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I Just Inherited Money! Now What?


Have you ever been the beneficiary of a nice little sum of money or some other inheritance? If so you know deciding what to do with inherited money can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ideas on how to spend sthe unexpected cash — HINT: these tips can also be a good way to make use your tax return, if you get one!  

Recently I had someone call me and say, “Hey Justin! My grandma just gave us $20,000!” I’m like, “Holy cow! That’s amazing!” So after we go through all the fun stuff, he wants to know what to do with it. Ok, so this is the process I go through with someone that is lucky enough to receive a windfall.

1. Start/Add to Your Rainy Day Fund

First, I asked him if he had a rainy day fund? Basically, do you have some cash stashed away for emergencies? Some people call it an emergency fund. Others call it the cookie jar fund. Look, whatever you call fine. Just make sure you have some money set back. Three months of expenses if you have a two-income home and six-months of expenses if you are relying on one income. He tells me, “Yeah, man I’ve got cash back. I’ve got three months of living expenses set back.” Awesome!

2. Clear Some Debt

Next, I wanted to know if he had any debt. He said, “Yeah, I got a little bit.” I then inquired what exactly he owed money on. He told me his house, a car, and a credit card. Aha! Credit card! This is where we start. He tells me it just has a 3% interest. I said, “Are you sure about that?” I encouraged him to check it and give me a call back. When he did, he told me it was 8%—those cards will get you every time! He tells me he really wants to invest the $20,000 and I explain, that I get that. I mean, after all the markets are running at an all-time high but if have debt you’re losing money. I told him we might make an 8% return on the market and we might not, but we can definitely make an 8% ROI if we pay the credit card off. He understands and pays the credit card it off.

Luckily for him, it didn’t take up the full amountjust a small portion of the $20,000. So we looked at the car loan and it was 0% interest. We decided we can deal with that and moved on to the next piece of advice.

3. Invest a Little

In his particular case, I suggested we split half of the remaining balance after paying off the credit card between his Roth IRA and paying down the car significantly. This means he will have more money to invest later on because we eliminated some of the car debt, but we didn’t forgo plumping up his retirement either.


Now, one little thing I suggested to him, that most planners might not, was to take his wife out for a nice date. I’m talking to a nice restaurant like a Ruth’s Chris or a Flemings. Go all out! Grandma didn’t give it to you to not enjoy it! Take a little bit of it and go treat yourself nice. And that’s what they did! Enjoyed a Ruth’s Chris steak dinner and went on a little shopping spree.

Listen, you shouldn’t invest everything because you can’t take it with you. So play a little bit once you’ve checked off the other major boxes!

Make sure the emergency fund is in place, Pay down some debt. Invest a little in retirement and go out to a very, very nice restaurant! Have you ever had a steak from Ruth’s Chris? Oh man, that thing comes out sizzling with butter! It’s so good it makes your tongue want to slap your brains out! Seriously, if you get a big windfall, figure out what makes the most sense! And don’t forget Ruth’s Chris. The only thing better than Ruth Chris is a good pizza—just saying! Make it a great Financially Simple day!


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