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P.S. I also fail to understand your fascination with real estate. Granted we’ve had some impressive spikes along the way, especially with once in a life time bubble we just went through. But over the long term (see Case Shiller real estate chart for last 100 years ) real estate tends to just track inflation. Why would you sacrifice stock market returns for a vehicle that historically hasn’t shown a real return?
Speaking from our own experience, you can’t be a passive McDonald’s franchisee. Every McDonald’s potential franchisee will need to complete at least thousands of hours of training before he/she would be approved to acquire a franchise and only if he/she has the financial resources to acquire a franchise. It could take years before one would get a single store franchise. Until the franchisee eventually has acquired multiple stores and established his/her own management team, the franchisee would have to put his/her nose to the grindstone and work his/her ass off every day. I won’t call it a passive investment by any stretch of imagination.
One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. If you sign up and link up an investment account with $1,000+ within 40 days, you get a $20 Amazon gift card. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.
It’s my only property. I”m living in an SF rental and biding my time for a correction to buy again (maybe). One other thing I do like about the house is that there is dry powder in it that I’m paying zero interest on and can pull out to buy another house. I don’t know a lot of other ways to achieve that. I don’t have a traditional job, so the house is my only source of loans currently which I’ve been using to fund my 4-yo company.
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.
Case Schiller only tracks price appreciation of RE. RE as rental investment vehicle is measured primarily on rental yield or cap rate or some other measure. Price appreciation in that scenario is only a secondary means of growth, and arguably should be ignored as a predictor of returns when deciding on whether or not to invest in rentals. More important key performance indicators for rentals are net operating income and cash ROI. Appreciation, if it occurs, is a bonus.
Those who can reap the benefits of residual income have typically put in an immense amount of effort and time in the beginning to be able to enjoy the rewards later on. Residual income, therefore, does not result in instant gratification. Those interested in earning residual income must have a lot of patience and determination to work as hard as necessary to achieve their ultimate goals of a long-standing income stream.
If you know anything well, a place, how to fix something, how to make something, how to do something, you can write a guide for it. You can sell your guide as an e-book, offer it as a download for a fee on your site or reach out to bloggers with similar content and ask if they will offer it as a paid download on their website (for a price of course).
Nice list. What keeps my family from getting more streams is the time it takes. I would actually be willing to work part time in medicine and make less money with a side-hustle just to keep things fresh and prevent burnout. That requires some degree of FI and some time to read about the new endeavor. Maybe when my kids are both in school, we we see. Until then, I’ll keep reading your posts for ideas.
In terms of the circular flow of income model, the leakage that financial institutions provide in the economy is the option for households to save their money. This is a leakage because the saved money can not be spent in the economy and thus is an idle asset that means not all output will be purchased. The injection that the financial sector provides into the economy is investment (I) into the business/firms sector. An example of a group in the finance sector includes banks such as Westpac or financial institutions such as Suncorp.
Amazing article Jim. Jammed packed with great information and inspiration for a finance blogger looking to find ways to diversify income streams. Building up your capital, achieved through saving more than you earn as you described, will open doors to a lot of activities in the future. The name of the game is putting your savings to work to turn expenses and idle cash into income producing assets. It isn’t easy when you are starting from $0, but through discipline and time you will eventually be able to achieve your goals and begin using the methods you described to diversify your income streams.
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.

4) Calculate how much passive income you need. It’s important to have a passive income goal, otherwise, it’s very easy to lose motivation. A good goal is to try and generate enough passive income to cover basic living expenses such as food, shelter, transportation, and clothing. If your annual expense number is $30,000, divide that figure by your expected rate of return to see how much capital you need to save. Unfortunately, you’ve got to then multiply the capital amount by 1.25 – 1.5 to account for taxes. For example, $30,000 / 3% = $1,000,000 in capital needed to generate $30,000 gross. But since you must pay tax on the $30,000 income, you really need closer to $1,250,000 to generate $30,000 in after-tax income at a 3% rate of return.


