Passive income is attractive because it frees up your time so you can focus on the things you actually enjoy. A highly successful doctor, lawyer, or publicist, for instance, cannot “inventory” their profits. If they want to earn the same amount of money and enjoy the same lifestyle year after year, they must continue to work the same number of hours at the same pay rate—or more, to keep up with inflation. Although such a career can provide a very comfortable lifestyle, it requires far too much sacrifice unless you truly enjoy the daily grind of your chosen profession.
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. 
eBay Store: It’s now easier than ever to run an online eBay store. You can, of course, acquire products to resell on eBay. But you can also create an online store to market products that others are selling on eBay and share in the commissions generated by the sales. Recently I interviewed a family friend who started her own eBay store and now makes five figures from home. Check out the interview here.

Refinancing may not be worth it to you, depending on your situation and interest rates, but maybe a reverse mortgage is just what you need. It's typically an option well worth considering for those in or near retirement. A reverse mortgage is essentially a loan, with the amount borrowed not having to be repaid until you die, sell your home, or stop living in it (perhaps because you moved to a nursing home or died). At that time, the home can be sold to cover the debt -- or your heirs can pay it off and keep the home. Reverse-mortgage income is often tax-free, which is another big plus. The amount you get can be delivered in monthly installments, providing very passive and reliable income in retirement.


In terms of whether transactions are liable to tax, the important distinction is that when you bought what you intend selling, you did not buy it with the intention to sell it on at a profit. For example, if you repeatedly buy and sell vintage dresses on eBay at a profit, then these transactions will be considered trades and you ought to include your profits in taxable income.
Among the many passive-income opportunities that exist, interest is a very popular one, along with dividends. Unfortunately, we've been living in an environment of ultra-low interest rates for many years now, so even a savings account with $100,000 in it might only grow by $1,000 or $2,000 per year. Interest rates seem to be rising, though, so take heart -- and know that in many past years, bank accounts and CDs and bonds have paid rates of 5%, 8%, and even 10% or more.

Leonardo da Vinci is another example of someone who was a "wide achiever," in the words of Roman Krznaric, author of "How to Find Fulfilling Work." Da Vinci was alternately a portraitist, an inventor, and a scientist. Krznaric says that in light of decreasing job security today, spreading yourself among several different jobs, as da Vinci did, is probably a smart thing to do.
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I have a total of three CDs left. There is no way in hell I’m selling them after holding them for 4+ years so far to take the penalty. The CDs are for 7 years. That would be completely counterproductive. As a result, I feel very stuck with ever getting my CD money back if I wanted to. If the CDs were for just 1 or 2 years, I agree, it doesn’t matter as much. But combine a 7 year term with 4%+ interest is too painful to give up.
For those willing to take on the task of managing a property, real estate can be a powerful semi-passive income stream due to the combination of rental and principal value appreciation. But to generate passive income from real estate, you either have to rent out a room in your house, rent out your entire house and rent elsewhere (seems counterproductive), or buy a rental property. It’s important to realize that owning your primary residence means you are neutral the real estate market. Renting means you are short the real estate market, and only after buying two or more properties are you actually long real estate.
Finally, I imagine the biggest debate with my ranking is Creating Your Own Product as the #1 passive income source. If most people have never created their own product, then it’s easy to give it a thumbs down. There won’t be much complaint about Private Equity Investing being in last place because most people are not accredited investors. But given I believe that plenty of people can create their own product if they try, pushback is inevitable because a lot of people simply don’t try!

Since David may never be coming back to this site, If anyone other than David can point me in the right direction, Id greatly appreciate it. I live in Chicago, and I need to buy a quality rental to hold long term somewhere but I have no idea where, and I really don’t want to buy in Chicago. Chicago is insanely corrupt and in HUGE debt. I cant leave Chicago in the near term, I take care of an aging parent, and if I left, my salary would drop by 50%. Id still like to diversify into a rental property.. but I feel that if I just call up a stranger, they’d attempt to sell me their best pig with lipstick, and pressure me to jump on the deal before someone else ‘stole’ it. I have no problem hiring a property inspector from a different city, but don’t want to waste hundreds of dollars if the agent is steering us towards crap property after crap property. I’m looking for broad advice. Any constructive reply appreciated. Thanks guys.
I remember seeing a number of my co-workers get laid off in 2008 and many of them had only worked for the one company. They had mortgages to pay, colleges to pay and families to support and they were scared out of their minds for what they would do next. After watching that happen, I vowed that I wouldn’t suffer the same fate. It’s one of the main reasons I started my own company. I tell people now that instead of one boss (i.e. one company), I have hundreds of bosses and it makes me feel more secure about my longterm prospects.

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!


Let’s say a company earns $1 a share and pays out 75 cents in the form of a dividend. That’s a 75% dividend payout ratio. Let’s say the next year the company earns $2 a share and pays out $1 in the form of dividends. Although the dividend payout ratio declines to 50%, due the company wanting to spend more CAPEX on expansion, at least the absolute dividend amount increases.

