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.
The one thing I learned though from all those childhood experiences though is that you never can depend on one source of income. Eventually my mom caught on and stopped giving me all those extra bags of chips and I had to figure out a new way to make money. No matter how safe something seems there’s always the chance that you could lose that income and be stuck with nothing.
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.
I first discovered the power of passive income when I was a senior in high school. I started a mobile billboard business where I would rent a small piece of land from someone who had land along a busy highway. Then I would place one of my billboard trailers on the land and rent out the ad space on the billboard. I would usually charge about $300 per month for the ad space, meanwhile I was only paying $50 per month to the landowner for the ground rent. I got to the point to where I had 9 billboard faces and was making quite a substantial income for someone in high school. I really learned how passive income could free up my life… this business is what lead me into investing in real estate.

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He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a mix of properties through RealtyShares (Fundrise if you're not an accredited investor). Worth a look and he's already made investments that have performed according to plan.
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I knew I didn't want to work 70 hours a week in finance forever. My body was breaking down, and I was constantly stressed. As a result, I started saving every other paycheck and 100% of my bonus since my first year out of college in 1999. By the time 2012 rolled around, I was earning enough passive income (about $78,000) to negotiate a severance and be free.
I actually spent a year and a half working as an affiliate marketer (mostly selling drumming related products – lessons, kits ect). 5 years on and one of my one page sites (which I’ve not touched) still nets me about $150 a month. I won’t be retiring off that but only really now appreciate the reverse pyramid approach to entrepreneurship (working for nothing initially but later being paid without effort!)
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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!
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. 🙂
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I don’t really know much about those…I should take a look from a diversification standpoint. If you don’t mind me asking, what do you target for your net effective tax rate on your passive income? Also, I’m sure you’ve probably covered this somewhere, but how do you deal with healthcare? One more dumb question…have you found that you spend more or less money than you anticipated once you retired?

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.

Some good writing here! I am a realtor myself and frequently get in touch with clients that consider buying a realty estate a conservative of investing. I once heard of a transport company in Vienna, Austria, which focused their entire profit on buying eventually every house available in the downtown for about 80 years. That must be some of a passive income!
We’re currently at four and about to add a fifth. The more diverse the less risk. The less risk the lower the risk mitigation needs (ie insurance). We are high income but historically we’ve focused on the two w2 incomes and investment returns. At some early stages in your career focusing on your W-2 might yield better returns. Once you’ve got a certain level marginal gains from raises begins to decline. We’re at that stage where alternative income importance is increasing.
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.
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