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.
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.”
What spurred this blog post was an idea put forth by my friend at ESI Money in which he talks about how the first million is the hardest. ESI shares how his net worth growth has accelerated. The first million took 19 years of work (the clock starts when he started working, not at birth!) but the 2nd million took just 4 years and 9 months. J Money took this same idea and started at $100k, which took him 7yrs 11mos. Each of the next $100k milestones took close to 18 months each to reach.
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What I’m doing: My realistic goal is to have a blended annual return of 2x the risk free rate. With a current 5% hurdle, I am not paying down mortgages that cost less than 4%. Debt at 5% is a wash. My realistic blue sky scenario is a 3-4X rate of return over the risk free rate which can be achieved with property, stocks so far for the past five years, and certain private equity investments. Where I am dragging is my blended average CD interest rate of roughly 3% from an old CD coming due. I’ve rolled some money into a 12-month CD with CIT Bank at 2.5%. It’s the best rate I can find. 

I’m still a big fan of InfoBarrel, Eric, even though I haven’t been able to write much. With what I am earning there, I’ve actually shifted to outsourcing quite a bit of content…call it a “respite” from writing, I had just needed a break. Even if one pays $5-$10 per article, IF the keywords are researched properly and effectively, one can easily turn that one article and earn several hundred off of it in it’s lifetime. Right now, one of my friends had written a single article that, already this month, has earned over $83 on InfoBarrel. Not too shabby at all…
Rentals, just like stocks, throw off cash. With rentals we call that cash “rent”, and with stocks we call it dividends. A significant difference however is that the S&P 500 has appreciated at ~6% per year (above inflation) for the last 100 years…..Real Estate has had almost 0 growth above inflation. So are rents higher than dividends? Maybe, maybe not. But unless you got one heck of a deal, the delta in rent over dividends will have a very tough time making up for the 6% per year difference in appreciation.
The appeal of these passive income sources is that you can diversify across many small investments, rather than in a handful of large ones. When you invest directly in real estate, you have to commit a lot of capital to individual projects. When you invest in these crowdfunded investments, you can spread your money across many uncorrelated real estate ventures so individual investments don't cause significant issues.
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Investing in rental properties: Another form of real estate investment, rental investments (i.e. becoming a landlord) could steer you down the passive income path of steady monthly rent checks that you can use to pay off a mortgage loan on the rental property. After the mortgage is paid off, those monthly checks go right into your bank account -- potentially for years to come. 
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?

I see our income streams evolving in two phases during retirement because the missus will unfortunately have to work longer to secure the benefits of her DB pension. The first phase will be a bit of a transition period with my wages being replaced by passive investment income and interest income (GIC ladder for predictability and safety) with the missus still providing wage income. I’d love to find a fun and flexible encore career though that might provide some side wage income. Phase two would primarily be a mix of investment income, interest income, and DB pension income with the standard Canadian social security benefits providing an additional margin of safety.
I make some income from Retire by 40. Right now, all of the income is from advertising. If you’re curious about my online income, you can sign up for our monthly newsletter and see the break down. I’m not exactly sure how I would categorize my online income, though. If I stop blogging, the income will continue, but I’m sure it would decrease over time. I guess blogging income is 50% active and 50% passive at this point.
These are most of the ways that I use to try and diversify my income. Add them all up and they’re still nowhere near my day job income but they’re getting closer every day. No matter how much you make it’s imperative to start thinking about additional ways to make money. Real estate and investing are some of the best passive sources of income but it’s also important to think of alternative active sources of income. For most people, those two things will never be able to equal your day job pay but secondary active sources could one day replace your day job whether you want it to or not.
Writing an e-book is very popular among bloggers, as many have noted that “it’s just a bunch of blog posts put together!” You will not only have to make an investment of time and energy to create the e-book, but market it correctly. However, if marketed correctly (through blogging affiliates in your niche, for example), you could have residual sales that last a very long time.

The reverse can also be expected unless the rents rise too.  This rental increase might occur if we imagine interest rates are rising because the economic environment is improving.  At present, it is widely expected that rates will rise ever so slowly over many years.  Indeed the US has been looking for the courage to do this over recent months and they may start rising there soon.


