Social Security — Depending upon your income, Social Security benefits might be entirely tax-free or partly taxable. Ex: If your income is more than $25,000 — or $32,000 if married filing jointly — up to 85% of your Social Security benefits is taxable. When figuring your income, include tax-free interest income and 50% of your Social Security benefits.
Hi, it’s probably been brought up before, but the statement “you can’t touch pre-tax retirement accounts without a penalty until 59.5” is incorrect. You can touch the traditional 401k accounts with a SEPP (substantially equal payment plan), and not pay the 10 percent penalty. You can also touch a Roth without the 10 penalty using the same strategy, although I understand you will pay taxes so you lose the Roth’s advantage. When I found this out, I stopped contributing to Roths because I wanted to retire early. Who knows if they will even live to age 59.5? So many people don’t!
Thank you for sharing your article! You did a great job saving and putting your money to work for you. Like you, I share the same financial dream of having 150-200k in passive income and traveling the world stress-free! :) Right now I’m saving about 80-90% of my active income and put it toward ETF funds and value growth stocks because I’m seeking capital appreciation. And I can tolerate a lot of risks because I’m still in my early 20’s. By the time I reach 30 something I’ll start looking into blue chips stocks that pay dividends and REIT. So I want to be where you are by that time lol. Anyways, that the plan and I’m sticking to it. Good luck on achieving your financial dream!
In federal legislation, the key planks for the right to a useful and remunerative job included the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. After the war was the Employment Act of 1946, which created an objective for the government to eliminate unemployment; and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited unjustified discrimination in the workplace and in access to public and private services. They remained some of the key elements of labor law. The rights to food and fair agricultural wages was assured by numerous Acts on agriculture in the United States and by the Food Stamp Act of 1964. The right to freedom from unfair competition was primarily seen to be achievable through the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice's enforcement of both the Sherman Act of 1890 and the Clayton Act of 1914, with some minor later amendments. The most significant program of change occurred through Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. The right to housing was developed through a policy of subsidies and government building under the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965. The right to health care was partly improved by the Social Security Act of 1965 and more recently the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The Social Security Act of 1935 had laid the groundwork for protection from fear of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment. The right to a decent education was shaped heavily by Supreme Court jurisprudence and the administration of education was left to the states, particularly with Brown v. Board of Education. A legislative framework developed through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and in higher education a measure of improvement began with federal assistance and regulation in the Higher Education Act of 1965.
It was easier recouping the lost $60,000 in rental-property income than I expected. For so long, my primary mindset for passive income was rental income. Having $815,000 less mortgage debt but still generating roughly the same amount of passive income with a much larger cash balance feels great. Further, my passive-income portfolio got even more passive, which is good as a stay-at-home dad to a newborn.
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!
Those who choose to focus on passive income will need either family money, funds from investors, or the nerve to borrow large sums by taking on debt to fund the purchase of assets. The easiest to understand is someone who takes out substantial bank loans to build an apartment building or buy rental houses. Although this can turn a very small amount of equity into a large cash flow stream, it is not without risk. When using borrowed money, the margin of safety is much smaller because you can’t absorb the same degree of setback before defaulting and finding your balance sheet obliterated.

Income inequality refers to the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner. It can be measured by various methods, including the Lorenz curve and the Gini coefficient. Economists generally agree that certain amounts of inequality are necessary and desirable but that excessive inequality leads to efficiency problems and social injustice.[3]


I like to think about having an additional source of income as being sort of like an insurance policy. I interviewed one young woman who taught aerobics classes in the evenings after spending her days working as a videographer for news organizations. When she was unexpectedly laid off from her day job, she quickly doubled her aerobics teaching load and was able to keep herself afloat until she found a new full-time job. Some more examples of income multi-streaming are a teacher I know who sells used baby clothes out of her home and a young couple who run a small Internet business on the weekends. Just like these people, you can also pick a profitable project or create a business that matches your lifestyle. 

Blogging – I guess you could say I’m a professional personal finance blogger since I own two sites and I’m making decent money every month. The income started off slow but has been consistently increasing. It’s not as much as I make with my day job but my best blogging month was equal to about one paycheck at my old day job.  While I had to learn how to set up and use WordPress myself, you can learn how to blog and make money online at StartABlog123.com.


