There is also an idea that we should work to build a passive income asset and then sit on the beach relaxing for the rest of our lives. The truth is that most people would get extremely bored with this scenario and will be eager to find something to do. That’s why the world’s billionaires continue to work… they love what they do and it stopped being about the money a long time ago.
Wouldn’t it be nice to earn money while not working? That money is called residual, or recurring, income. It's what can happen after you put a lot of time, effort and sometimes money into a job to continue to get paid for the work months or years after it's done. (Salary jobs are part of linear income. This income is directly related to the number of hours you work. If you work 40 hours, you get paid for 40 hours of work.) Once you set up your business to earn residual income, you continue to make money while doing other things – maybe even starting a new business to generate more residual income!
I run several online businesses now (all it takes to start one is a domain, hosting, and maybe incorporation). There are two notable ones. The first is meal plan membership site called $5 Meal Plan that I co-founded with Erin Chase of $5 Dinners. The second is the umbrella of blogs I run, including this one and Scotch Addict. They pay me ordinary income as well as qualified distributions since I'm a partner.
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.
Agree with primary residence. I have done the spreadsheets for renting, owning, stocks versus real estate, and it always comes out in favour of real estate by a huge margin, especially home because of leverage and tax free capital gains (but it will depend on the city). I am 100% in stocks in my portfolio, which provides cash flow for travel and is still growing. If we have a big crash I am okay with my rental and pensions and selling stocks for travel until the market recovers.
“[T]he stream of continuing payments that are earned by Brad and/or Karen from the commissions (current and future) earned by the brokers within a book of business. Residual income arises from all sources of income relating to or derived from an identified book of business, including commissions earned by the brokers within that identified book of business from any source whatsoever.”
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!
If you want to really start tracking your finances, and I mean not just your spending but your investing (that's where wealth is built), give Personal Capital a look. They will give you a $20 Amazon gift card if you link up an investment account that has $1,000+. No strings. It's a cornerstone of my financial system and I think you owe yourself a look. 100% free too.
Think about it.  If you are saving for retirement, you are trying to save enough in investing to generate enough income to replace your primary salary.  Let’s take my friend’s example above: $50,000 a year.  To generate $50,000, you would need to have almost $1,700,000 saved, and be able to generate a 3% cash flow on that money (which is reasonable if invested in dividend paying stocks).
1. The batting cage idea is very risky. I’ve seen many of them close over the years and it is not anything close to passive income if you want to keep the business going. You have to continually promote it and target youth leagues, coaches, schools etc to catch all of the new players who grow up and want to play. I’ve played at probably 8 batting cages over the years and 7 of them closed.
3. Rent - Being a landlord is fabulous. You get rent for the rest of your life on the asset that you have created. This type of income also can grow if your property is good, well maintained. The growing income is a hedge against inflation. If you can earn rent to pay for your living expenses every month, you can be very close to achieving financial freedom!
Betterment – Betterment was the first robo-advisor to launch, almost ten years ago. They’ve automated the entire investing process, so all you have to do is watch your portfolio of assets grow (over the long run, of course). They do charge a .25% annual fee of your account total, so if you’ve got $100,000 that’s being managed by Betterment, you’ll pay just over $20 per month.
Reality Two: You have a limited amount of time on this planet to implement your business plans and strategies, while also trying to balance the needs of family, health, spirituality, recreation, relationships, and much more. Do you really want to spend your limited time nursing more than one stream of income? Happiness has more to do with balancing life than making tons of money.

This is an ideal strategy if you live in an area where real estate prices are too high to realistically invest in, or you don’t want the hassle and expense of traveling all over the country visiting potential properties. Plus, if you are new to single-family real estate investing, letting a place like Roofstock guide you through the process is a great way to get your feet wet.
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.

I live in NYC where I never thought buying rental property would be possible, but am looking into buying rental property in the Midwest where it cash flows and have someone manage it for me (turnkey real estate investing I guess some would call it). I agree with what Mike said about leverage and tax advantages, but I’m still a newbie to real estate investing so I can’t so how it will go. I have a very small amount in P2P…I’m at around 6.3% It’s okay but I don’t know how liquid it is and it still is relatively new…I’d prefer investing in the stock market.


