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.
But first, let’s about talk passive income! What is passive income? There are many different definitions out there, but mine goes something like this: Passive income is all about building online businesses that can work for you, that allow you to generate income, and grow and scale, without a real-time presence. In other words, you don’t trade time for money. You build something up front that can continue to work for you over time.

ie first you need to haul ass and do something crazy, eg write a quality 20,000 word ebook (insanely not passive hahahah), but then you get to sit back and enjoy seeing PayPal sale messages pop up on your iPhone each morning as sale after sale after sale is made…on an ongoing basis and without any additional work. That’s some seriously Pina Colada flavored passive goodness!
Financial capital is a measure of human capital — time productively used, saved and invested by a person net of spending needs and habits. As discussed more fully in April, at or during retirement this financial capital can not only be invested in diversified risky assets but also in guaranteed income from insurance contracts, risk transfer and cash-flow matching hedges and the proper duration-matched risk-free assets. Interestingly, spending accumulated financial capital relieves one from using time productively. In essence, money buys free time. Money buys non-productive time. Do you know how much non-productive time your investor clients plan, or are able, to buy with their financial capital?
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I knew I didn't want to work 70 hours a week in finance forever. My body was breaking down, and I was constantly stressed. As a result, I started saving every other paycheck and 100% of my bonus since my first year out of college in 1999. By the time 2012 rolled around, I was earning enough passive income (about $78,000) to negotiate a severance and be free.
I wish I had more time to put into real estate. Given the run up since 2012, I may even be interested in selling my condo that I currently rent out. I need to get it appraised to really see what it’s worth, but I think conservatively it’s gone up ~50%, although rent is probably only up ~10% or so. I am bullish on rents going up in the future… mostly in line with inflation, or perhaps even slightly faster due to constricted credit and personal income growth which should provide a solid supply of renters. At this point, I just don’t want to manage the property. I’ll probably look into a property manager as my time is likely worth turning it into a nearly passive investment.
Author Bio: Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 to help people achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later. He spent 13 years working in investment banking, earned his MBA from UC Berkeley, and retired at age 34 in San Francisco. Everything Sam writes is based on first-hand experience because money is too important to be left up to pontification.
Maybe you’re obsessed with homemade jewelry and want to sell your wares on Etsy. Or, perhaps you’re well-versed on the Amazon reselling game and want to earn extra cash finding unicorns (rare and valuable products) and reselling them for profit. Maybe you’re obsessed with a specific topic and want to start a blog that can one day bring in advertorial and affiliate income.
This is mostly passive once you have it all set up, but it does take a lot of work at the beginning. Real estate investing also requires occasional maintenance. Currently, we invest in a couple of rental properties and earn about $500 profit from each per month. You can read more about my rental properties at MoneySmartLife.com: How and Why I Became a Landlord.
So one thing I have to disagree with after having done hours and hours of research from Multiple CPA’s is “Dividends – 21% (passive)”. Thats actually not right. Thats actually “active”. I actually paid 2 different CPA’s to do research on this topic. One of them I paid 500 dollars to actually dig out the IRS tax code and “prove” it. If you are active in a business and the business pays you dividends its still active income (not passive).
Case Schiller only tracks price appreciation of RE. RE as rental investment vehicle is measured primarily on rental yield or cap rate or some other measure. Price appreciation in that scenario is only a secondary means of growth, and arguably should be ignored as a predictor of returns when deciding on whether or not to invest in rentals. More important key performance indicators for rentals are net operating income and cash ROI. Appreciation, if it occurs, is a bonus.
Thirst for income is likely to continue with interest rates expected to stay low, keeping government bond yields low for longer and their valuations unattractive.  Looking past bonds, the prices of high-dividend shares are historically high, which limits the likelihood that their dividends will rise markedly from here.  Striving too high for an income target tends to push your portfolio further out on the risk spectrum.
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