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:
“Where a lot of people mess up is they try to build a business or create a product that serves everybody, and by trying to serve everybody, you serve nobody. You have to specialize and niche down and find a market with a pain point that you, based on your experience, based on your education and based on your passion, can help,” he says. Your earnings will directly reflect how well you serve that particular audience, and the more your message resonates with them, the more opportunities you’ll have to sell to them.
Just like any industry, there is good and not so good. The good part of passive income is that it can lead to multiple streams of revenue. Entrepreneurs understand more income sources means a more stable business and more room to grow. Implementing passive income strategies creates exciting possibilities and opportunities. Passive income sources allow me to have freedom and financial security in my life and business. I can spend my time traveling or writing, knowing that I'm stilling making income.
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.
Within six months of selling, however, I had reinvested the proceeds from the home sale and brought total passive income for 2018 back up to an estimated $203,724. I'm not sure I would have sold the house without a clear plan for reinvesting the proceeds, since I'm bullish on the SF housing market long term. However, because I did have a plan, and the challenges of raising a newborn and dealing with rowdy tenants left me feeling a bit stretched, I decided to simplify and sell.
3. Create spokes off of each of these categories with ideas on how you can make money at them. Earning sources include books, courses, merchandise, coaching, freelancing, speaking, training, selling advertising, and affiliate marketing. For example, a virtual assistant can create tangible or digital products, such as books, courses, and videos that teach others how to be a virtual assistant in the “products” spoke. For services, she can offer additional services, coaching or speaking (i.e. How a Virtual Assistant Can Save Businesses Time and Money).
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I’m still a big fan of InfoBarrel, Eric, even though I haven’t been able to write much. With what I am earning there, I’ve actually shifted to outsourcing quite a bit of content…call it a “respite” from writing, I had just needed a break. Even if one pays $5-$10 per article, IF the keywords are researched properly and effectively, one can easily turn that one article and earn several hundred off of it in it’s lifetime. Right now, one of my friends had written a single article that, already this month, has earned over $83 on InfoBarrel. Not too shabby at all…
One of the things I'm surprised your article doesn't mention is the tax advantages of this type of investment. The depreciation and rehab costs (purchasing distressed properties) can be huge deductions to ones income taxes, which none of the others have. Then, along with the appreciation of real estate, this passive income investment outperforms the notion of maxing out my 401k as well.
According to Uncle Sam, you need to be "materially involved" in an enterprise to earn active income. With passive income, it's just the opposite, as the IRS deems you to be earning passive income if you're not materially involved with a profit-making enterprise. By and large, expect income to be taxable if you are engaged in a passive income enterprise. You will need to report earnings to the IRS. 

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.
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Most of us think of investment income as just the cash flow we get from bank interest, bonds, share dividends and property rents, some of which comes via a super pension.  But a more complete view is to also consider how growing the value of your investments can add to your spending potential.  This total return approach generates income from both income and growth to optimise spending from your portfolio across all market cycles, aligning cheap and expensive investments to your goals.
The obvious way to earn a second income is to get a part-time job. If you are not currently working, this is an excellent way to start as it gives you the freedom and flexibility to start other passive income opportunities.  The other option is to simply work from home full time which frees up commute time so you can focus on building more income streams.
Income-generating assets are another of many passive-income opportunities. A classic example is making money in real estate via owning rental properties. It can seem perfect: You buy an apartment building or house, rent it out, and then sit back and collect checks every month from your tenants. The reality isn't always so rosy, though. For one thing, you'll need to maintain and repair the property, as well as paying taxes on it and insuring it. It may not always be occupied, either. You may have trouble finding tenants, or finding tenants who pay their rent reliably. Some tenants may damage the property, and others may be hard to get rid of. You'll be the one they call in the middle of the night if the roof is leaking, and you'll have to clean and perhaps freshen up the property between tenants. You can outsource much of this to a property management company, but it will take a cut of your income, often about 10%.
Investing in bonds: Similarly, bonds are an attractive way to engage in passive income. Over a recent 45-year period, bonds funds, as measured by Vanguard Funds, returned 7.1%. Of course, there's no guarantee that investments in stocks or bonds will always work out well, investing in them is by far the surest way to generate money through passive income.
Since I knew I’d eventually be losing my day job income, I had to set realistic goals. There was no way I was going to make a six figure salary blogging and working online after only 2 years but I thought it might be possible to cover our monthly expenses for a few months while I took time off and looked for a new job. I already had some secondary sources of income and there were others that I specifically tried to build up.

