8 smart ways to spend a hefty windfall
Credit cards and home repairs
Ron Phipps, president of the National Association of Realtors, says consumers should pay down their credit card debt.
"Simplify your ongoing financial responsibilities. Make life easier. Reduce your overhead," he says.
After that, look after your No. 1 investment. Focus on needed home repairs or equity-generating improvements, he says. Or, reduce an ongoing expense like your monthly utility bill by installing energy-efficient appliances.
After that, "I'd probably say if it were truly a windfall, I'd find something I'd like to do that I'd enjoy: an arbor, a garden or a spa/whirlpool," he says.
If your house and your credit card accounts are in good shape, consider buying a rental property. "The goal would be to take that money and leverage it," Phipps says.