That's odd, because lot of these questions are actually pretty easy to answer. The IRS is good about publishing the data. Given that – and given the recent interest in personal income inequality, I decided to write a little bit about the different kinds of income people report on their tax returns. A longer paper – Sources of Personal Income – is here, but for a brief overview, you might want to check out the top ten sources of income:

I read about early withdrawal penalties on IRAs/401Ks very often. Almost always with a statement of “locked up” or “can’t touch” until 59.5. I’m sure you and well informed readers as well know about SEPPs in regard to IRAs/401Ks. For those that don’t SEPPs aren’t perfect but they are a way to tap retirement funds penalty free and I will be using in the future as I have over half of my equity investments within retirement accounts. South of a mil, North of a half. Let me add that I think your blog is outstanding.

became $1,000,000 during an 18 year period (about 3x better than Berkshire Hathaway). Five – ten shares, or more, invested in a ROTH Ira and held *consistently* come h..l or highwater, with dividends and splits reinvested, may provide you a very pleasant surprise in 20 years or so. Asset Managers often do better than the assets they manage. Eaton Vance (EV) and T. Rowe Price (TROW) also did exceedingly well over a 25 year period.
Those are the different sources of income for our household in 2015. It’s good to have a solid earned income, but you need investment income to become wealthy. The key is to save a significant percentage of your income and invest consistenly. This will create different streams of investment income which will compound over time. If you make a lot of earned income, but don’t have much investment income, then there might be a problem. This probably means you spend most of it and aren’t investing enough. That’s not good because earned income do not last. We all get old sometime and you can’t work forever.
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.
Before agreeing to house-sit, draw up a dos and don'ts type agreement with your client. This ought to include how many hours it is acceptable to leave the house in the night and during the day, who can come and visit you, as well as detailing agreed plant watering and any cleaning duties, the pets' routines and whether food will be provided for you throughout your stay.
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.
There’s a second downside to this model. Although I’ve done advertising and sponsorships in the past, and have made hundreds of thousands of dollars doing so, the truth is it takes a lot of time for this business model to start to generate income for you, because you need to build that audience first. In addition, what happens when you build your audience on a platform that ends up changing its algorithm, affecting how often you actually get seen by the audience you’ve built?
Our most significant source of income is Mrs. RB40’s earned income, but that will change when she retires in a few years. Luckily, our expenses are at a reasonable level and we don’t need to replace her whole income to keep the same lifestyle. For 2015, our other sources of income just about covered our cost of living. The high-tech antitrust settlement gave us a shove to get over the finish line. That’s just a one off, though. I’m not too worried because there are other ways to generate some income to make up for Mrs. RB40’s paychecks. Here are some of them.
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.

4) Treat Passive Income Like A Game. The only real way to begin your multiple passive income journey is when you are making active income. The initial funding has to come from somewhere. Hence, treat passive income as a game that has various levels. If you fail to achieve one level, it’s not the end of the world since you still have active income and can restart. Furthermore, a game is meant to be played with integrity. Using shortcuts (non passive income streams), someone else’s income as a supplement (spouse), or one-offs (capital gains) does not count. The primary purpose of any game is to bring enjoyment to the player and beat the boss.

OK, I know what you're thinking — maybe you're not a writer. However, as Tamez says above, chances are, you're an expert sy ~something~. Also, chances are that other people want to know what you know. So whether you write an eBook on dating or tips on how to fix your car, once you write, self-publish the book, and let it go, it can sit on a site like Amazon and sell itself. Of course, you can market it, too, but that's another story! Some sites let you keep most of the earnings, while others do not.
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.
What I Do: I’ve set up multiple investment accounts outside my main operations bank that deals with working capital e.g checking, paying bills. By transferring my money to a couple brokerage accounts and two other banks as soon as it hits my main bank I no longer have temptation to spend on frivolous things. As a result, I can wake up 10 years later and reap the rewards of compounding. My 401(k) is the best example where constant contributions over 18 years has grown to over $500,000 without any savings pain given it just became a part of life. Real estate is also a fantastic asset class for the long term. It’s fantastic to enjoy your home, pay down your mortgage each month, and end up with a paid off asset that has likely appreciated during your time of ownership. 

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.
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.
To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit.… The costs associated with health spending, productivity losses and labour diversions … are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 5% of GDP, or some $28.4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.Source 10
The surveys from home, you added a link for “everything we needed to know” it sent me to a site where I had to pay them $35 or $45 to get started. It doesn’t say anything about how, until you pay them. You sent us too the site BUT, have you checked it? Is it safe? Will they take my $, & I get nothing? If you say its OK, then fine, but usually these things are bad news. I fell into one when I was young. Proof reading at home. They sent you a book on how to do it, & then a “LIST” of all the company’s that hired at home proof readers. Well, they sent me the book, which was fine. But, the list they sent me had nothing but company’s that only hired people with long time prior experience proof reading. So, it was useless to me. ;(

Real Estate Income – Since we moved up to Newport Beach, I started renting out my condo in San Diego. My monthly cash on cash return is $300(I charge $1,900 for rent and my total payments including mortgage, HOA, property tax and insurance are $1,600) but I also get back around $350 every month in principal and about a $150 tax savings per month. But even this income is inconsistent, since sometimes expenses will pop up like last month when I had to buy a new A/C for $3,000!

