So, you’ve suddenly received a sum of money — maybe an inheritance, a bonus or a lump sum from another source. What’s next?

First, there’s no need to rush into any decisions on how to use the money.

If your funds weren’t intended for a specific purpose, think about your financial strategy; it will probably give you some ideas for how to put that money to work. Regardless of how much money you received or where it came from, this influx of funds can help you achieve your goals and give you more flexibility in making financial choices in the years ahead.

Consider the following ideas when thinking of what to do with your new sum of money.

Take stock of your financial situation

If you’re making enough money to fund your daily lifestyle, you may want to be wary of using your windfall to live more extravagantly.

While some who receive a sudden windfall see it as free money, spending their new funds on gifts for relatives or home renovations, it may be wiser to first consider your financial goals and priorities.

Create a plan

It can be helpful to break down your plan into two parts: your most immediate money needs, which you can tackle first, and your longer-term goals.

In the short term, you may have pressing financial needs, such as paying off high-interest loans or credit card debt.

Longer term, you may want to bolster your retirement savings or build an emergency fund of three to six months’ worth of living expenses so you have money on hand when an emergency happens.

Think about your future

No matter where you are on your retirement journey, it’s never a bad idea to contribute more to your retirement accounts.

You could use part of your inheritance or lump sum to fully fund your IRA for the year. You could also set aside some of the money for your daily expenses, freeing up more of your salary for your 401(k).

Help the next generation

If you have children, you may want to use some of your windfall to save for the cost of their education.

A 529 plan is a state-sponsored education savings plan that can be used for elementary, secondary or higher education expenses for the account beneficiary. Rules vary by state, so check with your state for more details.

Your Edward Jones financial advisor can help you determine how a 529 plan might work with your overall financial strategy and think through specific questions you might have.

Get some advice

When making these decisions, you may want to enlist some help.

For example, an inheritance of an IRA could come with tax consequences, so you might need to consult with a tax professional. And a financial advisor can help you protect your newfound funds and integrate them into your overall financial strategy.

Receiving a financial boon may truly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make the most of it.