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.
Awesome article…if this does not give somebody a clear roadmap, they probably were never going to get there in the first place! I’m kind of like you trying to figure out where to place “new” money and maturing CD’s in this low interest environment. Rates have to go up eventually…I dream of the days again where you can build a laddered bond portfolio paying 8%. I plan for a 5.5% blended rate of return, with big downside protection.
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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.
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.
They also launched an incredible Retirement Planning Calculator that pulls in real data from your linked accounts to run a Monte Carlo simulation model to output the most likely results of your financial future. I strongly suggest you run your own numbers, play around with the income and expense variables, and see how you stack up. It’s all free and easy to use.
If you like the tips you get in the Money Girl podcast and want to take more control of your money, I think you’ll like my book, Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich. The book tells you what you need to know about money without bogging you down with what you don’t. It’s available at your favorite book store in print or as an e-book for your Kindle, Nook, iPad, PC, Mac, or smart phone. You can download two free chapters at SmartMovesToGrowRich.com!
My reasons for diversifying income are simple: I want to be able to quit my day job eventually. But your reasons may be different, maybe your job isn’t that secure or your co-workers are starting to feel the pressure. It really doesn’t matter why you diversify your sources of income, what matters is that you do it. Making money won’t happen overnight with second sources of income so if you wait until it’s too late you’ll be screwed.
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.
Thanks for asking. https://passiveincomemd.com/what-is-passive-income/ gives a good summary of the definition I use. But in brief, it’s income that isn’t proportional to the time you physically put into acquiring it. It doesn’t mean it’s not without work or effort. It’s just that most of the work is done up front and it continues to pay off long after that initial effort. Real estate fits into that box. There’s definitely a spectrum but compared to what we do as doctors, where our compensation is directly linked to our time, most of these things are quite passive.
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.
In the runup to the Second World War, the United States had suffered through the Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Roosevelt's election at the end of 1932 was based on a commitment to reform the economy and society through a "New Deal" program. The first indication of a commitment to government guarantees of social and economic rights came in an address to the Commonwealth Club on September 23, 1932 during his campaign. The speech was written with Adolf A. Berle, a professor of corporate law at Columbia University. A key passage read:
Highly-paid professionals (like doctors) should definitely be looking into multiple streams of income. In fact, more than anyone, we are in the best position to accelerate our growth towards financial freedom. We’re able to earn the necessary capital and immediately throw that money into creating additional streams very quickly. We just have to be strategic about it. Keep your expenses in check, and be disciplined about moving your earned income from your day jobs and straight into the money-making machines. There is a balance to be had here. You just have to figure out exactly where it is for you.

We’re currently at four and about to add a fifth. The more diverse the less risk. The less risk the lower the risk mitigation needs (ie insurance). We are high income but historically we’ve focused on the two w2 incomes and investment returns. At some early stages in your career focusing on your W-2 might yield better returns. Once you’ve got a certain level marginal gains from raises begins to decline. We’re at that stage where alternative income importance is increasing.

Well written piece, but I question the core premise. Why the fascination with maximizing “income” (passive or otherwise). Shouldn’t the goal simply be to maximize long-term after tax growth of your entire portfolio? If this takes the form of dividend paying stocks, so be it. But what if small caps are poised to outperform? What if you want to take Buffet’s or Bogle’s advice and just buy a broad market index like the S&P 500, (no matter what the dividend because you’ll just have it automatically reinvested to avoid the transaction fees).
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.
The launch of the Expressway Development Support Project (EDSP) marked a historic moment in the WBG’s partnership with Ethiopia, as it is the first project co-financed with China EXIM Bank and South Korea EXIM Bank. The project brings together traditional and non-traditional development partners to work on a single project, with standardized design, safeguards, and joint-supervision.