With passive income sources, you can go long periods of time without doing work, yet still earn income. In some cases, that income can expand without much additional input from you. For example, if I build a website in 5 hours and after a month, it has only made $50, my time to that point was worth $10/hour. It doesn’t stop there, however. In a year, if the site has earned $600, the value of those initial 5 hours grows to $120/hour. As time goes on, that number can continue to grow indefinitely.
The reason I consider dividends artificial and believe they don’t matter is because you can just as easily reinvest your dividends. If a stock is worth $100/share, I don’t care if it issues a $1/share dividend or if the share price instead increases to $101/share – either way, I have the same amount of money, because there’s no difference to my net worth whether I take the dividend or sell part of a stock.
I’ve never invested in real estate (except to live in), but am always intrigued by communities like FS who seem to have such a passion for it. My intrigue stems back to my earlier comments that the long term trends in appreciation in real estate are simply not very competitive versus equities, despite what Robert Kiyosaki had to say in his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
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.
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.
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.
Stock dividends: Some stocks, especially stocks from big corporate standouts, pay dividends to shareholders based on the number of shares they own, and the percentage of the stock price on the dividend date. For example, if a company pays out 3% on a stock that's trading at $100 per share, you'll earn $3 for every share of that stock you own. Add it up and that can be good take-home pay as a passive investment.

"Rental properties provide a source of passive income and the possibility of overall appreciation of the property with tax advantages," Lou Cannataro, partner at Cannataro Park Avenue Financial, tells Bustle. "Our generation and those to follow will not have pensions, and social security is 'iffy,' at best. Rental properties can provide that constant income (people always need a place to live) that is not directly tied to the marketplace and one cannot outlive."
Though it can take a while to build up enough cash to put a 20% down payment on an investment property (the typical lender minimum), they can snowball fairly quickly. The key here is to correctly project income and expenses in order to calculate cash flow (the free cash you can put in your pocket after all associated property expenses have been paid). However you have to be sure to include the cost of a property manager in your calculations unless you want to manage the property yourself. Even with a property manager, you may be required to make large repair decisions every now and then – so while this is not a 100% passive activity, you are not directly trading your time for money like traditional employment.
P2P lending is the practice of loaning money to borrowers who typically don’t qualify for traditional loans. As the lender you have the ability to choose the borrowers and are able to spread your investment amount out to mitigate your risk. The most popular peer to peer lending platform is Lending Club. You can read our full lending club review here: Lending Club Review.

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.
We had a few property managers, but I wasn’t happy with their work. They didn’t really paid much attention to our properties and the tenant had a tendency to do whatever they wanted to. One tenant built a tree house at our old 4-plex. We didn’t find out about it until the neighbor sent a letter of complaint. If you have a good property manager, then keep them!
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?
Highly-paid professionals (like doctors) should definitely be looking into multiple streams of income. In fact, more than anyone, we are in the best position to accelerate our growth towards financial freedom. We’re able to earn the necessary capital and immediately throw that money into creating additional streams very quickly. We just have to be strategic about it. Keep your expenses in check, and be disciplined about moving your earned income from your day jobs and straight into the money-making machines. There is a balance to be had here. You just have to figure out exactly where it is for you.
One of the things I'm surprised your article doesn't mention is the tax advantages of this type of investment. The depreciation and rehab costs (purchasing distressed properties) can be huge deductions to ones income taxes, which none of the others have. Then, along with the appreciation of real estate, this passive income investment outperforms the notion of maxing out my 401k as well.
If you know anything well, a place, how to fix something, how to make something, how to do something, you can write a guide for it. You can sell your guide as an e-book, offer it as a download for a fee on your site or reach out to bloggers with similar content and ask if they will offer it as a paid download on their website (for a price of course).
I see you include rental income, e-book sales and P2P loans as part of your passive income. Do you not consider your other internet income as passive? Is that why it’s not in the chart? Or did you not include it because you would rather not reveal it at this point? (I apologize if this question was already answered – I didn’t read through all the comments, and it’s been about a week since I actually read this post via Feedly on my phone)
One great way to generate a passive income is through affiliate marketing. Now, this does depend on the size of your list. Yes, size matters when it comes to your list. Especially if you're looking to make some serious money and do it on autopilot. But, list-building takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. And you need to add value to your list or you become obsolete.
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 cut back on medicolegal work to free up time and reduce stress. I spend most of my time on medical directorship work and clinical practice. Free time is spent on exercising, travel, time with family, and blogging. I spend virtually no time on the other income streams at this point. Getting the plate spinning can be tough but then the momentum keeps them turning.
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.