What to do with a small windfall?

Donna Willan Money cents

A month ago I received a pay out from my previous employer for untaken leave. It was not much, but it unexpected money.  It was very interesting to be sitting with a small, but rather thrilling windfall. I was really conflicted about what to do with it. Should I be sensible and invest it all? If so, invest in what? Could I be indulgent and spend it on ‘wants’ and fun? Should I use it to do some badly-needed home maintenance, like painting the peeling garden wall? (The neighbours would no doubt support the last option!)

There seem to be so many different opinions on how to act wisely with unexpected money. Should I invest it all? Should I invest 90%, blow it, have fun? Should I buy that amazing something I’ve been coveting? Argh! Too many voices yelling about my money.

So this is what I did: I listened to everyone and then stopped listening and tried to hear my own voice in all of this! In the end I took one third and bought a new camera that I had been coveting for ages, I put one third into the bond, and used one third on necessary home maintenance. I hope that seems wise and that you are not shrieking, “No, you did the wrong thing!”

In my next column I will explore my golden years. I’m going to reflect on how much I will need to save in order to retire in approximately 20 years. I’ll also reflect on one of my first columns, where I worked out how much I needed to save. Did I calculate it correctly and have I been following this plan? Oh that already sounds scary!


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