While you're unlikely to ever see a windfall on the magnitude of Nadine, Amy, Ted or Elizabeth's, you probably will get a tax refund or year-end bonus. According to Lynnette Khalfani, financial expert and author of The Money Coach's Guide to Your First Million rather than simply using this money to treat yourself, you should instead use it to pay off your debts.
Lynnette says that many people think they "deserve" to treat themselves. "And of course you deserve it," Lynnette says. "But you also deserve to keep it in the family and to have financial stability. You don't want to have to lament over your losses and really feel bad about the fact that you blew the money."
If you should be so lucky as to get a windfall of $50,000 or more, Lynnette says there are five things you should do to make sure you keep it.
- Get financial help. A trusted advisor can talk to you about long-term plans and help you set a budget.
- Make sure you have a system in place for dealing with requests for money. This can be someone like an accountant, who can handle the requests so you don't have to feel emotionally responsible saying no.
- Make sure you have a structured way of giving—like to charities or to your church—so no one can make you feel guilty for not giving to them individually.
- Plan before you invest. Don't make any big moves without a long-term strategy.
- Give yourself time. Though you may want to, don't make rash moves right after getting your money.