OK, I know what you're thinking — maybe you're not a writer. However, as Tamez says above, chances are, you're an expert sy ~something~. Also, chances are that other people want to know what you know. So whether you write an eBook on dating or tips on how to fix your car, once you write, self-publish the book, and let it go, it can sit on a site like Amazon and sell itself. Of course, you can market it, too, but that's another story! Some sites let you keep most of the earnings, while others do not.
You might not think of paying down debt as an income-generating activity, but it kind of is. Think of it this way: If you owe $10,000 and are paying 20% interest on it, that's $2,000 in interest payments annually. Ouch. Pay off that $10,000, though, and you'll be keeping that $2,000 in your pocket. It's very much like earning a guaranteed 20% return on the debt that you retire, and 20% annual returns are way more than you can expect from the stock market or elsewhere. Note that some credit cards may be charging you 25% or even 30% interest, so paying such debt off as soon as possible is a no-brainer financial goal.
The doctor or lawyer, for instance, could use her or his income to invest in a medical start-up or buy shares of medical companies he understands such as Johnson & Johnson. Over time, the nature of compounding, dollar cost averaging, and reinvesting dividends can result in her or his portfolio generating substantial passive income. The downside is that it can take decades to achieve enough to truly improve your standard of living. However, it is still the surest path to wealth based on the historical performance of business ownership and stocks.
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The first step is to think about what you can do that’s unusual or valuable to other people. Do you know a second language well enough to teach it to others, or have a skill like woodworking, crochet, or playing a musical instrument? People pay for all kinds of lessons. Just log onto the “services” section at Craigslist.org to start brainstorming what you could offer. If you’re not sure whether there’s a market for your skill, post an ad on Craigslist or on a local message board and see whether anyone contacts you about it.
I've now only got an SF rental condo and a Lake Tahoe vacation rental in my real-estate-rental portfolio. Although I miss my old house, I certainly don't miss paying $23,000 a year in property taxes and another mortgage, and dealing with leaks and managing terrible tenants. I drove by the other day and couldn't believe how much noisier and busier the street was than where I currently live. I wouldn't be comfortable raising my son there.
Refinancing your mortgage is a passive income generator? Yup, it sure can be. If you're making monthly mortgage payments of $1,600 now, and you can reduce that to $1,300 per month by refinancing your home loan at a lower interest rate, you'll keep $300 in your pocket each month. Of course, refinancing isn't free -- there are closing costs. Still, if you plan to stay in your home long enough to more than break even, refinancing is well worth it. As an example, if your closing costs are $6,000 and you're saving $300 per month, you'll break even in 20 months -- less than two years!
Generating multiple streams of income can have a major impact on your finances. Even an extra income of $500 each month could go a long way towards paying down debt or increasing your investments. We often hear about the importance of diversifying our investments, but diversifying our income streams is just as important, particularly in difficult economic times.
We’ve discussed how to get started building passive income for financial freedom in a previous post. Now I’d like to rank the various passive income streams based on risk, return, and feasibility. The rankings are somewhat subjective, but they are born from my own real life experiences attempting to generate multiple types of passive income sources over the past 16 years.
That's odd, because lot of these questions are actually pretty easy to answer. The IRS is good about publishing the data. Given that – and given the recent interest in personal income inequality, I decided to write a little bit about the different kinds of income people report on their tax returns. A longer paper – Sources of Personal Income – is here, but for a brief overview, you might want to check out the top ten sources of income:
For the 95% on $10 a day, see Martin Ravallion, Shaohua Chen and Prem Sangraula, Dollar a day revisited, World Bank, May 2008. They note that 95% of developing country population lived on less than $10 a day. Using 2005 population numbers, this is equivalent to just under 79.7% of world population, and does not include populations living on less than $10 a day from industrialized nations.
Investing in a business: Another good way to generate passive income is to invest in a business --even a small one -- in return for a percentage of the profits - just like Shark Tank, only smaller. Lending $10,000 to a local business that, for example, is working on a mobile app for Apple phones could lead to a passive income-generated share of the profits when that mobile app starts selling like hot cakes.
What's crazy is that my book income is more than my SF condo-rental income. Yet I didn't have to come up with $1.2 million of capital (the minimum cost to buy my condo today) to create my book. All I needed to create my book was energy, effort, and creativity. I truly believe that developing your own online product is one of the best ways to make money.
2) Find Out What You Are Good At. Everybody is good at something, be it investing, playing an instrument, playing a sport, communications, writing, art, dance and so forth. You should also list several things that interest you most. If you can combine your interest plus expertise, you should be able to monetize your skills. A tennis player can teach tennis for $65 an hour. A writer can pen her first novel. A finance buff can invest in stocks. A singer can record his first song. The more interests and skills you have, the higher chance you can create something that can provide passive income down the road.
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.”