This is similar to the old proverb about an old beggar man who asked a king to place 1 grain of rice on a single square of a chessboard and double that amount for the next square, and double that for the next, and double that for the next, and so on and so on until the last space on the chessboard has been "filled" as a reward for doing some good deed instead of taking up to half the king's kingdom. Well, when the king tried to pay the man he quickly found out that the amount of rice required would bankrupt his kingdom. But since calculating the rice required by the chess formula described above is not actually your question -- I will get to the point and answer your question directly: I would much rather have a penny doubled every day for 31 days than the $1,000,000 up front.
1st day 1 penny.
2nd day 2 pennies.
3rd day 4 pennies.
4th day 8 pennies.
5th day 16 pennies.
6th day 32 pennies.
7th day 64 pennies.
8th day 128 pennies.
9th day 256 pennies.
10th day 512 pennies.
11th day 1024 pennies. We are now over $10.00!
12th day 2048 pennies.
13th day 4096 pennies.
14th day 8192 pennies.
15th day 16,384 pennies. We are well over $100!
16th day 32,768 pennies.
17th day 65,536 pennies.
18th day 131,072 pennies. Over $1000!
19th day 262,144 pennies.
20th day 524,288 pennies.
21st day 1,048,576 pennies. Over $10,000!
22nd day 2,097,152 pennies.
23rd day 4,194,304 pennies.
24th day 8,388,608 pennies.
25th day 16,777,216 pennies. Well over $100,000!
26th day 33,554,432 pennies.
27th day 67,108,864 pennies.
28th day 134,217,728 pennies. Over $1,300,000...
29th day 268,435,456 pennies.
30th day 536,870,912 pennies.
31st day 1,073,741,824 pennies. Over $10,000,000
We total out at approximately $10,737,418.24 -- I say
approximately just in case I made some stupid
typographical errors. But I think this is right!
So, what would you rather have $1M now or $10M one month from now?
Have fun dreaming of the possibilities...