I am about to receive a considerable(for me, anyway) amount of money- about $100k- and really have no idea what to do with it to make it grow even larger.

Of course I want to pay off credit card debt($6k), and student loans($40k). I would also like to set aside an 'Emergency Fund,' donate to one or two causes I support, and travel(not extravagently, just see everything this world has to offer).

What do I do with the rest, say about $40k? I'm a freelancer, so some sort of financial security is important to me. Also, I'm VERY interested in safe(is there such a thing?) ways to make this small wealth grow into larger sums.

ETA: I am young, just graduated college. I have no desires to ever own a home, or any other large, time and money consuming item. And it's not that I want to necessarily do anything with the money. I just want it to grow so that I can stabilize and brighten my future, I just don't know how to do that.

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    Can't see how this can be constructively answered. There are many "strategy" questions on the site, but you don't even tell us what your investment goals are.... Do you want to keep it for retirement? Make a house downpayment in a year?
    – littleadv
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 18:23
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    I think if a large sum of unexpected money comes up, then a legit question would be what to do next. We shouldn't close this one at all.
    – MrChrister
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 18:38
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    This is not an answer but... 100k seems like a lot of money now. It really is not. you will be surprised how fast it goes and how you are left wishing you had acted differently. I urge you to create something of value from it instead of consuming it.
    – user4127
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 20:25
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    Agreed, chad, it's just over 2 years of maximum deposits to 401(k) and IRA accounts for a couple. Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 20:34
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    warren, OP didn't answer if this is net, or gross. Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 16:51

2 Answers 2


I won't make any assumptions about the source of the money. Typically however, this can be an emotional time and the most important thing to do is not act rashly.

If this is an amount of money you have never seen before, getting advice from a fee only financial adviser would be my second step. The first step is to breathe and promise yourself you will NOT make any decisions about this money in the short term. Better to have $100K in the bank earning nearly zero interest than to spend it in the wrong way.

If you have to receive the money before you can meet with an adviser, then just open a new savings account at your bank (or credit union) and put the money in there. It will be safe and sound.

  1. Visit http://www.napfa.org/ and interview at least three advisers.

    • Understand what they want to charge you for their advice
    • Get to know them and feel comfortable with who you pick
    • Take your time, as this step in important.
  2. With their guidance, think about what your goals are. Do you want to invest and grow the money? Pay off debt? Own a home or new large purchase? These are personal decisions, but the adviser might help you think of goals you didn't imagine

  3. Create a plan and execute it.

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    +1 because of your warning not to act rashly. The rest of the answer is worth +1, too, but I can only give you one. Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 18:57
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    Thank you for your input. With respect to your first point, how do I know if what they're asking me to pay is acceptable? Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 19:09
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    @user1255049 - that is why you visit several vendors. You can compare and see what the market offer. Chances are that costs will be sort of inline. Tell the advisers you are shopping and they will give you their best.
    – MrChrister
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 20:50

Is this an inheritance (tax-free) or is it taxable income from a large project?

I won't argue with knocking out the student loan, it's a monthly payment that's nice to get rid of.

You make no mention of your age or your current retirement assets. Call me boring, but if I were handed $100K it would simply be added to the mix. A conservative withdrawal rate of 4%/yr, means that $100K to me is really a $4K annual income. That makes it seem like far less of a windfall, I know.

The problem I see in your question is that there's an inclination to 'do something' with it all. You've already trimmed it down to $40,000. As a freelancer with income that's probably not steady why not just start to put it aside for the long term. In good income years, a pretax account, in low income years, use a Roth IRA. As littleadv asks - what are your plans if any to buy a house? $40K may not even be a full downpayment.

  • I'm young, 23, and have no retirement assets. I also have no desire to ever own anything that will require large amounts of time, money, and energy. You mention putting it aside.. How so? In a regular savings account? And what about the Roth IRA? Would that be a means to help the money grow? Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 19:07
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    The Roth is simply a tax designation, not a particular investment. For the long term, I suggest learning (first) about Index funds or ETFs. You can open the Roth at a broker and keep the funds in a money market account or CD until you learn more on investing. My 16 yr old already has over $12K in her Roth, never too young to start. Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 19:12
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    @JoeTaxpayer Doesn't your child need earned income to fund a Roth?
    – tp9
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 8:41
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    She's documented her baby-sitting income. The going rate is $10/hr. Adds up fast. Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 20:07

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