What would you do with a windfall?

Sigh. The N.S. house that got away — where I had hoped to invest my money.

By Caitlin Kelly

The word dates back to the 15th century — fruit blown from the trees, no need for the labor of picking it.

These days, it’s a bit of luck, often financial, that appears when we least expect it.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a few of these over the years, like a five-figure copyright settlement for misuse of my work (and many others!) by Canadian publishers.

A four figure sum, a dormant bank account, also in Canada, I had no idea existed.

The greatest was a surprise inheritance from my late mother, who died in 2020, after a decade of no communication with me, her only child. I would never have expected she would leave me a dime, but she left a decent sum, to my shock and gratitude, and five pieces of art I really love and wondered if I would ever own.

That money paid, in part, for my trip to California in June, one of the best vacations of my life, allowing me to explore a place I had long dreamed of, to connect with 11 friends out there and even with a cousin I hadn’t spoken to in years.

I bought myself a very good watch, an estate piece (i.e. previously owned by someone else) and love wearing it.

I still haven’t figured out what to do with the rest of this inheritance, which is a pleasant dilemma, for sure. The markets are a mess, so investing it feels like not a great choice. It’s not really enough to buy appealing North American real estate. I would never touch crypto or bitcoin, so for now I look at affordable properties in far-off places like Brittany.

If you’ve never had much money to manage beyond the basics of survival, it’s overwhelming to figure out what to do, who to trust, where to use it (or not) and how soon. Financial literacy is a learned skill — many people don’t know what a fiduciary is — someone managing your money who by law must act in your best interests, not their profit.

If you suddenly came into some serious coin — $10,000 or more (and even $100 can make a huge difference for many people, especially in an era of rampant inflation) — what would you do with it?

We often fantasize about winning the lottery, but it’s a hell of a responsibility!

17 thoughts on “What would you do with a windfall?

  1. I’ve never had a big windfall , but small and unexpected amounts that have saved me in an extremely challenging place of my life and I’ll never forget them. They made all the difference.

  2. ThingsHelenLoves

    What an interesting question that is! Difficult to answer. Partly because all the things I used to think were sensible and adult-y options now seem less certain; and partly because the older I get , the less I seem to want.

    At this stage a remote house away from the craziness and a stockpile of supplies to allow me to hunker down sounds quite good. I’m not a crazy prepper in the making. honestly, but the way world is looking…

    1. It is tough to think about…it really forces one to think about priorities.

      I don’t want a lot of stuff…I am very greedy for experiences, specifically as much travel as I can possibly afford. I am willing to keep working to earn the $$$$ I need for that…but not for many other things now.

  3. I used to play the lottery whenever I had some dollar bills, but I stopped. I never won more than $20, so I stopped seeing the point.
    If I ever did get a nice windfall, however, I know what I would do: first, I’d give a tenth to charity. Then I would put the rest into my savings accounts. Depending on how much I got, I might consider putting some of those earnings towards my car loan and/or my mortgage. But yeah, most of it would go towards making sure I had a financial cushion in case I lost my job or had some emergency requiring the use of a ton of cash, as well as to things I’ve been saving up for like renovations to my condo or even a trip somewhere.
    Until that windfall comes, however, I’ll continue as I have been: working hard at work, writing and sending out stories, and just saving what I can here and there so eventually it all builds up. So far, that method’s done me well.

  4. Jan Jasper

    If I came into a huge amount of money, I’d start a rescue ranch or farm for the dogs that shelters can’t find homes for. Many are scared, very few are actually aggressive. But there are more homeless dogs than responsible pet owners, so quite a few dogs – even healthy, friendly ones – get euthanized every year. BTW, most shelters that say they’re “No Kill” aren’t really no kill. But they’re in a tough situation. If they don’t euthanize “excess” dogs, what can they do? Turn them away to die on the streets, or starve in the woods where some heartless former “owner” dumps them? Many supposedly no kill shelters start turning animals away when they reach capacity. So I’d love to have a farm for these dogs to live out their days. And of course, everybody has to spay and neuter their pets, but many people are too selfish or stupid to do that, which is why we have pet overpopulation. Dog breeders (with very few exceptions) are the worst. The exception is special cases, like the dogs raised to assist humans who have disabilities. I’m not sure a random source dog can be trained to do this, so breeding may make sense then.

  5. Sorry I’m late, let’s go.
    Three figures, weekend getaway, save whatever’s left for the next one.
    Four figures, pay off my car, save what’s left for a road trip.
    Five figures, crazy ass European vacation, save the rest for a new car.
    Six figures, pay off my house, build a garage.
    Seven figures, too many options to count.
    Good post, lots of fun. Thank you.

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