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?
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There are a couple of problems with direct investment in real estate though. It’s expensive to buy even a single property, a minimum of tens of thousands of dollars, and there’s no way most investors can build a portfolio of different property types and in different regions to protect from those risks when you have all your money in just one or two investments.
I wanted to specifically call out one particular strategy within equity investing that bears mentioning – dividend growth investing is when you focus on stocks that not only pay a dividend but have a history of strong dividend growth. When I was first building my portfolio of individual stocks, I focused on buying companies with a history of dividends, a history of strong growth, and financials that supported a continuation of both.
Generating multiple streams of income can have a major impact on your finances. Even an extra income of $500 each month could go a long way towards paying down debt or increasing your investments. We often hear about the importance of diversifying our investments, but diversifying our income streams is just as important, particularly in difficult economic times.
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.
If you are expert in some area, you can always give your consultancy service to smaller businesses who cant hire big companies. When we were brainstorming with a client of ours to generate second line of income, he identified that he has some great knowledge in the area of terrace gardening. He could see that he can help families with large enough terrace to setup their own balcony garden and earn some fees over weekends or extra time.
Stocks (shares) paying dividends are typically a reliable source of income but they have higher risk of capital losses than cash and bonds. So, it’s wise not to chase yield indiscriminately. The 10 highest yielding stocks on the ASX 200 (the 200 largest companies in Australia) are shown in the table below. But their share price performance on average over the last year has been underwhelming, as shown in the far right column: