1) Save Like Nobody Owes You Anything. Passive income starts with savings. Without a healthy amount of savings, nothing works. Your overall “Money Strength” will be an F- if you do not build a financial nut. In our current low interest rate environment, you must save even more than before. It’s important to also realize that the savings I am referring to is AFTER-tax savings. You need to save money after contributing to your 401k and IRAs since you can’t touch pre-tax retirement accounts without a penalty until 59.5. Ideally everyone should max out their pre-tax retirement funds first, but if you don’t have enough funds and want to retire earlier then a decision to have more accessible post tax money will still work.
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.
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.