Are you wondering what to do with $50K in savings?
Well, first of all, let me congratulate you on the fact that you have a solid amount of savings. Compared to what most people keep in savings, you are doing pretty well.
That said, if you have $50K just sitting there, you might actually be missing out on a few financial opportunities. Sure, it’s nice to have that solid pile of cash, but with that amount of money, you can cover quite a few financial bases.
So, if you aren’t quite sure what to do with all that cash, keep reading. What follows are 6 of the best things you can do with $50K or more.
Let’s dive in!
1. Fill Your Emergency Fund
As you will hear just about every financial expert recommend, one of the most important financial steps you can take is to set aside at least three to six months worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. So, if you have $50K or more to play with, the first, and most important thing you should do is fill your emergency fund.
For most people, $50,000 is more than enough to cover their living expenses for six full months. And since you have the money, I highly recommend you do so.
On a different, and equally important note, when you set up an emergency fund, it should be separate from any other savings. Since you want this money to be available in the event of an actual financial emergency, the last thing you want to do is dip into it for non-emergency expenses.
That’s why, we recommend isolating your emergency fund. In other words, you should put the money into a savings account at a completely different bank than you use for your normal checking and savings accounts. By keeping the money out of sight, it will reduce your desire to pull money out of it, and therefore, protect it from unsavory spending habits.
One more thing, if you’re going to open a new savings account for your emergency fund, be sure to pick an account that earns a decent interest rate. Here at Be The Budget, we recommend the CIT Savings Builder. With its low opening deposit and solid interest rate, it is a phenomenal choice for a savings account; whether you have $50K or not.
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2. Get Out Of Debt
There’s no two ways about it, debt is just plain terrible for your net worth. So, if you have $50K laying around, one of the best things you can do is pay off as much of it as you possibly can. In fact, if you have the opportunity to pay off all your debt, but you have to reduce your emergency fund to only $1,000 or $2,000 in order to do so, then I still think you should go for it!
Because every penny of debt you pay to somebody else restricts your cash flow, and therefore, your ability to build wealth. Additionally, you are letting the power of compound interest work against you rather than for you, which is also not a behavior that leads to wealth.
Now, just so you know, I’m not just some guy telling you to pay off debt when I am sitting here buried in it myself. I have walked the debt-free road. About a year ago, my wife and I got completely out of debt, and it was the best thing we have ever done. So, when I tell you that life without debt is one of the most financially freeing, stress-reducing, best all-around decisions you can make with your money, I’m speaking from personal experience.
So, to get back to my original point, if you have $50,000 sitting in your savings account, you should use as much of it as you can to pay off debt.
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If you have a fully-funded emergency fund, and you are debt free, then you should definitely take some of the $50K and invest it. But, let’s be honest, investing is a pretty broad subject. Well, here are a few of the best, proven, options.
If you have a 401K, a ROTH IRA, or any other retirement accounts, you should seriously consider using a portion of the $50K and contributing to them. If you have the patience to invest it today, it could reap giant rewards by the time you hit retirement. And when that day comes, you will be incredibly glad you did.
If you have kids, and you are planning to pay for their college education some day, then you should consider taking some of the money and investing in a 529-Plan (i.e. a college fund). As long as the money you put into this account is used for qualifying education expenses, you won’t have to pay taxes on it, which is amazing.
While both your retirement accounts and 529-Plan should be invested in a good group of mutual funds, you can also just invest the money in mutual funds on your own. You won’t get some of the financial benefits as the previously mentioned investments, but the money will be more liquid, which means you can access it penalty-free if you were to ever need it.
If you like the idea of owning real estate, and you have enough money to buy a piece of property outright, then that can be a great option. But, like I said, you should only go with this option if you can pay for the property in full. Real estate investments are risky enough as it is, without the added burden of debt.
4. Start A Business
Of all the options in this article, starting a business is the one that gets me most excited — but that’s just me.
If you have a legitimate business idea that you have been wanting to start for awhile, but you just didn’t have the funds to do so, then now might be the perfect time! That said, you should do so with caution. In other words, you should not take the entirety of the money and invest it in some far-fetched, unrealistic business idea that you have no idea how to get off the ground.
Rather, you should use a small portion of the money to help seed your business, and leave the rest to your hard work and dedication. Having enough money to start a business doesn’t guarantee it’s success. You still have to put in the work.
But, if you have a good idea and a tenacious work ethic, having a little money can be incredibly helpful. Just be sure to spend it prudently.
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For some people, the ability to travel is what drives them to earn and save more money in the first place. So, believe it or not, taking a vacation can be a great way to use a portion of the money.
Now, please note the fact that I said ‘a portion of the money’. I do not recommend taking the entire stack of $50K (or however much money you have laying around) and blowing it all on travel. Rather, you should only use the money to take a vacation after you have gotten out of debt and filled your emergency fund.
That said, when it comes to personal finance, many people feel guilty about spending it on fun. But seriously, if you never have any fun with your money, then what’s the point?
Taking a vacation allows you to relax, unwind, and remind you what all your hard work is for.
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I believe that giving plays an important role in personal finance, because it keeps a healthy separation between you and your money, and keeps you from getting obsessed. I mean, there’s a word for people that hoard their money and never use any of it to help the people around them… cheap. Not good.
Now, I can’t force you into giving a set amount of your money, and beyond that, it would defeat the purpose. After all, giving should come from the heart. What I will say is that giving is one of the most wonderful things you can do with your money. And if you have the opportunity to do so, you should give it a try!