What would I do if I won 1 million?

This is a great ‘thought experiment’ by The Saving Ninja. What would I do if I received a million pounds?

Where am I getting the million smackerooni’s?

I do not play the lottery.  But for those who do, what are the chances of actually ever winning? Spoiler – very little!

Dr. Liberty Vittert gave the answer in a Ted Talk at my home city of Glasgow.  It is a 1 in 45 million chance. She visualized it as paying £2 for the pleasure of closing your eyes and attempting to pull out the single golden grain of rice from a bathtub full of rice. Consequently, my direct debit for the lottery was canceled, saving me £208 a year.

I would like to make a shout out to any relatives, perhaps a relative in a whiskey empire, who need to give some money out too? Get in touch, I could do with the milly.

What would I do with the money?

My whiskey empire long lost relative has left in their will a million for me. Great news – not on the death of course.

I would start by putting £250k towards a house. I am currently in the ‘looking for my first house’ section of my life. This would probably allow me to go up a level in house price and get a house I want quicker. The added benefit would be that the house would be paid for in cash, and that’s it out of the way. As this is my first post, be warned, there will be plenty of house buying and mortgage posts!

Furthermore, I would then put £50k aside as an emergency fund.

My ‘strategy’ for the majority of the remaining money (£700k) would be to invest as much of the money as possible and utilize the passive income. The passive income would be mainly used to top up my savings and pension. This is where the ‘Tax Alarm Bell’ starts ringing! I am all for paying a fair share of tax, so I wouldn’t look to do anything that would get me on a Panorama investigation special.

The Fire Starter blog has done a detailed post on using ISA’s/SIPP’s etc and is worth checking out if you are interested in more detail. I may also call in some favors from one or two of my personal tax accountant friends (#party).

I would also look to donate a % of the passive income to charity. Instead of donating up front a slice of the money, my logic is that a when I die, I will hopefully leave a healthy chunk of money in the family tree.  Hopefully, those who inherit my estate will continue to donate and this will be a legacy that will be passed on.

On the fun side, I would be using some of the passive income to boost the holiday budget on pursuing some of my dream travels (New Zealand’s South Island HWFG! (‘Here we f’ing go’ – Scottish slang which is slightly cringe!). Picture of the North Island I visited below:

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Waiheke Island

A post shared by Iain Dewar (@himynameisiain) on

Would I quit my job?

This would give me a ‘leg up’ and propel me further along the path I was looking to take.  It would allow me to move into retirement a lot sooner and/or alternatively moving to a part-time role until retirement.


  • I’d buy a house.
  • Stash some money in an emergency fund.
  • Invest the rest and utilize the passive income.

What do you think of my plan? What would you do?


  1. SavingNinja October 19, 2018 / 7:28 am

    Hey! Welcome to the Bottom – I’m honoured that your first post is joining in with the Thought Experiment 🙂

    Great analogy for playing the lottery 😆

    I think I made one lottery payment after getting my first job then promptly stopped as it felt like a waste. A wise man once told me that the lottery is the poor man’s tax.

    I’ve never been to New Zealand, it looks beautiful 😮

    Can’t wait to read more!

    • Iain October 21, 2018 / 7:44 pm

      It would be funny if someone in the personal finance community did when it and how it changes their blog!

      New Zealand – awesome place. Would recommend if you can nab a cheap flight!

  2. Dr FIRE October 20, 2018 / 9:28 am

    Nice post! Sounds like a pretty sensible choice; use the money to further your progress towards your goals and help others with the passive income. Looking forward to future posts!

    • Iain October 21, 2018 / 7:42 pm

      Thanks Dr!

  3. weenie October 20, 2018 / 1:23 pm


    Great to see another blogger join in the thought experiment – I’ve really enjoyed reading all the different answers.

    Interesting about you donating a % of passive income to charity, that’s not something I’d thought of but it sounds like a great idea.

    • Iain October 21, 2018 / 7:42 pm

      Thanks for reading!

      I thought the % to charity would work out giving more to charity over the long-term. Although, I’m sure there is probably a piece to research on when the best time to do this in relation to tax.

  4. Gentleman's Family Finances October 21, 2018 / 7:19 pm

    Why whiskey and not whisky auntie?

    Furthermore, £250k should get you your forever home.in Glasgow if your ambitions are frugal.
    Come up to Dundee if you want to see this in practice!

    • Iain October 21, 2018 / 7:39 pm

      A valid point there, I am not fussy on who it is!

      I’ll probably make a trip to the VA Museum (saw on your blog btw), maybe it will tempt me!?

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