How to Build Generational Wealth — Even if You’re Not Rich

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Generational wealth. It sounds so fancy and out of reach, doesn’t it? Like a topic of conversation for the Vanderbilts to chat about over their afternoon tea, not a smart financial strategy for everyday people.

But at its core, generational wealth is something we all can aspire to. It’s about building a more prosperous future and having something to pass on to your children. Whether that’s cash, stocks or property, it doesn’t need to be in a trust fund to make life better for future generations.

Once you realize “generational wealth” isn’t just for descendants of railroad tycoons, you can see it’s something that is totally attainable — and incredibly important — for the rest of us common folk.

Here are a few ways to start a generational-wealth plan for your family.

1. Leave Your Family up to $1M

While life insurance is, in fact, insurance on your life, it is also an important step toward improving your children’s future if something were to happen to you.

With a term life policy, you could leave them $1 million to help them build their lives if you were to die early. And you don’t need to be a millionaire to pass on a million dollars.

We suggest finding a policy through a company like Bestow. Maybe you’ve considered this before, but thought it was only for rich or older people. But we’re hearing that people are getting it for as little as $16 a month.

You can take advantage of Bestow until you’re 54 years old, but the sooner you take care of this, the cheaper it could be.

You don’t even need to leave your house to get a free quote from Bestow — it takes minutes to do this online. Instead of leaving your family with what’s in your checking account and a bucket of worries, they’ll be able to afford the life you’ve always wanted for them.

2. Spend $1 to Own a Piece of Amazon, Google or Other Companies

All this talk of hedge funds in the news might make you think that owning companies or investing in them is only for people who are rich and financially savvy — that they’re the only ones who can invest millions, make millions more, then pass those millions down to their kids.

And sure, that’s one way millionaires create generational wealth. But you can create it that way, too. All you need to do is start small and build up your nest egg.

A lot of people use the app Stash to start investing. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — buying pieces of other companies for as little as $1.*

That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google or Apple, for as little as $1. The best part? When these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.

It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.**

3. Make Sure You’re Getting Your Retirement Fund Fully Matched

Most people think about their retirement savings plan as a means to an end. It’s reaching a goal number that will last you through your golden years comfortably. But if you were to save up more than what you need, you could make a big difference in your next generation’s lives.

And if your employer offers to match your retirement contributions, taking full advantage of that could mean hundreds of thousands of extra dollars down the road. Yes, hundreds of thousands.

But if you can’t take advantage of this employer benefit because you need all of your paycheck every month, a company called Lendtable will give you the cash.

We know it sounds too good to be true. But if your employer has a 401(k) match program, this is money they already have earmarked for you. By using Lendtable, you’ll be able to unlock that free cash.

Let’s say you make $50k a year and your employer matches your 401(k) contribution up to 4%. If you put $0 in your retirement account this year, you get $0 from your boss. If Lendtable lends you the 4% of your salary your employer is willing to match, you get $2,000 from your boss, minus Lendtable’s fee. (This comes from the extra money you’ve earned, so there’s no sacrifice on your part.)

It takes three minutes to answer a few questions about your eligibility and sign up for an account.

Once you’ve gotten your full match amount from your employer, LendTable will take the money they lent you back, plus a small share of your profit. If there’s a penalty from your retirement account provider for taking money out, Lendtable will cover that, too.

The risk for you is basically nonexistent, so not taking advantage of your employer match with Lendtable’s offer would make Future Millionaire You bow your head in shame. Get started here.

4. Invest in Real Estate (Even if You’re Not a Millionaire)

Take a look at some of the world’s wealthiest people. What do they have in common? Many invest in large private real estate deals. And here’s the thing: There’s no reason you can’t, too — for as little as $10. 

A company called Fundrise lets you get started in the world of real estate by giving you access to a low-cost, diversified portfolio of private real estate. The best part? You don’t have to be the landlord. Fundrise does all the heavy lifting.

Fundrise’s Starter Portfolio has a minimum of only $10 and is geared toward first-time real estate investors. Your money will be invested in the company’s Flagship Fund, which already owns more than $250 million worth of real estate around the country, from apartment complexes to the red-hot housing rental market to larger last-mile e-commerce logistics centers.

Want to invest more? Fundrise offers a variety of account levels and features to fit every type of investor’s needs. Once invested, you can track your performance on Fundrise’s website and mobile app, and watch as properties are acquired, improved and operated. As tenants pay their rent, you could earn money through quarterly dividend payments, and over time, you could earn money off the potential appreciation of the property. Since 2014, Fundrise investors have earned roughly $100 million in dividends alone.

So if you want to get started in the world of real-estate investing, it takes just a few minutes to sign up and create an account with Fundrise.

*Past performance is not indicative of future results. The publicly filed offering circulars of the issuers sponsored by Rise Companies Corp., not all of which may be currently qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission, may be found at www.fundrise.com/oc.

5. Own Property — Any Piece of Property

A massive key to generational wealth revolves around the passing down of property. You might be picturing mansions or large estates only millionaires could leave their kids in their wills.

But imagine how much easier your life would be right now if you didn’t have to pay rent on an apartment, or you had a free piece of land to build a tiny house on. That would be awesome, right? Sure, a penthouse in Manhattan would be more impressive, but anything that could remove one stressor from someone’s life is worthwhile.

There are lots of ways to make property ownership possible for the 99%. First-time home buyers are eligible for lower rates and smaller down payments. Veterans may not need to put any money down at all. Talk to a mortgage lender and see what opportunities are available to you.

So set a goal of property ownership. Any sort of property! It’s an incredible and attainable way of creating generational wealth.

6. Stop Wasting Your Money on Credit Card Debt

If you have debt, all this hard work of creating generational wealth could be for nothing! You don’t want to dump a problem like that onto your loved ones — debt doesn’t disappear just because you did.

For a lot of us, credit card debt is the biggest offender. And your credit card company is more than happy to keep charging those insane interest rates until your family pays off your debt. But a website called AmOne wants to help.

If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.

The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.

AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.

Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s hoping to set her son up for a wealthy life with the decisions she makes now. 

*For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

**You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.

The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.