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Crunching the Numbers: Do You Want $1 Million Upfront or $100 Every Time You Masturbate?

There’s been a meme circulating around the bro-ier sections of the internet the past few days that poses a simple hypothetical: Would you rather have $1 million upfront, or $100 every time you masturbate for the rest of your life?

The question mostly exists as a bar argument, and a way for dudes to troll each other about how much they crank it every hour/day/week.

But it poses an interesting personal-finance dilemma, and a great way to exhibit the money-saving effects of sound, steady investment and compound interest.

So which is it, the $1 million upfront, or the $100 every time you rub one out?

Let’s do the math.

Calculating the returns on the cool million dollars in cash is easy.

  • Suppose you’re a strapping young American lad of 25 years old, and are thus expected to live to 79 (another 54 years).
  • Using the investment returns calculator at Bankrate, which supposes a 7 percent annualized return on investment, a 2.9 percent inflation rate and a 15 percent tax rate, a $1 million investment would grow to $22.6 million in 54 years, a nice chunk of change, to be sure.

Now, the second scenario, supposing the following conditions:

  • An initial investment of $0.
  • An additional of investment of $700 per week (or one masturbation session per day).
  • Rates of inflation (2.9 percent), tax (15 percent) and return (7 percent) the same as above.
  • That adds up to just $13.6 million after 54 years, $9 million less than the $1 million upfront.

Inflation really hurts a person in this scenario. The value of the $100 diminishes with time, meaning each jerk-off session is more depressing and less lucrative than the one before it. (If the $100 payment is adjusted to increase with inflation, it’s a different story, but those aren’t the parameters of this particular hypothetical.)

It’s hard to imagine jerking off enough to ever accumulate $22 million. Even after 100 years of pulling your hog once a day (and supposing the same conditions as above), your investment totals $203 million. The $1 million upfront, meanwhile, would be worth $323 million by that time.

In other words, a person is going to need to jerk off a lot more often than once a day to the make the $100 proposition work. For instance:

  • Let’s suppose a person doubles their masturbation output to twice a day (an amount some might consider unsustainable, if not a tad excessive).
  • Given that, a person would be contributing $1,400 per week to their investment portfolio.
  • Again, suppose they do this over the course of 54 years.
  • All other factors (tax, inflation, annualized rate of return) remain the same as above.

Under this scenario, the $100 per masturbation session does make sense. It yields $27.3 million, to the $22.6 million of the $1 million upfront. In fact, the twice-a-day masturbation regimen becomes a better investment after just 28 years, given these conditions.

So there you have it. All you have to is just masturbate twice a day, everyday, for 28 years straight, and you’ll have more money (and much stronger forearms) than those suckers who pocketed the $1 million.