Managing large sums of money

Making your payout last

If you've received a big sum of money from a compensation payment, tax refund, land money or an inheritance, there are ways to make the money last and protect yourself from people who might to try to take it from you.

Here we explain how to deal with scammers and family pressures when you receive a big payout.

How to make your money last

If you have received a big payout, there are ways to make the most of your money now, so that it can help you and your family in the future.

Pay off your debts

If you have a lot of debts, or a debt you're not sure you really owe, talk to a free financial counsellor before you pay. They can help you work out which debts you should pay first and which ones you might be able to negotiate.

Paying off your credit card bills, loans and debts will free you from debt worries. You will pay less interest and can start saving for other things, like a holiday or a car!

Work out how much you could save if you pay off your credit card.

Credit card calculator

Put the money in a high-interest savings account

If you put your money into a high-interest savings account and don't take the money out for 6 months or a year, you will earn interest, which is extra money on top of the money you put in. The longer your money is in the account, the more interest you'll earn. This works well for people who don't need to use the money straight away.

Find out how to set up a savings account.

Work out how much extra money you will have if you put it into a savings account.

Compound interest calculator

Spread your spending over time

If you come into a large sum of money, it can be tempting to spend it all at once. But it is sometimes better to spread your spending out over time so that you have a little bit extra each fortnight to spend on things you need. A financial counsellor or financial capability worker can help you plan how to do this.

Case study: Ngupyula spreads her money over time

Ngupyula has received a large compensation payment. She remembers that when her friend, Leanne, received a big payout last year, Leanne's family got her to spend it on a brand new barbeque for her community to use. Although everyone was happy to have the barbeque, Leanne regretted how she spent the money because she struggled to afford all her bills.

Ngupyala doesn't want the same thing to happen to her, so she decided to keep her payout a secret. She used ASIC's MoneySmart budget planner to work out how much money she needs to pay her bills, and deposited some of the money into a high-interest savings account so she'll have money later when she really needs it. She now plans to spend the rest of her money to help her grandkids.

Invest your money

Investing is when you put your money into a managed fund, shares or property that might make your money grow. There can be risks with some types of investments, and scams that mean you can lose your money.

Before you invest your money, make sure you understand what's involved. Find out the golden rules of investing so you know where to start. You can also talk to a licensed financial adviser to get help with investing.

Make sure you have a will

Having an up-to-date will is the best way to make sure that your assets and money will go to the people you want to have them when you die. This is especially important when you receive a big payment. If you die without a will, the court will decide who gets your assets, and this could take a long time and be expensive.

Find out more about making a will and where you can get help.

How to deal with people who try to take your money

There are many people out there who try to get you to give them your money. Be careful who you tell about getting a big payout, so you don't end up losing it.

Be wary of scammers

If a person who wants to rip you off knows you've come into some money, they may target you and try to scam you out of your money. If someone does come to you with an offer on how to spend your money, you need to make sure they aren't trying to trick you.

Smart tip

If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

People may contact you by phone, email or in person at your local community centre to ask you to invest in a company. Don't give them any information. Walk away, hang up the phone, delete and block any emails or messages from the person through social media and stop dealing with them.

Read more about how to avoid scams.

Don't be afraid to report scammers to stop them from ripping off other people. You can call ASIC's Indigenous Hotline on 1300 365 957 about scams involving insurance, superannuation, investments or financial advice. Report all other scams on ACCC's SCAMwatch website, or the ACCC's Indigenous Infoline on 1300 303 143.

Important: Protect your personal information

Never give out your personal, banking or credit card information to anyone who contacts you. When someone calls you or emails you, you can never be sure that person is who they say they are. The person might say they are from your bank or a government agency - when they are not.

If someone asks you to give them your banking details, don't give it to them unless you have double checked they are who they say they are. Search for their phone number in the phone book or on the internet and call them on that number. That way you'll know you are definitely speaking to someone from the right organisation.

Be careful of bullying by members of your family or community

If members of your family know you have received a large sum of money, they may expect you to give them some of it or buy them things with the money. Even though you may want to help your family, you need to look after yourself first. Make sure you have enough money to pay for food and bills, then decide how much you will give to your family and how much you will save.

Where to get help deciding what to do with your money

If you have never received a big amount of money before, it can be hard to work out what you should do with it. There are places you can go to get guidance.

Smart tip

If you're not comfortable meeting a financial counsellor or financial adviser on your own, ask someone you trust to go with you. They can support you and help you ask questions about things you're not sure of. 

Financial counsellors

Financial counsellors provide a free, confidential and independent service. They can suggest ways to improve your financial situation, or help you organise your finances and do a budget.

Find your closest financial counsellor.

Financial counsellor online search

Financial advisers

Financial advisers charge for their services. They can help you work out options for investing or using your money.

Find out more about how to choose the right financial adviser for you and the questions to ask before you sign up for advice.

Financial Information Service (FIS) officers

FIS officers can help you understand whether what you decide to do with the money will affect any Centrelink payments you receive. See the Financial Information Service website for more information.

There are lots of things to think about if you come into a large sum of money. Use the money wisely and be careful who you tell so you can make the money last and help your family over the long term.


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Last updated: 25 Jan 2018