Let’s use Jim from our personal finance example. Jim’s furniture manufacturer builds tables and has several large pieces of equipment in the sawmill used to re-saw logs and boards down to the finished dimensions. The sawmill has net operating revenues of $100,000 for year. The saws in the mill cost Jim a total of $500,000 and he is currently earning a return of 10% in his wholesale table business. Thus, he sets a minimum required return of 10 percent.
How do you do this?  Well, try to get the highest paying job you can!  Ask for a raise!  Utilize services, such as Glassdoor.com, to see how your salary competes with others in your same job.  Some companies really force employees to leave to get a raise, and then come back for another raise.   This industry jumping promotional strategy is very common and could work.
Wow! What an awesome list! My favorite is the stock photography because I love photography. I have had some success there, particularly with one photo I make some decent income from. I think the key with stock photography is finding a shot that is high demand. Then, find a new unique way to frame that shot. This is the reason my St. Louis Arch photo is a top 10 on both ShutterStock and iStockPhoto. Thanks for the awesome ideas above!

Working as a nurse or a computer engineer for a salary are two examples of active income. In contrast, residual income is income from an investment that earns over the minimum rate of return. You get paid for work you completed once or are periodically overseeing. With residual income, you don’t have to be present or intricately involved to get paid.
Why did P2P lending get a liquidity ranking of 6? It is quite possibly the most illiquid investment option you listed. You said you rank liquidity by “difficulty level of withdrawing your money without a massive penalty”, and for Lending Club notes, it’s not only difficult and extremely time consuming to sell all of your notes in their super illiquid market, but you would have to sell your notes at large losses to hope to get others interested in buying your notes. On top of that, it is impossible to withdraw your money any other way other than just waiting for interest/principal to pay off every month until maturity in 3 to 5 years. You can’t just one day tell Lending Club “I want to quit, please give me my money back.” One can even argue that it is less difficult to sell a home (in order to “withdraw” the money invested) than to withdraw all of their money from a P2P loan portfolio because it is very possible to sell a home before 3 to 5 years.

In the summer of 2017, I first reinvested $250,000 into a RealtyShares Domestic Equity Fund. I already had $250,000 invested with them and I liked the projects they were choosing. After spending the rest of the year making low ball offers on SF real estate and losing, I invested another $300,000 in the fund in December 2017. Given 100% of my real estate crowdfunding are equity investments, there is no set monthly dividend. Each of the 12 investments in the fund have different timetables and objectives.  I’m simply estimating that I’ll earn $9,600 for the year.

The basic idea behind this approach is that a rate of return is required by investors from their resources which are under the management of the firm, provide compensation for their opportunity cost and account for the level of risk. This rate of return is considered the cost of equity and a formal equity cost has to be subtracted from net income. Again, for creating shareholder value, management should be capable of generating returns which is at least equal to this cost. Therefore, even if the income statement of a company report a profit, it can be actually unprofitable economically. Thus, it is possible that a value may be negative in this case, even though it is positive when traditional discounted cash flow approach is applied.


The primary philosophy behind the residual income model is that the portion of a stock's price that is above or below book value is attributable to the expertise of the company's management. Accordingly, it becomes a handy tool for calculating what the "real" value of a stock is. It is important to note, however, that analysts should pay special attention to incorporating changes in book value per share caused by share buybacks and other unusual events that may distort the analysis.
That strategy seems waaaayyyy less risky than actively picking stocks of supposedly “reliable” stocks that issue dividends, which could be cut at any time due to shifting industry trends and company performance. Dividend investing feels like an overly complex old-school way of investing that doesn’t have a very strong intellectual basis compared to index investing.
I came across your site a few weeks ago and love to read whenever i get some spare time. Your content is not only informative but relatively easy to understand (even though i have to sometimes read it several times) for someone that does not have a financial background like myself. My question is regarding muni bonds. Any simple rule to picking muni bonds that pay a dividend and are relatively low risk? I am working on building my passive income stream and am interested in low risk investments that can still generate a consistent passive income stream.
It’s a (mostly) short term, higher risk, higher reward place to invest cash that has a low correlation with the stock market, but is far more passive than buying and managing properties, has more opportunity for diversification than private placements (minimums of 5-10K, rather than 100K), and most of the equity offerings (and all of the debt offerings) provide monthly or quarterly incomes. Unlike a REIT, you can choose exactly which projects you wish to invest in.
I have to agree. Our Duplex cost us 200k initially in 1998. Over time and completely refurbishing the property with historically appropriate sensitivity, we invested another 200k or so. We just had a realtor advise us we could ask 700k for it today. It nets us 30k annually after taxes, insurance and maintenance. We still have a loan on it which I have not taken into account, that will be paid off within 5 years if we keep it. My mental drama now is, while I am quite giddy over the prospect of earning a tidy sum of profit if I sell, what then would I do to equal the ROI and monthly income this thing generates? Rents are low, they should be 4k a month and will only go up. Tempted to keep it and not sell. And while I do have some stocks, I basically suck at them. I am much better at doing properties.
When you build a business, you're giving up active income (instead of working for pay, I'm volunteering at my own business) for future active and passive income. In the meanwhile, you'll need a way to pay for your expenses. It could be that you're building a business on the side, so you still have a day job, or you're living on those savings. Either way, you need a cushion.
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"Multiple Streams of Income" by Robert G. Allen is a book is full of great information on how to free yourself from "the rat race." Although some of the information is outdated for our current economic climate, the information is still valuable, and heartily recommend the read. There are many chapters of relevant information to balance anything you may consider unusable. He teaches you that there are many ways to earn money outside of a regular job. He also leads you through determining which avenue is right for you, and gives you all the tools you need to get started on the basics. "Multiple Streams of Income" has helped me alot.