We had a few property managers, but I wasn’t happy with their work. They didn’t really paid much attention to our properties and the tenant had a tendency to do whatever they wanted to. One tenant built a tree house at our old 4-plex. We didn’t find out about it until the neighbor sent a letter of complaint. If you have a good property manager, then keep them!
Real Estate Crowdsourcing – After selling my SF rental house in mid-2017 for 30X annual gross rent, I  reinvested $550,000 of the proceeds ($810,000 total) in real estate crowdfunding through RealtyShares, based in San Francisco. My goal is to take advantage of cheaper heartland real estate with much higher net rental yields (8% – 12% vs. 2% – 3.5% in SF) and diversify away from expensive coastal city real estate which is now under pressure due to new tax policy which limits SALT deduction to $10,000 and new mortgage interest deduction on mortgages of $750,000 from $1,000,000 for 2018 and beyond.
Although renting out your room or home can also be a side hustle to make extra cash, it's also a great source of passive income. However, another route to go is to get an income property just for the purpose of renting it out. This is even better if you live in a touristy area, because you can probably make even more than usual during the high tourist seasons.
Passive income differs from active income which is defined as any earned income including all the taxable income and wages the earner get from working. Linear active income refers to one constantly needed to stay active to maintain the stream of income, and once an individual chooses to stop working the income will also stop, examples of active income include wages, self-employment income, martial participation in s corp, partnership.[4] portfolio income is derived from investments and includes capital gains, interest, dividends, and royalties.[5]
The second category of passive income is drawing on sources that do not require capital to start, maintain, and grow. These are far better choices for those who want to start out on their own and build a fortune from nothing. They include assets you can create, such as a book, song, patent, trademark, Internet site, recurring commissions, or businesses that earn nearly infinite returns on equity such as a drop-ship e-commerce retailer that has little or no money tied up in operations but still turns a profit.
Thank for this extensive work. When you make extra money you need to think simple. First thing you should consider is whatever you do must be safe enough that you don’t lose your initial investment as well. Also, look at the ways you can reduce your costs. This could be car insurance savings or paying back expensive loans or card balances. Saving is making money as well.
Lending Club went public in 2014 and is now worth about $1.7B. They advertise P2P lending returns of over 7% for well-diversified portfolios of over 100 notes. I’ve personally been able to achieve a 7.4% annual return over the past two years in a completely passive way by investing in A and AA notes. Others have achieved a 10% annual return through relatively minimum effort.
I do remember you mentioning that & how it was your ticket to exit softly and give you time to build the passive income side. Most likely when I do exit it will either be through a sale of the business which would come along with a employment contract or if a worthy successor(s) can take it over, then the business is just another annuity throwing off income. Anyway, I’d enjoy writing a guest article after I survive the next few weeks of work and weddings.

Though it can take a while to build up enough cash to put a 20% down payment on an investment property (the typical lender minimum), they can snowball fairly quickly. The key here is to correctly project income and expenses in order to calculate cash flow (the free cash you can put in your pocket after all associated property expenses have been paid). However you have to be sure to include the cost of a property manager in your calculations unless you want to manage the property yourself. Even with a property manager, you may be required to make large repair decisions every now and then – so while this is not a 100% passive activity, you are not directly trading your time for money like traditional employment.