I really enjoyed how you listed all of the reasons to build passive income streams as well as the framework. You also made an interesting point about freelance writing on how the more skilled writers want to keep posts for their own website. Good insight because freelance writing is something I’ve been looking into for income recently. Also, it’s amazing what you’ve been able to accomplish with your blog over the past 6 years. It’s so motivational to see the success of Financial Samurai. I’m not in a place to afford any consulting, but, I wish I could pick your brain or get mentored by a successful blogger such as yourself…Not trying to blow smoke lol. It would just be so great to have someone who’s done it provide guidance around the direction of the blog, ways to earn, and on the general concept. Always enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing :)
With the way the economy is going Multiple streams of income is the way to go if you know what your doing. I luved your insight and your so right there are so many ways. The best way that i know of is to brand oneself cause people dont join business they join YOU. Like , trust is key ingredient along with building your list after all the money is in the list or should i say the people in the list. The best part with the system im presently using is i still get paid with affiliate even if they don’t join my primary biz…
Best financial planning is when we prepare for Bad Times during Good Times. Sounds quite philosophical but unfortunately it is harsh reality of today. Second Income is a back up during bad times or we can say its a blessing in disguise. Second Income should be planned during Good Times. Though it is not easy to generate second income source but it is not impossible also. Let’s find out 5 Ways to Create Second Income source.
Who cares, especially when very conservatively, the ultimate passive income includes a six digit or more base lease, plus an estimated additional six digits or more for rate increases and another six digits for more for various smaller and one bigger technology increase at 25 years. All four (base, rate, smaller and mega technology increases) combined, certainly could yield much more depending upon inflation, rate increases and technology increases?
Millennium Development Goals Report 2007 . The report importantly notes that As high as this number seems, surveys show that it underestimates the actual number of children who, though enrolled, are not attending school. Moreover, neither enrolment nor attendance figures reflect children who do not attend school regularly. To make matters worse, official data are not usually available from countries in conflict or post-conflict situations. If data from these countries were reflected in global estimates, the enrolment picture would be even less optimistic.

Real Estate Income – Since we moved up to Newport Beach, I started renting out my condo in San Diego. My monthly cash on cash return is $300(I charge $1,900 for rent and my total payments including mortgage, HOA, property tax and insurance are $1,600) but I also get back around $350 every month in principal and about a $150 tax savings per month. But even this income is inconsistent, since sometimes expenses will pop up like last month when I had to buy a new A/C for $3,000!


However, when you lack the money, you need time. You'll need to invest the upfront time now in order to reap the benefits of automatic income later. It just doesn't happen overnight. So don't expect it to. However, you can do this without quitting your day job. All it takes is some sincere effort over a consistent period, and voila! But, to get there, you'll need to consistently burn the midnight oil or get up at the crack of dawn. Your choice.
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).
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.
I really need to add more streams of income and especially the passive type. I mainly have w-2 income like most people. I purchased a rental income a little less than a year ago but there have been some hiccups so I don’t think there’s much income from that as of now. I’d definitely be interested in some side income but it’s tough with a little one…you know how it is! Will be interested if there are legit paid survey sites since you mentioned that you would do that when junior starts school.
After these tenants move out, I'm thinking of just keeping the rental empty with furniture. It sounds stupid to give up $4,200 a month, but I really hate dealing with the homeowner association, move-in/move-out rules, and maintenance issues. Given that the condo doesn't have a mortgage and I have to pay taxes on some of the rental income, I'm not giving up that much. The condo can be a place for my sister, parents, or in-laws to crash when they want to stay in SF for longer than a week or two.
San Francisco is an extreme example of a place in California with both a large population (829,072) and high per capita income ($49,986). In fact, it has the highest per capita income of all places in California with a population of over 100,000. Though Sunnyvale ($48,203), San Mateo ($46,782), Thousand Oaks ($46,231), and Carlsbad ($44,305) join San Francisco to make up the top five places in California with the highest per capita income in that population class, none of them have populations even close to San Francisco. The next place with a population similar to that of San Francisco that appears in the per capita income rankings is San Jose ($34,992), and at this point, the difference in per capita income with the entire state of California is only about $5,000.
“I don’t believe the overnight success exists. There’s a lot of hard work and time involved beforehand,” say Flynn. Angry Birds may have seemed like an overnight success but it was the 52nd game that Rovio created. Flynn says it took him a year or year and a half to build audiences for his most successful sites. (Read these time management expert's tips on the work habits of successful people.)
You can also participate in focus groups. Focus groups are hired to test products and give opinions before they reach the market. You would be a critical component of verifying they will have success and reach a high return on their investment. Surveys and focus groups are not ‘get rich quick’ schemes at all, but you can generate a few hundred a month.

The bottom line is, it’s smart to have multiple income streams no matter who you are. Why? Because the more ways you can earn money without compromising your integrity, the better off you’ll be. And if you’re self-employed, having multiple income streams is almost essential. Not only will you enjoy a higher income, but you won’t go broke if one stream ends out of the blue.

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I would throw in some caution here: if your spouse works at the same company, or in the same industry as you, you are not diversified, and should something happen, you could be in a world of hurt.  Companies do go out of business, companies do lay employees off.  There is nothing wrong with working together, but realize that you are not diversified and you should be trying to maximize other income streams as a result.
When withdrawing money to live on, I don’t care how many stock shares I own or what the dividends are – I care about how much MONEY I’m able to safely withdraw from my total portfolio without running out before I die. A lot of academics have analyzed total market returns based on indices and done Monte Carlo simulations of portfolios with various asset allocations, and have come up with percentages that you can have reasonable statistical confidence of being safe.
The surveys from home, you added a link for “everything we needed to know” it sent me to a site where I had to pay them $35 or $45 to get started. It doesn’t say anything about how, until you pay them. You sent us too the site BUT, have you checked it? Is it safe? Will they take my $, & I get nothing? If you say its OK, then fine, but usually these things are bad news. I fell into one when I was young. Proof reading at home. They sent you a book on how to do it, & then a “LIST” of all the company’s that hired at home proof readers. Well, they sent me the book, which was fine. But, the list they sent me had nothing but company’s that only hired people with long time prior experience proof reading. So, it was useless to me. ;(
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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