Let’s say you are a family member who has just been informed that a cherished loved one has passed and you will be receiving an inheritance. Many people are still suffering from grief and may feel overwhelmed with the sudden financial increase – and responsibility. A common question arises for most people. How should you handle an inheritance? As financial advisor Suze Orman said in a recent episode of her podcast, “I think it’s really important that we think about how we invest money today to make the most out of the situation that we have.”
Go Banking Rates’ recent article entitled, “Suze Orman: 3 Things You Must Do If You Receive an Inheritance,” says that the financial guru outlines the next steps to take if you’re receiving an inheritance for the first time and need help figuring out what to do with the money.
- Take an Inventory of Your Debt. As tempting as it may be to make a big purchase like going on a trip or buying a big ticket item you’ve been putting off right away, it’s crucial to examine your finances thoroughly. Orman recommends writing down everything that you have, beginning with your debt. Write down credit card debt, student loans, car loans and personal and mortgage debt. Once you’ve categorized all these, write down the average interest rate you are paying on them. This will let you create a plan for paying these off. If it’s a large inheritance, immediately consider eliminating all your debt.
- Build Up Your Emergency Savings. After you’ve reviewed and analyzed your debt situation, Orman says having a solid emergency savings account for true emergencies is crucial. These are especially important if your car breaks down or your fridge goes out, and you must pay $400 for repairs. She says you want to rely on something other than a credit card for these scenarios. Therefore, she recommends having a minimum of $1,000 to $2,000 in that account.
- Establish your “Must Pay Now Savings Account.” “What must you pay every single month?” Orman asks. “You must pay your mortgage, your rent, your car payment, your insurance premiums, things like that.” She says this is critical to create, particularly if you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck. Allocate eight months of must-pay expenses in a must-pay savings account.
Receiving an inheritance can be an unexpected blessing in many ways, but begs the question of how you should handle the inheritance. Pausing and carefully analyzing the above three situations with a level head is essential.
Keeping up with debt (or slashing it altogether), creating an emergency savings fund and covering your immediate monthly expenses–will all set you on the right track for a healthy financial trajectory. If you would like to learn more about inheritance planning, please read our previous posts.
Reference: Go Banking Rates (Oct. 7, 2023) “Suze Orman: 3 Things You Must Do If You Receive an Inheritance”
Photo by Karolina Grabowska