What would you do with an extra $10,000? Maybe you'd pay off some debt, get rid of some college loans, or take a much-needed vacation. What if you suddenly had an extra million or 10 million or more? Now that you've come into a windfall, you have some issues to deal with. You'll need to evaluate your new financial position and consider how your sudden wealth will affect your financial goals.
Evaluate your new financial position
Just how wealthy are you? You'll want to figure that out before you make any major life decisions. Your first impulse may be to go out and buy things, but that may not be in your best interest. Even if you're used to handling your own finances, now's the time to watch your spending habits carefully. Sudden wealth can turn even the most cautious person into an impulse buyer. Of course, you'll want your current wealth to last, so you'll need to consider your future needs, not just your current desires.
Answering these questions may help you evaluate your short- and long-term needs and goals:
- Do you have outstanding debt that you'd like to pay off?
- Do you need more current income?
- Do you plan to pay for your children's education?
- Do you need to bolster your retirement savings?
- Are you planning to buy a first or second home?
- Are you considering giving to loved ones or a favorite charity?
- Are there ways to minimize any upcoming income and estate taxes?
The answers to these questions may help you begin to formulate a plan. Remember, though, there's no rush. You can put your funds in an accessible interest-bearing account such as a savings account, money market account, or short-term certificate of deposit until you have time to plan and think things through.
Once you've taken care of these basics, set aside some money to treat yourself to something you wouldn't have bought or done before, It's OK to have fun with some of your new money!
Note: Experts are available to help you with all of your planning needs, and guide you through this new experience.
Impact on estate planning
Now that your wealth has increased, it's time to re-evaluate your estate plan. Estate planning involves conserving your money and putting it to work so that it best fulfills your goals. It also means minimizing your taxes and creating financial security for your family.
Is your will up to date? A will is the document that determines how your worldly possessions will be distributed after your death. You'll want to make sure that your current will accurately reflects your wishes. If your newfound wealth is significant, you should meet with your attorney as soon as possible. You may want to make a new will and destroy the old one instead of simply making changes by adding a codicil.
Carefully consider whether the beneficiaries of your estate are capable of managing the inheritance on their own. For instance, if you have minor children, you should consider setting up a trust to protect their interests and control the age at which they receive their funds.
It's probably also a good idea to consult a tax attorney or financial professional to look into the amount of federal estate tax and state death taxes that your estate may have to pay upon your death; if necessary, discuss ways to minimize them.
Giving it all away — or maybe just some of it
Is gift giving part of your overall plan? You may want to give gifts of cash or property to your loved ones or to your favorite charities. It's a good idea to wait until you've come up with a financial plan before giving or lending money to anyone, even family members. If you decide to give or lend any money, put everything in writing. This will protect your rights and avoid hurt feelings down the road. In particular, keep in mind that:
- If you forgive a debt owed by a family member, you may owe gift tax on the transaction
- You can make individual gifts of up to $15,000 (2018 limit) each calendar year without incurring any gift tax liability ($30,000 for 2018 if you are married, and you and your spouse can split the gift)
- If you pay the school directly, you can give an unlimited amount to pay for someone's education without having to pay gift tax (you can do the same with medical bills)
- If you make a gift to charity during your lifetime, you may be able to deduct the amount of the gift on your income tax return, within certain limits, based on your adjusted gross income
Note: Because the tax implications are complex, you should consult a tax professional for more information before making sizable gifts.
How We Can Help
At Mission Wealth we will invest in you and your future so that over time – as you accumulate and grow your assets – we can help you achieve your goals and give you greater flexibility. The Emerging Wealth Solution offers the first step toward management, refinement and prioritization of your financial and investment goals. As you experience life-changing events, such as a sudden inheritance, purchase of a home, a new marriage, loss of a loved one or divorce, you may find yourself seeking a trusted advisor to provide financial security and caring advice.
Ultimately, investing for a lifetime is a long road. By avoiding mistakes and missteps early, investing regularly, and with a bit of prudent financial management, the emerging wealthy individual can be well on their way towards a productive future and retirement. Mission Wealth can chart a reasonable course of action to help an individual start down this road with the best foot forward.
Original article prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2018.
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