely continue having the same lifestyle and continue to be frugal. We'll still continue budgeting and calculating our net worth. Would I quit my current day job and pursuit in other interests like photography, cooking,  traveling, and personal finance? I probably would but I'm not sure yet. I could decide to continue working at my current job for a few years and see what happens; I could decide to hand in the two week notice. What I end up doing is not important, what's more important is that we would have lots of options in deciding what we want to do. One thing for sure, we will definitely go and explore the world.

Now who wants to give me or Mrs. T $10,000,000? 😀

Readers, what would you do if you were to receive $10,000,000 inheritance? Would you change your lifestyle?


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  • Reply
    Dividend Hustler
    October 22, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Thanks for the fun article Tawcan. That would be so sweet receiving this amount. What a dream. That's why every month I spend about 20 dollars on BC649 and or the Lotto Max. You'll never know... 🙂 with your knowledge and discipline, you'll further compound this amount and grow it larger for sure. Building wealth and More importantly, maintaining wealth is a way of life.
    Cheers bud.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Hi Tyler,

      Such amount of money would be pretty sweet to receive for sure.

  • Reply
    Fervent Finance
    October 22, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Wow you've thought about it in some detail! Below is probably what I'd do.

    #1 Quit the day job.
    #2 Invest probably $7m in vanguard index funds.
    #3 Leave $3m in cash while I did some slow travel around the world while I thought about how I wanted to use that money. Donate, buy a home, buy an RV, give to family/friends, start a business, invest in friends' businesses, etc.

    I probably wouldn't sweat the small things, but the most drastic change would most likely be no day job.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Hi Fervent Finance,

      That sounds like a good plan that you listed. Travel around the world will allow you do try out many different things too.

  • Reply
    Premature FIRE
    October 22, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Tawcan, you mentioned treating others differently when their poor. I hope I don't do that but, I know we all can't fully see ourselves. I do know that I don't encourage communication with what appears to be homeless individuals. Mostly out of fear, I am sure. I have given them money.

    Yesterday I was turning into ALDI. Two young men that appeared to be homeless were wanting to cross the road. I paused to give them the right of way. They never looked my direction. They kept their eyes down. Perhaps, that is part of the communication disconnect too. When we feel less than in a social situation, we too are less forth coming.

    10M$! I mentioned yesterday on 1500days that I would help out many in my family. I still know this to be true.
    Beyond that, I don't know what I would do. But, I do know that it would be exciting times!

    • Reply
      October 23, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Hi Premature FIRE,

      I guess it's tough not to treat people based on how much money they have or how they are presented in the society. You're totally right that homeless individuals seem to act differently than rich people.

      Giving a helping hand to family is a great idea.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I like your give away and investment plan. But Since the investment has drawn enough income, I'd just do the charity work myself. Look what happened with $100 million Mark Zuckerberg donated to New Jersey school system? Not to mention because he donated, other donors has match another $100M. That's a total of $200M go to the drain. The consultants charged $1000/day for a failing system. Anyhow, I'd do the work, oversea where my donated money goes to. Just like how I give away 10 hours a week coaching soccer, I like the hands on effect. 😛

    • Reply
      October 23, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Hi Vivanne,

      Doing charity work myself is a great idea too. I would definitely plan to do that, probably traveling around the world and help out in different charity projects?

  • Reply
    JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit
    October 22, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I would do something very similar to your plan. First I'd probably pay off our mortgage just to be done with it. Then I'd have to crunch some numbers but the rest would be split to provide passive income both through dividends and likely rental properties. That income would provide for living expenses. And then the balance would be used to fund charitable causes mainly those dealing with research and development for the issue our son had, congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Our lifestyle would likely increase some because I think you'd be foolish to not take advantage of that opportunity but not by too much. I'd definitely be done with my current job but my wife maybe not. She's a teacher and loves it.

    I think the biggest issue regarding windfalls like that is how your relationships change. There's going to be a lot of temptation and people asking for money and navigating that would be crucial.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Hi JC,

      Sounds like a great plan. Good to hear that helping out charitable causes is high on our list of things to do. You're definitely right about relationships might change. A lot of never-heard-relatives will probably show up asking for money.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I don't have such a detailed plan on what I'd do with that much money. Maybe because I never counted on money to appear as an inheritance or winning the lottery. I'm practical guy, I prefer concentrating on realistic scenarios.

    However, I don't think it would change the way I see life that much. I sure would do what I'm working on with less stress and probably travel the world with my kids. I would also donate some because I consider us as very fortunate to be healthy.