Residual income is money that is earned on a recurring basis, typically as the result of a single original action. Rather than earning an hourly wage, residual income is typically generated through an initial investment of time or money with the goal of earning continuous payments. Once the initial investment, product, or service is made, the ongoing income that is earned is generally passive in nature.
What are your thoughts on an Immediate Annuity as a passive income vehicle? I suppose it’s not a great investment since you never get your principal back, but the risk is zero and the cash flow is fairly good, approaching 6% currently. And, since you are guaranteed payments for life, you may not care that you never see your principal again anyway since you’ll be dead!
Residual value also figures into a company's calculation depreciation or amortization. Suppose a company acquires a new software program to track sales orders internally, and this software has an initial value of $10,000 and a useful life of 10 years. To calculate yearly amortization for accounting purposes, the owner needs the software's residual value, or what it is worth at the end of the 10 years. Assume this value is zero and the company uses the straight-line method to amortize the software. Therefore, the company must subtract the residual value of zero from the $10,000 initial value and divide by the asset's useful life of 10 years to arrive at yearly amortization, which is $1,000.  If the residual value were $2000, the yearly amortization would be $800 ($10,000 - $2,000/10 years).
[we may view the] economic organization as a system of prize relations. Seen in the large, free enterprise is an organization of production and distribution in which individuals or family units get their real income, their "living," by selling productive power for money to "business units" or "enterprises", and buying with the money income thus obtained the direct goods and services which they consume. This view, it will be remembered, ignores for the sake of simplicity the fact that an appreciable fraction of the productive power in use at any time is not really employed in satisfying current wants but to make provision for increased want-satisfaction in the future; it treats society as it would be, or would tend to become, with progress absent, or in a “static” state.[13]
People don’t realize how important this is. Recently an online marketing system, who had thousands of members who depended on it for their income, just shut down without notice. One morning all the members could no longer log in to their back office. Capture pages were gone, built in autoresponder gone, and their email list of subscribers were gone forever. Many were running solo ads and advertising. To make matters worse those who clicked on their links were redirected to the before-mentioned system creator’s new business and their own affiliate id’s. This means that any sale that was made went in their pocket off the backs of their now former members. Working from home is awesome but everyone who does it needs to be cautious and prepared. The best thing to do is earn multiple streams of income, just as this article talks about, and try to have control over your business. Don’t depend on all-ready-made systems. Make your own capture pages, have your own autoresponder, website, etc. This will go a long way to keeping your business alive and income flowing in.
What if there was a way for you to effectively make money while you sleep? Sounds like a dream come true, right? Even for the biggest workaholics, there are only so many hours in a day. If only you could get paid multiple times for something you did once—that’s exactly how passive income works! Thanks to technology, the potential to create multiple income streams is even easier than ever before. We’re no longer held back by the limitations of a traditional 9-to-5 job, and financial freedom is at our fingertips. Even if you already work a full-time job you can still improve your financial health with passive income.
For those who prefer a more do-it-yourself style but still want their investments to be managed automatically, a robo-advisor like Betterment may be better suited. After completing an initial questionnaire, this program will automatically invest your money based on things like your risk tolerance and time horizon. They’ll even rebalance your portfolio when necessary – all automatically, of course!
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This is an interesting take and good advice for those who probably do not need to ever worry about becoming destitute. I’m sorry but too many of your options including your own list of income require quite a bit of initial investment/capital and these suggestions are useless to those living paycheck to paycheck. I’d like to see the average low to middle income household purchase additional property for rental, invest in their portfolio (if they can even start one), or even afford to have a vehicle or room to rent. Far too first world of a solution for the general public.
"The whole idea of Multiple Streams of Income will be a powerfulparadigm shift for most people. Bob Allen gives practical andbeautifully illustrated knowledge on how to do it. Masteringfinancial principles is an important habit in life because it givesus the freedom to focus on what matters most. A valuable read."—Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of HighlyEffective People
I think it’s funny how 1500 is the amount of extra income you mention because that’s what I’m shooting for! If I can make that much more each month to supplement my regular income, I will have almost all of my school debt payed off in one year! I’m really motivated. I use Mechanical Turk with Amazon to perform menial task and get a few extra bucks. I also use Varolo which is a fairly new idea. I really think it has potential. If you don’t mind me promoting it, here it goes.

Managerial accountants define residual income as the amount of operating revenues left over from a department or investment center after the cost of capital used to generate the revenues have been paid. In other words, it’s the net operating income of a department or investment center. You can also think of it as the amount that a department’s profits exceed its minimum required return.

