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Originally published Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 8:01 PM

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Investing well with little income | Scott Burns

There is a reason why this Q&A column often is about financial issues facing people of means; they are the ones who submit questions. So here is a chance for readers to help the columnist write about creating a good life with a little income.

Syndicated columnist

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The letter comes several times a year. Each is different, but they say essentially the same thing:

“Why don’t you write about real people? Why do you write about people who have so much money — people who have it made?”

My defense is pretty simple: In my question-and-answer column, I write for the people who have written to me.

Most of the time they are people who have some money and want a second opinion about what they are doing with it. Trust me, I don’t start my day looking for a letter from someone who is particularly wealthy.

If anything, it’s more likely the reverse, looking for a letter from someone who faces a decision many others are facing.

The reality is that there are many, many people out there who have $500,000 to $1 million (or more) in financial assets, a valuable home, hefty Social Security benefits and maybe a pension, too.

Most are aware of their blessings, but they have the same concerns as people with a lot less money — they want to steward their money as well as possible.

What worries me is the increasing evidence that even modestly well-off people are pretty scarce, and maybe becoming rare.

The reason some readers think others are rich is that the financial air gets thin really fast in America. When you don’t have much money, it’s pretty easy to think that others have a bunch of it.

That’s why I’m going to pursue a different theme in some of my columns this year. I call it “Investing Without Money.”

So I’d like your help. Back in 1999 I took a motorcycle trip all across the U.S./Mexico border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to San Diego. I announced the trip as I left Dallas, and readers suggested most of the columns. I loved it — I called it “reader-directed-reporting.”

Tell me where to go to find people who are creating a good life with a little income, rather than creating a good life by starting with a lot of income.

If you’re one of those people, send me a note. I’ll call, maybe visit, tell your story and, just maybe, share some useful wisdom.

So, send me an email, and put “Small Solutions” in the subject line.


Copyright 2014, Universal Press Syndicate

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