We have 1 rental at the moment and we are renovating the second one. Last year we generated over $14,000 net passive income (after mortgage payments and taxes) from one apartment, and all I had to do was go in to inspect the property 3 times to make sure the tenants weren’t destroying it! It turned out they kept it in perfect condition and they were lovely people! Call me lucky.
Here’s the truth: a successful business is something that successfully solves a problem. And that business can make more money in two ways: solving more people’s problems, or solving bigger problems. The cool thing about the EP Model is that sometimes these products don’t even have to be yours. You can generate income by recommending other people’s or companies’ services or products. This is called affiliate marketing. It’s actually how I’ve made most of my money since I started in 2008.
Truebill is an app that helps you save money by identifying recurring subscriptions and other bills and helping you cut costs by negotiating better rates and fees. One of their partnerships is with Acradia Power, which has the potential to save you up to 30% on your electric bill. It searches for better power rates in areas where competition is allowed, and it locks in the better prices for you.
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.

I wish I had more time to put into real estate. Given the run up since 2012, I may even be interested in selling my condo that I currently rent out. I need to get it appraised to really see what it’s worth, but I think conservatively it’s gone up ~50%, although rent is probably only up ~10% or so. I am bullish on rents going up in the future… mostly in line with inflation, or perhaps even slightly faster due to constricted credit and personal income growth which should provide a solid supply of renters. At this point, I just don’t want to manage the property. I’ll probably look into a property manager as my time is likely worth turning it into a nearly passive investment.
But, you don't need to go further than that. You can simply write it and publish it and collect the income. That's all. Send out a couple emails to your list (if you have one) or post it on social media, and there you have it. Passive income. Now, the amount of income you receive depends on the quality of the book you've written. How well did you craft the message? How targeted was the information to your audience? It counts.
This equation is pretty simple and incredible useful for management because it looks at one of a department’s key components of success: its required rate of return. This component helps management evaluate whether the department is making enough money to maintain, close, or expand its operation. It’s essentially an opportunity costmeasurement based on the trade off of investing in capital in one department over the other. For instance, if management can invest company revenues in department A and earn a 15% return, department B would have to make at least 15% in order for the management to consider the investment. If department B doesn’t meet minimum 15% return rate, it might be shut down or redirected.
​Affiliate marketing is the practice of partnering with a company (becoming their affiliate) to receive a commission on a product. This method of generating income works the best for those with blogs and websites. Even then, it takes a long time to build up before it becomes passive. If you want to get started with affiliate marketing check out this great list of affiliate marketing programs.
Thanks for the great article…although I have to point out many of the items listed are not passive but active, such as selling bodily fluids, writing blogs or resumes, and collecting bottles and cans. To be truly passive, the income source must require no effort on your part (after initial setup). Real estate, dividends, P2P lending…these are truly passive income sources.
In mid-2017, I sold my San Francisco rental property for 30X annual gross rent and reinvested $500,000 of the proceeds in real estate crowdfunding. I’m leveraging technology to invest in lower valuation properties with higher net rental yields in the heartland of America. With the new tax policy starting in 2018 capping state income and property tax deductions to $10,000 and limiting interest deduction on mortgages of only $750,000 from $1,000,000, expensive coastal city real estate markets should soften at the expense of non-coastal city real estate.
However, this comes back to the old discussion of pain versus pleasure. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure. When our backs are against the wall, we act. When they're not, we relax. The truth is that the pain-versus-pleasure paradigm only operates in the short term. We'll only avoid pain in the here and now. Often not in the long term.

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!
Accretion/dilution analysis Adjusted present value Associate company Business valuation Conglomerate discount Cost of capital Weighted average Discounted cash flow Economic value added Enterprise value Fairness opinion Financial modeling Free cash flow Free cash flow to equity Market value added Minority interest Modigliani–Miller theorem Net present value Pure play Real options Residual income Stock valuation Sum-of-the-parts analysis Tax shield Terminal value Valuation using multiples
The type of business you should start depends on your passion and existing skill set. If you love baking, for example, you could consider starting a home-based cake or brownie business. Love to sew? Spend your free time creating the perfect crafts, then turn around and sell them with your own Etsy store. Love dogs? Consider watching dogs out of your own home and marketing your services on a website like Rover.com.

The challenge I’m facing and, I know it’s a good problem, is that the SF real estate has shot up about 35% in the last couple years. I’m sure you’re experiencing the same thing! So as the net worth is rising, the yield on the total portfolio is going down. Right now, it seems the only way to increase the passive income will be to raise the rent in December and to invest some of that cash in stocks, which I’m nervous to do in this market. Current allocation:
Nice update. It’s great to see a FIRE blogger that actually uses risk management and true diversification in his portfolio, as opposed to the bogelhead 3 and boilerplate bla bla bla. It’s also nice to see someone who doesn’t have to make “all the money” as opposed to enough money. The point of buying stocks bonds debt real estate (and yes commodities) is to buy the security they provide and understand the security they provide. Security is defined as “freedom from danger”. You buy security with money but you become secure by controlling risk. Maybe at some point you could write something from the point of view of risk management as opposed to overpaying for alpha with undue risk as the currency.
I’m selling a piece of land which costs me $7k in negative cash flow due to property taxes, I wrestle with the idea of using the 1031 exchange and put the proceeds into a rental. In this manner, I would save $70k in capital gains tax, and turn my negative $7k in cash flow into something positive. The idea of being a landlord though pains me. Just don’t know if it’s worth the hassle; clearly not if I make it back to the corporate world.
During the somewhat turbulent August of 2015, I valued the S&P 500 using the classic discounted cash flow model as described here. With the market reaching the 2100 level once again despite a very poor earnings prognosis and slowing GDP growth, it seemingly is a good time to re-evaluate. Rather than updating numbers from just eight months ago, an alternative method to valuing the S&P 500 is employed.

Making money in addition to a regular income can have a big impact on your finances. An extra $500 per month could go a long way in paying down debt or raising your investment. Diversifying your income streams is important, especially as wage remain stagnant. You decide how you want to produce the income. Either you ‘do something’ to generate the income- this is active income such as providing a service; or the income is generated without you having to ‘do anything,’ – this is passive income such as hosting an Airbnb. Just make sure you do not place all your eggs in one basket.


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!! 🙂
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.
There is a specific tax definition of passive income, known as “passive activity” to the Internal Revenue Service. Passive income is any income you make without actively working or are materially involved. The IRS defines it as any rental activity or any business in which the taxpayer does not “materially participate.” Nonpassive activities, or active activities, are businesses in which the taxpayer works on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis.
Residual income is the amount of net income generated in excess of the minimum rate of return. Residual income concepts have been used in a number of contexts, including as a measurement of internal corporate performance whereby a company's management team evaluates the return generated relative to the company's minimum required return. Alternatively, in personal finance, residual income is the level of income that an individual has after the deduction of all personal debts and expenses have been paid.
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