You win the lottery, the prize is £2000 a month, tax free for 2 years. What do you do?
June 6, 2010 5:52 PM   Subscribe

You win the lottery, the prize is £2000 a month, tax free for 2 years. What do you do? You are single, quite employable, but between jobs.

Bonus points if you factor in the following hypothetical traits:

You ...

- Have lived in SE England for the past 5 years
- Needs access to fast internet one half day a week
- 31, Male, single
- Fair skinned, burns easily
- Finds backpackers annoying
- fairly introverted, difficult to talk to, bit of a misfit
- Interested in study for the sake of study, but no natural talent for it
posted by choppyes to Work & Money (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Additional condition.... there is a 50% chance the 2000 a month will be extended for another years at the end of the 2 year term
posted by choppyes at 5:53 PM on June 6, 2010

I would probably continue to look for a job, invest a good chunk of the money, and spoil myself silly with books.
posted by rachaelfaith at 5:55 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Enroll in the University of Iceland.
posted by Nothing at 5:57 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't understand. What kind of lottery has "a 50% chance the 2000 a month will be extended for another years at the end of the 2 year term"? Is this for a story you're writing? If it's your actual situation, why are you being so coy about the phrasing? Please clarify if you want helpful answers.
posted by languagehat at 5:57 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Some more information about what you enjoy may help.

You could fly to SE Asia or South America and live relatively cheaply, and spend your time with library books or local university courses or online courses, studying away happily.

languagehat, I'm presuming this isn't a lottery but some situation that is needlessly complicated, and the lottery idea is simply a way to get the important information across.
posted by twirlypen at 6:03 PM on June 6, 2010

Blackjack, expensive scotch, fast motorbikes.

Seriously though—I'd call up my favourite charity or NGO and give them at least three days a week of my time. Private means is the only way they're likely to get that kind of time from a long-term volunteer, and it's the only way you're likely to get experience of a kind that's potentially really valuable in the job market. Alternatively, I'd be tempted to set up my own NGO to do something I cared about.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:07 PM on June 6, 2010

Don't be foolish.

I would take 1 month's worth and make that "fun money". Go on a trip, go party a little bit, whatever. Have the rest deposited to a savings account (not sure if people are recommending investing it or just staying liquid) and hang onto it. It takes years to amass anything like a nest egg, and you're getting it almost all at once.

Now, with that security setting itself aside for you, go get a job. Pay your way, get out of debt, whatever. You will look back on this in a few years and thank your lucky stars.

Don't blow it all. Be prudent.
posted by teedee2000 at 6:12 PM on June 6, 2010 [11 favorites]

It's impossible to answer the question without knowing more about you. You could take the time to change careers if you don't like the one you're in. You could get a graduate degree. You could go live someone else.

The real question though is: where do you want to be in 10 years? What do you want to be doing then? Then the question is: what can you do with the lottery money that will get you where you want to go? It's not enough money to solve all your problems. But it's enough money to take all your short term financial problems away and enable you to focus on the long term.
posted by musofire at 6:18 PM on June 6, 2010


I don't really understand the question, honestly. What are your interests? If you have never traveled and want to, or have other fantasies about ways of life that aren't possible when you're working 9-5, you have the freedom to explore other things. If you want to save up toward a down payment on something big (home or small-biz, or something) you can keep living as normal and put it away. If you want to just relax a bit or seek out the perfect job, try to become an actor or musician or write a novel, you can afford to take time off work, or just work part-time, and pursue those dreams. Or you can make a big donation to something important, or buy some exciting but previously out-of-reach item, like a pottery kiln or a fancy soundboard...

It's your life, and you have a little gift to help you make it closer to your ideal. So what do you want?
posted by mdn at 6:20 PM on June 6, 2010

Response by poster: Sorry, the description was deliberately vague. (I am interested in personal responses too)

Briefly, I'm lucky in that I have a guaranteed income of £2k - £3k a month for the next two years. There is also a good chance the income will continue for another two years again, but no guarantees.

If I had clear ambitions, a firm career etc it would be easy to just set it aside and continue working, but I am a clueless drifter, with no real direction or preference, so I feel under pressure to invest some of the cash in short term 'experience'. Nothing springs to mind, so thought I would take a peek at what others would do.

I live in a very expensive city currently. People want to live here primarily because there are tons of well paying jobs. I don't want to live like a hermit, or a bum, but then again, its increasingly frustrating paying a premium to live here.
posted by choppyes at 6:28 PM on June 6, 2010

I have a friend who lives off the interest he earns from a sizeable inheritence. He's been unemployed for almost 6 years, and living reasonably comfortable. As far as I can ascertain he spends his days reading, listening to old vinyl, and drinking. He has no real plans to do anything with himself, other than some incredibly vague plans to travel to Europe 'someday', or maybe open a record store. He's 31 and single, and seems quite content with his current situation. No real ambitions or dreams, and no desire to get back into the workforce.

