Up until last week, Karen "the Bus Monitor" Klein had no idea she'd be retiring a wealthy woman.
Now, due to a horrific bullying incident caught on tape and a massive crowdfunding campaign to send her on a well-deserved vacation, Karen Klein might end up with over half a million dollars.
But what should she do with that money? We have some ideas.
As of Friday June 22, IndieGoGo, the crowdfunding website collecting donations for the 68-year-old bus monitor, had $530,982 collected for Klein, with 29 days left in the campaign.
Let's recap on the story -- the elderly bus monitor in Greece, NY, was riding on the school bus when several thirteen year olds began verbally abusing her. She eventually broke into tears. The teens captured the incident on a cell phone camera and broadcast it proudly over the Internet.
The result was fury over the incident and a collection fund set up to send the poor woman on a vacation.
But nobody expected the fund to generate as much money as it did.
Here are our top three pieces of advice for Karen "the Bus Monitor" Klein on handling her newfound wealth.
1. Spend it. This is the least prudent of all choices but hey, she deserves it. She will likely get a large chunk of that money, even after tax. So why not take that well deserved vacation?
2. Put it in a trust for her kids and grandkids. Let's be real -- Klein is a grandma who is nearly seventy years old. Why not put a large chunk of that money away in a trust that could keep giving to her children and grandchildren? She could keep some of that money to herself for immediate luxuries (Hawaii, anyone?) and place the rest in a trust which could provide her grandchildren with funds once they reach a certain age. If invested properly, that money could grow when it's time for the grandkids to recoup it.
3. Plan for incapacity. With all that newfound cash, it become imperative for Klein to designate someone she trusts to handle her finances in the event that she can't speak for herself. She should draft a power of attorney which would provide one of her kids (or someone else she trusts) to be in the position to manage her financial affairs in the event that she is deemed incapacitated.
In any event, Klein should take a trip to an estate planner's office to update her estate plan, now that she came into unexpected wealth so late in her life.
We wish Karen Klein the best and like many Americans, will wait eagerly to hear what she decides to do with the money.