I think it’s funny how 1500 is the amount of extra income you mention because that’s what I’m shooting for! If I can make that much more each month to supplement my regular income, I will have almost all of my school debt payed off in one year! I’m really motivated. I use Mechanical Turk with Amazon to perform menial task and get a few extra bucks. I also use Varolo which is a fairly new idea. I really think it has potential. If you don’t mind me promoting it, here it goes.
Right now we have five, but we’ll probably cut that down to four at ER next year. Current: W-2, business income, rental income, interest on personal loan plus accounts, dividends and cap gains. Future: subtract W-2 for the most part, not counting little “fun work” projects. If we were looking to live the high life, we might aim for the millionaire’s seven sources, but we feel like our four sources will let us live very comfortably with plenty of contingency plans in place. 🙂
Vanguard: Vanguard has a minimum of $50,000 and a fee of 0.3%. Rebalancing is done automatically once every quarter and tax loss harvesting is done on a client-by-client basis. We included Vanguard because clients who invest between $50,000-$500,000 have access to a team of financial advisors. Those with accounts over $500,000 will have a dedicated advisor.
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. 
Portfolio income can come from multiple sources – interest/bond coupons, stock dividends, financial strategies including derivatives and capital growth.  Each offers some cash flow and some also offer potential capital gain with some risk from liquidity and volatile prices.  In this low-yield environment, many investors rely too heavily on cash flows and to pursue this are venturing further into riskier areas than they’d normally consider.
A Risk Score of 10 means no risk. A Return Score of 1 means the returns are horrible compared to the risk-free rate. A Feasibility score of 10 means everybody can do it. A Liquidity Score of 1 means it’s very difficult to withdraw your money without a massive penalty. An Activity Score of 10 means you can kick back and do nothing to earn income. To make the ranking as realistic as possible, every score is relative to each other. Furthermore, the return criteria is based off trying to generate $10,000 a year in passive income.
Great ideas here, and thanks for the link! I’m definitely interested in learning about using an Ebay store, although I’ve heard they are not as effective as they used to be. One interesting problem that arises though is with online work, that is, work performed via the internet. If one does not reside in one’s home country while doing it it might be considered illegal (so check on all those tax implications).
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?
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.

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.

Dividends made sense 40 years ago as a relatively simple rule of thumb, but after all the work done by John Bogle with index investing, and academics with Monte Carlo sims and the 4% rule, dividend investing just isn’t the simplest, cleanest way to invest or receive passive income anymore. It’s actually significantly more risky compared to index investing, because dividend companies are a much smaller share of the total global economy compared to the broader indices.

The organizing principle behind this grouping, appropriate economic units, is relatively simple: if the activities are located in the same geographic area; if the activities have similarities in the types of business; or if the activities are somehow interdependent, for instance, if they have the same customers, employees or use a single set of books for accounting.
What’s also really important to realize here is that when I took the exam I was teaching people to study for, I didn’t get a perfect score. In fact, I didn’t even get close to a perfect score. I passed. But I also knew a lot about this exam—way more than somebody who was just getting started diving into studying for it. And it was because of that, because I was just a few steps ahead of them, that they trusted me to help them with that information. To support this, I provided a lot of great free value to help them along the way. I engaged in conversations and interacted in comments sections and on forums. Most of all, I just really cared about those people, because I struggled big-time with that exam myself.
Question: You mention receiving $200k of passive income a year, but your chart shows half of that coming from real estate holdings, and reading between the lines it appears that you hold mortgages against those holdings. Then you conclude that $200k/yr of passive income should be enough to live comfortably anywhere in the world. So are you subtracting your real estate expenses (taxes, insurance, mortgage payments, maintenance, remote property management company fees, etc.) when you report your passive income from those properties? Really I think it’s the net (after taxes and everything) that tells us what is left over to “spend” on living, right? When I set up my spreadsheet to retire early at age 47, I calculated the after-tax income I would need to live. Then I compared that to my income streams (estimating tax on the taxable income streams) to measure the surplus/shortfall. Also some good advice from GoCurryCracker: If you can minimize your taxes so you’re in the 15% tax bracket, you can possibly receive tax-free long term capital gains. I agree with your philosophy that time is more important than money as we age. I am not sure I agree with a philosophy that is fixated on needing such a large income, and would rather minimize taxes if it’s all the same on the happiness meter. Furthermore, having 20 plus income sources in the name of diversification adds stress and requires more management (TIME!). I think this is fine for those of us while young, as we have the energy to work hard. But as time becomes more important, the extra headache of managing, planning, and buying/selling our assets becomes a resented hindrance on par with the resentment we felt when working for an employer and fighting traffic each day to go to a job we hated. Every thing we own in actuality owns us, by virtue of its demands on our time and affections, and that includes investments. It also includes our home, and is a good reason for downsizing. As long as we have food on our table, a roof over our heads, and clothes on our bodies, what more do we need? I think we need to consider freeing ourselves from the weight of the chains of managing too many ventures. Personally, I plan on investing in no more than 5 simultaneous ventures ever, with the exception of some IRAs that I just plan to let sit for the next 20 years (and therefore no thought or anxiety required).
This was a very inspirational article! I too spent 20+ years in a high-stress career selling a high-end product under a 100 percent commission plan; that is, no salary! I realized, after racking up millions of frequent flyer miles, that there had to be a better and less-stressful way of making a living. My goal was to design my own lifestyle free of corporate shackles, which required a pre-determined amount of passive income.

