It’s been almost 10 years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good income stream online now. Financial Samurai has given me a purpose in early retirement. And, I’m having a ton of fun running this site as well! Here’s a real snapshot of a personal finance blogger who makes $150,000+ a year from his site and another $180,000 from various consulting opportunities due to his site.
Whether you take a “distribution” (aka free-cash-flow) in the form of a dividend, interest payment, capital gain, maturing ladder of a CD, etc, you are still taking the same amount of cash out of your portfolio. Don’t fall for the trap of sub optimizing your overall portfolio’s performance because your chasing some unimportant trait called “income”.
In focusing on your wealth management goals, investment income is obviously critical but you might fund your goals from wider sources of income. A typical long-term portfolio might produce about half its return as income and the other half as capital growth, though in times of duress the capital growth component wanes. In this low-interest rate climate, some sources of income have become quite expensive and may prove disappointing against your spending needs. But by tax efficiently and sustainably drawing income from wider sources, you might meet your goals while more prudently balancing risk against reward.
What spurred this blog post was an idea put forth by my friend at ESI Money in which he talks about how the first million is the hardest. ESI shares how his net worth growth has accelerated. The first million took 19 years of work (the clock starts when he started working, not at birth!) but the 2nd million took just 4 years and 9 months. J Money took this same idea and started at $100k, which took him 7yrs 11mos. Each of the next $100k milestones took close to 18 months each to reach.
Unfortunately, it took a while for the real lessons to sink in. I was probably 20 or 21 when I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad the first time, which means I wasn’t exactly sure who I was yet. I knew I wanted to work hard and make money, but I wasn’t sure how. This made me a prime candidate for multi-level marketing pitches, and the dream of “getting rich quick.”
In the runup to the Second World War, the United States had suffered through the Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Roosevelt's election at the end of 1932 was based on a commitment to reform the economy and society through a "New Deal" program. The first indication of a commitment to government guarantees of social and economic rights came in an address to the Commonwealth Club on September 23, 1932 during his campaign. The speech was written with Adolf A. Berle, a professor of corporate law at Columbia University. A key passage read:
Passive income is earnings derived from a rental property, limited partnership or other enterprise in which a person is not actively involved. As with active income, passive income is usually taxable. However, it is often treated differently by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Portfolio income is considered passive income by some analysts, so dividends and interest would therefore be considered passive.
Investing in Index Funds – I use Vanguard for this, but there are several reputable sites out there that allow you to do the same thing. It’s a good way to invest excess cash that you don’t need now and use it to diversify your portfolio. I’m not going to make a specific recommendation here, but Vanguard does have a page that will make a recommendation to you based on your risk tolerance. This is generally going to require more up-front money than Lending Club (probably $1,000+), but if you have the money, it’s something to consider.
There are dozens of ways to generate passive income. However, the option you select has to do with two metrics: time and money. Either you have a lot of time or a lot of money. Most people usually don't have both. But, if you have a lot of money, generating passive income almost instantly is easy. You can buy up some real estate and begin enjoying rental income. Or, you can invest in a dividend fund or some other investment vehicle that will begin generating a steady income for you.
A lot of people don’t even know about my life insurance business, but it’s a huge part of my success. Like my other big projects, however, I started it to help people. Over the years, I’ve seen so many people who are uninsured or underinsured. For whatever reason, they don’t understand the importance of life insurance. Worse, they don’t understand how affordable it is for the average family.
In June, he put ads on his site with Google Adsense, and within the first hour, earned $1.08 with three clicks. He earned $5 the first day, $7 the second, and then eventually began pulling in $15-$30 a day. In October, he created an ebook exam study guide priced at $19.99. By month’s end, he earned $7,906.55 — more than he had ever previously earned in a month.
Good ranking FS, I’d have to agree with the rankings. And it looks like your portfolio covers five of the six! Some people consider real estate passive will others classify it as active. But every scenario is different, whether you are doing all the maintenance and managing yourself, or you are contracting out a lot of the work. Obviously it takes a lot more time and effort than purchasing a 36 month CD and “setting it and forgetting it.”
