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:
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.

The other point is that it is pretty easy to get started.  You don’t need to be super rich, and you don’t need a lot of time to get started.  To say it requires no time would be a lie, but you don’t need to make anything listed above your life.  You can work at your job, invest your excess income, save to buy a rental property or rent out a room in your current house, and you start a side job online without breaking a sweat.


The original version of Barbara Winter’s book, Making a Living Without a Job, came out in 1993, and in it, she recommended creating multiple "profit centers," as opposed to building a single income stream. Over ten years later,  Robert Allen, the real estate entrepreneur, also wrote a couple books promoting the idea of multiple streams of income. Back then, building more than one source of income was difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Fortunately, things have changed today. The Internet has made it easier, faster, and more affordable to generate multiple income streams.
One thing I notice about the debates on both tax policy and income inequality is that a lot of people seem to have relatively hazy ideas about how income is earned in America, and how much of each kind of income there is. For example, if someone is earning $300,000 a year, where is their income likely to be coming from? How much revenue is drawn from capital gains taxes? And how is income distributed between corporate shareholders and workers? People don't tend to have very strong priors about the answers to these questions, because they simply haven't yet learned what the relative sizes of different sources of income actually are.
Ebooks are one of my favorite sources of passive income. Now, you can do this the simple way and just publish it on Amazon's KDP. Or, you can go all out and build yourself a book funnel. Book funnels are powerful, but they won't be fully passive. For example, if you do a free-plus-shipping offer for your ebook (converting it into a physical book), you'll need to create some one-time offers (i.e. extra training) and up-sells (i.e. an audiobook). But, a book funnel can be very powerful.

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.
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.

I have two major dilemmas: (1) Should I wait to start investing (at least until the end of the year where I’ll hopefully have $5k+ in savings) in things like CDs? I ask because a little over $2k doesn’t seem significant enough yet to start putting my money to work (or maybe it is? that’s why I’m coming to you for your advice haha) and (2) I want to invest in things like P2P and stocks but I’m honestly a bit ignorant of how it trully works. I know the basics (high risk, returns can be volatile, returns are taxable). Do you have any advice on how I can best educate myself to start putting my savings to work?

The type of business you should start depends on your passion and existing skill set. If you love baking, for example, you could consider starting a home-based cake or brownie business. Love to sew? Spend your free time creating the perfect crafts, then turn around and sell them with your own Etsy store. Love dogs? Consider watching dogs out of your own home and marketing your services on a website like Rover.com.

Flynn has created many different products. While his LEED exam is what got him started, he has both earned a commission from selling other people’s products and offered a commission to others who would sell his wares, and also recently created his first software, SmartPodcastPlayer.com, after realizing that most online podcast players offered only the basic stop/start/volume features. He hired a development team to create a superior one, which was a success from day 1. “We sold out 250 beta licenses in less than 24 hours, because I was addressing a need but also, I had built up an audience and trust with them … When you build that amount of trust with your audience, whatever you come out with, they will love.”
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.
I see our income streams evolving in two phases during retirement because the missus will unfortunately have to work longer to secure the benefits of her DB pension. The first phase will be a bit of a transition period with my wages being replaced by passive investment income and interest income (GIC ladder for predictability and safety) with the missus still providing wage income. I’d love to find a fun and flexible encore career though that might provide some side wage income. Phase two would primarily be a mix of investment income, interest income, and DB pension income with the standard Canadian social security benefits providing an additional margin of safety.
Passive income differs from earned income and portfolio income in a variety of ways. Passive income is generally defined as a stream of income earned with little effort, and it is referred to as progressive passive income when there is little effort needed from the individual receiving the passive income in order to grow the stream of income. Examples of passive income include rental income and any business activities in which the earner does not materially participate during the year.

I've now only got an SF rental condo and a Lake Tahoe vacation rental in my real-estate-rental portfolio. Although I miss my old house, I certainly don't miss paying $23,000 a year in property taxes and another mortgage, and dealing with leaks and managing terrible tenants. I drove by the other day and couldn't believe how much noisier and busier the street was than where I currently live. I wouldn't be comfortable raising my son there.

Maybe such a business is owning a McDonald’s franchise or something. If one has the capital (Feasibility Score 2), then the returns might be good (Return Score 6). But the Risk Score is probably under a 5, b/c how many times have we seen franchise chains come and go? Like, what happened to Quiznos and Jamba Juice? A McDonald’s franchise was $500,000… probably much more now?


The creator of MochaManual.com, The Black Mom’s Guide to Life, became a consultant to companies that wanted to better understand the concerns and preferences of African American mothers. You can also become a paid consultant or speaker once you’ve developed your reputation as an expert. A local speaker’s association can help you find gigs and negotiate a rate for making presentations. You might even consider checking to see whether the local community college is interested in having you teach a course in your subject area. 
Refinancing your mortgage is a passive income generator? Yup, it sure can be. If you're making monthly mortgage payments of $1,600 now, and you can reduce that to $1,300 per month by refinancing your home loan at a lower interest rate, you'll keep $300 in your pocket each month. Of course, refinancing isn't free -- there are closing costs. Still, if you plan to stay in your home long enough to more than break even, refinancing is well worth it. As an example, if your closing costs are $6,000 and you're saving $300 per month, you'll break even in 20 months -- less than two years!
I have to agree. Our Duplex cost us 200k initially in 1998. Over time and completely refurbishing the property with historically appropriate sensitivity, we invested another 200k or so. We just had a realtor advise us we could ask 700k for it today. It nets us 30k annually after taxes, insurance and maintenance. We still have a loan on it which I have not taken into account, that will be paid off within 5 years if we keep it. My mental drama now is, while I am quite giddy over the prospect of earning a tidy sum of profit if I sell, what then would I do to equal the ROI and monthly income this thing generates? Rents are low, they should be 4k a month and will only go up. Tempted to keep it and not sell. And while I do have some stocks, I basically suck at them. I am much better at doing properties.

Once your audience has grown and you have validation that you’re offering them value, there are many ways to create passive income. You could sell digital products like ebooks or courses, take up affiliate marketing in which you promote other company’s products and earn a commission when you sell that item to your audience, build a community and charge people to be a part of it, create software and sell that, among other avenues. Ask your audience directly what would serve them best, or look at what they’re saying on Twitter, Facebook or other websites, to find out what problems they have and how you could help solve them.

Another benefit of investing in rental properties is the loan pay down. If you obtain a loan to buy the property, each month your tenants are paying off part of the loan. Once the mortgage on the property has been paid off, your cash flow will increase dramatically, allowing your mediocre investment to skyrocket into a full-fledged retirement program.
For a person working for a wage, their source of income is their job, or their labor (aka their time that they sell to someone). But you can own a house, and rent it out, and when your renters pay you renter every month, the source of that income check is your rental property, or your house. It would just be called rental income. If you have money in the bank in an account that pays interest, those interest payments are another source of income. We can say the source is interest payments, or we can identify the asset that is generating rent, and say your money in the bank that is generating “rent” (aka interest) is your source of income.
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