Others may define it more narrowly, but to me, PPC arbitrage basically involves setting up PPC ads (via Google AdWords or similar platform) and directing the traffic that results from ad clicks to a landing page or straight to an affiliate link (which many platforms don’t allow anymore).  The goal is obviously to earn more from the affiliate income than spent on the ad clicks.  You aren’t adding any value, but merely earning more from traffic than what it costs you to generate that traffic.


Thus, it's easy to dream of money just arriving, without our having to clock in to earn it. Fortunately, passive income streams don't have to be a dream. There are many sources, with examples including REIT dividend income, residual money, real-estate investments, interest, and other income-generating assets. Here's a look at 15 of them -- see which opportunities could work for you.
For economic growth and almost all of the other indicators, the last 20 years [of the current form of globalization, from 1980 - 2000] have shown a very clear decline in progress as compared with the previous two decades [1960 - 1980]. For each indicator, countries were divided into five roughly equal groups, according to what level the countries had achieved by the start of the period (1960 or 1980). Among the findings:
As long as it’s something I believe it and support, it’s a win – win. Companies I’ve been approached by in the last two years include John Hancock, Credit Karma, Discover, Capital One, MasterCard, and GM, just to name a few. It’s been so fun helping these awesome companies create their own marketing plans, whether through video or other online media.

The author speaks in circles a lot in this book. This is more of a motivational book than showing you how to do what the title suggests. Think of it as an "Idea Book". With that said, if you are looking for ideas on how you can diversify your income, then this book isn't terrible. But if you need to know step by step, then this IS NOT the book for you. If you are like me, you already know the concepts this book is referring to, you just do not know HOW to get started. I got one thing from this book that I thought was helpful -- "Tax Lien Certificates" -- look it up!
Anthony, nice setup! To your question about the rental mortgages, you haven’t said what interest rate you are paying. As a start, if you are paying more than the risk free rate (Treasury bills) which you probably are, then a true apples to apples comparison would be yes, pay off the mortgage. But, if you are comfortable taking more risk, you have other options to invest in which you *hope* will yield you more over the coming years. You also didn’t say whether the rentals generate net income and if so, how much? What is the implied rate of return on the equity you have invested in them? If you pay the mortgages off, you’ll have even more equity tied up, will the extra net income make that worthwhile? Maybe you should use the money to buy more rentals instead, if purchase opportunities still exist in your town. … this is less of an answer than a framework to analyze the decision, hope it is helpful.

4. Calculate how much passive income you need. It's important to have a passive-income goal — otherwise, it's very easy to lose motivation. A good goal is to try to generate enough passive income to cover basic living expenses such as food, shelter, transportation, and clothing. If your annual expense number is $30,000, divide that figure by your expected rate of return to see how much capital you need to save. Unfortunately, you've got to then multiply the capital amount by 1.25 to 1.5 to account for taxes.
Great breakout of some common items that are (mostly) accessible to individuals. My biggest issue with p2p is the ordinary interest it generates and the ordinary tax that we have to pay. That really takes a bite out of the returns. Fortunately, I opened an IRA with one of the providers to juice the return with zero additional risk. 6-8% nominal returns over a long period of time will make me very happy. It should end up as 5-7% of the portfolio anyway, so nothing too significant.
If you’re into antiques, for example, you could check out garage sales for hidden deals then capitalize on your knowledge to turn a profit. Perhaps you’re into video games, specific brands of clothing, or something else. Whatever it is, with a little research, it’s possible to turn your knowledge into cash with an eBay store. Best of all, you can sell from the comfort of your own home.
Making legitimate passive income isn’t as difficult as you might think. Some of the best passive income ideas might take a little time to set up but can start cash flowing within a couple of months and will provide a consistent monthly income for years or more. The most important point is just to get started. You make exactly $0 on the passive income sources you never start.
Stocks (shares) paying dividends are typically a reliable source of income but they have higher risk of capital losses than cash and bonds. So, it’s wise not to chase yield indiscriminately.  The 10 highest yielding stocks on the ASX 200 (the 200 largest companies in Australia) are shown in the table below.  But their share price performance on average over the last year has been underwhelming, as shown in the far right column:
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