Well written piece, but I question the core premise. Why the fascination with maximizing “income” (passive or otherwise). Shouldn’t the goal simply be to maximize long-term after tax growth of your entire portfolio? If this takes the form of dividend paying stocks, so be it. But what if small caps are poised to outperform? What if you want to take Buffet’s or Bogle’s advice and just buy a broad market index like the S&P 500, (no matter what the dividend because you’ll just have it automatically reinvested to avoid the transaction fees).
A normal distribution (bell curve) is the limit of what one would find by adding up the value of many independent quantities such as the height of people in a large group. A power law distribution is the limit of what one would find by multiplying the value of many independent quantities such as the relative size of forest fires over a large enough area and a long enough period of time.
If we invest this financial capital well enough and do not lose it or spend it all along the way, it may even grow at a compound rate that matches or exceeds inflation and taxes. Most of us reinvest inflows from financial capital during the accumulation years. Our investment vehicles tend to be geared for total return and capital gains instead of monthly income generation.
While it is important to find something that you love to do and turn it into a money making business, you do have to be cognizant of the return as you pointed out. There are many opportunities that I found and tried out that at the time seemed great. But when I took a step back, I realized that I was working a lot for very little income whereas other things I love doing brought in much more money.
From Median Income Thresholds to Personal Income StatementsLooking at overall population statistics in recent years, the Census Bureau has reported median annual household income around $44,334. Moving our focus to retirement, a 2005 Congressional Research Service report (Topics in Aging: Income and Poverty Among Older Americans in 2004, by Debra Whitman and Patrick Purcell) provides data suggesting median annual inflows into the personal income statements of current retirees (age 65 and above) were as follows:o Income from human capital –Wages: $15,000o Income from social capital –Private defined benefit plans: $6,720 –Public defined benefit plans: $15,600 –Social Security: $10,399o Income from financial capital –Annual income: $952
Great ideas here, and thanks for the link! I’m definitely interested in learning about using an Ebay store, although I’ve heard they are not as effective as they used to be. One interesting problem that arises though is with online work, that is, work performed via the internet. If one does not reside in one’s home country while doing it it might be considered illegal (so check on all those tax implications).
An obvious example is over exposure to bank stocks, which have been excellent investments for over a century.  Though a foundation of most portfolios, bank stocks do involve more risk at certain stages of the economic cycle than many realise.  Being less exposed to bank shares in the last few months could have preserved some capital.  So, a more diversified approach can help mitigate some of these risks.