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Ways to Build Wealth With a Low Income


Building wealth on a low income might seem challenging, but it can be achievable with the right strategies. By adopting practical financial habits and making informed decisions, individuals can steadily increase their financial stability and security. From reducing debt to finding ways to supplement your income, there are numerous steps that can lead you to financial growth, even if you’re starting with limited resources.

Have enough to invest, but don’t know where to start? Consider reaching out to a financial advisor.

6 Ways to Build Wealth With Low Income

There are several ways to build wealth with low income. But one of the biggest challenges you might face is having limited resources to invest. And if this is your case, each dollar you invest matters that much more. You can’t afford to lose those funds, because you might not have anything else to invest with. So when you’re creating an investment plan, you’ll likely choose lower-risk, longer-term investments with the goal of growing your portfolio safely.

Another challenge is likely to be a lack of information. After all, many young adults have little to no financial education, and are forced to learn as they go. Sometimes this can result in making poor (and often costly) financial decisions. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid making those mistakes and focus on building your wealth with the best possible chance of success. Here are six common ways to help you achieve that goal with low income:

#1: Use Free Financial Resources

There are many free financial resources available for individuals with low income that can help you improve your financial literacy and stability. Here is a list of six places or resources to consider:

  • Government programs and websites: Government agencies offer free financial education resources. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provides a wide range of tools and resources on topics such as budgeting, savings and managing debt. Their website offers interactive guides and educational materials designed to help individuals make informed financial decisions.
  • Non-profit organizations: Non-profit organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) offer free or low-cost financial counseling services. These organizations provide assistance with budgeting, debt management and financial planning. They often host workshops and webinars that cover essential financial topics.
  • Local resources: Public libraries and local community centers are a valuable resource for free financial information, often offering free workshops and seminars. Libraries also provide a wide range of books, e-books and online resources on personal finance, investing and money management, while community centers can connect individuals with local financial advisors or counselors who offer pro bono services.
  • Online educational platforms: Several online platforms provide free financial education courses. Websites like Khan Academy offer comprehensive lessons on personal finance topics, including budgeting, savings and investing. Coursera and edX also offer free courses from universities and colleges that cover various aspects of financial literacy.
  • Credit unions: These often offer free financial education resources to their members. And can include workshops, seminars and one-on-one financial counseling sessions. Credit unions may also provide online tools and calculators to help with budgeting and financial planning.
  • Federal and state programs: Programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offer financial support to low-income individuals and families. These programs can help reduce financial stress for those who qualify and free up more funds for saving or investing. Additionally, state and local programs may provide similar benefits and support services.

#2: Set a Budget

A young man creates a budget, as part of his plan to build wealth with low income.

Making a budget is an important part of managing your finances. Start by tracking your sources of income and detailing your expenses. This can help you find areas where expenses can be cut. You’ll likely want to prioritize spending on necessities like housing, food, and transportation; and look for opportunities to reduce discretionary spending. Even small savings can accumulate over time, giving you more to contribute to building wealth.

#3: Reduce Debt

Paying down high-interest debt is important when building wealth with a low income. Focus on paying down debts with the highest interest rates first, such as credit card debt or payday loans. By eliminating these financial burdens, you free up more money for saving and investing. Additionally, reducing debt improves your credit score, which can lower borrowing costs for major purchases like a home or car in the future.

#4: Save Automatically

Automating savings can help you create consistent saving habits. Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings account every payday. This method can help reduce the temptation to spend and steer you towards building a savings cushion without the need for constant effort. Over time, these automated savings can grow, providing a financial buffer and supporting long-term wealth accumulation.

#5: Invest Gradually

Investing, even in small amounts, can significantly enhance your wealth over time. You might begin by exploring low-cost investment options such as index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which offer diversified exposure to the stock market. Compounding returns can help even modest investments grow substantially over time. By starting small and gradually increasing investment contributions, it’s possible to build a robust investment portfolio that supports long-term financial goals.

#6: Take advantage of Tax Benefits

Tax benefits can also help support your wealth-building efforts. Contributing to retirement accounts such as a 401(k) or an IRA can provide tax advantages that reduce your taxable income. Additionally, consider utilizing tax credits and deductions available for low-income households. These benefits can free up more money for saving and investing.

Bottom Line

It can be hard to create a plan to build wealth with low income, but by taking advantage of these resources, it's not impossible.

It can be challenging to create a plan for how to build wealth with low income. Having less resources makes it harder to fund an investment portfolio, but it’s not impossible. Taking advantage of free financial education resources can put you on the right path. And budgeting wisely, reducing debt and automating savings can also help you make significant progress towards financial stability.

Tips for Building Wealth

  • As you start building up your savings account and it comes time to invest, you might want to work with a financial advisor who can help you make the most of your funds. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Saving money can mean a drastic change in your financial habits – and change is hard. If you’re struggling to get started, set goals, or create a budget, here’s a straightforward guide on how to make a personal savings plan.

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