DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My wife and I recently came into some money when her unmarried uncle passed away. It isn’t a ton of money, but it’s enough to help us get a jump on a serious savings program. She wants to put it all in a college fund for our toddler, I want to start a retirement fund to supplement what we’ve got through our jobs. We’re getting mixed advice from our own parents, and that’s just making it worse. Where would you put the money? --- SAVING FOR THE FUTURE
DEAR SAVING FOR THE FUTURE: Where I’d put the money these days is into retirement savings, but I’m a lot closer to that time of life than you and your wife.
The good news is that since neither of you is looking to spend the money right away, at least you’re both on the same page about the value of planning for the future. Putting your money in college funds or IRAs are both good ideas, but come with restrictions on accessing what you deposit into them, which may prevent your using any of the funds in case of a financial emergency.
Rather than putting all the money in one place, consider dividing it between carefully investigated options. Your bank should be able to give you some guidance, and offer shorter-term investments like CDs or money market accounts where your windfall can earn interest while you decide what to do with it for the longer haul.