Sudden Changes in Wealth

Colorado’s new favorite Olympian Missy Franklin has amazed us all with athletic feats that have made her a worldwide sensation. Her beautiful smile and contagious enthusiasm make Missy “The Missile” even more fun to watch.

The four gold medals and one bronze won by this 17-year-old Regis Jesuit High School senior are an entrée into a world of lucrative endorsements and prize money. But Missy and her parents say she will start school next week and even swim for the Regis Raiders again. After graduation she plans to go to college and wait to turn pro.

In a world where Missy can expect multi-million dollar offers for her endorsements, she will face the challenges of a windfall of wealth. While most people would be happy to deal with such problems, a sudden change of net worth can be tough to deal with. Here is my advice for dealing with a financial windfall.

Make A Plan

Just as Missy and her coach come up with a plan to win a swim race, she will need a comprehensive plan to make sure her financial future is secure. A truly comprehensive plan covers the whole scope of a financial life – not just investments and asset allocation.

It should include analysis of:

  • Investments
  • Income
  • Expenses
  • Real estate Debt
  • Life Insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Long-term care
  • Retirement cash flow
  • Goal Progress
  • Education funding
  • Large purchases
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Charitable giving
  • Income taxes
  • Cash reserves

The goal of a comprehensive financial plan should be an overwhelming degree of confidence about the future – just as Missy is confident about winning.

Build a Team

Missy says that swimming is a team sport. Part of her reason for returning to high school and planning for college is her desire to “win it with a team.” Likewise, she will need a team to implement successful financial strategies too. Best-in-class professionals in financial planning, investments, insurance, tax and law make up the team that can deliver the type of comprehensive work she will need.

The coordinating of the team depends on what role Missy wants to play. Typically clients fall in three broad categories: do-it-yourselfers, collaborators and delegators. A delegator working with a trusted advisor who knows and understands their values and goals can focus on winning races while the team takes care of the other work.

Understand Values

Finally, Missy needs to understand her values – what’s more important to her than money – and then make financial decisions that are in alignment with those values. Author Nathan Dungan believes knowing the right order of things – share, save then spend makes a difference in the lives of families with financial means. He says:

  • Share – It’s not just about money – it’s about how sharing impacts family, community and the world.
  • Save – For a rainy day, for retirement or for something more.
  • Spend – Money makes the world go around, but how and where money is spent is a powerful statement.

Missy will need to decide how she sees these priorities and then make decisions congruent with her values. I hope her swimming success carries over to the rest of her life. By following these steps, she’ll be off to a good start.

David Morrison

David uses Values Based Financial Planning to align your financial choices with your most important goals and your most deeply held values. He has a comprehensive process to consolidate, coordinate and simplify your financial life in a way that brings you more confidence and clarity about your future. Learn more about David here.

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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.

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Dungan, N. (2012, 8 9). Home. Retrieved 8 9, 2012, from Share, Save Spend: