Ally Asks: What Would You Do With $10,000?

What someone does with a sudden windfall can say a lot about that person and their financial priorities. We asked over 1,000 Americans what they’d do with $10,000 if they received the money tomorrow. Saving was the most popular option. But working adults and young people have other plans for the cash – namely paying off debt or simply spending it.

If you ever do find yourself with a financial windfall, it might be wise to pause and consider your options; Susan Bradley, a financial planner and founder of the Sudden Money Institute, tells that you should wait until you feel comfortable with the amount of money you’ve been given before making any major decisions on what to do with it. During that time, you may want to consider parking the money in a safe place, such as a savings account.


What would you do with $10,000 if you received it tomorrow? Have you ever unexpectedly received a large amount of money?

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  1. 3
    Lucille Wingard

    I would put it into a savings account as I have no bills and pay no interest on anything. If I owed some debt, I would pay that off first, then start to save.

  2. 5
    Hillary Kane

    I follow Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace plan. All extra money goes towards debt… THEN you save and pay cash for luxuries like vacations, restaurants etc.

    This method has left me debt free after paying off over $120k in debt!!!

    ~Hill Kane~

  3. 11
    isidro Escobedo

    I would put into my savings account I know I have bills to pay but my bills are included in my budget.the savings are to pay for my house Isidro Escobedo

  4. 13

    I would Donate the money to St.Judes Hospital in Memphis Tenn. You wont miss what you never had. It would buy more contentment knowing that this money might ease someones suffering.

  5. 17

    I would pay off ALL of my credit cards bills. It would be such a relief to get rid of that debt. With the money left over, I would put it in a savings account for my three year old to have when he starts college.

  6. 21
    josh wright

    I chose “spend” because I didn’t see donate or give-away as options. If I had an extra 10,000 dollars I would give it to someone who needs it more than me.

  7. 23

    It would go fast, but to three places. First, $2000 to my step mom to help with her medical bills. Secondly, $4000 to Sallie Mae to dent my education debt. And as for the third bit- thats 4 large to International Justice Mission (people doing incredible work for the well being of hurting people). Merry Christmas!

  8. 27

    I would love to put some into specific stocks and play with stock options, but i’d need the windfall to be 6 digits instead of 5 to get past student loans, credit cards and home improvements first. 10k is practically negligible with respect to these hurdles.

    • 32

      Sounds like a great plan, Carolina. Setting some aside for your children’s college education is definitely important for many of our customers.

  9. 33

    I would get a new car to help run my business. My current car is only the second car I had since March of 1993 and both have a combined 620,000 miles. I work with dairy farmers to help them be able to take their families on affordable vacations.

  10. 37

    I would put half in my savings and half would be a down payment on a house in Racine Wisconsin!
    Both my Husband and myself have lost our long term positions and are now both working partime. I would rather be struggling in our own home then in a rental.

  11. 39

    Savings rates are pitifully low thanks to Bernanke’s idea that he would fight inflation no matter what.

    The stock market is very dangerous right now, until the beginning of
    2013 because so many people are going to sell their stocks in order to avoid any increase in the Capital Gains tax next year … even though that is not a certain, done deal.

    Spending it is too dumb for words unless you are already loaded.

    Paying off debt is a smart thing to do as all you have to do is look
    at the interest rate you are paying on debt to see how dumb owing money is these days.

    Not much choice is there?

  12. 44
    Ken Smith

    It is interesting to note that so many people said they would save the money in the survey, yet most of the people who posted a message said they would pay off a debt. Add me to the list that would pay off debt. We’re Americans after all and we are way over our heads.

  13. 46

    I have never lived above my means by “blowing up the credit cards” like SO many people seem to do. I have an older car. So many things I do without and even medically necessary things… However, my immediate reaction to receiving any fortune (especially 10K) would be to 1. Do the things for my mother that she so desperately needs… Dental visit, doctor visit, clothing…. And perhaps treat her to something small she doesn’t have due to her extensive sacrifices in life. Number 2. I live in a poor area of NW Indiana. Several local animal and children/elderly programs are desperate for help; I would donate accordingly. Then we would all be so much more better. Sadly, realistically, who is going to “donate” or “gift” money? I cannot think of a corporation who thinks of we “everyday struggling people…”.

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