The thing is, I’m not talking about buying brick-and-mortar buildings. I tried that many years ago with my father-in-law, and with devastating results. We tried to buy a duplex once, and the deal fell apart after we realized we weren’t really prepared for the purchase. I secretly wanted to become a landlord, but at the same time, I knew it wasn’t for me.


Another source of income (or at least revenue) can be selling things you no longer use. When we go through our closets and drawers, I tend to find a lot I can do without. Some goes to Goodwill / Salvation army / Habitat Restore (tax deduction = income), some is resold on Amazon or eBay, some goes to the trash. I’m not sure if reselling something you paid more for should really count as income, but it’s money in the door, or less money out as is the case with donations.
I actually can’t get fired unless I do something truly horrible (or the state legislature gets rid of tenure). But I also have a spouse who likes to work and depending on how things change, I may need to leave my job for his career. So there are different levels of security. I’m never worried about us not having an income, but I do worry about being trapped in a specific job (or one of us being trapped with no job).
The second category of passive income is drawing on sources that do not require capital to start, maintain, and grow. These are far better choices for those who want to start out on their own and build a fortune from nothing. They include assets you can create, such as a book, song, patent, trademark, Internet site, recurring commissions, or businesses that earn nearly infinite returns on equity such as a drop-ship e-commerce retailer that has little or no money tied up in operations but still turns a profit.
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