    I also like your idea of investing in small businesses. Something I'd surely look into to give a chance to other entrepreneurs and making money while having fun! 😉

    Of course, dividend growth investments to put money at work is a must!



    • Reply
      October 23, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Hi Mike,

      For me, this was kind of a fun post to write and just made me think a bit more on what I would do with that much money. Travel the world with the family sounds like a fabulous idea, that's definitely high on everyone's list.

  • Reply
    Financial Underdog
    October 22, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I'd reconsider working actively, but other than that ... not much would change. I'd be tempted to send money to relatives across the ocean to help them out too.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Hi Financial Underdog,

      Sending money to relatives is a good idea, as long as they don't keep asking for more. 😀

  • Reply
    The Simple Retiree
    October 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Give some away to help family and live on the income the portfolio would generate. I wouldn't change a bit, maybe walk a little taller!

    • Reply
      October 23, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Haha good call on walking a little taller. 🙂

  • Reply
    Income Surfer
    October 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Nice thought process Tawcan. I don't think it would change our lives much at all. I would donate half to charity, right off the bat. Then I would pull $30k out to buy a small travel trailer ($20k) and a small skiff ($10k). Then I'd invest the rest between real estate (senior apartments), stocks, and bonds (or cash if rates stay this low). Fun to think about, but i'm not holding my breath. I figure at least I did my part by donating half up front......and hope some good comes of that money!

    • Reply
      October 23, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Hi Bryan,

      Very generous for donating half o the money to charity. You're right, it's a fun topic to talk about it but I wouldn't put too much time and daydream about it. 🙂

  • Reply
    A Frugal Family's JourneyA
    October 23, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    We would first pay off our house and fully fund our kids college funds. We would then finish building our stock portfolio to generate enough cash flow to pay our living expenses. We would then spend our time and money to help our immediate family in their journey (family first). Donate to a few good causes. But most importantly, just live life...not have to be a slave to anyone! 🙂

    Thank for allowing us to step out of reality for a bit. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dividend Reads for the Weekend
    October 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    […] makes his plan about what he would do with 1M$. In my case, I would simply extend my RV project to several years on the […]

  • Reply
    October 24, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Take a "Lamar Odom" vacation.

    • Reply
      October 28, 2015 at 11:19 am

      ROFL! Good one.

  • Reply
    Dividend Diplomats
    October 24, 2015 at 1:12 pm


    What a fun excercise haha Looks like you would build quite the stream of passive income. While I don't know specific allocations, I would put at least half in a dividend growth investing portfolio, I would quit my job IMMEDIATELY and open up a coffee shop, and I would contribute some money to retirement accounts for my family members as well. Who knows, I ma also start an investment company that will benefit other small businesses in my personal community and the online community.

    Who knows but man would that be a fun problem to have!


  • Reply
    October 26, 2015 at 5:10 am

    Hi Tawcan

    My immediate thought when I saw the title of your post was that I would give half of it to my immediate family, ie my parents and sisters. I'd not be happy sitting on all that money if I was not able to share it. Never-heard-relatives will not get a sniff of any money.

    I'd find a way of giving some to close friends (in a tax free way!).

    Leaving a million aside for various charities, I'd probably invest the rest in a couple of properties and stocks to provide future income. Oh, I need enough to travel to all the places on my to-visit list!

    My lifestyle would have to change - I can't see me NOT changing with that kind of money - but I wouldn't suddenly be buying designer stuff or drive around in a sports car.

    I'd like to think that I would carry on working until my planned FI time but other people's perception of you with money could change and make it not comfortable for you to continue working.

    I always say hello and thank the cleaning staff at work yet I've seen how some people just don't even acknowledge them as they're in what are considered lowly and low paid jobs. I have to say that I do sometime ignore the homeless (not always) - I'll try harder not to do so in future.

  • Reply
    November 1, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Hi Tawcan,

    I would probably found my own holding company because of the tax advantage you can get as a 'big' investor. Apart from that not much would change. I would probably work less hours and do some charity work instead.


  • Reply
    FF @ Femme Frugality
    November 28, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    We'd have to pay some taxes on it here in the US. Then I'd give some to family, or maybe invest their lot and mine so I could give perpetually. Also: $ for kids college, buy a house in cash, and start working a lot less to spend more time with my kiddos.

  • Reply
    Financial Underdog
    June 6, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    First thing first, I'd find a quality tax accountant, financial advisor, investment advisor, and a lawyer. While it's fun to fantasize, I know I'm not mentally prepared to deal with this kind of money myself, so I'll be first to admit I'd need professional help deciding what to do with it.

    But hey, it's me.

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