That $200,000 a year might sound like a lot to you, but the median home price in San Francisco is roughly $1.6 million or almost eight times our annual passive income. For a family of three in 2018, the Department of Housing and Urban Development declared that income of $105,700 or below was "low income." Therefore, I consider us firmly in the middle class.

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.


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.
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.
Brian had found a huge need for web design in the restaurant and food truck space. After getting tired of working with client after client, he decided to turn his service-based business into a product-based one. He made his services more standardized and productized. He eliminated all his client work and created templates and products to serve that market instead. And it’s been going great for him.

Real-estate crowdfunding ($9,600 a year): Once I sold my SF rental, it was natural to reinvest some of the proceeds into real-estate crowdfunding to keep sector exposure. I didn't invest a lot in some of my favorite real-estate investment trusts because I felt a rising interest-rate environment would be a stronger headwind for REITs. But if I could be more surgical with my real-estate investments by identifying specific investments in stronger employment-growth markets, I thought I could do better.

The first thing to do is figure out what you are good at and more importantly, what you enjoy doing. You may be able to type extremely fast. Maybe you have excellent negotiation skills. You may be great walking dogs and enjoy the needed exercise. Maybe you have a knack for growing gardens that homeowners in your neighbourhood covet. Tons of people are out there who do not possess the skills you have. You may have a needed skill that can generate a lucrative income in your spare time.
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.

Blogging is a great way to stream in income. Some consider blogging as a passive income source and they are pretty much dead wrong. It takes a lot of hard work and time to build your blog into a viable business.  It is not a good get rich quick scheme, but with time and patience you can easily earn a full time income and even exceed what you make at your full time job if you are really good.


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.
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.
I enjoy how you lay out real numbers. A lot of people wouldn’t do that. While you admit that you are somewhat conservative, I think the $1M in CD’s is just too conservative. Assuming you don’t need the cash flow now (which you say you just save anyways) then all that could be invested for potentially higher returns. For example, what if you bought San Francisco real estate along the way instead of CD’s. Or, an SP500 Index fund. I bet your average return would have been higher than 3.75%. Sure you could lose it, but the point is if you don’t need the cash flow now, you should try to increase that nut as high as possible until the day you actually need it. Your nut could be $5M right now if you had invested in asset classes other than CD’s for the last 14 years. Don’t get me wrong, you have done far better than me, but I guess I would take a little more risk if you don’t rely on that cash flow.
Brian had found a huge need for web design in the restaurant and food truck space. After getting tired of working with client after client, he decided to turn his service-based business into a product-based one. He made his services more standardized and productized. He eliminated all his client work and created templates and products to serve that market instead. And it’s been going great for him.
If you need cash flow, and the dividend doesn’t meet your needs, sell a little appreciated stock. (or keep a CD ladder rolling and leave your stock alone). At the risk of repeating myself, whether you take cash out of your portfolio in the form of “rent”, dividend, interest, cap gain, laddered CD…., etc. The arithmetic doesn’t change. You are still taking cash out of your portfolio. I’m just pointing out that we shouldn’t let the tail wag the dog. IOW, the primary goal is to grow the long term value of your portfolio, after tax. Period. All other goals are secondary.
“Start-up time” required: Poor – Experienced niche site builders will be well versed with outsourcing certain tasks and running through the whole process very efficiently, but when you first start out, it can take a long time to earn your first dollar from a niche site.  Doing research, designing the site, writing content, and doing proper SEO work can all be very time consuming, and the payoff isn’t always something you can rely on.

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.


We had a few property managers, but I wasn’t happy with their work. They didn’t really paid much attention to our properties and the tenant had a tendency to do whatever they wanted to. One tenant built a tree house at our old 4-plex. We didn’t find out about it until the neighbor sent a letter of complaint. If you have a good property manager, then keep them!

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.
We currently have 4 sources that are sustainable. W2 income, interest income, dividend income and blogging. Of course only 2 of those are passive and aren’t enough to support our lifestyle, yet. One day! My wife is also working on building up a side job and I’m looking for ways to boost up my own side hustle too. The next big income source I’d like to add to the mix would be a couple rental properties but #1 is likely still several years away from being joined into the mix.
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Needs and expenses never-end! Nobody has ever remained content with what they have and what they are. Everyone has a desire to get more and better of everything. However, in today’s age of inflation, just the monthly salary is hardly enough to meet the needs; spending on desires is just impossible. It has become important for the middle-class salaried group to have a secondary source of income, apart from their salary, which can be used to spend on desires. A low bank balance, causes stress and tension for many and impacts their health as well. However, all these financial stresses can be eliminated by earning an extra amount or a second income, even if you have a full-time job.
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Who cares, especially when very conservatively, the ultimate passive income includes a six digit or more base lease, plus an estimated additional six digits or more for rate increases and another six digits for more for various smaller and one bigger technology increase at 25 years. All four (base, rate, smaller and mega technology increases) combined, certainly could yield much more depending upon inflation, rate increases and technology increases?
Almost all of these ideas require starting a personal blog or website. But the great thing about that is that it's incredibly cheap to do. We recommend using Bluehost to get started. You get a free domain name and hosting starts at just $2.95 per month - a deal that you won't find many other places online! You can afford that to start building a passive income stream.

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.
It’s been almost 10 years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good income stream online now. Financial Samurai has given me a purpose in early retirement. And, I’m having a ton of fun running this site as well! Here’s a real snapshot of a personal finance blogger who makes $150,000+ a year from his site and another $180,000 from various consulting opportunities due to his site.
It’s been almost 10 years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good income stream online now. Financial Samurai has given me a purpose in early retirement. And, I’m having a ton of fun running this site as well! Here’s a real snapshot of a personal finance blogger who makes $150,000+ a year from his site and another $180,000 from various consulting opportunities due to his site.
Refinancing may not be worth it to you, depending on your situation and interest rates, but maybe a reverse mortgage is just what you need. It's typically an option well worth considering for those in or near retirement. A reverse mortgage is essentially a loan, with the amount borrowed not having to be repaid until you die, sell your home, or stop living in it (perhaps because you moved to a nursing home or died). At that time, the home can be sold to cover the debt -- or your heirs can pay it off and keep the home. Reverse-mortgage income is often tax-free, which is another big plus. The amount you get can be delivered in monthly installments, providing very passive and reliable income in retirement.
However, under certain circumstances, payment for personal services performed in the United States is not considered income from sources within the United States. For example, personal services performed by an independent nonresident alien contractor specifically exempted by a tax treaty. For more examples, see the Pay for Personal Service section in Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities.
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