The book is not bad but it's not that great either. Think of it as an idea book in which you see him mention something and then research it futher. The rambling just becomes too much as you move along to the point where it becomes annoying to read. The tone the author uses is very nonchalant and he doesn't really explain anything. Ideas are just thrown out.
The sky is the limit but some alternative income ideas are better than others.  Stanley and Danko in The Millionaire Next Door, are quick to point out that millionaires allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth.  That means that a millionaire is much more likely to spend Saturday mornings checking on his rental property rather than cruising garage sales looking to add to his garden gnome collection.  Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame likes to emphasize the benefits of a passive income.  The books aren’t exactly a prescription for wealth, but he makes two excellent points.  The first is that a stream of income that provides money when you’re sleeping is preferable to one that requires you to work.  The second is that passive income often enjoys much better tax treatment than the income from your professional work.  Here are some income streams that are fairly common among physicians:
The coolest part for me is a little part called Taxbot. It’s a cloud on the site that tracks all of my business expenses and you can download that to your phone, take a picture of your receipt and toss it. It also will track your mileage via GPS for you, when you need to. This has saved me so much time, and I feel so much more organized. You wouldn’t believe what I deal with during the Tax Season. Boxes and boxes of receipts, trying to piece it all together.
Great Article. If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense why every person in the WORLD doesn’t have multiple streams of income. Why is it the norm to have 1 source of income to pay for 15 expenses (mortgage, student loans, rent, food, phone, utilities, car note and etc). You have to do something different in order get a head and have some financial freedom or else you are going to stay in your situation at your J.O.B. (Just over broke). I applaud those who have found this site because they are taking the first step to change their life because like I always say, change your mind and your money will follow.
I have only dabbled in drop-shipping before when I had an eCommerce platform 6 years ago or so. I think it is something that you could do on the side, but you would want to do in depth research on the industry you want to get into before setting up shop. It may be a little less passive up front, but over time you could take your hands off the wheel.
If you’re familiar with the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” you know that it applies to just about any area of your life including—and especially—your finances. In addition to retirement becoming an ever-elusive goal, no one has guaranteed job security so by diversifying your income you can feel more secure about saving for your future. You’ll be less likely to find yourself in credit card debt and happier as a result of being financially secure.
But, is it worth it? Absolutely it is. Niche blogs can command vast audiences, and thus opening the opportunity to several passive income streams as you might see fit. Should you decide to sell anything to that audience, you can market a wide array of products, services and information to them. But be wary of what you promote so as not to lose their trust.
Hi, a very useful and an informative blog. Apart from the six ideas of making a passive income i have come across another one and that is called the PAMM otherwise the Fund Management Solution offered by the Forex brokers. Here experienced traders trade on behalf of you and give you a consistent monthly return. So all you have to do is just sit and watch them trade for you. It is the best way to make a passive income but the right Forex broker is the major task.
This is mostly passive once you have it all set up, but it does take a lot of work at the beginning. Real estate investing also requires occasional maintenance. Currently, we invest in a couple of rental properties and earn about $500 profit from each per month. You can read more about my rental properties at MoneySmartLife.com: How and Why I Became a Landlord.

Though it can take a while to build up enough cash to put a 20% down payment on an investment property (the typical lender minimum), they can snowball fairly quickly. The key here is to correctly project income and expenses in order to calculate cash flow (the free cash you can put in your pocket after all associated property expenses have been paid). However you have to be sure to include the cost of a property manager in your calculations unless you want to manage the property yourself. Even with a property manager, you may be required to make large repair decisions every now and then – so while this is not a 100% passive activity, you are not directly trading your time for money like traditional employment.


Residual income models of equity value have become widely recognized tools in both investment practice and research. Conceptually, residual income is net income less a charge (deduction) for common shareholders’ opportunity cost in generating net income. It is the residual or remaining income after considering the costs of all of a company’s capital. The appeal of residual income models stems from a shortcoming of traditional accounting. Specifically, although a company’s income statement includes a charge for the cost of debt capital in the form of interest expense, it does not include a charge for the cost of equity capital. A company can have positive net income but may still not be adding value for shareholders if it does not earn more than its cost of equity capital. Residual income models explicitly recognize the costs of all the capital used in generating income.
One aspect you might want to add to your scoring is “inflation protection”. At one end, bonds and CDs generally pay a fixed nominal coupon that doesn’t rise with inflation. Stock dividends and Real estate rents (and underlying property value) tend to. Not reallly sure how P2P lending ranks- though I suppose the timeframes are fairly short (1 year or less?) and therefore the interest you receive takes into account the current risk free rate + a premium for your risk. Now that I think about it, P2P lending probably deserves a lower score in the activity column than bonds too (since you probably need to make new loans more often).
Learn, learn, learn: Develop new skills that you can eventually turn into a side business. Acquire knowledge that you can use to start up a side business or that can help you intelligently invest your money in assets that generate passive income. Passive investments include: residential rental properties, commercial rental properties, TICS, triple net leases, seasonal rentals (beach areas, ski resort areas, lake front areas), equity investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds), annuities, permanent life insurance, royalty-generating property (timber, oil and gas), boat rentals, etc.
Making legitimate passive income isn’t as difficult as you might think. Some of the best passive income ideas might take a little time to set up but can start cash flowing within a couple of months and will provide a consistent monthly income for years or more. The most important point is just to get started. You make exactly $0 on the passive income sources you never start.
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.
So how do you get started with the EP Model? First, you need to be an expert in the eyes of those you’re looking to serve. And again, you don’t need all those qualifications and credentials. A lot of people gain expertise and credibility just by sharing their experience learning something, which is something I’ve done on SPI.com. If you think about it, many people in the personal finance or fitness space establish their authority by sharing their journey and their process. They do it by sharing their experiences—and you can do the same thing, too.
Good ranking FS, I’d have to agree with the rankings. And it looks like your portfolio covers five of the six! Some people consider real estate passive will others classify it as active. But every scenario is different, whether you are doing all the maintenance and managing yourself, or you are contracting out a lot of the work. Obviously it takes a lot more time and effort than purchasing a 36 month CD and “setting it and forgetting it.”