Hey Mike! Love this article. Recently, I paid off my student loans and am crazy focused on creating multiple passive income streams. Currently, all my passive income comes from real estate and because of your great articles on the subject I called to check out refinance options! I had no clue about CD laddering, dividend investing or P2P lending until two weeks ago when I started doing my research on where to put my hard earned money. I had been just saving it but when I looked at the terrible 0.01% return I said forget it! 2 % for me is a great way to start. It is better than what I have been getting outside of my real estate. Also, creating products is a must! I’m working on this type of royalty too. I find it so exciting to learn how to use your money to make money. Thanks and I will be sure to link to you when I start my blog!
I just wanted to say how nice it is to see such a positive exchange between strangers on the Internet. Seriously, not only was this article (list) motivating and well-drafted, the tiny little community of readers truly were a pleasant crescendo I found to be the cause of an inward smile. Thank you, everyone, and good luck to you all with your passive income efforts!! 🙂
Freelance writer: If you have a knack for writing, you can earn great money writing for others. Not sure how to start? Contact bloggers, who are always looking for great writing. As blogs grow, they can afford to pay freelancers good money for quality articles. Websites looking to build links also hire freelancers to write guest posts to be published on blogs and websites.
All that being said, the residual income valuation approach is a viable and increasingly popular method of valuation and can be implemented rather easily by even novice investors. When used alongside the other popular valuation approaches, residual income valuation can give you a clearer estimate of what the true intrinsic value of a firm may be. (Don't be overwhelmed by the many valuation techniques out there - knowing a few characteristics about a company will help you pick the best one. See How To Choose The Best Stock Valuation Method.)

People don’t realize how important this is. Recently an online marketing system, who had thousands of members who depended on it for their income, just shut down without notice. One morning all the members could no longer log in to their back office. Capture pages were gone, built in autoresponder gone, and their email list of subscribers were gone forever. Many were running solo ads and advertising. To make matters worse those who clicked on their links were redirected to the before-mentioned system creator’s new business and their own affiliate id’s. This means that any sale that was made went in their pocket off the backs of their now former members. Working from home is awesome but everyone who does it needs to be cautious and prepared. The best thing to do is earn multiple streams of income, just as this article talks about, and try to have control over your business. Don’t depend on all-ready-made systems. Make your own capture pages, have your own autoresponder, website, etc. This will go a long way to keeping your business alive and income flowing in.


Let’s say a company earns $1 a share and pays out 75 cents in the form of a dividend. That’s a 75% dividend payout ratio. Let’s say the next year the company earns $2 a share and pays out $1 in the form of dividends. Although the dividend payout ratio declines to 50%, due the company wanting to spend more CAPEX on expansion, at least the absolute dividend amount increases.

Blogging is a great way to stream in income. Some consider blogging as a passive income source and they are pretty much dead wrong. It takes a lot of hard work and time to build your blog into a viable business.  It is not a good get rich quick scheme, but with time and patience you can easily earn a full time income and even exceed what you make at your full time job if you are really good.


P2P lending started in San Francisco with Lending Club in mid-2000. The idea of peer-to-peer lending is to disintermediate banks and help denied borrowers get loans at potentially lower rates compared to the rates of larger financial institutions. What was once a very nascent industry has now grown into a multi-billion dollar business with full regulation.
Do you know of a successful business that needs capital for expansion? If so, you can become something of a small-time angel investor and provide that needed capital. But rather than offering a loan to a business owner, you instead take an equity position in the business. In this way, the business owner will handle the day-to-day operations, while you will act as a silent partner who also participates in the profits of the business.
If you need cash flow, and the dividend doesn’t meet your needs, sell a little appreciated stock. (or keep a CD ladder rolling and leave your stock alone). At the risk of repeating myself, whether you take cash out of your portfolio in the form of “rent”, dividend, interest, cap gain, laddered CD…., etc. The arithmetic doesn’t change. You are still taking cash out of your portfolio. I’m just pointing out that we shouldn’t let the tail wag the dog. IOW, the primary goal is to grow the long term value of your portfolio, after tax. Period. All other goals are secondary.
Now, all that said, if capital (savings) grows faster than the growth of the economy, those with savings will see their wealth grow at a faster rate than those who rely on the growth of their income. While this is not an extension of Piketty's argument (you can't take an idea that applies to a population and a whole economy and boil it down to the individual like this), it's not an unreasonable conclusion to take and apply to your own life. (Piketty does talk about this on an individual level, but says it's more impactful for billionaires vs. millionaires – though we have limited data into individuals)
“The biggest surprise is real estate being second to last on my Passive Income Ranking List because I’ve written that real estate is my favorite investment class to build wealth. Real estate doesn’t stack up well against the other passive income sources due to the lack of liquidity and constant maintenance of tenants and property. The returns can be huge due to rising rental income AND principal over time, much like dividend investing. If you are a “proactive passive income earner” like myself, then real estate is great.”
I agree mostly with the real estate advice. I’m looking for ways to take advantage of the condo I own to get up the rent from ~$0.90/ft to the $1.2-1.5/ft that seems more like the range in the same area. I’d have to put in a bit of capital (probably 10k on the low end for just the basics up to 40k if I wanted to remodel the kitchen and 2 bathrooms up to par with the area), so the return is likely there if those upgrades warrant $1.30/ft (given the unit is larger than most 2br/2ba in the area).
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The other point is that it is pretty easy to get started.  You don’t need to be super rich, and you don’t need a lot of time to get started.  To say it requires no time would be a lie, but you don’t need to make anything listed above your life.  You can work at your job, invest your excess income, save to buy a rental property or rent out a room in your current house, and you start a side job online without breaking a sweat.
My e-product is currently in development, but I think it could reasonably bring in 1/25 of my income in the first year with minimal promotional effort. If it takes off, maybe 1/5 of my income. Building that up so that I could direct all the proceeds to paying down student loans is a great incentive. I need to focus there, but I also have a few other non-traditional digital products in mind. I need to test the market there before expending too much time or energy.