The suggested analytical treatment of R&D expenditures is less definitive, but we can make a general statement that the ROE estimate for a mature company should reflect the long term productivity of the company's R&D expenditures: productive R&D expenditures increase ROE and residual income, and unproductive expenditures reduce ROE and residual income.

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Once you’ve been approved and sent your products to Amazon, simply sit back and allow them to be sold. You never have to deal with fulfillment, shipping or customers service whatsoever. All you need to do is get your products to Amazon and collect your payments. This is mostly passive, but does involve some input of your time along the way once things have been configure.
Or, there is another theory for your primary salary – generate enough to have a little excess cash flow, but do it at a place that you can work stress free and have time to dabble in other projects.  A good friend of mine has this setup – he works 10-5 and makes $50,000 a year.  This allows him to easily cover all of his expenses, but the shorter hours and flexibility in his job allows him to pursue his secondary income generating ideas!

Generating multiple streams of income can have a major impact on your finances. Even an extra income of $500 each month could go a long way towards paying down debt or increasing your investments. We often hear about the importance of diversifying our investments, but diversifying our income streams is just as important, particularly in difficult economic times.

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.
I have a total of three CDs left. There is no way in hell I’m selling them after holding them for 4+ years so far to take the penalty. The CDs are for 7 years. That would be completely counterproductive. As a result, I feel very stuck with ever getting my CD money back if I wanted to. If the CDs were for just 1 or 2 years, I agree, it doesn’t matter as much. But combine a 7 year term with 4%+ interest is too painful to give up.
Although adding income streams takes time, creating them within your current business is faster and easier than starting completely new income streams from scratch. This method of generating extra sources of income works well for any size business in any industry. For example, Amazon.com started by selling books. Today it sells thousands of other products including its own product, the Kindle, is a print and digital publisher, and now produces television shows. Many service-based business owners add coaching and books to their income streams.

Don't mistake passive income with zero work. It's still work, it's just that your income is not directly tied to the hours worked. Anyone who owns rental properties knows that it's considered passive income but there is quite a bit of work involved. The work is front heavy but if you are lucky, you can collect rental checks without incident for many months before having to do work.
Thanks for writing this Mr. Samurai. I just got over the student loan hump but I feel pretty good about it at 27 having a graduate degree and being 100% debt free. Now that I’m on the other side it is good for my brain to absorb some of your knowledge regarding passive income investments. I love gleaning wisdom from older folks who have been there and done that. Mentors rock!
Not only that but in almost all other cases there is the illusion of influence, which is itself a psychological and emotional cost. If you invest in a business that your friend or family member is running, you can see how things can get messy. You have thoughts on how things should be done, they have competing thoughts, if things aren't going well… we know how this story goes.
Active income, on the other hand, involves earning money in exchange for a service. It could be a salary, an hourly wage, commissions, or tips. It’s essentially a trade of your time for a fixed dollar amount. Most people choose to live this way, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, as long as you understand that there will be a limit to how much money you can realistically earn.

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 doctor or lawyer, for instance, could use her or his income to invest in a medical start-up or buy shares of medical companies he understands such as Johnson & Johnson. Over time, the nature of compounding, dollar cost averaging, and reinvesting dividends can result in her or his portfolio generating substantial passive income. The downside is that it can take decades to achieve enough to truly improve your standard of living. However, it is still the surest path to wealth based on the historical performance of business ownership and stocks.


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.
You need to decide which machines you want to run, get the necessary licenses to operate them (you're selling items so you need to get sales licenses and whatnot from your state), buy the machines and a truck for the items in the machines, find a supplier of the products, and then finally you can secure locations. Finally, you need to service them periodically or hire someone to service them.

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.


Add Leverage (Mortgage) and you greatly increase the ROI especially from the perspective of using Rents (other peoples money) to pay down the mortgage and increase your equity in the property over time. At this point then yes price appreciation is secondary bonus and we have an arguement of how and why Real Estate can be better than Growth Stocks in some scenarios and for some investors.
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!
Great post Jim. While it is convenient to lump the entire dividend income as one passive stream, in reality, it is several. If you have 30 companies across 10 major industry sectors, each paying you dividends, then you can consider having 30 streams or at least 10 passive streams, from each of the diverse industry sectors. I find this more diverse than relying on rental income from one investment property tied to one location and one good tenant. Your point about website is absolutely valid – will be great to have Ten Factorial Rocks worth 7 figures in less than 5 years as you have done!
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.
I had to get out. I actually had this random Facebook ad come up in my news feed (go figure) and it eventually led me to a webinar that taught on how to start an email marketing business (which is, by the way, the most profitable form of affiliate marketing – or ANY marketing for that matter). I listened through the whole 2 hours, completely mesmerized. By the end of it, I knew what I was going to be focusing on to help my family out of the pit of debt we were in and into a world free of financial stress. I didn’t know if it would actually work, but eventually it lead to EXCESS income!
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