Blogging – I guess you could say I’m a professional personal finance blogger since I own two sites and I’m making decent money every month. The income started off slow but has been consistently increasing. It’s not as much as I make with my day job but my best blogging month was equal to about one paycheck at my old day job.  While I had to learn how to set up and use WordPress myself, you can learn how to blog and make money online at StartABlog123.com.
Now, all that said, if capital (savings) grows faster than the growth of the economy, those with savings will see their wealth grow at a faster rate than those who rely on the growth of their income. While this is not an extension of Piketty's argument (you can't take an idea that applies to a population and a whole economy and boil it down to the individual like this), it's not an unreasonable conclusion to take and apply to your own life. (Piketty does talk about this on an individual level, but says it's more impactful for billionaires vs. millionaires – though we have limited data into individuals)
1) If your property is not under rent control, you have the ability to raise rent to market prices with proper warning. In SF, I have to give tenants a one month warning for up to a 10% increase and a two month warning for up to 60%. Rent control limits to an inflation index, usually around 2% a year, which is why initial pricing and tenant turnover is important for better profitability.
“Start-up time” required: Poor – Experienced niche site builders will be well versed with outsourcing certain tasks and running through the whole process very efficiently, but when you first start out, it can take a long time to earn your first dollar from a niche site.  Doing research, designing the site, writing content, and doing proper SEO work can all be very time consuming, and the payoff isn’t always something you can rely on.
Hey Mike! Love this article. Recently, I paid off my student loans and am crazy focused on creating multiple passive income streams. Currently, all my passive income comes from real estate and because of your great articles on the subject I called to check out refinance options! I had no clue about CD laddering, dividend investing or P2P lending until two weeks ago when I started doing my research on where to put my hard earned money. I had been just saving it but when I looked at the terrible 0.01% return I said forget it! 2 % for me is a great way to start. It is better than what I have been getting outside of my real estate. Also, creating products is a must! I’m working on this type of royalty too. I find it so exciting to learn how to use your money to make money. Thanks and I will be sure to link to you when I start my blog!
As for me, I started focusing on passive income last year, but have owned rentals for 5 years. $25k now outside retirement accounts in mostly real estate. Looking to invest another $500k cash into real estate to get about $65k, and then 1031 under performers next year to hopefully boost that a bit higher. Heavy in real estate, but feels lower risk than the stock market to me if you have cashflowing properties. Real estate is inflation adjusted, and built in cashflow raise when the loan pays off.
The one thing I learned though from all those childhood experiences though is that you never can depend on one source of income. Eventually my mom caught on and stopped giving me all those extra bags of chips and I had to figure out a new way to make money. No matter how safe something seems there’s always the chance that you could lose that income and be stuck with nothing.

“There is no such thing as 100% passive income,” says Flynn. “Even with real estate you still have to manage your properties, or even with the stock market, which is potentially passive income, you still have to manage your portfolio. With online business, there is no such thing as 100% passive income — and this is coming from a guy with a blog called SmartPassiveIncome.com. The definition of passive income is ‘building these businesses of automation,’ but in order to keep them automated and keep that trust going with your audience on top of that, you do have to keep it up every once in a while — so a lot of time upfront and a little time after. But there is alway time involved.”


These are most of the ways that I use to try and diversify my income. Add them all up and they’re still nowhere near my day job income but they’re getting closer every day. No matter how much you make it’s imperative to start thinking about additional ways to make money. Real estate and investing are some of the best passive sources of income but it’s also important to think of alternative active sources of income. For most people, those two things will never be able to equal your day job pay but secondary active sources could one day replace your day job whether you want it to or not.
However, you should pick a niche and blog about that. If you're launching a money related blog, maybe it'll be about how to make money in real estate or simply how to make money online. Pick the niche and stick to it. If it's a diet and fitness related blog, maybe the niche is the Ketogenic diet, the Atkins diet or some other form of diet or fitness.
I have a total of three CDs left. There is no way in hell I’m selling them after holding them for 4+ years so far to take the penalty. The CDs are for 7 years. That would be completely counterproductive. As a result, I feel very stuck with ever getting my CD money back if I wanted to. If the CDs were for just 1 or 2 years, I agree, it doesn’t matter as much. But combine a 7 year term with 4%+ interest is too painful to give up.
I invest about 5% of my pre tax income in 401k that my employer matches. Have close to 70k in cash in checking. Also,I liquidated around 40k in my 401k and not sure where to invest that in (bonds vs stocks) because of stocks trading at record high. Have a rental property that is paying itself now and I will pay off the mortgage completely in 5 years. My immediate concern is the cash in checking acct that’s not doing much. Thanks for your reply and appreciate your work. I am learning a lot

So many great tips in this big post, thanks! I think it’s so true that people should focus on the things they do well at and are interested in. And yes save, save, save in the beginning and throughout. I have several interest and dividend earning investments and am looking to expand further. Diversification is a great goal for all of us so we can avoid having all our eggs in one basket.

Remember, a successful business solves people’s problems. At first, you’re going to have to do the legwork and put in the time. But it’s about building something now so you can reap the benefits later, with the help of software, tools, automation, and people you hire. In this way, you can then turn this business that solves people’s problems into something that generates passive income for you!
Thanks for the great article…although I have to point out many of the items listed are not passive but active, such as selling bodily fluids, writing blogs or resumes, and collecting bottles and cans. To be truly passive, the income source must require no effort on your part (after initial setup). Real estate, dividends, P2P lending…these are truly passive income sources.

Not only that but in almost all other cases there is the illusion of influence, which is itself a psychological and emotional cost. If you invest in a business that your friend or family member is running, you can see how things can get messy. You have thoughts on how things should be done, they have competing thoughts, if things aren't going well… we know how this story goes.
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