People don’t realize how important this is. Recently an online marketing system, who had thousands of members who depended on it for their income, just shut down without notice. One morning all the members could no longer log in to their back office. Capture pages were gone, built in autoresponder gone, and their email list of subscribers were gone forever. Many were running solo ads and advertising. To make matters worse those who clicked on their links were redirected to the before-mentioned system creator’s new business and their own affiliate id’s. This means that any sale that was made went in their pocket off the backs of their now former members. Working from home is awesome but everyone who does it needs to be cautious and prepared. The best thing to do is earn multiple streams of income, just as this article talks about, and try to have control over your business. Don’t depend on all-ready-made systems. Make your own capture pages, have your own autoresponder, website, etc. This will go a long way to keeping your business alive and income flowing in.


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"The whole idea of Multiple Streams of Income will be a powerfulparadigm shift for most people. Bob Allen gives practical andbeautifully illustrated knowledge on how to do it. Masteringfinancial principles is an important habit in life because it givesus the freedom to focus on what matters most. A valuable read."—Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of HighlyEffective People

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As an struggling young Engineer (back in the Carter era) I bought anything I could renovate then rent to justify paying the 18% interest. I never took vacations but worked on my properties all in the pursuit of passive income. I drove junk for many years & many months I just got by on credit cards. My friends & colleagues were amused by my ‘stupidity’ but most are still working to make enough for retirement.
Good ranking FS, I’d have to agree with the rankings. And it looks like your portfolio covers five of the six! Some people consider real estate passive will others classify it as active. But every scenario is different, whether you are doing all the maintenance and managing yourself, or you are contracting out a lot of the work. Obviously it takes a lot more time and effort than purchasing a 36 month CD and “setting it and forgetting it.”
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!
I was just curious what your thought was on actively managing your properties vs. getting a property manager? I recently started using a property manager and it has been a wonderful experience. It’s like there is now complete radio silence from the property since everything goes through the manager. I used to spend tons of time driving to it and showing it to prospective renters, doing background checks, doing maintenance, etc. It was amazing how much of a drain it was just thinking about what might go wrong. Now with a property manager I just get a .pdf statement in my e-mail and the rent gets deposited in my account like magic! I’m a big fan of property managers and think they are worth twice what I pay them.
Based on my initial experience of passive income, I feel real that real estate is best vehicle to build long-term investment. I live in Los Angeles and was able to cash flow my first rental property. What are you thoughts about starting out to build a passive income portfolio? I have utilized Lendingclub, online savings, and a small dividend/bond portfolio.

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”.
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?
There are three main categories of income: active income, passive income and portfolio income. Passive income has been a relatively loosely used term in recent years. Colloquially, it’s been used to define money being earned regularly with little or no effort on the part of the person receiving it. Proponents of earning passive income tend to be boosters of a work-from-home and be-your-own-boss professional lifestyle. The type of earnings people usually associate with this are gains on stocks, interest, retirement pay, lottery winnings, online work and capital gains.
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.
To save time and effort, a person can group two or more of their passive activities into one larger activity, provided they form an "appropriate economic unit." When a taxpayer does this, instead of having to provide material participation in multiple activities, they only have to provide it for the activity as a whole. In addition, if a person includes multiple activities into one group and has to dispose of one of those activities, they’ve only done away with part of a larger activity as opposed to all of a smaller one. 
7) Never Withdraw From Your Financial Nut. The biggest downfall I see from people looking to build passive income is that they withdraw from their financial nut too soon. There’s somehow always an emergency which eats away at the positive effects of compounding returns. Make sure your money is invested and not just sitting in your savings account. The harder to access your money, the better. Make it your mission to always contribute X amount every month and consistently increase the savings amount by a percentage or several until it hurts. Pause for a month or two and then keep going. You’ll be amazed how much you can save. You just won’t know because you’ve likely never tested savings limits to the max.
When you go shopping, do you use cash, your debit card, or a credit card? Instead, why not use a cash-back credit card and make money while you shop? It sounds contradictory, but Goudreau elaborates. "With a great cash-back card, you can make money when you spend money," she says. "The key is to keep your spending rates the same and pay your balance off in full at the end of every month. It's also important to pay your bill on time. That way, you're not paying interest or getting hit with any late fees, and any cash back you earn is pure profit.

