It turns out you've got a pretty good shot of landing an inheritance.
According to the Washington, D.C-based CFP Board, one-third of Americans can expect get a "significant" inheritance in their lives. If you fall into that fortunate category, congratulations. The Board says inheritance cash has multiple benefits, from providing the ability to pay off long-term debt to financing a family member's college education.
But as hard as it might be to believe, there can be a downside or two with an inheritance, primarily because many recipients squander the inheritance and don't want wind up using the money wisely.
"Windfalls can turn into mixed blessings when people indulge themselves or rush into their decisions about what to do with their inheritances, states Jill Schlesinger, a financial planner and senior CFP Board ambassador.
Schlesinger lists the most common - and most financially painful - mistakes made by people who squander an inheritance. It all starts with bad decisions. Here's a look:
Mindless spending: Some people begin mindless spending on "just a small indulgence," Schlesinger notes. "A series of those kinds of purchases can morph into a spending splurge that might rob people of their ability to reach their overall goals for the inheritance."
Forgoing professional financial advice: Even Americans who manage their 401(k)'s or their taxes well on their own can benefit from help, Schlesinger adds. "That's because a windfall, whether it's an inheritance or even lottery proceeds, is different," she says. "Those who receive an inheritance should consider assembling a team, including an estate attorney, an accountant and a certified financial planner."