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Nobody gets early FI investing in bonds, CD’s, or even stocks unless they make a huge income or are extremely frugal or a combination of both. Paper assets just don’t provide enough returns. Business income can be great but it is typically not as semi-passive as I would like and there is a relatively high failure rate. That is if you can monetize an ideal to begin with. RE investing needs to be higher ranked IMO as a way that the “average guy” can become FI.

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.
E-Commerce is growing on a huge scale globally, including India. It can be a source of your second income and you can earn lakhs of money on monthly basis. You don’t need a big amount of investment to start your E-commerce business. You can create your own eCommerce website without any hassles, or you can also hire a professional to create your website. Once website is setup, invest a bit in digital marketing of your website and its products/services and you are all set! E-Commerce business can provide you a source of income on regular basis without much effort. You do not need to setup a physical office or hire hundreds of employees, unless you want to be the next Flipkart. Even a small eCommerce business can fetch decent monthly earnings without much spending or hassles.
Increase in income Income per capita has been increasing steadily in almost every country.[5] Many factors contribute to people having a higher income such as education,[6] globalisation and favorable political circumstances such as economic freedom and peace. Increase in income also tends to lead to people choosing to work less hours. Developed countries (defined as countries with a "developed economy") have higher incomes as opposed to developing countries tending to have lower incomes.
Regardless, it took me around 18 months to start turning a profit online. It started with around $100 per month, then grew to $200 per month. Then it kept growing and growing until, eventually, the money I earned online surpassed what I earned in my regular, 9-5 job. That was last year, and my online income is still growing. Believe it or not, it all came from starting this simple, yet effective, blog.
Dividends made sense 40 years ago as a relatively simple rule of thumb, but after all the work done by John Bogle with index investing, and academics with Monte Carlo sims and the 4% rule, dividend investing just isn’t the simplest, cleanest way to invest or receive passive income anymore. It’s actually significantly more risky compared to index investing, because dividend companies are a much smaller share of the total global economy compared to the broader indices.
Speaking of credit cards, if you don't use them to rack up debt, you can instead use them to generate income streams for you -- via their cash-back or rewards programs. Some cards offer flat-rate cash-back percentages up to about 2%. Others target certain kinds of spending or certain retailers. If you spend a lot at Amazon.com, for example, you can get a card that rewards you with 5% cash back there -- which can really add up. (It's not hard to spend $250 per month at Amazon, which is $3,000 per year -- enough to earn $150 back.)

In 2017, I ended up deploying roughly $611,000 into stocks and $604,327 into municipal bonds. The stock allocation should boost dividend income by about $12,500 a year, and the municipal-bond portion should boost income by about $18,000 a year after tax ($26,000 pre-tax). Therefore, total passive income gets an about $38,500 lift, which recovers over half of my $60,000 loss from selling the house.


