I wanted to specifically call out one particular strategy within equity investing that bears mentioning – dividend growth investing is when you focus on stocks that not only pay a dividend but have a history of strong dividend growth. When I was first building my portfolio of individual stocks, I focused on buying companies with a history of dividends, a history of strong growth, and financials that supported a continuation of both.


Anthony, nice setup! To your question about the rental mortgages, you haven’t said what interest rate you are paying. As a start, if you are paying more than the risk free rate (Treasury bills) which you probably are, then a true apples to apples comparison would be yes, pay off the mortgage. But, if you are comfortable taking more risk, you have other options to invest in which you *hope* will yield you more over the coming years. You also didn’t say whether the rentals generate net income and if so, how much? What is the implied rate of return on the equity you have invested in them? If you pay the mortgages off, you’ll have even more equity tied up, will the extra net income make that worthwhile? Maybe you should use the money to buy more rentals instead, if purchase opportunities still exist in your town. … this is less of an answer than a framework to analyze the decision, hope it is helpful.
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One of the best ways to build wealth is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts on their Dashboard so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing, how my net worth is progressing, and where my spending is going.


* Freelance writing: Quality freelance writing takes tremendous effort. Ironically, the better the quality of your writing, the more you don’t want to freelance and just keep the articles for your own site. Freelancing is a great way to earn side income, however, it’s not really for me. I’ll probably take on one or two freelance jobs maximum per year and write no more than four articles a month elsewhere.
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.
What spurred this blog post was an idea put forth by my friend at ESI Money in which he talks about how the first million is the hardest. ESI shares how his net worth growth has accelerated. The first million took 19 years of work (the clock starts when he started working, not at birth!) but the 2nd million took just 4 years and 9 months. J Money took this same idea and started at $100k, which took him 7yrs 11mos. Each of the next $100k milestones took close to 18 months each to reach.
"You know what they say: 'Don't work for your money. Make your money work for you,'" Jenna Goudreau, Managing Editor of Make It, CNBC's new site focusing on all things money, tells Bustle. "That's exactly the goal with passive income: By being smart about the resources you already have, an initial investment of effort can eventually earn you money while you sleep."
I actually spent a year and a half working as an affiliate marketer (mostly selling drumming related products – lessons, kits ect). 5 years on and one of my one page sites (which I’ve not touched) still nets me about $150 a month. I won’t be retiring off that but only really now appreciate the reverse pyramid approach to entrepreneurship (working for nothing initially but later being paid without effort!)
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