In 2008, Halsey Minor sold CNET for $200 million, yet five short years later, the Seattle Times reports that he’s filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You’re probably shaking your head right now because surely if you received a check for that much money, you would be able to live like a king for many years.

Huge windfalls of money, however, can easily slip through your fingers if you’re not careful. Follow four investment guidelines to ensure you keep the profit, inheritance, lottery or annuity money you receive.

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Meet With a Professional

Don’t spend a dime of your newfound money before you consult with financial professionals. The first meeting you schedule will be with an attorney who will guide you through securing an inheritance or protecting a lotto winning. Next, meet with your accountant who helps you establish and meet your short, medium and long term financial goals. Finally, specialists from places such as Annuity.com can assist you in selling annuities. Each of these professionals work to protect your windfall, make life easier for you now and ensure your money remains safe for years to come.

Get Your House in Order

Ideally, the money you receive can give you financial stability and make your life better, so use it to get your house in order. Discuss these five steps with your accountant and decide how to save, spend and invest your windfall:

  • Assemble an emergency fund that could cover expenses for two to five months, as recommended by getrichslowly.org.
  • Pay off debts from credit cards, student loans and possibly your mortgage. This step gives you financial freedom from high interest payments.
  • Fund your retirement account and make the maximum contribution to your 401k or IRA.
  • Save for major expenses in the next five years, including replacing your house’s roof, buying a reliable vehicle or paying for your daughter’s wedding.
  • Finance your children’s or grandchildren’s college funds so that they can start their adult life with financial stability too.

Spend Lightly

Halsey Minor bought art, homes and cars with his $200 million, according to Investopedia, and you may be tempted to do the same thing with your inheritance. After all, that money could greatly improve your life right now. However, once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. You may argue that art and homes are investments, and investopedia shares tips for investing wisely in art. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with buying a new home or car if you have enough money to do this without jeopardizing your future. However, the market can easily change and decrease the value of these property items, which leaves you penniless, so spend your money lightly.

Invest Wisely

When they find out you’ve received a payout, everyone and their brother will come out of the woodwork to ask for money. Your nephew may want cash to start a new business, charities may call you all day long and friends will suggest investment options. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up blowing all your cash and receive nothing in return. That’s why you need to know exactly what you’re investing in before you send a check. Read business plans carefully, check a charity’s reputation via charitynavigator.org and read investment literature, including information about fees and levels of return, before investing any of your huge windfall.

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