When the money initially hit their joint account, it seemed like an absolute fortune. Staggered by their luck, they made a pact that the windfall would not change them as people, and would only strengthen their relationship. Rather than be overwhelmed by the amount – they’d both had to count the number of zeroes after the 1 – there were 9 of them – they would be prudent with how this amount was to be allocated. All financial decisions would be made jointly.

At first, they were reluctant to spend any of it. It seemed surreal, to go from scratching around each month to pay bills and juggling credit card interest, to being in a position where they could buy something that only cashed up entrepreneurs or villains could afford. There was even a top ten list online, including islands, planes, super yachts and castles. It was bewildering.

They also agreed not to tell anyone, at least for a while, about the win. They’d heard enough stories about so-called friends and family members coming out of the woodwork when there was the hint of money, let alone piles and piles of the stuff. It was for their own safety, too, and that of their children. They agreed that going from being just like everybody else in their neighbourhood to bewilderingly wealthy was harder than it looked. Should they get a financial adviser? Or a team of advisers? They could create some sort of trust fund for philanthropic causes, then they grinned at each other as a month ago such a thought wouldn’t have been on the horizon.

In the end, they decided to move a million dollars – only 6 zeroes worth – into their bills account. They paid off the mortgage, cleared out the credit cards and got rid of the car loans. It was tempting to replace the cars, or just buy another house, but that would raise questions with friends and family that they weren’t ready to answer just yet. They waited three months and took their kids for an island holiday. As the plane took off, they held hands, knowing that this was the beginning of the rest of their lives, and that the world was literally theirs for the taking.

I’m participating in this blogging challenge for the month of January, which supports starting the year on the “write” track. You can find other posts with #bloganuary and join in the challenge.

Photo: airplane wing above the clouds