What Would You Do With $10M? Here’s What Most Americans Say

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Many of us dream of winning the lottery or receiving a large cash windfall, but what would you actually do with that money? A recent survey conducted by the banking and investing platform Stash asked Americans what they would do with $10 million — and the No. 1 response wasn’t as glamorous or fun as you might expect. Here’s what most Americans would do with $10 million, plus, an expert’s take on what you should do with that kind of money.

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The Majority of Americans Would Use Their Windfall To Pay Off Debt

You might guess that most Americans would use $10 million to go on a shopping spree or book a luxury vacation, but the average person is a lot more practical than that. The survey found that the majority of Americans (29%) would use that money to pay off debt. Other popular answers included buying a new house (16%) and investing more (14%).

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Only a small percentage of Americans would use $10 million to splurge on something fun — 7% would buy a new car and 5% would go on a dream vacation. Other responses included retiring early (7%), relocating to a city or location they love (6%) and starting their own business (4%).

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How Should You Actually Spend $10 Million?

Although most of us will never be so lucky to have $10 million fall into our laps, it is good to know the best ways to utilize any large, unexpected financial windfalls that come our way.

“Ten million dollars is not just a meaningful amount of money to most Americans — it would be life-changing,” said Lauren Anastasio, director of financial advice at Stash. “There are endless possibilities as to what a person could do with that kind of windfall — some smart decisions and some frivolous ones — and chances are the best way to use that money would be a combination of responsible money moves and expenses that bring joy.”

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On the responsible side, Anastasio recommends making the following moves: “Pay off your debt, buy insurance where you may be insufficiently covered and invest some funds for your future goals, like a child’s future educational expenses or retirement.”

However, she said that it is totally OK to have some fun with this money.

“A big part of having financial freedom is the ability to enjoy your life and create experiences that you’ll fondly remember for your remaining years,” Anastasio said. “Some money should be allocated to adventure and travel, spoiling your loved ones or pampering yourself.”

Ideally, you would use the money in both practical and fun ways.

“The absolute best thing you could do with $10 million is to find a balance between strengthening your financial position for the future and enjoying your wealth,” Anastasio said. “The worst decisions would be any that were too extreme in either direction — either allocating all the money toward responsible or boring financial needs or spending it all frivolously without capitalizing on the opportunity to put yourself in a better position long term.”

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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