What to Do When You Receive a Lump Sum of Money: Insights from a Money Coach


Receiving a lump sum of money, whether it’s a performance bonus or a sudden raise, can be an exciting opportunity to improve your financial situation. However, it’s crucial to approach this windfall with intention and make informed decisions about how to use it. Andrea, a money coach for first-gen women of color, emphasizes the importance of building a solid financial foundation before making any major financial moves.

One of the first steps in this process is establishing a fully funded emergency fund. Andrea recommends saving three to six months’ worth of living expenses to provide a safety net in case of unexpected events or emergencies. This emergency fund serves as a financial cushion and provides peace of mind, allowing you to make decisions from a place of security rather than fear.

Andrea acknowledges that the amount you save for your emergency fund is a personal decision. It’s essential to consider your individual circumstances and goals when determining how much to allocate towards this fund. By intentionally setting aside a portion of your lump sum for your emergency fund, you can create a strong financial foundation that will support you in the long run.

Prioritizing Debt Repayment

Once you have established your emergency fund, the next step is to consider your debt repayment strategy. Contrary to popular belief, Andrea suggests that paying off debt should come after building your emergency fund. She explains that focusing on increasing your income and mastering the skill of saving can have a more significant impact on your financial journey.

By prioritizing earning and saving, you can create a sustainable financial system that allows you to consistently save and grow your wealth. This approach helps you develop the habits and mindset necessary to manage your money effectively. Andrea believes that by focusing on these skills, you can gain control over your finances and reduce the urgency and stress associated with debt repayment.

However, Andrea acknowledges that debt is still an important aspect of financial well-being. Once you have established a solid financial foundation and feel confident in your ability to save, you can shift your focus to paying off debt. By this point, you have developed the skills and habits necessary to tackle your debt strategically and effectively.

Investing for the Future

After building your emergency fund and addressing your debt, it’s time to consider investing for the future. Andrea highlights the importance of investing for both the long-term and midterm goals. While many people are familiar with the concept of investing for retirement, she emphasizes the need to also invest for the midterm, which includes major life events such as buying a house, starting a family, or getting married.

Investing for the midterm allows your money to work for you and grow over time. By starting early and consistently investing, you can generate additional funds to support your future goals. Andrea encourages individuals, especially those in their mid to late twenties, to prioritize investing for the midterm to ensure they have the financial resources needed for significant life milestones.

It’s important to approach investing with a long-term perspective and consider your risk tolerance and financial goals. Andrea advises seeking guidance from a financial advisor to help set up investment accounts, choose suitable investments, and navigate the complexities of the investment landscape. While a money coach can provide education and guidance on investing, they do not offer the same level of hands-on assistance as a financial advisor.

Understanding the Unique Challenges of First-Gen Women of Color

Andrea’s focus on first-gen women of color stems from her own experiences and the specific challenges this group faces when it comes to money. Growing up in a first-gen household, she observed the importance of saving and the fear of not having enough. These experiences shaped her perspective and led her to recognize the need for tailored financial guidance for this community.

First-gen women of color often carry the weight of their family’s financial expectations and aspirations. They may feel a sense of responsibility to save and provide for their loved ones, which can impact their relationship with money. Andrea believes that empowering this community to see money as a tool for growth and opportunity is essential.

By reframing the narrative around money and encouraging first-gen women of color to thrive rather than just survive, Andrea aims to help them create a better future for themselves and their families. She emphasizes that thriving includes not only financial stability but also the ability to pursue dreams, give back to their communities, and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Receiving a lump sum of money can be an exciting opportunity to improve your financial situation, but it’s important to approach it with intention and make informed decisions. Building a solid financial foundation, including a fully funded emergency fund, is crucial before focusing on debt repayment and investing. By prioritizing earning and saving, individuals can develop the skills and habits necessary to manage their money effectively.

The approach to money can vary between individuals, with some being super savers and others being super spenders. Understanding your own tendencies and beliefs around money is key to making intentional decisions that align with your goals and values. First-gen women of color often have unique experiences and perspectives when it comes to money, and it’s important to address their specific needs and challenges.

By working with a money coach or financial advisor, individuals can receive guidance and support tailored to their circumstances. A money coach provides education, empowerment, and accountability, while a financial advisor offers assistance with investment management and long-term financial planning. Ultimately, the goal is to create a financial system that supports your goals and allows you to thrive.


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