Not everyone is eager to do this, but consider renting out space in your home for extra income. You could take in a full-time boarder, for example, but you needn't be that extreme. Instead, consider renting out an extra room via a service such as airbnb.com or homewaway.com. If you do so for just 20 nights a year and charge $100 per night, that's $2,000 in pre-tax income! If your home is in a desirable spot, maybe you can rent out the whole house for just two weeks in the summer, charging $2,000 per week and collecting $4,000.
Vending machines are not completely passive but are similar to being a real estate investor with lower stakes. The key to making these successful is to get high value locations and negotiate good deals with the people who own those locations. You need to decide which machines you want to run, get the necessary licenses to operate them (you're selling items so you need to get sales licenses and whatnot from your state), buy the machines and a truck for the items in the machines, find a supplier of the products, and then finally you can secure locations. Finally, you need to service them periodically or hire someone to service them.
A Risk Score of 10 means no risk. A Return Score of 1 means the returns are horrible compared to the risk-free rate. A Feasibility score of 10 means everybody can do it. A Liquidity Score of 1 means it’s very difficult to withdraw your money without a massive penalty. An Activity Score of 10 means you can kick back and do nothing to earn income. To make the ranking as realistic as possible, every score is relative to each other. Furthermore, the return criteria is based off trying to generate $10,000 a year in passive income.
I've got a $185,000 CD generating 3% interest coming due. Although the return is low, it's guaranteed. The CD gave me the confidence to invest more aggressively in risk over the years. My online interest income has come down since I aggressively deployed some capital at the beginning of the year and again during the February market correction. You'll see these figures in my quarterly investment-income update.
Thanks for writing this Mr. Samurai. I just got over the student loan hump but I feel pretty good about it at 27 having a graduate degree and being 100% debt free. Now that I’m on the other side it is good for my brain to absorb some of your knowledge regarding passive income investments. I love gleaning wisdom from older folks who have been there and done that. Mentors rock!

Writing an e-book is very popular among bloggers, as many have noted that “it’s just a bunch of blog posts put together!” You will not only have to make an investment of time and energy to create the e-book, but market it correctly. However, if marketed correctly (through blogging affiliates in your niche, for example), you could have residual sales that last a very long time.
As an struggling young Engineer (back in the Carter era) I bought anything I could renovate then rent to justify paying the 18% interest. I never took vacations but worked on my properties all in the pursuit of passive income. I drove junk for many years & many months I just got by on credit cards. My friends & colleagues were amused by my ‘stupidity’ but most are still working to make enough for retirement.
The phrase “passive income” has been so overused that it may provoke somewhat negative feelings. You’ve probably seen Facebook ads portraying the “laptop” lifestyle from entrepreneurs trying to sell you on one of their programs. You see what they’re offering and understand that the way they travel and make an income is through people buying their course.
We are going to start with 1.5 years of all spending needs in cash. We will draw 1800 to 1900 per month. We will add to this from the index funds by taking a portion of the gains in good years to supplement. This is the total return portion of the equation. Obviously, if stocks decrease drastically over a 5 year period, then I would have to reload by selling some of the ETF holdings.
So many great tips in this big post, thanks! I think it’s so true that people should focus on the things they do well at and are interested in. And yes save, save, save in the beginning and throughout. I have several interest and dividend earning investments and am looking to expand further. Diversification is a great goal for all of us so we can avoid having all our eggs in one basket.

This world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the good people that often act in irrational and/or criminally wrongdoing ways within the confines of their individual minds, core or enterprise groups, but because of the good people that don’t do anything about it (like reveal the truth through education like Financial Samauri is doing!). Albert Einstein and Art Kleiner’s “Who Really Matters.”
In the runup to the Second World War, the United States had suffered through the Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Roosevelt's election at the end of 1932 was based on a commitment to reform the economy and society through a "New Deal" program. The first indication of a commitment to government guarantees of social and economic rights came in an address to the Commonwealth Club on September 23, 1932 during his campaign. The speech was written with Adolf A. Berle, a professor of corporate law at Columbia University. A key passage read:
We had a very small interest income from our saving and reward checking accounts. The rate is low and I tend to invest rather than keep a lot of cash around. I also have some income from my P2P lending account at Prosper.com. The ROI of my Prosper account is much better than the rate at my bank, around 8%. Lastly, we have some interest income from our bond funds, but these are all in our retirement account so they are not taxed at this time.
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!
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 :)
I formed a publishing company a number of years ago and have published a couple of technical books I’ve written since then. I doubled my goal for copies sold, but it’s definitely not enough income to retire on. Writing books is a tough area. You’ll definitely be proud of the accomplishment and seeing the sales happen around the world, but it’s tough to make it really profitable.
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