The wealth-building pyramid

A pyramid divided into four sections. The bottom, and largest section, is labeled foundation. The next layer is labeled assets. The next layer is labeled estate, and the top layer is labeled share.

The foundation layer is cash flow. Before someone can truly begin building wealth, he or she must consistently generate enough income to handle month-to-month expenses. It’s also a good idea to have enough savings set aside to cover at least two months, and if possible three to six months of living expenses, in case of a financial emergency.

Once the cash flow foundation is in place, you can begin to invest in assets — investments, such as real estate or stocks. These investments will hopefully appreciate in value over time and allow you to retire at some point in the future with a comfortable lifestyle.

Moving up the pyramid, the next layer is your estate, the wealth you’ll pass on to your family. If you’re a business owner, this could include your business.

At the pinnacle of the pyramid are your legacy goals, or your philanthropic goals — the many positive ways you might share your wealth by giving back to your community.

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