Lending Club (U.S. Residents Only) – I talk about Lending Club in every one of my income reports, because I still believe it’s the best source of passive income, even though it’s not my largest source. You can get started for as little as $25, and over the past 2+ years, my interest rate has been 7% or higher, which I think is very good given the relatively low risk involved. This is even more true given the recent market downturn. You can read about how I select my investments here.
What I did: I first identified my favorite places in the world to live: San Francisco, Honolulu, Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, and Lake Tahoe. I then looked up the median rent and housing prices for each city. Then I factored in private education costs for two kids to be conservative given I may not have two kids and public schools are often good enough. After calculating all vital costs, I then did a self-assessment of how happy I was making $50,000, $100,000, $150,000, $200,000, $250,000, $350,000, $500,000, and $750,000. I decided working 20 hours a week making $200,000 a year is the best income balance for maximum happiness.
Within six months of selling, however, I had reinvested the proceeds from the home sale and brought total passive income for 2018 back up to an estimated $203,724. I'm not sure I would have sold the house without a clear plan for reinvesting the proceeds, since I'm bullish on the SF housing market long term. However, because I did have a plan, and the challenges of raising a newborn and dealing with rowdy tenants left me feeling a bit stretched, I decided to simplify and sell.
Here's an option that's still unfamiliar to many people but that has been growing in popularity: Lending money on a peer-to-peer basis. A major website for this is lendingclub.com, where investors have earned returns in the neighborhood of 4% or more annually. You'll be lending money to fellow individuals who have had trouble borrowing money through other avenues, and you can spread your dollars across many such folks to reduce the risk.
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For those of you who don’t want to come up with a $220,000 downpayment and a $900,000 mortgage to buy the median home in SF or NYC, who don’t want to deal with tenants or remodeling, and who wants to not do any work after the investment is made, check out RealtyShares. They are my favorite real estate crowdsourcing company based in San Francisco. I’ve met senior management multiple times as well as their chief risk officer and various members of their investment committee.
In addition to opening a brokerage account, you can also invest in peer-to-peer lending firms like Lending Club. I’ve been using Lending Club for a few years, and my net annualized return was 6.02% percent last year. Picking the right investments is easy since the platform offers automatic investing, but you can also pick your own notes if you're brave and want to learn the best ways to leverage the Lending Club platform.