State and local tax refunds — You might have received a refund of your state or local income tax you claimed as an itemized deduction on your prior-year return. If so, usually a portion of your state or local income tax refund is taxable. However, even if you itemized, part of the refund could be tax-free. To learn more, see the State and Local Income Tax Refunds tax tip.


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.

The website Fiverr.com lets people sell (and buy) all kinds of wacky services for just $5 a pop. Current services for sale include designing a visually-appealing signature, creating a customized sound effect, making a tough decision, and writing a personalized rap song. Just as with crafty projects, you don’t want to over commit to something that won’t earn you a big return, but if you have a skill that easily translates into a quick service, then this could be a good strategy for you.

And, let’s face it; not everyone wants to sling body wraps or nutrition shakes to their family and friends. That’s why offering a service is often one of the best, and least uncomfortable, ways to earn side income doing something you love. Maybe you want to clean houses or rake leaves or help people file their taxes. It’s totally up to you, and that’s the beauty of this option.
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.
Another great way to get started is to identify an area of interest you have. For instance, Robert Duff has been successful in building passive income by selling books on Amazon. Then, go out and start talking to people. Ask them, “What are you struggling with right now? What are your biggest pains? What’s something you wish existed that doesn’t?” That’ll give you some ideas about where to get started.
If you have a spare bedroom, you can find a roommate or list the space on AirBnB for travelers. Having a roommate is the more passive of the two, as being an AirBnB host will require more work in the form of turning over the room between stays. This is a super painless way to earn $500 to $1,000 a month without much effort – you may even be able to cover your mortgage payment with this extra income!
"Rental properties provide a source of passive income and the possibility of overall appreciation of the property with tax advantages," Lou Cannataro, partner at Cannataro Park Avenue Financial, tells Bustle. "Our generation and those to follow will not have pensions, and social security is 'iffy,' at best. Rental properties can provide that constant income (people always need a place to live) that is not directly tied to the marketplace and one cannot outlive."
If you’re into antiques, for example, you could check out garage sales for hidden deals then capitalize on your knowledge to turn a profit. Perhaps you’re into video games, specific brands of clothing, or something else. Whatever it is, with a little research, it’s possible to turn your knowledge into cash with an eBay store. Best of all, you can sell from the comfort of your own home.
In order to generate $10,000 in Net Operating Profit After Tax (NOPAT) through a rental property, you must own a $50,000 property with an unheard of 20% net rental yield, a $100,000 property with a rare 10% net rental yield, or a more realistic $200,000 property with a 5% net rental yield. When I say net rental yield, I’m talking about rental income minus all expenses, including a mortgage, operating expenses, insurance, and property taxes.

The key thing to note in those various streams is how few of them rely on my active participation on a daily basis and how they are fueled from savings. My active participation is in the blogs and $5 Meal Plan. Everything is passive, outside of routine maintenance like updating my net worth record, and none of them would be possible if I didn't have the savings to invest it.
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!
Consider refinancing your mortgage if you haven’t done so in a while before interest rates go up further. Or consider leveraging cheap money responsibly to acquire hard assets. LendingTree Mortgage has one of the largest lending networks online, and they will contact you immediately with their offers. You want lenders competing for your business, and get hard quotes so you can pit them against each other.
The internet said a typical millionaire has 7 sources of income. I don’t know if this is accurate, but I’m sure wealthy people have more than one source of income. Most of us start off with just one source of income – earned income. That’s how we start our working life. We go to school, get a job, and work hard to get promotions. I still remember the exuberant feeling I got when I saw my first real paycheck. It’s a great thing to work and earn some money. However, to become wealthy, you need to figure out how to generate income when you’re not actively working. That’s what wealthy people do. They let
This was a very inspirational article! I too spent 20+ years in a high-stress career selling a high-end product under a 100 percent commission plan; that is, no salary! I realized, after racking up millions of frequent flyer miles, that there had to be a better and less-stressful way of making a living. My goal was to design my own lifestyle free of corporate shackles, which required a pre-determined amount of passive income.
Once I started blogging and connecting with other bloggers in the personal finance space, I saw how much potential was out there. And honestly, how much money some bloggers were making really shocked me. I distinctly remember one blogger telling me his website was making $30,000 per month….and this was 2009! To say this blew my mind is an understatement of epic proportions.
Some scholars have come to the conclusion that material progress and prosperity, as manifested in continuous income growth at both the individual and the national level, provide the indispensable foundation for sustaining any kind of morality. This argument was explicitly given by Adam Smith in his Theory of Moral Sentiments[citation needed], and has more recently been developed by Harvard economist Benjamin Friedman in his book The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth.[citation needed]

The craziest part of this was I’d wake up in the morning and there would be more money in my bank account, from people who had bought my book overnight. When you think about it, an online store that sells something that’s digital is something that’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Using tools, software and systems, you can automate the delivery process so you literally don’t have to do anything to serve that audience. That’s super powerful.
Another way to wring income out of stocks, even if they don't pay dividends, is to buy stocks that you expect will appreciate in value over time and then, when you need income, sell some shares. If you have a fat portfolio of such stocks when you retire, you might sell some shares every year to create a cash stream for yourself. Studying and choosing the stocks that will perform very well for you is easier said than done, though, so if you don't have the interest, skills, or time to become your own stock analyst, consider simply investing in a low-fee broad-market index fund or two, such as one based on the S&P 500. Here's how much you might accumulate over several periods if your investments average 8% average annual growth:
I prefer assets that make me a high return for the lowest amount of work possible (semi-passive involvement). And assets that pay me in several unique ways. Cash flow is only one way RE makes money for me. I also get principal reductions, appreciation, tax advantages (depreciation), and I control the rental increases on a yearly basis. Plus a majority of the capital is provided by the secondary market on 30 year fixed low interest rate debt.