Purchasing a rental property is another common way that individual generate an income stream.  It is very similar to investing, in that you take a sum of money to purchase the property, and the property returns a cash flow – rent.  You do have expenses related to this that are different from investing, such as a mortgage, utilities, property taxes, etc, which all must be taken into consideration when calculating a return on rental property.
That strategy seems waaaayyyy less risky than actively picking stocks of supposedly “reliable” stocks that issue dividends, which could be cut at any time due to shifting industry trends and company performance. Dividend investing feels like an overly complex old-school way of investing that doesn’t have a very strong intellectual basis compared to index investing.

I just graduated college in May and was fortunate enough to secure an entry level consulting position that pays 55k/yr (a little less than ~35k after 401K, other benefits, and the lovely taxes that government bestows upon us). I started from “scratch” with my finances and have ~$2.3k in an online savings account. Since starting work a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had an aggressive savings plan (saving around ~40-50% of my monthly income). However, I’m going to become even more aggressive and live off 1 paycheck a month (and save the other paycheck) like you have suggested in many of your blog posts.


I’ve built several businesses since 2008 using one or more of these models. I’ve been featured in magazines and articles across the globe, and since I started my journey I’ve generated over $5M in earnings from these businesses. All of my income and expenses for those businesses dating back to October 2008 have been tracked publicly on SPI.com. You can see 10 years of income reports here.
After many years I finally achieved FI and my dividend portfolio basically covers my living expenses. My wife still works in wealth management and I also help her grow her client base. Just about to release a book that I co-authored called Victory Lap Retirement which will be a new source of income. Also plan on doing public speaking and seminars in support of the book which will be an additional new source of income. I will also be creating a Victory Lap website and blog to help sell the book and hopefully over time create a VL community. I will not advertise as I do not want to commit to when I have to produce a blog. I worked hard to get FI and I don’t want to give my freedom back by forcing myself into a set schedule if that makes sense. So basically I will end up with 5 sources of income including ss and most of them are aligned with my passion play. Not a bad way to go out.

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.


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So many great tips in this big post, thanks! I think it’s so true that people should focus on the things they do well at and are interested in. And yes save, save, save in the beginning and throughout. I have several interest and dividend earning investments and am looking to expand further. Diversification is a great goal for all of us so we can avoid having all our eggs in one basket.

We live in an exciting time. You can literally make money while you sleep. As an entrepreneur, you don’t get a steady paycheck. You can create financial stability when you create multiple streams of income and make some of them passive. Use these steps and tools. Don’t just run towards the online because these are still a lot of opportunities offline. Create systems and don’t try to do it all alone.
Second Chance Companions has rescued thousands of animals over the last 20 years. Through our Spay & Neuter program, we have altered thousands of pets. Since we added our AniMeals program several years ago, we have helped low income seniors feed their pets thousands of pounds of pet food. Over the years, our volunteers have donated thousands of hours of their time to care for unwanted animals.

Freelancing is basically a kind of work where people are self-employed as they take projects and some piece of work from some company or person but they are not the part of that company or organization. As opposed to a regular salary job where the payments are fixed and monthly, freelancing projects/assignments are paid per case basis. Hence a freelancer is not supposed to work full time for the company/person, instead they just need to finish only a specific task. Freelancing can be a full-time career for many professionals. And the most amazing part of freelancing is that it is not limited to a particular domain, from content to coding, freelance jobs are available in every domain. In India, Freelancing is not considered as a highly paid job, but that’s not true. Your earning capacity depends on your quality and quantity of work. If you want to earn more apart from your full-time salaried job, freelancing can be a great option for you. There are many online websites where you can find a freelancing job. You just need to give time to select and get a good project/assignment.
These are most of the ways that I use to try and diversify my income. Add them all up and they’re still nowhere near my day job income but they’re getting closer every day. No matter how much you make it’s imperative to start thinking about additional ways to make money. Real estate and investing are some of the best passive sources of income but it’s also important to think of alternative active sources of income. For most people, those two things will never be able to equal your day job pay but secondary active sources could one day replace your day job whether you want it to or not.

Finally, make sure you can service multiple types of clients. This is the best egg to have. Even for something as simple as a dog walking business, you can service multiple types of clients. For example, you can offer a puppy walking service and an adult walking service. You can have weekends at the park services. You can offer to take the dog to the groomers. Try to meet client’s individual needs.
I’ve compared their Compensation Plan with every other MLM out there and nothing beats this one. Refer 3 people and you cover your $99/month membership, so now you’re not paying. Easy, right? It was. Next level, help those 3 people do what you just did, you get a monthly bonus of $600 (minus your membership cost) so you Commission $500 every month. EVERY month. No one drops out once they’re actually profiting, and it’s consistent income, not some flashy startup bonuses, like many others offer. Do a comparison yourself to see how many people needed at other MLM companies vs. the 12 needed here, to be at a $500 monthly residual income.
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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.

