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People planning how to use a windfall by dividing their money across Amerant CDs and Savings Accounts
Personal Finances

What to do with a Sudden Windfall

Smart Ways to Use Your Financial Windfall and What to Avoid

When a windfall, an unexpected financial gain, comes one’s  way, having a plan for it can set individuals up for financial success. For many people, a windfall can be a significant boost that they may not know how to manage effectively.

Utilizing a windfall wisely can be the difference between mismanaging funds and purposefully achieving financial objectives. One of the primary examples of mismanagement is lottery winners that lose enormous winnings in a short period of time.

Strategies exist that allow individuals to make the most of a windfall – this article outlines some of those strategies and common pitfalls to avoid.

Eliminate Debt

Instead of slowly chipping away at debt over time, one can use a windfall to significantly reduce or even eliminate outstanding balances. By paying off debt with one lump sum, a significant reduction in the amount of interest paid over the lifetime of the debt can be achieved.

Begin with high-interest accounts like credit cards, then proceed to balances with lower rates, such as student loans or a mortgage.

Invest Using Your Windfall

By investing the influx of cash, one can let the money work for them and enjoy passive income from interest or dividends. Depending on the source, a windfall could be a significant initial investment that can be grown for years to come.

There are several forms of investment accounts that can be used to grow the new cash — read on to learn about how to grow these funds.

Interest Checking Account

With an interest checking account, individuals can make ATM withdrawals, spend funds with a debit card, pay bills with online banking, and deposit checks — all while earning interest on their balance. Most standard checking accounts don’t typically bear interest, but the Amerant Interest Checking Account allows you, as the account holder, to accrue interest on your money at a competitive rate.

Money Market Account

Money market accounts offer high interest rates and some flexibility for accessing funds. Similar to a savings account, they typically allow a limited number of withdrawals per month and may have other features like a debit card.

Certificate of Deposit

When investing in a certificate of deposit, money is left in the account for a set time period in exchange for lucrative interest rates. If early withdrawals are not planned, a certificate of deposit is a great way to maximize the investment of a windfall.

Amerant Smart Portfolio

Personalized investment portfolios allow individuals to invest in the stock market based on their financial goals. The Amerant Smart Portfolio allows investors to start with a balance of just $500 and create a customized set of investments based on desired earnings and risk level.

Plan Your Retirement

A windfall can be a great start for a retirement fund or add a comfortable cushion to an existing retirement account. If one has a 401(k) through a job or an IRA, these funds can be used to boost the principal balance, allowing for more compounding interest in the future. It is important to pay attention to the contribution limits for each account when using the cash to grow the retirement.

Make Home Improvements

People often put off home repairs because of the cost, so a sudden cash flow is a great time to fix up a home. Check for maintenance tasks that could prevent costly repairs in the future — or dive into that upgrade about which one has been dreaming.

Remodeling a kitchen or upgrading appliances can have a positive impact on a home’s overall value, so one can feel good about the potential return on the investment.

Open a High-Yield Savings Account

Instead of letting a windfall sit in a standard checking or savings account, savvy investors can take advantage of the cash in an account that levels up the growth. High-yield savings accounts allow extra funds to be kept safe while enjoying high interest payouts on the balance.

They’re great for any sort of nest egg from which regular withdrawals are not planned, such as an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. A high-yield savings account can help gain interest on the money while working toward a long-term financial goal, such as saving for a down payment on a house, creating a college fund, or purchasing a car.

Start a Business

A windfall may provide just enough capital to finally start a small business that has been a dream. By allowing an investment in inventory or equipment, a windfall can empower the individual to create a lucrative business or grow a current side hustle into a full-time job.

By putting these funds in a business account, it becomes easy to keep track of the business startup expenses and maintain a designated account for the new business’s income.

Things to Avoid After a Windfall

To get the most out of a windfall, it’s important to focus on purchasing assets instead of liabilities. Though luxuries and impulse buys may be tempting, it is crucial to avoid sinking the new funds into these expenses.

Non-essential Purchases

It’s okay to treat yourself, but one should take care when splurging with windfall funds. The lump sum is best spent on essential purchases or financial investments.

Depreciating Assets

Depreciating assets lose value over time, typically due to wear and tear. For example, vehicles and electronics often have a much lower resale value immediately after purchase. Avoiding depreciating assets can help ensure that money grows instead of shrinks.

If you’re ready to get the most out of your new cash, reach out to an Amerant Bank team member today to help you achieve your financial goals.

Amerant Editorial Team
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