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6 Ways to Enhance Your Finances with a Windfall

I need help. I recently came into a windfall. How? Well, I came in second place in my fantasy football league. As a result, I stand to make over $200…$235 to be exact! Now I need to figure out how I am going to use this money. How does my windfall fit into my finances?

The problem is that fantasy football winnings aren’t in my financial plan. Otherwise, I would just review my plan and use the money accordingly. But alas, I am in the dark with no direction.

First, a recap

I play in a 14 person fantasy football league with a bunch of my friends from high school and a couple of wives and siblings including my brother, Jason. We are some of the best trash talkers and absolutely worst fantasy football players…ever.

In fact, it’s interesting that fantasy football is a lot like finance

For those who don’t play fantasy football, here’s the concept briefly. You draft a number of players in different positions. You try to get as many good players who will accumulate as many points (based on things like touchdowns, etc.). Each week, you play different teams and whoever gets the highest score wins.

Every year, me and my friends think we are huge experts. We research and listen to fantasy football pundits about which players we should get. The safe bets. The sleeper picks. The new ones with potential. And…we and everyone else are usually wrong. This is a lot like stock picking.

Each week, we also analyze the match ups and try to cobble together the best lineups. Who is playing a weak defense? Will an injury hamper one of our players? Again, usually wrong. This is a whole lot like timing the market.

Doesn’t work in finance, doesn’t work in fantasy football.

Anyway, back to the windfall…and finances

Each year, we put in some money ($60) this year and then winnings get split based on who gets 1st through 6th place and then some other things like highest scoring team, etc.

I went through this year and finished in first place with the highest scoring team by a wide margin. I blew through the early playoffs. Then, I met the second place team in the championship and scored >160 point. This is usually plenty to win.

But, my opponent had Alvin Kamara, running back for the New Orleans Saints. Anyone who plays fantasy football knows that this means I lost. Ol’ Alvin scored nearly 60 points…by himself. This is unheard of. I ended up losing by 20 points.

windfall finances
A heartbreaking defeat in the championship

BUT…I still made some moola.

$235 of moola to be exact. Hey, a 392% cash-on-cash return ain’t bad. Much better than the 22+% I am making on my rental property.

Ahhh, but what to do?

Let’s review my options to enhance my finances with this windfall:

Sit on it

A lot of people would recommend sitting on a windfall for at least 3 months prior to spending it. This gives you time to really think about what the best use is before spending it emotionally.

Put it in savings

I certainly could just put it in savings and let it sit. But, I already am comfortable with my emergency fund and have that funded additionally through my monthly budget. Probably not necessary that I do this.

Spend 10%

Jimmy Turner of the Physician Philosopher is a proponent of this strategy. He says to take 10% of your windfall and spend it guilt free. Then save, invest, or pay of debt with the rest.

Not a bad strategy. So, I could take $23.50 of my winnings and buy a couple subs from my local sandwich shop. Then save the rest.

Pay debt

I still have over $400,000 in student debt to pay off! Paying off debt is one of the highest things on my financial priority list.

I have a plan to pay it off aggressively in 5 years. But this could really accelerate things!

Invest in the market

I already am maxing out my retirement plans. But, I could put this into a Backdoor Roth IRA.

Let’s just take taxes out of the equation to keep things simple and say I invest all $235 in low cost, broadly diversified index funds.

In 25 years, that would be equal to $795.79!!!! (Here’s how I calculated this.)

Tough to say no to that…

Save for an investment property

I also love investing in cash flowing rental properties. I have one so far that is cash flowing >22% and putting >$1,000 in my pocket each month passively. It even increased our net worth by six figures through forced appreciation.

My wife and I are looking for a second property. We could use this money towards that goal.

Here’s the rub

I hope you all realize by now that this post is largely tongue in cheek.

I am pretty pumped to have come in second in my fantasy football league. Especially given my typical bottom dweller status in the league.

And I will never sneeze at any amount of money.

But, $235 obviously is not a windfall.

But seriously, if I do ever receive a windfall, these are the options I will consider for my finances

I recommend you do the same if you are ever in so fortunate a situation.

For “smaller windfalls,” like my planned bonuses from work, my wife and I already have a plan. We invest that in real estate.

Our plan for a “big” windfall, whatever that is, will be to sit on it 3 months. Then, we will put it to use in the best way depending on our situation based on our financial priorities in our written financial plan. If it was today, that would be paying off my student debt.

windfall finances

But seriously, what am I doing with the winnings?

I’ll always be honest with you all.

I am really planning to buy the new Oculus Quest 2. It’s a virtual reality video game system. I’m not a huge fan of video games but this seems really cool. It’s $299.

It’s ok to treat yourself sometimes!

What do you think? What have you done with a windfall? Do you have a plan if you receive one? How’d you do in fantasy football this year? Let us all know in the comments below!

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    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected]

    1 thought on “6 Ways to Enhance Your Finances with a Windfall”

    1. ha awesome! financial guru and fantasy football expert- well done man! my league I have never won for the past 5 years! hopefully I’m a better investor 🙂

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