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By: AgFed Credit Union

Welcome to AgFed Credit Union's MoneyDig blog! 

Get confident about your personal finances with a number of articles, tips, advice and more.


Making the Most Out of Financial Windfalls

 May 30, 2024
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What would you do with an extra $1,000? What about $10,000? Or $100,000?

You’ve probably spent time daydreaming about what you would do if you suddenly received an unexpected financial windfall. Maybe it’s a significant work bonus, an inheritance, a lawsuit payout, or even a surprisingly large tax refund.

As you begin to envision what you could do with the extra money, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. Your heightened emotions can quickly get the best of you, leading to frivolous spending. However, managing financial windfalls like these wisely requires far more than impulsive decision-making. While it can be fun to treat yourself, it’s important not to lose sight of the potential impact these funds could have on you and your family’s future.


Tips for Successfully Managing Unexpected Funds

Coming into a significant sum of money, whether expected or not, will test your willpower. The urge to splurge will surely be there – after all, treating yourself isn’t bad. However, small purchases add up quickly. Before you start daydreaming about how to spend the money, consider the following tips.

  • Take a Breather

The initial rush of receiving unexpected funds can undoubtedly cloud your judgment. It’s critical to resist the temptation to rush into using the funds – even if you’re facing financial hardship. Instead, take a step back to let your emotions settle so you can assess your situation with a clear head. Allow yourself the time to think strategically and create a plan for how to utilize this money best.


  • List Your Goals & Challenges

Before making any decisions, take time to list your financial goals in the short, mid, and long term. Consider any existing challenges you face and evaluate how a portion of these windfall funds could alleviate strain or help you achieve objectives. By aligning this money with your unique goals and challenges, you ensure that every dollar contributes meaningfully to your financial well-being.


  • Understand the Potential

While pursuing your dream vacation could be good for the soul and indulging in luxury purchases may seem enticing, thinking beyond immediate gratification is crucial. Instead of the funds disappearing on a whim, consider investing the money in a way that can have a profound impact on your future. Whether it’s purchasing your dream home, funding your children’s education, or financing your golden years after retirement, making wise financial decisions now can pave the way for long-term prosperity. 


  • Avoid the Urge to Splurge

While treating yourself or your loved ones with a portion of your windfall is perfectly acceptable, moderation is key. Strive to take a balanced approach by allocating a reasonable percentage to present desires while prioritizing most of the funds for future financial security.


Wise Ways to Use a Financial Windfall

Coming up with ways to spend money you weren’t expecting is the easy part. Finding ways to spend it strategically to better your financial future requires a little more effort. Decisions on how to utilize these funds could have a profound impact in the years to come.

  • Eliminate Debt

One of the most impactful uses of a financial windfall is paying off high-interest debt. Whether it’s credit card balances, personal loans, or outstanding medical bills, reducing or eliminating these debts can free up significant financial resources in the long run.

That’s more money you get to put back into your pocket monthly - rather than spending it unnecessarily on interest and having nothing to show for it in return. Eliminating high-interest debt will not only save money on interest payments but also improve your overall financial standing.

  • Invest It

Consult with a financial advisor to develop a strategic investment plan tailored to your unique financial goals and risk tolerance. Whether you choose to invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or real estate, a well-diversified investment portfolio can provide long-term growth opportunities and financial security. By harnessing the power of compound interest, your windfall, no matter the size, can grow into a substantial asset over time.

  • Build Your Emergency Fund

An emergency fund serves as a financial safety net, providing peace of mind and protection against unexpected expenses or financial emergencies. Aim to set aside three to six months of living expenses in a readily accessible savings account.

Not only does an emergency fund safeguard you against unforeseen circumstances, but it also helps you avoid costly financing options like payday loans or high-interest credit cards, which can lead to additional financial setbacks.


We’re Here to Help!

Receiving a financial windfall presents a unique opportunity to improve your well-being and secure your future. By strategically managing your newly acquired funds, you can make the most of this unexpected money and achieve long-term goals.

If you want to learn more about growing your savings or eliminating high-interest debt, we’re ready to help. Please give us a call to speak with a team member today.