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.

I am 30 years old and am retired. Previously, I made a modest salary as an Army officer. I own three duplexes and a quadplex in central Texas (10 rental units in all), and each of the properties provide me with net rental yields in excess of 15%. The last deal is actually an infinite return as my partner paid the down payment in return for a 50/50 split on a property that would otherwise provide a net rental yield of 18%. The above net rental yields also factor in an excellent property management team who manages my properties while I pursue other investment opportunities. To date, I have never interacted with any of my tenants nor have I ever had to personally deal with any maintenance issues.
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.
Non-fiction e-books that educate your potential audience on specific topics like finance, online marketing, and business are going to make you more money than fiction books. Of course, there are always exceptions and you could write the next Harry Potter book, but if you want to create some residual income opportunities quickly, I would suggest you go for what sells first!
You must sacrifice the pleasures of today for the freedom you will earn tomorrow. In my 20s, I shared a studio with my best friend from high school and drove beater cars worth less than 10% of my annual gross income. I’d stay until after 7:30pm at work in order to eat the free cafeteria food. International vacations were replaced with staycations since work already sent me overseas 2-4X a year. Clothes were bought at thrift shops of course.
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!
Well written piece, but I question the core premise. Why the fascination with maximizing “income” (passive or otherwise). Shouldn’t the goal simply be to maximize long-term after tax growth of your entire portfolio? If this takes the form of dividend paying stocks, so be it. But what if small caps are poised to outperform? What if you want to take Buffet’s or Bogle’s advice and just buy a broad market index like the S&P 500, (no matter what the dividend because you’ll just have it automatically reinvested to avoid the transaction fees).
There are a ton of ways to diversify your investments, some of which can send real income your way. By opening a brokerage account and investing in ETFs or mutual funds, you can earn real returns you can use to supplement your income. Of course, the flip side can also happen – as in, you can lose money. So, make sure you understand the risks before you dive in.
Creating multiple streams of income does not mean get a second job to supplement your current income. A second job does not provide you with the flexibility and freedom to increase your income. In fact, it can hurt you when you think about it. You are trading time for money and in the long run, you lose. Instead, create something that will allow you to give yourself a pay raise when you need and want it. 
Who doesn’t like some down and dirty affiliate fees?!  Especially if you realize it can be even easier to make money this way than with an ebook.  After all, you simply need to concentrate on pumping out some content for your own site and getting the traffic in, often via Google or social media.  Unsurprisingly, most people can enjoy their first affiliate sale within 30 days of starting a blog.  Continue reading >
I’m a 45 year old business owner who also has focussed on diversifying my income streams. I have a short term vacation rental in Florida that I bought for $390k in 2012 and net rental income for the last three years has been growing steadily. 2015 I am at $70k gross right now but should end up at $80-85k with net around $45k plus we use the place about 35 nights a year.
If you love design and you are an artistic person, selling digital products on Etsy could be a great way to earn passive income. Digital products require little maintenance, your customers will simply receive a link to download them (which means you don’t have to worry about shipping and returns handling). All you need to do is spend time upfront to create beautiful artwork! (Easy right?)
We can forecast per-share residual income as forecasted earnings per share minus the required rate of return on equity multiplied by beginning book value per share. Alternatively, per-share residual income can be forecasted as beginning book value per share multiplied by the difference between forecasted ROE and the required rate of return on equity.
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.
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.

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