Special Report

13 Things to Do If You Suddenly Become Filthy Rich

Imagine if you get a vast amount of cash and do not set aside the proper tax, or thought you wouldn’t have to pay tax. On top of the IRS, you might even owe state taxes, to one or more states, depending upon where you live and where that money is coming from. On the legal front, imagine if you did not know your legal rights before and after you get a vast new sum. To accomplish proper tax and legal representation, getting a certified public accountant (CPA) is a must, and it may require a tax attorney. Maybe this sounds expensive up front, but it is more than just worth it — it should be mandatory.

2. Get a Very Reputable Financial Advisor

After you find out what your rights to the money are from your new lawyers, and after you find out what your tax burden is on your new fortune, lining up a reputable financial advisor is paramount. This is where you need to avoid penny-stock brokers or people who try to sell you complex financial products that are hard to understand with high commissions.

A good financial advisor from a very reputable firm is going to know that you will need money sometimes or regularly. They will know what mix of stocks, bonds and other asset classes are appropriate for your situation and your life ahead. They probably even will be a crucial part of your creating a budget, and they will help to set proper expectations of what your assets can do for you. Lastly, introduce your financial advisor to your legal and tax professionals. Remember, the left hand needs to know what the right is trying to do, particularly ahead of each tax time.

3. Keep It Under Wraps

If you can, keep the fact that you just became rich to yourself for as long as you can stand it. Even then, give it another week. If you run out and brag and tell everyone you know, you might have just become a target. Your friends and family may ask you for help or to participate in financial dealings in which you don’t want to be or shouldn’t be involved. Other friends or family may become envious or treat you differently. Then there is the worst of the lot: scam artists or criminals who go after you. Maybe you’ve heard of kidnap and ransom insurance before (yes, it’s real). Sadly, at least two lottery winners have turned up murdered after winning the lottery.

4. Be Sensible About Your New Life and How You Want to Live

Consider what lifestyle you grew up with or are used to, and be realistic about what sort of lifestyle you would really like to have after becoming wealthy. Do you want to keep working, or do you want to phase that down or quit work entirely? Think about what you want to buy, and be sensible. This will play into a budget that you keep getting preached to about throughout.

Did you know that you can literally blow millions of dollars in hours or days? It is very important to avoid the urge to go immediately buy up all those things you thought you wanted but can easily live without. Buying homes, exotic cars, planes, yachts, luxury goods, jewelry, collectibles and other toys can add up quickly. Many things require ongoing fees, maintenance, tax or insurance, and many require a staff of people to keep them up. Most people don’t go belly up for buying one or two things, but going nuts with endless buying binges could even break billionaires these days. It is important to avoid the temptation to become an instant high-roller or to live too large.

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