Carolyn Gurtz kneads a lot of dough to make her famous Double-Delight
Peanut Butter Cookies. At the 43rd annual Pillsbury Bake-Off, she took home quite a bit of dough, too – a million dollars.

Carolyn, a homemaker from Gaithersburg, Md., captured the grand prize at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, Texas April 15. Her husband, Dennis Gurtz, is a financial planner and member of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), and he says it’s essential to make investment plans for the $1 million, which is disbursed in 20 annual payments of $50,000.


Carolyn, who appeared on NBC’s Today Show April 17, said because her husband is a financial planner, she had to give him some – but not all – of the money. “I know I’ll find something I want too!” she said.

Dennis Gurtz, CFP®, CPA, CFA, and member of FPA of National Capital Area, is
cofounder of Gurtz, Yurachek & Associates, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., in Bethesda, Md. Dennis has been a financial planner for more than 26 years, formerly working at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He began his professional career as an accountant with Arthur Andersen & Co. and for the Ringling Bros. “From one circus to another,” he joked.

While Dennis opts not to discuss his family’s personal plans for the money, he provided advice on what one should do upon winning or inheriting a large sum of cash.

Dennis said it’s important to be aware of the after-tax value before you start planning, or you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise. “With Carolyn’s winnings, I’m focusing on
the $50,000 per year pre-tax payment, so it’s really only $30,000 after tax.” He added that it is crucial to seek immediate professional planning and tax advice after receiving a substantial amount of money.

Dennis also pointed out that not many people are adequately funded for retirement and recommends investing any windfalls to bolster retirement savings. This can be accomplished by increasing your retirement plan contributions through work or, if you are eligible, funding an IRA or Roth IRA.
“But, it really depends on how you receive the money. If the money is acquired through an inheritance, you need to first determine the tax basis of the inherited property. An inherited IRA is very different from cash, which is different from low basis stock in a trust,” he said.

Whether or not y
ou’ve won the lottery or inherited a fortune, Dennis said it’s important to prioritize and make a list of all your plans before you start spending.

At first, it seems like a lot of money, but a million dollars could disappear very quickly if you’re not paying attention. It could be gone with a few major purchases. You have to invest and save your money. It sounds boring, but you have to be careful.”

Carolyn Gurtz may know how to bake up a scrumptious million dollar treat, but Dennis is certainly one “smart cookie” when it comes to financial advice.


2008 — This column is provided by the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) of, the leadership and advocacy organization connecting those who provide, support and benefit from professional financial planning.  FPA is the community that fosters the value of financial planning and advances the financial planning profession and its members demonstrate and support a professional commitment to education and a client-centered financial planning process.

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