The most liquid of the private investments are investing in equity or credit hedge funds, real estate funds, and private company funds. There will usually be 6 month – 3 year lockup periods. The least liquid of the private investments are when you invest directly into private companies yourself. You might not be able to get your money out for 5-10 years, depending on the success of the company and upcoming liquidity events.
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.

If you can max out your 401k or max out your IRA and then save an additional 20%+ of your after-tax, after-retirement contribution, good things really start to happen. If one is looking for earlier financial independence, such as retiring in their 40s or early 50s, it may be a good idea to skew towards more after-tax savings and investments given one has to wait until 59.5 to withdraw from their 401k or IRA penalty-free.


​Affiliate marketing is the practice of partnering with a company (becoming their affiliate) to receive a commission on a product. This method of generating income works the best for those with blogs and websites. Even then, it takes a long time to build up before it becomes passive. If you want to get started with affiliate marketing check out this great list of affiliate marketing programs.

Create a Course on Udemy – Udemy is an online platform that lets its user take video courses on a wide array of subjects. Instead of being a consumer on Udemy you can instead be a producer, create your own video course, and allow users to purchase it. This is a fantastic option if you are highly knowledgeable in a specific subject matter. This can also be a great way to turn traditional tutoring into a passive income stream!
I also noticed that in your passive income chart at the bottom that you don’t include your internet income other than sales from your book. Is there a reason for that? Do you not consider is passive because you are actively blogging all the time to create it? Or do you just not want readers to know how much money you generate from blogging activities?
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.
I invest about 5% of my pre tax income in 401k that my employer matches. Have close to 70k in cash in checking. Also,I liquidated around 40k in my 401k and not sure where to invest that in (bonds vs stocks) because of stocks trading at record high. Have a rental property that is paying itself now and I will pay off the mortgage completely in 5 years. My immediate concern is the cash in checking acct that’s not doing much. Thanks for your reply and appreciate your work. I am learning a lot
I formed a publishing company a number of years ago and have published a couple of technical books I’ve written since then. I doubled my goal for copies sold, but it’s definitely not enough income to retire on. Writing books is a tough area. You’ll definitely be proud of the accomplishment and seeing the sales happen around the world, but it’s tough to make it really profitable.
Investing in a business: Another good way to generate passive income is to invest in a business --even a small one -- in return for a percentage of the profits - just like Shark Tank, only smaller. Lending $10,000 to a local business that, for example, is working on a mobile app for Apple phones could lead to a passive income-generated share of the profits when that mobile app starts selling like hot cakes.
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In my situation, I knew that I would be leaving San Diego and quitting my job many months in advance. I knew when we’d be leaving but I didn’t know where we’d be heading(since my fiancee was applying to med school). That really forced me to think outside of the box and come up with some unique ways to make money, independent of our future location. I could have sat back and hoped that she got into a school in a city where I could find work as an engineer but I didn’t want to rely on chance.
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Best financial planning is when we prepare for Bad Times during Good Times. Sounds quite philosophical but unfortunately it is harsh reality of today. Second Income is a back up during bad times or we can say its a blessing in disguise. Second Income should be planned during Good Times. Though it is not easy to generate second income source but it is not impossible also. Let’s find out 5 Ways to Create Second Income source.
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.
One of the easiest ways to get exposure to dividend stocks is to buy ETFs like DVY, VYM, and NOBL or index funds. You can also pay an algorithmic advisor like Wealthfront to automatically invest your money for you at a low fee. In the long run, it is very hard to outperform any index, therefore, the key is to pay the lowest fees possible while being invested in the market. Wealthfront charges $0 in fees for the first $15,000 and only 0.25% for any money over $10,000. Invest your idle money cheaply, instead of letting it lose purchasing power due to inflation. The key is to invest regularly.
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.
Most of us think of investment income as just the cash flow we get from bank interest, bonds, share dividends and property rents, some of which comes via a super pension.  But a more complete view is to also consider how growing the value of your investments can add to your spending potential.  This total return approach generates income from both income and growth to optimise spending from your portfolio across all market cycles, aligning cheap and expensive investments to your goals.
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