There’s a whole world out there of financial products I have very little understanding about. Apparently, there’s a market for buying and selling “structured settlements” for cash after you win big money after a court case. The following is a guest post by Jason from JG Wentworth which pays people cash now for settlements which are paid over time.
When a plaintiff settles a court case and is awarded a large amount of money, it may be decided that the settlement will be paid over time in installments rather than a single lump sum payment. This type of arrangement is called a “structured settlement”.
The advantage to having a structured settlement is that the money is tax-free if set up properly. Structured settlements can also be beneficial because they provide a source of income for the recipient well into the future, where as lump sum payments will more likely be spent if the recipient does not manage their money responsibly.
Structured settlement payments can also be a disadvantage, trapping the recipient into periodic payments when they may want cash now. Many settlement recipients choose to sell their settlement payments for a lump sum of cash to start a business, pay for college tuition, purchase a home or other various financial reasons.
Handling a large lump sum of cash can be exhilarating. And it can be a little unsettling, too. Money causes people to worry, and worry spins half-truths or unfounded myths about financial issues at hand. Selling your structured settlement into a lump-sum payment is an opportunity to increase your net worth — not limit it. All it takes is a little guidance from a structured settlement buyer and a plan of action for your cash to breakthrough any doubts.
Apparently there must be some controversy about structured settlements and Jason is here to help clear the air.
MYTHS ABOUT SELLING A STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT FOR CASH
I have to cash out all of my settlement – NOT TRUE. An experienced structured settlement company is there to figure out your exact cash needs, be it a full payment, partial payment, or a shared payment. Your structured settlement is an important asset and is always managed as such – no matter how much or how little you use of its resources.
I cannot invest any of my structured settlement – NOT TRUE. A home is an investment. Paying off your debts in order to free up more money for retirement savings is an investment. Funding a child’s or even your own education is an investment. Structured settlement cash is an opportunity to use both creativity and wisdom to establish a sound financial future.
This will affect my monthly budget – NOT TRUE. If you are using additional settlement cash to help pay the bills while using your time to earn a higher degree that pays a much higher income; or if you are using a large lump sum to purchase a profitable business; you are creating an opportunity to expand what you bring in each month in a positive way.
I’ll lose a lot of value if I liquidate my settlement – NOT TRUE. In fact, inflation will do the most damage on your structured settlement if you do not allow it to be distributed into one or more lump-sum payments for better-returning investments. Take a settlement payout and place it in a dependable asset, like a piece of property or business, and watch the value of your cash increase.
It costs a lot to change my settlement to a lump sum – NOT TRUE. It costs far more to take a loan out with a high interest rate or to continue to stay in debt over credit card or medical bills. A reputable structured settlement company is run a lot like your own finances – very carefully and with concern for a multitude of parties involved. When you sell a portion of your settlement for cash, a host of financial professionals are able to navigate your financial needs to make sure you understand their number one priority is the exact same as yours: to establish a bright financial future.
Is it just me, or have you never heard of such a thing before? Let’s say you are found guilty for setting on fire your neighbor’s prized Chow Chow puppy dog. The dog so happens to earn his owner $100,000 a year and was expected to live and earn for 3 more years. The jury decides you’re going to have to pay the owner $300,000 out of your own pocket because you don’t have enough homeowners insurance or an umbrella policy. Instead, you agree to pay 10 installments of $30,000 a year for the next 10 years.
Meanwhile, the owner of the Chow Chow is thinking he doesn’t want to wait 10 years to collect his $300,000. He wants the lump sum now. Unfortunately, you only make $80,000 a year and have $10,000 savings so the most you can pay him is $30,000 a year. What to do? I guess you call the guys over at JG Wentworth and see how much they’ll pay for your $300,000 settlement. Perhaps you can get 80 cents on the dollar, or $240,000 upfront, perhaps not. I guess it all depends on how desperate you are for the cash up front, and what kind of terms JG Wentworth or other structured settlement for cash firms are willing to give you.
Another scenario I can think of is if you are so lucky as to win the lottery. Sometimes, you have the option of taking the big winnings in one lump sum. However, often times, the state only pays you out over a set number of years. In this case, you can ping a firm such as JG Wentworth to see if you can sell your future lottery winnings at a discount, since it’s all about the present value of money. It’s important to have assumptions on inflation, investment performance, risk free interest and so forth. At the end of the day, winning the lottery is a good problem to have!
Recommendation To Build Wealth
Manage Your Money In One Place: Sign up for Personal Capital, the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. You can use Personal Capital to help monitor illegal use of your credit cards and other accounts with their tracking software. In addition to better money oversight, run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees. I was paying $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying.
After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator that pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms. Definitely run your numbers to see how you’re doing. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.
About the Author: Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened a Charles Schwab brokerage account online in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse Group. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate. He also became Series 7 and Series 63 registered. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $150,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis, hanging out with family, consulting for leading fintech companies, and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom.
Updated for 2019 and beyond.