If you can max out your 401k or max out your IRA and then save an additional 20%+ of your after-tax, after-retirement contribution, good things really start to happen. If one is looking for earlier financial independence, such as retiring in their 40s or early 50s, it may be a good idea to skew towards more after-tax savings and investments given one has to wait until 59.5 to withdraw from their 401k or IRA penalty-free.
Passive income is defined by Wikipedia as “income resulting from cash flow received on a regular basis, requiring minimal to no effort by the recipient to maintain it”. And while the ‘no effort’ part of the definition is very enticing, the truth is that generating passive income requires a massive amount of effort. And this effort needs to be exerted up front and then sustained for months, and maybe even years, until your venture starts returning profits. And even then, you'll have to monitor your income streams to make sure it’s all going smoothly. It's certainly not an easy endeavour, no matter what most people may tell you, and it requires an investment of something far more valuable than money: time. But if you are up for it, then here are 14 ideas that you can use to start earning passive income.
In short, you need a blog to drive traffic to great content that will then capture email subscribers along the way. To do that, you’ll also need to create some type of free offer that you can give away. Whether it’s a report or an ebook or something else, you need to come up with something that will add value to the lives of others if you want to capture those all-important email addresses.
When most hear the term residual income, they think of excess cash or disposable income. Although that definition is correct in the scope of personal finance, in terms of equity valuation residual income is the income generated by a firm after accounting for the true cost of its capital. You might be asking, "but don't companies already account for their cost of capital in their interest expense?" Yes and no. Interest expense on the income statement only accounts for a firm's cost of its debt, ignoring its cost of equity, such as dividends payouts and other equity costs. Looking at the cost of equity another way, think of it as the shareholders' opportunity cost, or the required rate of return. The residual income model attempts to adjust a firm's future earnings estimates, to compensate for the equity cost and place a more accurate value to a firm. Although the return to equity holders is not a legal requirement like the return to bondholders, in order to attract investors firms must compensate them for the investment risk exposure.
One of the easiest ways to increase your passive income is to shift your savings to a bank that pays a higher yield on your savings — for example, Discover Bank and EverBank pay almost 1% for your money. Although it doesn’t sound like much (especially in this low interest environment), little things do add up and eventually interest rates will rise.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service categorizes income into three broad types, active income, passive income, and portfolio income.[1] It defines passive income as only coming from two sources: rental activity or "trade or business activities in which you do not materially participate."[2][3] Other financial and government institutions also recognize it as an income obtained as a result of capital growth or in relation to negative gearing. Passive income is usually taxable.

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.
Knight pictured a circulation of money and circulation of economic value between people (individuals, families) and business enterprises as a group,[14] explaining: "The general character of an enterprise system, reduced to its very simplest terms, can be illustrated by a diagram showing the exchange of productive power for consumption goods between individuals and business units, mediated by the circulation of money, and suggesting the familiar figure of the wheel of wealth."[15]
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
This is another way of ensuring regular income for a period of time. Let us say, you are uncomfortable with the idea of investing in high dividend yield stocks as they generally do not give price appreciation. Also, there is no assurance on dividend yields as dividends may fall if the profits of the company fall. Another way out is to invest the money into a debt fund and pay yourself through an SWP. Let us assume that you did the same SIP and ended up with Rs.1.41 crore at the age of 45. Now you want to pay yourself a regular income for a period of 15 years till your retirement. Here is how it will work.
“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.”
Great breakout of some common items that are (mostly) accessible to individuals. My biggest issue with p2p is the ordinary interest it generates and the ordinary tax that we have to pay. That really takes a bite out of the returns. Fortunately, I opened an IRA with one of the providers to juice the return with zero additional risk. 6-8% nominal returns over a long period of time will make me very happy. It should end up as 5-7% of the portfolio anyway, so nothing too significant.
Came to the U.S. as an immigrant in 1968 from a poor Asian country with only $100 in my pocket. Took advantange of 401-K savings plan by contributing 10% of my pay. My employer matched the first 6% savings (50 cents/dollar saved). Did not know anything about investment so 100% of 401-k money was invested in index 500. No other savings except 401-K. Retired in 1999 at 55 years old with about $1.2 million in 401-K and $450,000 lump sum pension which I rolled over to IRA. I invested this money in bonds and only buy equities (small cap index) whenever value drop to at least 50% of its high. I made a lot of money by investing in small cap index (ticker, IWM). Because of the risk involved, I don’t buy individual stock.
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.

