Go ahead, admit it: You have never thought about how you would spend$100,000. Well, it's time to ponder that possibility now that myemployer -- TheStreet.com -- is offering $100,000 to the player who wins our "Beat the Street" game.
The game is simple to play. All you do is go to this link and sign up to build your winning portfolio. Because I'm an employee of TheStreet.com,I'm not eligible for the cash, but I can give you a few ideas on how tospend it. Now, obviously, you can save it, or invest it, or use it topay off some debt. But what happens if you have some cash left over, orbest yet, you want to spend it all?
1. The Driveway Looks Bare Without a Mercedes
Few cars on the road today are as eye-catching as a 2007 Mercedes SL 550 Roadster.Imagine tooling around your neighborhood, top down, as everyone youknow stops and stares. Now, you can lease this fine automobile, butyou're risking a lot of snickering from your neighbors. A leasedMercedes is equivalent to a borrowed tuxedo. Sticker price on this gem:$95,575.
2. Weekend in Your Ski Chalet
Yep, you can have one for 100 grand, if you're willing togive up Aspen. Instead, you can try a smaller course on a much smallermountain in Banner Elk, N.C. You have all you need -- provided youleave the kids at home or park them in sleeping bags on the floor -- inthis quaint one-bedroom chalet.If you have never been to Banner Elk, you are missing out. It's astunning town, nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. Thischalet is yours for $89,900.
3. Your Butler Awaits on the Queen Mary 2
When itcomes to luxury travel, the cruise ships of old cannot be touched.First-class travelers arrived at the pier and were met by the luxuryliner's attentive staff, which carried the bags, served up champagneand made sure the caviar kept coming. It's time to experience thatlevel of luxury by spending 24 days on the Queen Mary 2this September on the Grand Mediterranean Medley. From New York, you'llsail across the Atlantic to Southampton, and then on to Spain,Gibraltar, and Lisbon before sailing back to the Big Apple. You'll wantto stay in the ship's Balmoral Grand Duplex, which comes with your ownbutler and pretty much anything else you can ask for. The price for 24days of unparalleled pampering: $76,847.
4. A Yacht, a Yacht, My Kingdom for a Yacht
Sincethe Titanic had its unfortunate accident, many a landlubber hasbelieved that to brave any body of water, you can't have a boat bigenough. Keeping with this mantra, the only way to boat is in a yacht.Unfortunately, 100 grand doesn't buy much yacht these days. Still, ifyou look around you can find a small sailing yacht that's grand enoughto catch a few wistful stares and large enough to withstand a strongwake or two. One yacht to consider is from Dufour GibSea. We found this seafarer for sale in Annapolis, Md., for $87,000.
5. Diamonds Are Everyone's Best Friend
One caveat should dictate the purchase of a diamond: Big is better. Ata very minimum, you want a diamond to be large enough so onlookers canat least tell what it is. Rings are fairly mundane jewelry -- virtuallyevery man and woman wears one at one time of their life -- but apendant is more the ticket if you want to make a statement. We shoppedonline and found this rock at William Noble in Dallas for $84,000. To quote Marilyn Monroe in All About Eve: "Now there's something a girl could make sacrifices for."
6. Rembrandt, Here We Come
Well, not quite. If youwant an art piece by an old master, 100 grand won't even get you theframe. So, it's best to settle with a recent name brand, even thoughsome of your guests may have no idea what they're looking at. The majorauction houses -- Sotheby's and Christie's among them -- routinelyauction masterworks of contemporary art. Andy Warhol is a name worthdropping, and his pieces will surely demand attention. Take this one up for auctionat Christie's: It's called Eva Mudocci, a piece Warhol whipped up inthe early 80s. Christie's estimate for the high end of the bidding:$68,950.
7. A Man's Home Is His Castle
You don't need usto tell you that 100 grand doesn't buy much in the way of houses thesedays. But even though you can't buy a castle for 100 grand, you cancertainly rent one, and for quite a long time at that. Castles areEuropean inventions, so to get a real one, you must travel to the continent. And there you can have your choice of medieval brick and mortar (or medieval-looking, anyway). Take a gander at this palace in Scotland.You can rent its spacious apartment for three months. The price forthis short-term fiefdom: Around $93,600, not including taxes orairfare.
8. Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Once you invest in fine red wines, you won't care so much about what food you eat. Several vintages of recent years have gone down as some of thebest ever, and your recent check is enough to buy several cases. Wineexperts bicker politely on which wine is truly the ultimate, but onethat always makes the short list is the 1982 Chateau Latour.It is indeed fabulous, and unfortunately, it's also expensive. Withyour new windfall, a full 38 bottles are yours, if you can find them.
9. The Best Airline Is a Private Plane
Owning your own airplane is the ultimate luxury, provided you are notbothered by some small details. You have a check for 100 grand, andthat's not enough to buy a jet. In fact, you're several million dollarsshort. What you can buy is a nice turbo-prop. If flying on one of thosedoesn't frighten you, and you don't mind tight spaces, then your planehas landed. We found plenty of single-engine planes for sale, but twoengines have to be better than one. This 1979 Beech Duchess 76 is yours for $82,900.
10. Move to Your Own Private Idaho
The housingmarket may have soared in many areas, but that's not always the casewith land. In fact, you can have quite a bit of it, if you don't mindgetting far, far away from it all. We found this picturesque 22.4-acre spread in Idaho for $97,500. This spread does have its advantages: It's stunning, at least from the photos, and it appears to be somewhat accessible. A gravel road is apparently nearby.