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 my employer --
-- 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
, I'm not eligible for the cash, but I can give you a few ideas on how to spend it. Now, obviously, you can save it, or invest it, or use it to pay off some debt. But what happens if you have some cash left over, or best 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 you know stops and stares. Now, you can lease this fine automobile, but you're risking a lot of snickering from your neighbors. A leased Mercedes 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 to give up Aspen. Instead, you can try a smaller course on a much smaller mountain in Banner Elk, N.C. You have all you need -- provided you leave the kids at home or park them in sleeping bags on the floor -- in this
quaint one-bedroom chalet. If you have never been to Banner Elk, you are missing out. It's a stunning town, nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. This chalet is yours for $89,900.
3. Your Butler Awaits on the Queen Mary 2
When it comes to luxury travel, the cruise ships of old cannot be touched. First-class travelers arrived at the pier and were met by the luxury liner's attentive staff, which carried the bags, served up champagne and made sure the caviar kept coming. It's time to experience that level of luxury by spending 24 days on the
Queen Mary 2 this September on the Grand Mediterranean Medley. From New York, you'll sail across the Atlantic to Southampton, and then on to Spain, Gibraltar, and Lisbon before sailing back to the Big Apple. You'll want to stay in the ship's Balmoral Grand Duplex, which comes with your own butler and pretty much anything else you can ask for. The price for 24 days of unparalleled pampering: $76,847.
4. A Yacht, a Yacht, My Kingdom for a Yacht
Since the Titanic had its unfortunate accident, many a landlubber has believed that to brave any body of water, you can't have a boat big enough. Keeping with this mantra, the only way to boat is in a yacht. Unfortunately, 100 grand doesn't buy much yacht these days. Still, if you look around you can find a small sailing yacht that's grand enough to catch a few wistful stares and large enough to withstand a strong wake 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. At a very minimum, you want a diamond to be large enough so onlookers can at least tell what it is. Rings are fairly mundane jewelry -- virtually every man and woman wears one at one time of their life -- but a pendant is more the ticket if you want to make a statement. We shopped online 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 you want an art piece by an old master, 100 grand won't even get you the frame. So, it's best to settle with a recent name brand, even though some of your guests may have no idea what they're looking at. The major auction houses -- Sotheby's and Christie's among them -- routinely auction masterworks of contemporary art. Andy Warhol is a name worth dropping, and his pieces will surely demand attention.
Take this one up for auction at Christie's: It's called Eva Mudocci, a piece Warhol whipped up in the 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 us to tell you that 100 grand doesn't buy much in the way of houses these days. But even though you can't buy a castle for 100 grand, you can certainly rent one, and for quite a long time at that. Castles are European 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 for this short-term fiefdom: Around $93,600, not including taxes or airfare.
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 the best ever, and your recent check is enough to buy several cases. Wine experts bicker politely on which wine is truly the ultimate, but one that always makes the short list is the
1982 Chateau Latour. It is indeed fabulous, and unfortunately, it's also expensive. With your 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 not bothered by some small details. You have a check for 100 grand, and that's not enough to buy a jet. In fact, you're several million dollars short. What you can buy is a nice turbo-prop. If flying on one of those doesn't frighten you, and you don't mind tight spaces, then your plane has landed. We found plenty of single-engine planes for sale, but two engines have to be better than one. This
1979 Beech Duchess 76 is yours for $82,900.
10. Move to Your Own Private Idaho
The housing market may have soared in many areas, but that's not always the case with land. In fact, you can have quite a bit of it, if you don't mind getting 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.
David Morrow is editor-in-chief of
. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He appreciates your feedback;
to send him an email.