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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.
If you’re looking for a way to begin gradually replacing your income, these are just some of the best ways you can do it as a physician. Remember the idea of gradual retirement? Passive income streams like the ones mentioned here are perfect ways to allow you to spend more time with family, enjoy your day job more, and, of course, make a little money while you’re at it.
Almost all of these ideas require starting a personal blog or website. But the great thing about that is that it's incredibly cheap to do. We recommend using Bluehost to get started. You get a free domain name and hosting starts at just $2.95 per month - a deal that you won't find many other places online! You can afford that to start building a passive income stream.
My personal finance blogs were started with $100, but you can start a blog with $20 if you buy hosting on a monthly basis. That’s 4 Starbucks coffees or 4 packs of cigarettes many paycheck to paycheck people do find a way to buy. After six months of HARD work, my first site started generating $2,000 a month, and today, those three sites generate over $5,000 a month, while all I have put in was hosting for $100-ish every year each, and a website redesign for under $1,000 after three years. Freelance writing and translation jobs are also a sizable part of my income that did not require any upfront investment. Investing $10 a month in index funds is also a realistic way for many to build yet another income stream.
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!
If you have a spare bedroom, you can find a roommate or list the space on AirBnB for travelers. Having a roommate is the more passive of the two, as being an AirBnB host will require more work in the form of turning over the room between stays. This is a super painless way to earn $500 to $1,000 a month without much effort – you may even be able to cover your mortgage payment with this extra income!
Which all goes back to my point – since companies change in a lot of unpredictable ways, it makes more sense for passive income to just ride the market by investing in a Total Domestic Stock Market, Total Bond Market, and Total International index funds, with allocations that depend on your goals and time horizon. For income, withdraw 4% or less, depending on what research you believe, and you’ve got a pretty low risk strategy.
I like to think about having an additional source of income as being sort of like an insurance policy. I interviewed one young woman who taught aerobics classes in the evenings after spending her days working as a videographer for news organizations. When she was unexpectedly laid off from her day job, she quickly doubled her aerobics teaching load and was able to keep herself afloat until she found a new full-time job. Some more examples of income multi-streaming are a teacher I know who sells used baby clothes out of her home and a young couple who run a small Internet business on the weekends. Just like these people, you can also pick a profitable project or create a business that matches your lifestyle. 

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.
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.
Andrew Rafal, Founder and President of Bayntree Wealth Advisors in Arizona, recently told me about his push to get clients to diversify their income streams. The Great Recession feels like an eternity ago now that the economy is looking up, he says. The job market is strong and consumer confidence is through the roof. As a result, it’s possible people are getting a little too comfortable.
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