A cash windfall isn’t something for which you can plan ahead of time. It’s also not something you should ever count on. But knowing what to do if it happens can be extremely beneficial.

Should you spend it? Invest it? Pay off debt? All of the above?

Those answers will depend on the amount of money received and your financial situation. The answer will not be the same for everyone.

Windfall sizes can vary dramatically – from a small one that can help you eliminate a debt or allow for a  major purchase, to an even larger one that can make you financially independent, or to a size that may be more money than you could ever spend in your lifetime.

No matter the size of the windfall, the first thing you should do is resist the temptation to rush into anything – be it a purchase, an investment or even quitting your job. Formatting a plan before rushing into anything will help you avoid any regretful decisions. The most important tool you have when it comes to money is knowledge.

Secondly, separate the windfall from your usual accounts to avoid spending it. You could put it in a short-term CD or in a new interest-earning savings account until you come up with a plan. This will give you time to decide on how the windfall can serve you now and in the future.

It also would be wise to meet with a financial advisor. A financial advisor will help you map out the plan for your financial future and will help you get good use of the money. And if the windfall is big enough, they could help you plan for generations to come.

Together, you’ll assess your current financial situation and your financial goals and formulate a plan to put you on a successful path.

Coming into a significant amount of money may be cause for reason to celebrate, but it will be even more rewarding if you have a plan on what to do with the unexpected money. If you’re fortunate enough to have unexpected money come your way, don’t miss out on the opportunity to get ahead.

Financially Fit is your home fitness guide for all things financial, provided by RCB Bank. Find money-building tips, insights and inspiration to help you improve your financial well-being at Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.