We all do this. I know we do. Because when the Mega-millions was happening, everyone had these fever dreams of what they'd do with the money.
For Sallie and I, we paid off all our debt. Paid off all our families debt. Gave the most amount of money we could give as a gift to all of our immediate family members each year so they wouldn't be taxed.
What we did with the rest of our money was sort of a split decision. We love St. Louis. We take great offense when people say its dangerous or that we're somehow sub-par to other cities. (Chicago, I'm looking at your residents.) St. Louis is a great f-ing city.
So one of our plans was to start buying some houses that are for sale or vacant in neighborhoods surrounding us. We'd pay to have them fixed up, get some landscaping done, and then sell them to respectable families for a cheaper price. This would help out families that might be in need, would move more people to the city, which then starts increasing the rest of the neighborhood. The city starts spending more money fixing up sidewalks and extra emergency response workers would get hired on, the schools would start getting better, and after a few decades, the suburbs are back in the city.
We'd also buy up one of the warehouses around us, renovate it, open a restaurant/micro-brewery. We'd be terrible business for ourselves, because I would feature all St. Louis beers at our bar. That's right, I'd bring the competition right into the building with us. Schlafly, Civil Life, 4 Hands, Square One, hell, maybe even AB.
The other scenario has us moving to Denver or maybe somewhere in the north west. We'd get part time jobs, hit the mountains every weekend, travel to Europe, and basically do what we wanted. With that much money, we'd be set the rest of our lives.
I do this even on a smaller scale. There's a job I've applied for that would pay me a fairly significant more amount. I've not even had my first interview for it yet, but in my mind I'm thinking, it'll be "X amount more a month." First month, we can fix the leaking pipe and pay off X amount of medical debt. Second month, we could get that tree in our backyard chopped down and pay off X amount of our personal loan.
It's weird that we all do this, but it does seem to take some daily stress away just picture your life with this extra money laying around. It brings a weird smile to your face even though you know there's almost 0% of a chance that it'll happen.