I see our income streams evolving in two phases during retirement because the missus will unfortunately have to work longer to secure the benefits of her DB pension. The first phase will be a bit of a transition period with my wages being replaced by passive investment income and interest income (GIC ladder for predictability and safety) with the missus still providing wage income. I’d love to find a fun and flexible encore career though that might provide some side wage income. Phase two would primarily be a mix of investment income, interest income, and DB pension income with the standard Canadian social security benefits providing an additional margin of safety.
Realtyshares is pretty cool. It allows you invest alongside other real estate investors in smaller increments than traditional syndicated investments. You typically invest in debt (tax liens) or equity (take a small ownership) in exchange for putting up capital. Rates can vary from 6% all the way to 19%. There are certainly risks, but that’s what’s great about it… you can spread it across several investments. I’ve done about a dozen deals with them over the past 2 years and so far so good!
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2007 Human Development Report (HDR), United Nations Development Program, November 27, 2007, p.25. (The report also notes that although India is rising economically, the bad news is that this has not been translated into accelerated progress in cutting under-nutrition. One-half of all rural children [in India] are underweight for their age—roughly the same proportion as in 1992.)
Sam…just read this article and I want to say that this is the best posting on passive income I have ever read…in a blog, article, or book. Thanks for making a difference and being an inspiration as to how it can all be accomplished. One of the great benefits of the internet is that people are willing to share their stories and experiences with each other online. If we had this when I was working professionally (20-40 years ago), it would have saved me from making some rather poor financial decisions that affected my retirement income. In a way, the internet is making up for the loss of financial security in the loss of The Defined Benefit Plan for retirement. Bravo!
6) Always Remember That Everything Is Relative. The best way to determine worthwhile passive income streams is by comparing the likely return (IRR) with the current risk-free rate of return. If I round up, the 10 year bond yield is at 3%. Any new venture should thoroughly beat 3% otherwise you are wasting your efforts since you can earn 3% doing nothing.
I've got a $185,000 CD generating 3% interest coming due. Although the return is low, it's guaranteed. The CD gave me the confidence to invest more aggressively in risk over the years. My online interest income has come down since I aggressively deployed some capital at the beginning of the year and again during the February market correction. You'll see these figures in my quarterly investment-income update.
I’m on board with having more than one source of income, but I definitely want to make my “extra” income as passive as possible. I don’t want to end up pushing myself to always earn more, more, more and never enjoy the life I have. Having said that, it’s nice to have the security blanket. My blog doesn’t earn much, but I also know it could earn more if I really needed it to. It also helps to l
Dividends made sense 40 years ago as a relatively simple rule of thumb, but after all the work done by John Bogle with index investing, and academics with Monte Carlo sims and the 4% rule, dividend investing just isn’t the simplest, cleanest way to invest or receive passive income anymore. It’s actually significantly more risky compared to index investing, because dividend companies are a much smaller share of the total global economy compared to the broader indices.
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In my situation, I knew that I would be leaving San Diego and quitting my job many months in advance. I knew when we’d be leaving but I didn’t know where we’d be heading(since my fiancee was applying to med school). That really forced me to think outside of the box and come up with some unique ways to make money, independent of our future location. I could have sat back and hoped that she got into a school in a city where I could find work as an engineer but I didn’t want to rely on chance.
Another way to generate passive income is to invest and be a silent partner in a business. This is very risky, but with risk comes the potential for high returns. For example, several years ago both Lyft and Uber were looking for private investors to invest in their companies. Today, they are worth billions - but you as an investor would only reap that benefit if they go public via an IPO, or get acquired. So, it's risky.
You are also free to choose a fund that is based on any index that you want. For example, there are index funds set up for just about every market sector there is — energy, precious metals, banking, emerging markets — you name it. All you have to do is decide that you want to participate, then contribute money and sit back and relax. Your stock portfolio will then be on automatic pilot.
Do you know of a successful business that needs capital for expansion? If so, you can become something of a small-time angel investor and provide that needed capital. But rather than offering a loan to a business owner, you instead take an equity position in the business. In this way, the business owner will handle the day-to-day operations, while you will act as a silent partner who also participates in the profits of the business.