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Money Management

What to do with a Windfall?

June 09, 2009

At some time in our life, many of us may receive a ’windfall’ due to an inheritance, sale of business, or some other one-time event. To suddenly receive a large sum of money can be overwhelming. Here a few tips to handle windfalls:

  • Breathe - park the money in a safe and secure short-term investment so you have time to ponder what is best to do with your newfound wealth. Do not leave the money in your chequing account where the impulse to spend may be too great.
  • In the case of an inheritance, reflect on what the giver would want you to do with the money.
  • Seek professional advice from a variety of sources. Pray for discernment. Talk to someone you trust such as a Certified Financial Planner to sort through investment options. If necessary, employ the services of an accountant and lawyer.
  • Establish and list your goals’ short (less than 1 year), medium (2 - 5 years) and long term (5+ years). Then allocate money to meet the goals.
  • Goals may include:
    -Pay down debt...a key Biblical principle.
    -Start or contribute to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, Tax Free Savings Account or Registered Education Savings Plan.
    -Buy a new car or renovate your home.
    -Take a vacation with your family.
    -Help adult children with their goals such as buying a house or reducung their borrowing costs.
  • Don’t throw out your budget. If you are used to living on less, continue to do so and try not to increase your spending. This will allow additional resources to be spent on what’s really important like family, charities and community
  • Give to charity. Now may be the time to help your church, school, seniors’ home or other charities with a larger donation.
  • Estate planning - review the effect of your increased net worth on the distribution of your estate if you were to pass away and make changes to your will if necessary. Also, consider making charitable contributions in your will.


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