“Would you rather get $50 million or live 50 more years?”

The other day I saw that question, and it really rang true to popular culture in the U.S. right now considering our lottery just hit an all-time high of $680 million [also, how could that woman in Baltimore lose her ticket!? Come onnn].

This got me thinking**.  My instinct was, “yes, I’ll take that $50 million off your hands”, but then I felt greedy about it.  I mean, don’t tell me I’m the only one who looks both ways before picking up a dollar bill from the ground.  “Did anyone see me do that??”  Who am I kidding- I’ll pick up a nickel if I see it.

**Not that you have to care what I’m thinking.  Its just been on my mind so I’m writing about it.  Therapy is expensive people.  Writing is free.

After more thought, I realized- no matter how selfish/greedy/you name it- I would definitely take the $50 million.  Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen Twilight and thought about how much it would suck [pun intended] if you never aged while everyone else around you was moving on and growing old together.  Even if that’s not the particular logistics of the “live 50 more years” deal, I still wouldn’t want it.  I don’t want to be old and have my bones creaking, and have trouble walking.  I’m good with living to 85, thanks.

Imagine what you could do with $50 million.  Travel the world, build houses and hospitals in Africa or Cambodia [and pretend you’re Angelina Jolie], invest in entrepreneurs with an idea, help rebuild after various natural disasters, buy every kid in a shelter a present on a random Wednesday.  That is powerful stuff.  I, personally, think I would be able to do more good with $50 million than 50 years, but that’s just me.  Call me greedy, I don’t care.  I like to think society is greedy, and I’m just responding accordingly.

In fact, I would be willing to bet most people would choose to take the money.  That’s just how our minds work.  We are trained to think money = power or money = success.  Is that necessarily true?  Yes and no.  It depends on how you define power and success, but whether we like it or not: the world runs on Dunkin money.

Which would you choose?


One thought on “

  1. This is such a hard question to fathom. I’m inclined to agree with you that $50m is the better deal, but I also feel like with the right conditions I can do more good with 50 years. You and I have discussed what we would have done had we won the lotto this time around and, with that $680m (pre-tax) we could buy ourselves, our families, and our friends out of debt and still do a whole lot of good. The real question is what is the span of my whole life worth? $50m? Something more? I think people who think their earning potential over 50 years is more than $50m would be inclined to disagree with us. This rich want more time and the rest of us want more money. Maybe this is something someone should do a study on.

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