One aspect you might want to add to your scoring is “inflation protection”. At one end, bonds and CDs generally pay a fixed nominal coupon that doesn’t rise with inflation. Stock dividends and Real estate rents (and underlying property value) tend to. Not reallly sure how P2P lending ranks- though I suppose the timeframes are fairly short (1 year or less?) and therefore the interest you receive takes into account the current risk free rate + a premium for your risk. Now that I think about it, P2P lending probably deserves a lower score in the activity column than bonds too (since you probably need to make new loans more often).
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Amazing that you saved between 50% to 75% living in NYC…I think that is one thing holding me back…the cost of living here. I’d like to invest in real estate, but I can barely afford to buy a place to live. I don’t need a large income to be happy, but I probably do need an income to support living in NYC as we don’t plan on leaving. The only thing I’m doing at the moment is saving in my 401K, IRA and a I dabble in stocks and P2P lending.
P.S. I also fail to understand your fascination with real estate. Granted we’ve had some impressive spikes along the way, especially with once in a life time bubble we just went through. But over the long term (see Case Shiller real estate chart for last 100 years ) real estate tends to just track inflation. Why would you sacrifice stock market returns for a vehicle that historically hasn’t shown a real return?
However, until we get another reset in valuations (I’m calculating a 40% to 50% correction is justified ), I’ve moved largely to the sidelines. Beginning in July 2013, I began slowly reducing equity exposure and am now sitting firm at 40% with the balance in various forms of 5 yr cd’s and short duration bonds. This is down from over 60% when I ramped up to take advantage of the March 2009 lows.
Hey Mike! Love this article. Recently, I paid off my student loans and am crazy focused on creating multiple passive income streams. Currently, all my passive income comes from real estate and because of your great articles on the subject I called to check out refinance options! I had no clue about CD laddering, dividend investing or P2P lending until two weeks ago when I started doing my research on where to put my hard earned money. I had been just saving it but when I looked at the terrible 0.01% return I said forget it! 2 % for me is a great way to start. It is better than what I have been getting outside of my real estate. Also, creating products is a must! I’m working on this type of royalty too. I find it so exciting to learn how to use your money to make money. Thanks and I will be sure to link to you when I start my blog!
Can you expound on the use of publicly-traded REITs as a passive income source? I’m 31 years old. No children. No wife. No dependents. (I am the closest thing to Ebenezer Scrooge you’ll ever see). My monthly expenses amount to less than $2,000 per month (most of which go to pay student loans) . I have a decent job making over $55K per year. I also have a $60K inheritance coming my way in a few weeks. I am absolutely crazy about achieving absolute financial independence, which for me would require a passive income of over $2000/month to cover my living expenses. I could achieve that in a mere couple of years if I were to save excessively and dump my savings (and inheritance) into a Mortgage REIT via the stock market, most of which are shelling out above 10% returns in dividend payments. Is this a good strategy for me? Or am I being too hasty and assuming too much risk?
I make some income from Retire by 40. Right now, all of the income is from advertising. If you’re curious about my online income, you can sign up for our monthly newsletter and see the break down. I’m not exactly sure how I would categorize my online income, though. If I stop blogging, the income will continue, but I’m sure it would decrease over time. I guess blogging income is 50% active and 50% passive at this point.
After employment, I think that most individuals gain income diversification through investing.  It is important to look at why we invest: because at some point we plan on using this money for something.  For most, it is saving for retirement, and the investing is done through vehicles, such as a 401(k) or IRA.  But investing is not just about stashing money away for a rainy day – that is what an emergency fund is for.  Investing is about having enough capital to generate income.
“There is no such thing as 100% passive income,” says Flynn. “Even with real estate you still have to manage your properties, or even with the stock market, which is potentially passive income, you still have to manage your portfolio. With online business, there is no such thing as 100% passive income — and this is coming from a guy with a blog called SmartPassiveIncome.com. The definition of passive income is ‘building these businesses of automation,’ but in order to keep them automated and keep that trust going with your audience on top of that, you do have to keep it up every once in a while — so a lot of time upfront and a little time after. But there is alway time involved.”
I came across your site and I love it! My husband and I work in corporate America and I own a consulting/coaching business. I have a goal to gross 1 MIL within the next 10 years I’ll be 40 then. How can I begin now? How do I find a millionaire mentor? We live in Philadelphia, PA all of our friends and family are mostly employed some with small businesses however i have huge goals I am working so hard to become a full time entrepreneur. Seems like everyone we know are all on the same level and I fear we’ll stay here of we don’t meet someone willing to show us how to level up. Any suggestions?

The goal of creating multiple income streams should be to maximize your potential in each category available to you.  If you are just starting out, it really isn’t reasonable to expect you to generate tons of rental income.  However, if you start maximizing your income generating potential through your primary salary, you will find yourself having excess income that you can reinvest to generate additional income streams and earn more money.


Jennifer Barrett, chief education officer at Acorns and editor-in-chief of Grow, agrees with Goudreau. "Developing steady passive income streams can be a great way to supplement your regular paycheck and boost your bottom line," she tells Bustle. "Just be sure to do your homework ahead of time so you're aware of the costs and risks involved and realistic about the income you can expect. Investing regularly in the stock market can provide earnings over time from compounding market returns. But there are also ways to create steady streams of passive income that pay out at regular intervals — from investing in stocks that pay dividends and bonds that pay interest to investing in a rental property or renting out your own home."
Whether you take a “distribution” (aka free-cash-flow) in the form of a dividend, interest payment, capital gain, maturing ladder of a CD, etc, you are still taking the same amount of cash out of your portfolio. Don’t fall for the trap of sub optimizing your overall portfolio’s performance because your chasing some unimportant trait called “income”.
Pardon for being a bit of a newbie to true investing outside of a 401k. What about those of us who have 1) Just been laid off, and unable to find work due to lack of a degree (apparently 17 years in the industry with 5 certifications is just simply not enough – which is okay. It gave me the kick in the arse to get back to school finally) 2)Have three children to support (age 11 and under), and 3) Oh yeah – cannot find work. What do you recommend when the only source of positive revenue has ceased to come in and you now have less time than ever – due to responsibilities (i.e. doing well in university = academic scholarships means investment in time, plus spending 20 min breaks with kiddos) – to create positive sources of income ? I truly am wondering from an investor’s point of view how you would handle the pivot point of life if ever you had been faced with it. I realize this may be only imaginary, but at this point, I welcome your “what ifs” scenario on this one. You’ve truly done amazing work and I thank you for being so transparent.
Which all goes back to my point – since companies change in a lot of unpredictable ways, it makes more sense for passive income to just ride the market by investing in a Total Domestic Stock Market, Total Bond Market, and Total International index funds, with allocations that depend on your goals and time horizon. For income, withdraw 4% or less, depending on what research you believe, and you’ve got a pretty low risk strategy.
Dividends made sense 40 years ago as a relatively simple rule of thumb, but after all the work done by John Bogle with index investing, and academics with Monte Carlo sims and the 4% rule, dividend investing just isn’t the simplest, cleanest way to invest or receive passive income anymore. It’s actually significantly more risky compared to index investing, because dividend companies are a much smaller share of the total global economy compared to the broader indices.
Crowdfunding is a newer way to invest, having emerged onto the scene just within the last few years. Most people have heard of sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, and a very similar concept exists for real estate. Developers are always looking to raise capital to fund their projects. Through the various online platforms, investors have access to these projects and can choose to invest in both residential and commercial properties. See the List of My Favorite Crowdfunding Sites.
If you have a blog or other type of site, you can build affiliate links to different services on the website. Many people use Amazon as an affiliate partner. For example, if you are a beauty blogger writing about different products, you can set up Amazon affiliate links on your blog so that whenever someone buys the product you mention on Amazon, you receive a percentage of the sale. Amazon is not the only affiliate partner out there. Here is good, in-depth information on affiliate marketing. 
Please consult your tax professional for further information regarding eligibility, tax-deductibility of Traditional IRA contributions, tax-deferred/tax-exempt interest, limitations and tax consequences of distributions for college expenses and first-time home purchases, and additional IRS rules governing both Traditional and Roth IRAs. Severe penalties may be imposed for contributions and distributions not made in accordance with IRS rules.
Up to 2012, the taxpayer could opt for French savings income to be subject to taxation at source, with no further income tax payable in their annual tax return. This is known as a prélèvement forfaitaire libératoire (PFL). This option was abolished as of 1st January 2013, with the exception of taxpayers with income of less that 2,000 Euros per annum.
Most credit card companies offer sign-up bonuses to entice you to open a credit account with them. As long as you don’t spend money just to hit the minimum balance and always pay your balance on time, this can have a minimal impact on your credit score while earning you hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars a year. Some of the best travel credit cards offer 100,000 points to new accounts when you meet reasonable spending requirements.
What’s also really important to realize here is that when I took the exam I was teaching people to study for, I didn’t get a perfect score. In fact, I didn’t even get close to a perfect score. I passed. But I also knew a lot about this exam—way more than somebody who was just getting started diving into studying for it. And it was because of that, because I was just a few steps ahead of them, that they trusted me to help them with that information. To support this, I provided a lot of great free value to help them along the way. I engaged in conversations and interacted in comments sections and on forums. Most of all, I just really cared about those people, because I struggled big-time with that exam myself.