I was so excited when I opened a higher interest savings account and I started getting ‘real’ passive income. Instead of 5 cents from my bad savings account, now I get $10 a month in interest for just keeping my emergency fund full! If I saw a nickel on the street, I’d pick it up but it’s not too exciting. If I saw $10 laying on the street and picked it up, it would make my week! The account is like finding that $10 on the ground every month 😉

AbigailP That’s a really valid point, and I totally understand that piling more work on top of your day job isn’t for everyone. Before I started freelancing, I relied only on my day job because I was too drained to focus on other things by the time I got home. I think I’m used to it now, but it’s not easy, especially with chronic fatigue. Having a network to fall back on, or having a Plan B, is still very valuable.
The first time I did affiliate marketing was way back in the day on my architecture exam website. I connected with a company that sold practice exams, which gave me $22 for every person who bought one of their exams via my site. Since then, I’ve generated over $250,000 simply by recommending that product alone. Again, this is a product that was not mine, but one that has still been helpful to my audience. This was all done with thousands of visitors a month. Not millions, or even hundreds of thousands.
Bonnie Breen, head booker at Bizzykidz Agency says there are some classic costly mistakes to avoid when it comes to working with agencies: "Don't pay subscription fees, yearly fees or joining fees. You will, with all agencies, be asked to cover the costs of your child's model cards or entry into their model book, but no agency should charge yearly fees to be represented by them."
Highly-paid professionals (like doctors) should definitely be looking into multiple streams of income. In fact, more than anyone, we are in the best position to accelerate our growth towards financial freedom. We’re able to earn the necessary capital and immediately throw that money into creating additional streams very quickly. We just have to be strategic about it. Keep your expenses in check, and be disciplined about moving your earned income from your day jobs and straight into the money-making machines. There is a balance to be had here. You just have to figure out exactly where it is for you.

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.
DonebyForty Yes, that makes total sense! I hear you on the savings rate, too. I always figured I lived lean enough (and had enough saved up) that I could handle things even without my main source of income. However, after leaving my job last year and having a tough time with freelancing, I realized not having a job was more of a mental drain than a money one. I like knowing I have control and can call on another source of income and increase it when I need to. 

I have already come up with 50 ways that a management company can screw you for profit without you ever knowing(or not finding out for awhile). Did you have an inspection before you made an offer on the property? Do you have a picture of the property you bought? How do you know if that picture shows the house you actually own? or if it even hows the ‘current’ state of the house you own?

Highly-paid professionals (like doctors) should definitely be looking into multiple streams of income. In fact, more than anyone, we are in the best position to accelerate our growth towards financial freedom. We’re able to earn the necessary capital and immediately throw that money into creating additional streams very quickly. We just have to be strategic about it. Keep your expenses in check, and be disciplined about moving your earned income from your day jobs and straight into the money-making machines. There is a balance to be had here. You just have to figure out exactly where it is for you.
We’ve discussed how to get started building passive income for financial freedom in a previous post. Now I’d like to rank the various passive income streams based on risk, return, and feasibility. The rankings are somewhat subjective, but they are born from my own real life experiences attempting to generate multiple types of passive income sources over the past 16 years.
Mike, I don’t consider the income from FS to be passive, as I’m spending time commenting to you right now. But since 75% of my traffic comes from search, the most traffic I would probably lose is 25% for probably a year. And then my search word rankings would probably slowly fade given frequency of posting new content is one of the search algo variables.
Peer-to-Peer Lending: Earn up to 10% in returns by lending individuals, organizations and small companies who don't qualify for traditional financing through peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club. You can lend $100, $1,000, or more to borrowers who meet lending platform financial standards. Like a bank, you'll earn interest on the loan - often at higher returns than banks usually get.
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.
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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