Money in hand. Now what?

Many of us are receiving settlement offers for amounts of money that exceed anything we’ve seen at one time and probably more than some of us make in a year. Some of you are lucky enough to have received (or will soon receive) an initial settlement check. So you’ve got a check, now what?

Not being a financial advisor myself, I started digging around the interwebs on best practices for receiving a cash windfall. . .most say the same thing, so here’s a summary of what is suggested (with a little of my own opinion added because I can’t help myself):

1.) Pay off critical bills  or debt first focusing on those with the highest interest rates. . . .Hello!?! Who here still has medical bills?

2.) Stash the rest into a savings account and don’t touch it for a few months. This will give some time for the initial excitement to wear off and you can actually devise a plan for the rest. None of us are being made rich by our settlements and it’s amazing how quickly one can burn through tens of thousands of dollars and not have anything to show for it (just search “lottery curse”). So, let’s be smart people!

3.) Put aside an emergency fund (6 months salary). Don’t forget, most of us are still susceptible to a clot reoccurrence or will be on medication for life. Putting money aside for future medical costs is just smart and essentially what these settlements are for.

4.) Make a donation to a non-profit (The National Blood Clot Alliance “Stop the Clot” would be a nice one to consider for most of us).

5.) Set aside a small portion (SMALL!) to just blow on anything you want to.

6.) Get financial advice from a fee-only financial advisor and possibly a CPA just to be 100% sure you won’t have to pay taxes on the settlement.

7.) Don’t start lending money to family or friends or buying expensive gifts for everyone.

8.) Don’t change your lifestyle. Let’s be real, ain’t none of us going to be living like Kimmie and Kanye off these settlements (unless you were before, in which case, awesome for you). But, if you’ve lived a modest life so far, don’t change that. If you’re an Old Navy kinda girl, don’t start shopping at Saks.

Maybe some of you who have received an initial check can chime in? Again, don’t share dollar amounts, but maybe if you have some advice.

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12 comments

  1. This is sage advice Mrs. T!!! Being a financial planner, I would recommend pretty much the same things you did!

    1. Definitely good advice. My husband is also a financial planner and its exactly what he recommended – including the part about buying myself a present. :D

  2. Jennifer C · · Reply

    perfect! And I actually did everything single thing listed. I paid off debtors, and with my next check I will be paying my car off. I put some in a savings account and I invested a good chunk with Edward Jones and even brought stock so that my money will double in years and when I add more and keep the money invested I will retire with a hefty sum. That money will also grow over 10 years and by that time my son will be ready for college and we will have a nice sum in there to pull for him. I donated a sizable amount to the children’s hospital here and a nice amount to my sons private school. I have no lent any money to anyone and I did give my mom some money because she deserves it. I did treat myself to some need R&R, shopping and have a family trip planned for later this year. I did not change my lifestyle or quit my job, I do love the fact that I have an extra cushion anytime I need it because Lord knows some emergencies have come up since I got my 1st check and that money for sure came in help!

  3. Great post. To a lot of folks 100,000 is a lot of money but in the grand scheme of things it isn’t a drop in the bucket. If you do something smart with the money aka saving, investing, home purchase, land purchase ect you will have a fighting chance at maybe changing your life 10, 15, or 20 years down the road. The best thing you can do is invest in yourself. Finishing a degree or even starting one will pay off 100x over the course of your life. The next best thing I’d recommend is either paying off your home or making a home purchase with a large down payment. It’s even better if you can pay cash for a home if your settlement is large enough. The money is tied up but is never truly gone. Worst comes to worst sell your home and your money is right back in your hand. The absolute worst thing you can do with this money is go out and buy a 30k,40k or even 50k car. In 5 years and 100k miles later your 50k car will be worth 10k.

  4. I did a lot of what you said…Paid off debt, invested, made some donations, etc. I haven’t told many about the $ because we all know how that goes. We gave some to each of our grandmothers..because of course they deserve it! Also, had some much needed fun with the kids. It’s nice to know you have that cushion. However, you will be surprised how fast it dwindles..Unfortunately or Fortunately, mine came shortly after I lost my job of 15 years (due to the death of my employer) so it has allowed me to stay home with my 2 year old son and enjoy the heck out of him since I wasn’t able to do that with my daughter. That my friends, is PRICELESS!!

    1. Time with baby really is priceless. Even when they’re toddler maniacs, you never get that time back and it flies by. Good luck with all that’s to come and enjoy your beautiful babies. So glad you’re alive and well enough to do so.

  5. I’m so happy fire those who are actually starting to see money! It sounds like settlements are much smaller than the lawyers were telling us to expect :( have to keep reminding myself that I’m “ahead” even of I only walk away with $50…art this point I’m starting to think I’m not going to get a settlement.

    1. Yeah, but it looks like the couple sued their doctor for malpractice, they did not go after Bayer.

      1. Anonymous · ·

        True. My opinion is eventually a few yaz cases will slip through the crack and make it to trial. Odds are they will win large settlements and force bayer to offer a lot more money to anyone that hasn’t settled. It’s a shame they are getting off cheap right now and they know it.

      2. If that’s the case, then the article snippets are misleading. Our local, free paper describes it as:
        “$14 MILLION
        That’s how much an Elmwood Park woman was awarded by Cook County jury after having suffered a severe stroke while using Yasmin birth control.”

        Honestly, I’m satisfied with my settlement and it is beyond any expectations I had set. However, I know my feelings would be different had I suffered a serious injury that left me physically and/or mentally debilitated.

  6. Karen · · Reply

    I have a question that I’ve been struggling with. Lump sum or structured payments? I was just curious to see what anyone else is planning. I really am having a hard time deciding.
    Thanks

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