Low Income Personal Finance and Estate Planning

Most people think a "low income" earner doesn't need to think about estate planning. But, they are wrong. Income is only half of the equation. The other half is savings and that second half is actually the more important part of building an estate.

Obviously a low income earner is challenged to find money to save. But, he also has advantages. So, let's start with those.

Generally a person who has little income:

  • Pays little or no income tax. That is a great advantage. A high income eaner could lose half of his earnings to taxes right off the top. See Estate Planning and Taxes for more on that.
  • Has fewer expenses. He or she is less likely to have to purchase expensive clothing for work; pay for an expensive home and car (and their maintenance and insurance costs); own expensive leisure items like boats, snowmobiles (don't forget maintenance and insurance on these too); take expensive vacations, etc.
  • Has more time. Of course this is certainly not always true. But, generally high income earners have lots of demands on their time that a low income earner likely does not. And time is an enormous asset as we'll discuss more below.

The truth is that the expenses that a "high income earner" tends to accumulate can (and too often does) wipe out the income advantage a high wage earner holds over a "low income earner."

Another thing to think about is that what might be considered a low income in an expensive area could be a high income if you live in an inexpensive area.

Truthfully, the low income earner faces the same challenges as Middle Income Earner; High Income Earner; and Single Working Mom to balance personal finances with his or her estate planning objectives.

Really, the whole concept of low, middle and high income is not the most relevant factor in buiding wealth. At the end of the day, as discussed at Estate Planning 101 accumulating capital is the name of the game in obtaining wealth and financial independence.

If the low income earner can manage to save even a little bit money and can also effectively use his or her time to build a successful business, then, in time, he or she can obtain a large estate and financial independence -- just like a rich person can.

You are likely thinking: "give me a break, a low income earner cannot buy a successful business." And, actually, I agree with that.

You can't buy a business that makes significant profit for little or no money. Of course not. But, you can build a business that, in time, makes significant income -- for little or even no money.

You make that happen through the work; the "sweat equity" that you put into that business. The key is finding a business that works for you. Find something you love to do and then think how you can make money doing it.

For me, building this website (along with several others) has turned out to be a very profitable enterprise and I am able to build them without having to spend much money at all.

If interested, you can read more about that at Best Low Cost Investment.

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--by Beth Heikkinen
Marquette, Michigan
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