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.
Quick story: Remember that $1.18 I found in the couch? Even when that increased to $30 to $50 a day, it still wasn’t enough to live on. So I looked for other options. In August 2008, after people started to know who I was and how I could help them pass the LEED certification exam through my blog, I wrote an ebook. It included all the information I knew about passing this exam, and I sold it on my blog for $19.95.
The second category of passive income is drawing on sources that do not require capital to start, maintain, and grow. These are far better choices for those who want to start out on their own and build a fortune from nothing. They include assets you can create, such as a book, song, patent, trademark, Internet site, recurring commissions, or businesses that earn nearly infinite returns on equity such as a drop-ship e-commerce retailer that has little or no money tied up in operations but still turns a profit.
One thing I’ve realized is this: It’s FAR easier to work for an employer than it is to develop durable passive income streams for the average person. Why? Because working for an employer in a place that “needs” you means that it’s possible to show up and give a 50% effort. You can show up, put in your time, go home, have a beer, watch TV, and rinse and repeat all without REALLY having to put in the effort.
P2P lending started in San Francisco with Lending Club in mid-2000. The idea of peer-to-peer lending is to disintermediate banks and help denied borrowers get loans at potentially lower rates compared to the rates of larger financial institutions. What was once a very nascent industry has now grown into a multi-billion dollar business with full regulation.
Several economic historians have argued that real wage decline occurred in the early 19th century, or possibly beginning in the very late 18th century, largely as a result of British imperialism. Economic historian Prasannan Parthasarathi presented earnings data which showed real wages and living standards in 18th century Bengal and Mysore being higher than in Britain, which in turn had the highest living standards in Europe.[101][78] Mysore's average per-capita income was five times higher than subsistence level,[115] i.e. five times higher than $400 (1990 international dollars),[116] or $2,000 per capita. In comparison, the highest national per-capita incomes in 1820 were $1,838 for the Netherlands and $1,706 for Britain.[117] It has also been argued that India went through a period of deindustrialization in the latter half of the 18th century as an indirect outcome of the collapse of the Mughal Empire.[78]
If you’re considering real estate for your portfolio, let me give you some advice: Don’t jump in without a ton of research. It’s not as easy as they make it look on shows like Flip or Flop. There’s a lot that goes into becoming a successful landlord or flipping houses for a profit. Plus, a lot can go wrong and your mistakes can eat up your profits quickly.

Think about it.  If you are saving for retirement, you are trying to save enough in investing to generate enough income to replace your primary salary.  Let’s take my friend’s example above: $50,000 a year.  To generate $50,000, you would need to have almost $1,700,000 saved, and be able to generate a 3% cash flow on that money (which is reasonable if invested in dividend paying stocks).
The source of pension payments is determined by the portion of the distribution that constitutes the compensation element (employer contributions) and the portion that constitutes the earnings element (the investment income). The compensation element is sourced the same as compensation from the performance of personal services. The portion attributable to services performed in the United States is U.S. source income, and the portion attributable to services performed outside the United States is foreign source income.
A lot of people these days are moving towards the two job concept. Amongst the people i know who have applied this in their life; the primary reason is that the 9 to 5 job pays their bills, lets the fire burning in the kitchen, and the second job is where their passion lies. This is the passion, which might have been forgotten while growing up, or is not a viable primary income source.
Venture debt ($12,240 a year): The first venture-debt fund has returned almost all my initial capital, so I decided to invest $200,000 in the second fund. I took a risk investing $150,000 in my friend's first fund, so I'm hoping there's less risk in the second fund, given he has four more years of experience on top of his 12-plus years of experience running a venture-debt portfolio for another company.
Real estate crowdsourcing allows you to surgically invest as little as $5,000 into a residential or commercial real estate project for potentially 8 – 15% annual returns based off historical data. Such returns are much better than the average private equity, CD, bond market, P2P lending, and dividend investing returns. With P2P lending, borrowers can sometimes default and leave you with nothing. At least with real estate crowdsource investing, there’s a physical asset that’s backing your investment.
Investing in rental properties is an effective way to earn passive income. But it often requires more work than people expect. If you don’t take the time to learn how to make it a profitable venture, you could lose your investment and then some, says John H. Graves, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) in the Los Angeles area and author of “The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement.”
We encourage a more holistic, total return approach to your sustainable spending needs from investments.  An improved portfolio includes a wide range of income sources providing both cash flow and capital growth.  Your chosen blend should match your overall financial goals, considering your tolerance for risk, time frames, income and liquidity needs with a spending rate that sustains the investor’s wealth.
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