I also like the distinctions you make about the illusion of influence. I have control over most of my investments (real estate related) and have 10% in passive index funds. But I think as I continue to diversify, I like putting it into the two buckets of (1) I control (2) no control (stock market). I like that clarity. The illusion of control does add stress and hassle that detract from enjoying your life. Not worth extra returns to me.
The key liability that remains, as human capital dwindles, should be funding one’s retirement income. Given the blended retirement pattern discussed in this column last March, we can expect that some retirees will start spending their financial capital and others will keep building it, at least for a while. Do you know how your investor clients plan to blend remaining human capital with their (hopefully growing) financial capital and social capital to meet their remaining (and, one hopes, limited to retirement income) liabilities?

Unfortunately, it can be financially devastating when a spouse – and especially a primary breadwinner – loses their life while their family is still young. LifeInsurancebyJeff.com was created to help people realize just how much coverage they need, then to steer them toward companies that offer quality life insurance policies for a price they can afford.
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.
I own several rental properties in the mid west and I live in CA. I have never even seen them in person. With good property management in place (not easy to find but possible) it is definitely possible to own cash flowing properties across the country. Not for everyone and not without it’s drawbacks, but it seems to be working for me so far. I’m happy to answer any questions about my experience with this type of investing.

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).

In 2017, I ended up deploying roughly $611,000 into stocks and $604,327 into municipal bonds. The stock allocation should boost dividend income by about $12,500 a year, and the municipal-bond portion should boost income by about $18,000 a year after tax ($26,000 pre-tax). Therefore, total passive income gets an about $38,500 lift, which recovers over half of my $60,000 loss from selling the house.
Given the growth in the sharing economy, your junk can start to pay for itself. For example, if you have some awesome vintage furniture inherited from your grandmother sitting in a storage unit, you can rent this out to photographers for their “styled shoots” which are becoming all the rage. If your furniture is more modern but you still can’t bear to get rid of it – perhaps a home stager will be interested.
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Blogging is still going to take work starting out. That path to $5,000 a month didn’t happen overnight but just like real estate development, it build up an asset that now creates constant cash flow whether I work or not. I get over 30,000 visitors a month from Google search rankings, rankings that will continue to send traffic even if I take a little time off.
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.