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.
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.
Capital growth in your portfolio can offset the eroding effect of inflation.  But any capital gains that exceed the overall inflationary effect can be drawn off to augment your portfolio income.  Of course, you must first generate those gains by making thoughtful investment selections.  While allowing strongly growing assets to keep doing that, it is prudent not to allow them to become a dangerously large part of your portfolio lest they go off the boil.  So if you selectively trim profitable positions along the way, you can boost your income.

You’re right Ed, it does require capital to get income from a rental property. However, I started hustling when I was a teen, baby-sitting, teaching younger kids the piano, doing homework with middle schoolers, being a French and Spanish tutor, none of which requires an initial investment. As do pet sitting, housekeeping, lawn mowing, house painting, and many gigs around.

The first time I did affiliate marketing was way back in the day on my architecture exam website. I connected with a company that sold practice exams, which gave me $22 for every person who bought one of their exams via my site. Since then, I’ve generated over $250,000 simply by recommending that product alone. Again, this is a product that was not mine, but one that has still been helpful to my audience. This was all done with thousands of visitors a month. Not millions, or even hundreds of thousands.

In focusing on your wealth management goals, investment income is obviously critical but you might fund your goals from wider sources of income.  A typical long-term portfolio might produce about half its return as income and the other half as capital growth, though in times of duress the capital growth component wanes.  In this low-interest rate climate, some sources of income have become quite expensive and may prove disappointing against your spending needs.  But by tax efficiently and sustainably drawing income from wider sources, you might meet your goals while more prudently balancing risk against reward.