I wouldn't be rich.
Chad pointed out a Cognitive Daily survey on what it means to be rich, which had questions about both income and net worth. It's interesting reading, and I recommend all of it, but one thing in particular caught my eye.
The survey creators asked how much people would give away if they won a tax-free million dollars. The answer was roughly $200K, which prompted at least one person to express digust at the lack of generosity.
If someone wanted to give away most or all of a tax-free million, I would applaud them. But it's not what I'd do, and I think that "digust" is a bit of a strong reaction.
Here's what I'd do, at least my immediate reaction:
First, I'd figure out how to get full health coverage for our parents for the rest of their lives, everything from annual checkups to the less happy possibilities like nursing homes or hospice care. This would probably be very expensive, since I'd want to set things up to cover every possibility (buy an annuity to pay the insurance premiums, maybe? Something like that.).
Then I'd set up a college trust fund for our child(ren) and the child(ren) of our siblings, which would itself be a substantial chunk of change.
Whatever is left, either we'd renovate the kitchen or just sock it away as a vacation-and-treats fund.
And with the money freed up by not having to save for FutureBaby's college, I could increase my monthly charity budget. That's the thing with a million bucks, it's not enough to retire on, but it would give me the opportunity to provide for later contingencies and incrementally increase my standard of living and peace of mind today.
Anyway. What would you do with a tax-free million dollars?
Oh, and yes, some of you live in places where you wouldn't have to fund these contingencies personally, congratulations, I'm very happy for you, you don't have to comment just to say that. If I didn't have those things . . . probably new house, dream vacation, and yeah, an up-front chunk to charity.
(On the other hand, I definitely don't understand the people who answered the survey who said that they couldn't have enough annual income, that no amount would maximize their personal satisfaction and happiness. Seriously? The best spin I can put on that is that they have much better imaginations than I do.)