I’m looking at accepting a professor job. It’ll be more than a 50% pay cut. But I’ll have the same life you describe – endless summers and an entire month every winter to ski. I’m thinking in the end, eventually, I might even end up wealthier in more ways than one. Happy people tend to be the most successful. I have no desire to diversify. Dividend stocks allude me. CDs seem like a good choice for older people, but I have time on my hands and real estate knowledge, so I’m sticking with what I know, despite the fact that most people will tell me it is foolish and I should diversify.

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For 2018, he’s most interested in arbitraging the lower property valuations and higher net rental yields in the heartland of America through RealtyShares, one of the largest real estate crowdfunding platforms based in SF. He sold his SF rental home for 30X annual gross rent in 2017 and reinvested $550,000 of the proceeds in real estate crowdfunding for potentially higher returns.
* 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.
At age 55, I own high-end rental properties (near the beach) and commercial buildings servicing the medical industry. I was widely criticized during my career for not living up to my income; that is, buying big homes with many fancy cars. I married a great woman who understood that saving and investing today meant a better lifestyle and more freedom tomorrow. Our passive income is half of my active income from sales, but my net worth has increased substantially. We are both happier and healthier than we were in the high-stress pressure cooker of franchise sales. The naysayers have become converts to the concept of passive income, but they have locked themselves into a “big hat, no cattle” lifestyle. It has been a great ride!
So, it’s like the 7 Deadly (S)Incomes? Ha. Bad joke. I never really thought to count them up or even name them but I’m a big fan of having multiple streams of income. Let me count. 1) Earned income (freelance pharmaceutical copywriter) 2) Royalty income (published book) 3) Interest income (savings accounts) 4) Business income (my personal finance blog) 5) Pension beneficiary (RIP daddy) Crap. Only five and only 1 that pays anything substantial. Hmmmm. Time to brainstorm. Thanks, Doc.
It is very important to understand that contacting a “professional” to learn how to do this only results in them trying to sell me crap properties (whether high end or low end). I’ve tried contacting realtors out of state, and they attempt to sell me crap or someone else’s problem. No one has a vested interest in actually helping someone or teaching them about how to get an out of state rental. very frustrating. I could go out tomorrow and buy a rental in my city, but that is the last place I want to own one. Anyone? Are there an real people on here?
Basically, people looking to borrow money will make a listing on the site. Those borrowers are then placed into a category and given a “rating” based on their credit history and rate. You, as an investor, will contribute money to these loans and then be paid back at the predetermined rate of interest. Invest and see those monthly interest payments deposited into your account.
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!
These days most of my readers are sending queries on how to beat Recession. Salary Cut & Job Loss are newspaper headlines these days. The only solution to beat recession is to create Second Income. We agree that only thing constant in life is Change. Good times never lasts forever so as Bad times. The biggest mistake is to think otherwise i.e. Good time will last forever & Bad time will never come.
How do you do this?  Well, try to get the highest paying job you can!  Ask for a raise!  Utilize services, such as Glassdoor.com, to see how your salary competes with others in your same job.  Some companies really force employees to leave to get a raise, and then come back for another raise.   This industry jumping promotional strategy is very common and could work.
Rental properties are defined as passive income with a couple of exceptions. If you’re a real estate professional, any rental income you’re making counts as active income. If you’re "self-renting," meaning that you own a space and are renting it out to a corporation or partnership where you conduct business, that does not constitute passive income unless that lease had been signed before 1988, in which case you’ve been grandfathered into having that income being defined as passive. According to the IRS, "it does not matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."
6) Always Remember That Everything Is Relative. The best way to determine worthwhile passive income streams is by comparing the likely return (IRR) with the current risk-free rate of return. If I round up, the 10 year bond yield is at 3%. Any new venture should thoroughly beat 3% otherwise you are wasting your efforts since you can earn 3% doing nothing.
Varolo is an advertising campaign that allows major corporations (like Coca Cola, Lysol, and others) to reach their target audiences with a high return on investment. Major corporations are desperately trying to find new ways to advertise to people as the newspaper continues to decline in demand and in an age of DVR. Varolo is the newest opportunity that actually pays you, the one being advertised to, to watch their advertisements. You can join the campaign and earn a little extra spending money by viewing and rating commercials and even trailers for major motion pictures. While the trick is to devote 5 to 10 minutes of each day rating what you see, you should also be motivated to invite others along through Facebook, Twitter and other social media so that you can increase what you profit each week.
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.
In India Freelancing is synonym with Journalism but trust me its a very big industry abroad. Freelancing is full time career for many professionals. In India its at nascent stage and Freelancing is not a highly paid job. Positive way to look at it is that if you start today then you will have 1st mover advantage. Freelancing jobs are available in various domains. One of dedictaed Indian site for freelancing job is worknhire.com

"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."
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.
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