Ways to make your money last if you receive a big sum. And how to protect yourself from people who might try to take it from you.
Make the most of your money
You may receive a big payout, inheritance, compensation payment or land royalties. Make the most of the 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, work out which ones to pay off first. Some will cost you more than others over time. Talk to a free financial counsellor about what you owe and what debts you should pay first. If you're not sure if you owe a debt, get all the details before you pay it.
Open a high-interest savings account
If you put money into a high-interest savings account and leave it for six months or a year, it will earn interest. Interest is extra money on top of the money you put in.
Find out how to set up a savings account.
Spread your spending over time
If you come into a large sum of money, it can be tempting to spend it all at once. Spread your spending out to give yourself 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.
Invest your money
Investing is when you put 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. See how to invest for tips on where to start. You can also talk to a licensed financial adviser to get help with investing.
Your will gives your assets and money to the people you want to have them when you pass away. A will is really important when you receive a big payment. If you pass away without a will, the court will decide who gets your assets. This can take a long time and be expensive.
Find out more about making a will.
Dealing with people who want your money
Be careful who you tell about getting a big payout. People might try to get you to give them your money. And you might not get anything in return.
Be wary of scammers
If someone knows you've come into some money, they may try to scam you. If someone comes to you with an offer about how to spend your money, make sure they aren't trying to trick you. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
People may call you, email you or visit your local community centre and ask you to invest in a company. Don't give them any information. Instead:
- Walk away.
- Hang up the phone.
- Delete and block any emails or messages from the person.
- Stop dealing with them.
Don't be afraid to report scammers to stop them from ripping off other people. To report them, contact:
- our Indigenous Help Line — call 1300 365 957
- the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Indigenous Infoline — call 1300 303 143
Dealing with family pressure about money
If 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. Dealing with family pressure about money can be difficult, but you need to look after yourself first.
Get help deciding what to do with your money
If you receive a big amount of money, it can be hard to work out what you should do with it. There is help available:
- Centrelink. If you receive benefits from Centrelink, call their Indigenous Call Centre on 1800 136 380. Ask them if a large payment could affect your entitlements. If you're receiving compensation through a lawyer, they can tell Centrelink on your behalf.
- Services Australia Financial Information Service (FIS). FIS officers can help you understand how using the money may affect any Centrelink payments you receive.
- 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.
- Financial advisers charge fees for their services. They can help you work out options for investing or using your money.
Take someone you trust with you to meet a financial counsellor or financial adviser. They can support you and help you ask questions about things you're not sure of.