One in three Americans who receive a windfall—such as money from an inheritance or an investment paying off big—blow it within two years. A sudden windfall might seem like fun money, but it’s best to give serious thought to how you’ll use it.
Use this advice to put the money to good use and take the amount you’re receiving into consideration:
Pay off credit card debt
It’s smart to pay off accumulated credit card debt. But, experts recommend an additional step: Figure out how to avoid building up “new” debts. Talk with a counselor at your credit union for help setting up a spending plan.
Pay off student loans
Generally the interest on student loans is low, it might be tax-deductible, and the payment schedule is flexible. Consider putting your windfall to better use such as paying off higher rate credit card debt.
Pay off your mortgage
Again, your mortgage is a low-rate, tax-deductible debt. Paying it off locks up your money in your house—an investment that usually requires time and money to sell. You might be better off putting your windfall into liquid investments that earn a higher rate of interest.
Establish an emergency saving account
This account should be used to cover emergencies such as medical bills or job loss. The general advice is to set aside enough reserves to cover three to six months of living expenses, but you may even want more.
Make sure you’re saving enough for retirement
If you haven’t been maxing out your 401(k) at work, start now. If you’re already putting the maximum into tax-deferred vehicles, consider opening an Ascentra Credit Union Roth IRA (individual retirement account), if you meet the income restrictions. A Roth IRA isn’t tax-deferred at the front end, but it’s tax-free when you withdraw the money—both contributions and earnings.
If you still have money left, work with an adviser who knows you, your goals, your timetable, and your risk tolerance—not just someone who sells investments.
Then, splurge! A little.
Experts say it’s fine to go ahead and spend a little of your windfall for fun. Realize though the difference of things that will make your life better in the long term and those that are just for fun right now. Balance the two.
Ascentra Credit Union can help! Stop by or call today at 563-355-0152.