What to do with an unexpected inheritance

After my aunt passed away and I’d been home from the funeral for a few months, I was surprised to find an envelope from my uncle in the mail. Inside was a note and a check for my share of a life insurance policy she’d taken out and left to my cousins and me since she had no children of her own. I didn’t know she was planning to leave me anything, let alone so much. The amount was more than I’d made all year from my student job in grad school.

While I’ll never forget the surprise of receiving that check, I won’t forget my uncle’s accompanying note, either. In it he wrote about my aunt, how she loved us, and how this policy was part of her plan to leave us something. He then transitioned to how, as a couple, they prioritized aggressively tackling debt, and how he thought we should use this opportunity to do so, too.

At the time, him specifically telling us not to use this “unexpected windfall” to plan a “five-star trip to Fiji” was a little off-putting. I remember thinking, “Why would you give a gift and then tell me how to use it?” Now I see the suggestions as wisdom instead of a nag. When I received the gift, I’d never received inheritance before. How would I have known how to use it wisely?

If this happens to you, here are a few ways you can prepare to use your money to its fullest and get ahead financially.

Assess your financial situation

Before you get overwhelmed with your new wealth, take a step back to assess your financial situation. Do you have debt? Are you approaching any life milestones you need funds for? Is there a need you should meet financially? Without proper planning, there’s a …read more

Source:: The Week – Business

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