While stocks are terrific income producers, they can be volatile. Every few years, the stock market tends to stagnate or drop for a while before recovering, and that can be problematic if you were counting on your stocks having a certain value at a certain time. One way to lock in an income stream is by buying a fixed annuity (as opposed to variable or indexed annuities, which can have steep fees and overly restrictive terms). Annuity contracts will be more generous when interest rates are higher, but here's how much income they might deliver at recent rates:
“Where a lot of people mess up is they try to build a business or create a product that serves everybody, and by trying to serve everybody, you serve nobody. You have to specialize and niche down and find a market with a pain point that you, based on your experience, based on your education and based on your passion, can help,” he says. Your earnings will directly reflect how well you serve that particular audience, and the more your message resonates with them, the more opportunities you’ll have to sell to them.
Truebill is an app that helps you save money by identifying recurring subscriptions and other bills and helping you cut costs by negotiating better rates and fees. One of their partnerships is with Acradia Power, which has the potential to save you up to 30% on your electric bill. It searches for better power rates in areas where competition is allowed, and it locks in the better prices for you.
The biggest surprise is real estate being second to last on my Passive Income Ranking List because I’ve written that real estate is my favorite investment class to build wealth. Physical real estate doesn’t stack up well against the other passive income sources due to the lack of liquidity and constant maintenance of tenants and property. The returns can be huge due to rising rental income AND principal over time, much like dividend investing. If you are a “proactive passive income earner” like myself, then real estate is great.
Think about it. If you are saving for retirement, you are trying to save enough in investing to generate enough income to replace your primary salary. Let’s take my friend’s example above: $50,000 a year. To generate $50,000, you would need to have almost $1,700,000 saved, and be able to generate a 3% cash flow on that money (which is reasonable if invested in dividend paying stocks).
This is mostly passive once you have it all set up, but it does take a lot of work at the beginning. Real estate investing also requires occasional maintenance. Currently, we invest in a couple of rental properties and earn about $500 profit from each per month. You can read more about my rental properties at MoneySmartLife.com: How and Why I Became a Landlord.
eBay Store: It’s now easier than ever to run an online eBay store. You can, of course, acquire products to resell on eBay. But you can also create an online store to market products that others are selling on eBay and share in the commissions generated by the sales. Recently I interviewed a family friend who started her own eBay store and now makes five figures from home. Check out the interview here.
State and local tax refunds — You might have received a refund of your state or local income tax you claimed as an itemized deduction on your prior-year return. If so, usually a portion of your state or local income tax refund is taxable. However, even if you itemized, part of the refund could be tax-free. To learn more, see the State and Local Income Tax Refunds tax tip.
Or, there is another theory for your primary salary – generate enough to have a little excess cash flow, but do it at a place that you can work stress free and have time to dabble in other projects. A good friend of mine has this setup – he works 10-5 and makes $50,000 a year. This allows him to easily cover all of his expenses, but the shorter hours and flexibility in his job allows him to pursue his secondary income generating ideas!
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Overall income potential: Excellent – Although it’s very possible to make $0 with a niche site if it doesn’t receive traffic, you can also make a lot of money if you rank well for good keywords. It’s not likely that you’ll make a living off one site, but they are generally easy to build. If you can build one successfully, you can probably build several more.
The first thing to do is figure out what you are good at and more importantly, what you enjoy doing. You may be able to type extremely fast. Maybe you have excellent negotiation skills. You may be great walking dogs and enjoy the needed exercise. Maybe you have a knack for growing gardens that homeowners in your neighbourhood covet. Tons of people are out there who do not possess the skills you have. You may have a needed skill that can generate a lucrative income in your spare time.
Secondly – and this is just quibbling – I’d change that risk score. The risk of private equity is incredibly high and should be considerably riskier than bonds! You are providing a typically very large amount of capital to one business that you agree to have no control over, and the success or failure of that business over a locked, predefined term determines your return. And in the few deals I’ve negotiated for clients, my experience has been that there are often management fees, performance fees, etc. that may cut into your potential gains, anyway. You’re putting a lot of eggs in one basket, and promising an omelet or two to the management no matter what. You really need to be confident that you found the next Uber before you take this giant risk!
What are your thoughts on an Immediate Annuity as a passive income vehicle? I suppose it’s not a great investment since you never get your principal back, but the risk is zero and the cash flow is fairly good, approaching 6% currently. And, since you are guaranteed payments for life, you may not care that you never see your principal again anyway since you’ll be dead!
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I first discovered the power of passive income when I was a senior in high school. I started a mobile billboard business where I would rent a small piece of land from someone who had land along a busy highway. Then I would place one of my billboard trailers on the land and rent out the ad space on the billboard. I would usually charge about $300 per month for the ad space, meanwhile I was only paying $50 per month to the landowner for the ground rent. I got to the point to where I had 9 billboard faces and was making quite a substantial income for someone in high school. I really learned how passive income could free up my life… this business is what lead me into investing in real estate.
I agree that it is important to establish multiple sources of income, but I would be hesitant to group dividend stocks and real estate into the “multiple streams” bucket. Those are investments, and living off of investment income because you are in an emergency state is not a good plan. Cash flow from investments ebbs and flows more than the cash flow from a day job.
But first, let’s about talk passive income! What is passive income? There are many different definitions out there, but mine goes something like this: Passive income is all about building online businesses that can work for you, that allow you to generate income, and grow and scale, without a real-time presence. In other words, you don’t trade time for money. You build something up front that can continue to work for you over time.
As an struggling young Engineer (back in the Carter era) I bought anything I could renovate then rent to justify paying the 18% interest. I never took vacations but worked on my properties all in the pursuit of passive income. I drove junk for many years & many months I just got by on credit cards. My friends & colleagues were amused by my ‘stupidity’ but most are still working to make enough for retirement.