First of all, congratulations to Liu Xiaobo. The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner is recognized for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Thank you to everyone who is trying to make the world a better place.
This post is a variation on the usual what would you do if you win the lotto question. The hypothetical noble prize is better because it means you earned this somehow and it’s not just a windfall.
And I went to Alfred B. Nobel Jr. High so I feel a strong connection to the prize. 8)
Let’s say you get 1 million dollars if you win the Nobel prize. I know it is actually around 1.5M, but let’s keep it simple. What would you do if you get the prize for inventing a world-changing widget and are not rotting in a cramped Chinese jail?
In my case, after federal and state tax for married filing jointly, I would be left with around 550k or so. This is a huge amount of cash money, but probably not enough to live on for 40 to 50 years. It is certainly not enough for the standard retirement plan where you put the money in 60/40 stocks and bonds, then withdraw 4% a year. Can I live on $22,000 a year? It’ll be pretty tough when there is a lot of life left to live.
The question is would you keep working at your current job or would you pull a Terminator and say “Hasta La Vista, Baby”?
Personally, I’ll be out of here so fast you won’t even hear my Road Runner “Meep, Meep” sound effects. I’ll grab my lunch box, my gym bag, the one plaque I have left at the office — and that’s really about it. The money is not enough to retire on, but it will give me a cushion to figure out what to do next.
This is an easy call for me. It is basically telling me I want to leave the corporate world. What would you do?