Given the growth in the sharing economy, your junk can start to pay for itself. For example, if you have some awesome vintage furniture inherited from your grandmother sitting in a storage unit, you can rent this out to photographers for their “styled shoots” which are becoming all the rage. If your furniture is more modern but you still can’t bear to get rid of it – perhaps a home stager will be interested.
Freelance writer: If you have a knack for writing, you can earn great money writing for others. Not sure how to start? Contact bloggers, who are always looking for great writing. As blogs grow, they can afford to pay freelancers good money for quality articles. Websites looking to build links also hire freelancers to write guest posts to be published on blogs and websites.
First: I understand why you would say that such investments are restricted to only accredited investors, because generally, that’s true. There are means, under federal securities regulations and Blue Sky laws in each state, to sell interests to non-accredited investors – but usually those means are so heavily regulated and involve disclosures so similar to cumbersome registration requirements that it is not worth it for the seller to offer to non-accredited investors.

Varolo is an advertising campaign that allows major corporations (like Coca Cola, Lysol, and others) to reach their target audiences with a high return on investment. Major corporations are desperately trying to find new ways to advertise to people as the newspaper continues to decline in demand and in an age of DVR. Varolo is the newest opportunity that actually pays you, the one being advertised to, to watch their advertisements. You can join the campaign and earn a little extra spending money by viewing and rating commercials and even trailers for major motion pictures. While the trick is to devote 5 to 10 minutes of each day rating what you see, you should also be motivated to invite others along through Facebook, Twitter and other social media so that you can increase what you profit each week.
The much loved model for bloggers and content creators everywhere and for a good reason…it’s pretty easy to write a 60-80 page ebook, not hard to sell say $500 worth a month through online networking, guest posting and your own SEO optimized blog, and well you get to keep a large whack of the pie after paying affiliates.  Hells yeah!  Continue reading >
The biggest surprise is real estate being second to last on my Passive Income Ranking List because I’ve written that real estate is my favorite investment class to build wealth. Physical real estate doesn’t stack up well against the other passive income sources due to the lack of liquidity and constant maintenance of tenants and property. The returns can be huge due to rising rental income AND principal over time, much like dividend investing. If you are a “proactive passive income earner” like myself, then real estate is great.

In the residual income model, the intrinsic value of a share of common stock is the sum of book value per share and the present value of expected future pershare residual income. In the residual income model, the equivalent mathematical expressions for intrinsic value of a common stock are V0=B0+∑t=1∞RIt(1+r)t=B0+∑t=1∞Et−rBt−1(1+r)t=B0+∑t=1∞(ROEt−r)Bt−1(1+r)t 
Anthony, nice setup! To your question about the rental mortgages, you haven’t said what interest rate you are paying. As a start, if you are paying more than the risk free rate (Treasury bills) which you probably are, then a true apples to apples comparison would be yes, pay off the mortgage. But, if you are comfortable taking more risk, you have other options to invest in which you *hope* will yield you more over the coming years. You also didn’t say whether the rentals generate net income and if so, how much? What is the implied rate of return on the equity you have invested in them? If you pay the mortgages off, you’ll have even more equity tied up, will the extra net income make that worthwhile? Maybe you should use the money to buy more rentals instead, if purchase opportunities still exist in your town. … this is less of an answer than a framework to analyze the decision, hope it is helpful.
Cool. Whatever works for you. I suggest at least getting neutral real estate by owning your primary residence. It’s not that difficult to manage if it’s just you and your family. In 10 years you’re going to be wishing you had locked in your fix payment cool. Whatever works for you. I suggest at least getting neutral real estate by owning your primary residence. It’s not that difficult to manage if it’s just you and your family. In 10 years you’re going to be wishing you had locked in your fixed payment Bc rents just continue to go up.
However, with passive income, there is not a direct connection to time involved. Once the original work is completed, the income continues to come in as long as demand for the product or service exists. Each time a song is downloaded, the musician receives money as a passive income. They did not have to record the song again or do additional work for each download, yet they are paid for their original work.
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