4stars wrote: ↑
Sun May 20, 2018 11:49 pm
Thank you all again for the advice. I see so many consistent ideas. I will pour over this over the next few months and read the recommended books. I'll answer some of the specific questions ASAP. Busy day today! One of my first tasks is to get an accurate idea of how much I really NEED to spend each month. Interestingly, after all my meetings with banks/advisors (most lasted 2+ hours), not one of them suggested cutting spending. Maybe they didn't want me to have any negative feelings, so they told me what they thought I wanted to hear. Also, the last bank I met with (BBVA Compass) IMMEDIATELY tried to sell me the "American Legacy Series B-Share Variable Annuity". She wanted me to put 700k in that. Said I really needed it because of the "guaranteed income". I instantly thought "I have a bad feeling about this", and that's when I started to research on my own. I will also focus on the other immediate issues that were suggested such as health insurance, getting clarity on my future SS benefits and the regulations/limits attached, etc. The main thing I keep hearing is don't do anything too quickly and watch out for people who have something to gain financially from their services. I will take the time needed to get this right. It is how I can honor my husband. THANK YOU ALL AGAIN for taking the time to help someone when you have nothing to benefit from it. I'm sure I will be back with more questions.
Good call on the annuity. Unfortunately there are a lot of greedy, ignorant people out there selling financial instruments - very glad to see you not getting sucked into it all and thinking this through. So far you are doing all of the right things and asking very good questions.
One very important thing to understand is that this stuff is not nearly as complicated as it may first appear after 60+ blog posts. For what it's worth, I remember being completely bewildered by all of the (to me, anyway) conflicting advice on read on various blogs on how to financially manage the money I received in an unexpected large windfall. I was so terrified at the time, since I knew that it was a life-changing amount of money for which I desperately wanted to be a responsible steward - especially in light of the bad event that caused me to receive the windfall in the first place.
But now, a few years later? It's just a regular thing that I am aware of, but actually pay very little attention to. The Boglehead wiki advice on windfalls is 100% correct - you'll eventually get used to handling this kind of money over time. The trick is to avoid making major spending / finance decisions until you hit that point, which seems counterintuitive to one's natural instinct to DO SOMETHING but is absolutely correct. It sounds like your family was in pretty good financial shape before this event, so you're starting from a good spot.
Like I said in my earlier post, I really would just "park" the money somewhere in a safe place like a Vanguard money market account, get your other affairs in order (including the health insurance thing - that's really important), and start reading up on basic investing (using the Bogleheads' Guide to Investing, which really helped me out). When you are ready (say 6 months or so out), reach out to Vanguard PAS and have them work with you on a (free) financial plan, and then make the call on whether you manage your investments on your own or you pay PAS to do it. Either way is a reasonable call. Best of luck to you!