Not what I'd do if I were in his situation, but it works for him.
posted by robotot at 7:04 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Have a party, then go to school or get an easy/fulfilling job, and save as much as you can. Money in the bank is always a good thing.
posted by gjc at 7:17 PM on June 6, 2010

Get trained as an ESL teacher, maybe learn some French, then go live in Haiti for two years helping people. Save most of the money to use when you *do* know what you want to do.
posted by amtho at 7:18 PM on June 6, 2010

Pick a language that I'd like to learn, and spend a year living a country where they speak it, while taking language immersion classes.
posted by fings at 7:30 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Why not follow your vague drifty ambitions? Surely there's something something you've dreamed of doing as a job/career but thought it was impossible. "Oh, I could never succeed/make money at that!" When you were a kid, what did you picture yourself doing as an adult? Have you ever daydreamed about a fantasy career?

If it doesn't require any start up capital (I would caution against starting a business unless you can do it for less than $2000), why not try it? You could get an unpaid internship to test drive your new career. Or go back to school to make your dream a reality. You now have a financial cushion to fall back on if it doesn't work out. But it might work out splendidly, and you'll have a nice nest egg to invest in developing your new career.
posted by ladypants at 7:48 PM on June 6, 2010

In documentary, all the subjects had sizable inheritances. But the happiest ones were the ones who found meaning in their work. Even the aristocratic bon-vivant drifter who wanted to spend his days cultivating himself eventually opened a gallery. One of the Getty heirs started a record label.

Follow your bliss! (And if you have no bliss, take the first job or volunteer position that comes your way and use that as a springboard to figure out what you do and don't like to do.)
posted by ladypants at 7:55 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

That's fine, be a drifter. All I can tell you is it's a lot more fun drifting when you have some back-up cash, tax-free, socked away, than having a short-term experience and crying into your beer a few years later.

Get some traction in your life! You don't have to throw away who you are, just be a tiny bit sensible, that's all. Mick Jagger loves to party, but he's a canny businessman and no fool to boot.
posted by teedee2000 at 8:01 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

What about looking for a job coordinating volunteers or doing IT work for the non-profit of your choice. (Doctor's Without Borders? A favorite non-profit radio station? A museum?) You could even volunteer to do a small project pro-bono and see if they can hire you on after that. From your previous post, it seems that you have mad skills in IT and coordinating a staff, and I'll bet there are plenty of organizations that could use your help.
posted by ladypants at 8:34 PM on June 6, 2010

My mom's advice holds water in all sorts of situations, including this one: "If you don't know what to do, do something."

Do something you enjoy doing, even if you only feel lukewarm about it right now. Continue until you grow passionate or bored with whatever you've chosen to do, then either find something else or discover that you've found yourself some direction/preference.
posted by aniola at 9:35 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

You lucky chap.


'Interested in study for the sake of study, but no natural talent for it'

How about raising your horizons and undertake a course with the Open University? This will not take up all your time and will mean you are not tied down to any one geographical location. There is a vast array of courses and you can tailor the programme to something that really interests you (or that you think may interest you). You will feel a sense of satisfaction and may pick up the learning bug.

Someone I went to uni with had spend the last 30 years undertaking academic study. Literally one undergraduate degree after the other. An incredibly interesting person and at ease chap whose breadth and depth of knowledge blew me away.
posted by numberstation at 1:26 AM on June 7, 2010

Go traveling/living for at least one year in SE asia and/or latin america. Your money will go very far there, and you will have experiences that will last you the rest of your life.
posted by eas98 at 6:13 AM on June 7, 2010

If I had clear ambitions, a firm career etc it would be easy to just set it aside and continue working, but I am a clueless drifter, with no real direction or preference, so I feel under pressure to invest some of the cash in short term 'experience'. Nothing springs to mind, so thought I would take a peek at what others would do.

It sounds like you want to blow the money, but don't have anything worthwhile to blow it on. Personally, in that kind of situation I would just continue doing what I was doing and put the money in the bank until I had something I was really excited about using it for. Spending the money on something that you have always wanted to do and you are certain will be a good experience is one thing, but just spending it for the sake of spending it and hoping that you get something out of that might end up being something you regret later on if you find a real need for that kind of money. There are plenty of great things that anyone could do with £2000 a month for a few years, but you shouldn't feel like you have to do anything with it right now unless there's something you yourself really want to do.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:22 AM on June 7, 2010

Not to be a wet blanket, but that's not enough money to not have to work again, and even four years is going to run out sooner than you'd think. I've known some people who've come into some money and spent around 5 years doing fairly little careerwise, and when the money stopped coming in they had real trouble getting a decent job. A big gap like that looks bad, especially if it doesn't have a good explanation. (And for some reason "I had enough money that I didn't need to work" does not sound good to employers.)

That's not to say you can't enjoy yourself or do something you've always wanted, but make sure that you have a plan when the money runs out.
posted by aspo at 3:42 PM on June 7, 2010

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