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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.

I found this to be a fascinating and most helpful book. It was so motivating I'm already working on three new streams of income, and about to start a fourth. Forget net worth! Cash flow is much more important, particularly if you're retired. Only one slight criticism of the book. It's a bit dated, but those few parts make little difference to its overall value. If you're currently struggling with how you're going to survive after you retire, try Allen's approach. It will open your eyes.
I’ve never invested in real estate (except to live in), but am always intrigued by communities like FS who seem to have such a passion for it. My intrigue stems back to my earlier comments that the long term trends in appreciation in real estate are simply not very competitive versus equities, despite what Robert Kiyosaki had to say in his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
Real Estate: I currently own one rental property in San Francisco which I bought in 2003 (2/2 condo), one vacation rental in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe (2/2 condo), and my primary residence. Real estate is my favorite asset class to build wealth because it is easy to understand, tangible, provides utility, and rides the way of inflation. I recommend individuals try and get neutral inflation by buying their primary residence as young as possible. The power of inflation is just too hard to counteract.
Great Article. If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense why every person in the WORLD doesn’t have multiple streams of income. Why is it the norm to have 1 source of income to pay for 15 expenses (mortgage, student loans, rent, food, phone, utilities, car note and etc). You have to do something different in order get a head and have some financial freedom or else you are going to stay in your situation at your J.O.B. (Just over broke). I applaud those who have found this site because they are taking the first step to change their life because like I always say, change your mind and your money will follow.

This figure is based on purchasing power parity (PPP), which basically suggests that prices of goods in countries tend to equate under floating exchange rates and therefore people would be able to purchase the same quantity of goods in any country for a given sum of money. That is, the notion that a dollar should buy the same amount in all countries. Hence if a poor person in a poor country living on a dollar a day moved to the U.S. with no changes to their income, they would still be living on a dollar a day.

Reality Two: You have a limited amount of time on this planet to implement your business plans and strategies, while also trying to balance the needs of family, health, spirituality, recreation, relationships, and much more. Do you really want to spend your limited time nursing more than one stream of income? Happiness has more to do with balancing life than making tons of money.
Unfortunately, it took a while for the real lessons to sink in. I was probably 20 or 21 when I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad the first time, which means I wasn’t exactly sure who I was yet. I knew I wanted to work hard and make money, but I wasn’t sure how. This made me a prime candidate for  multi-level marketing pitches, and the dream of “getting rich quick.”
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.
For instance, a business owner who works in the company she or he founded would have to pay an extra 15.3 percent in self-employment payroll taxes compared to someone who merely had a passive interest in the same limited liability company who would pay only income taxes. In other words, the same income earned actively would be taxed at a higher rate than if it were earned passively.
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.
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