Congratulations! That's an awesome way to start the year.
If you don't already have an emergency fund, that would be the next best step. If you're single, it would be good to have 4-6 months of necessary expenses saved up. Keep in mind, if you were to lose your job, you would likely cut back on your discretionary (fun) spending but you want to ensure you can continue to pay your rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation, medical and food expenses.
Then, do you have a company retirement plan, like a 401(k) or 403(b)? If they match your contributions, absolutely take advantage of that - it's free money for something you should be doing anyway!
Otherwise, open an IRA or a Roth IRA (Individual Retirement Account), depending on your age. If you're in your 20s or 30s, you should go with a Roth IRA. Select an online discount broker like Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard or Betterment and choose low-cost mutual funds. Then set up an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account so you're sure to save each month. The maximum IRA contribution for 2015 if you're under age 59.5 is $5.500.
As you can see, there's a lot to think about and the advice depends on your age, goals, income, budget, expenses, employer, relationship status, etc. I think you'd find it valuable talking over your situation with a fee-only financial planner and coming up with a plan for how best to move forward and live a life you love! | 01.16.15 @ 21:19