Personal residual income, often called discretionary income, is the amount of income or salary left over after debt payments, like car loans and mortgages, have been paid each month. For example, Jim’s take-home pay is $3,000 a month. His mortgage payment, home equity loan, and car loan are the following respective: $1,000, $250, and $200. Using a residual income calculator, Jim would calculate his RI to be $1,550 a month. This is the amount of money he has left over after his monthly debt payments are make that he can put into savings or use to purchase new assets.
Fantastic update and congrats on being over $200k. That is solid! I also like how you have multiple streams and are diversified. The one thing the last downturn taught me was not to have all my eggs in one basket. I’ve been doing my best to build multiple streams of active and passive income myself too. Passive is the preferred choice of course. :)
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.
Rich people know the secret to wealth and peace of mind - and that is - having many cash-streams coming into their lives (and accounts!) instead of just one. One cash flow - say a salary or profit from a business - will not provide security in all times. On the other hand, multiple cash-flows provides stability and security. In case one cash-flow vanishes or reduces, the other one gives you comfort and sustenance.
Both the prosecution and the defense in a malpractice trial need expert witnesses.  These guys often make several times more per hour testifying than they do practicing medicine.  Even just reviewing potential cases may earn you income.  Don’t forget your ethical standards when engaging in this type of work.  I suggest you stick to your own specialty and do defense work only.  We’ve got enough docs out there already willing to sell out their colleagues for a few bucks.
Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses – This one might not seem like a source of income but ever since I discovered how lucrative churning credit cards can be I consider it part of my income. Just last year alone, I made over $10,000 tax free in travel, cash and gift cards from various sign-ups. It’s not as simple as just signing up for a card though, it requires a lot of research and some maintenance every couple weeks.

Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses – This one might not seem like a source of income but ever since I discovered how lucrative churning credit cards can be I consider it part of my income. Just last year alone, I made over $10,000 tax free in travel, cash and gift cards from various sign-ups. It’s not as simple as just signing up for a card though, it requires a lot of research and some maintenance every couple weeks.
This is a venture that is growing rapidly. You can create videos in just about any area that you like — music, tutorials, opinions, comedy, movie reviews — anything you want . . . then put them on YouTube. You can then attach Google AdSense to the videos, which will overlay your videos with automatic ads. When viewers click on those ads, you will earn money from AdSense.
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).
Investing in rental properties: Another form of real estate investment, rental investments (i.e. becoming a landlord) could steer you down the passive income path of steady monthly rent checks that you can use to pay off a mortgage loan on the rental property. After the mortgage is paid off, those monthly checks go right into your bank account -- potentially for years to come. 
As an economic concept, residual income has a long history, dating back to Alfred Marshall in the late 1800s.1 As far back as the 1920s, General Motors used the concept in evaluating business segments.2 More recently, residual income has received renewed attention and interest, sometimes under names such as economic profit, abnormal earnings, or economic value added. Although residual income concepts have been used in a variety of contexts, including the measurement of internal corporate performance, this reading will focus on the residual income model for estimating the intrinsic value of common stock. Among the questions we will study to help us apply residual income models are the following:
The appeal of these passive income sources is that you can diversify across many small investments, rather than in a handful of large ones. When you invest directly in real estate, you have to commit a lot of capital to individual projects. When you invest in these crowdfunded investments, you can spread your money across many uncorrelated real estate ventures so individual investments don't cause significant issues.
Department C has earned net operating profit of $300 million for the FY 2011 while department P has earned operating profit of $130 million for the same period. Department C had opening operating assets of $1 billion and its closing operating assets are $1.1 billion while department P had opening operating assets of $0.5 billion while its closing operating assets are $0.7 million.

One of the easiest ways to increase your passive income is to shift your savings to a bank that pays a higher yield on your savings — for example, Discover Bank and EverBank pay almost 1% for your money. Although it doesn’t sound like much (especially in this low interest environment), little things do add up and eventually interest rates will rise.

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.
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.
Among the various market multiples, residual income models are most closely related to the price to book value (P/B) ratio because the justified P/B is directly linked to expected future residual income. This can be seen by observing the single stage model. If ROE is greater than the required return on equity, the second term (the present value of residual income) will be positive, the market will be greater than book value, and the justified P/B ratio will be greater than one.
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 >

Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses – This one might not seem like a source of income but ever since I discovered how lucrative churning credit cards can be I consider it part of my income. Just last year alone, I made over $10,000 tax free in travel, cash and gift cards from various sign-ups. It’s not as simple as just signing up for a card though, it requires a lot of research and some maintenance every couple weeks.
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.
When you invest in a dividend-paying stock, you are buying a share of the company and you literally become part-owner of that business. As the company grows and generates extra cash that it doesn’t necessarily want to re-invest, it might decide to return some of the extra cash to the shareholders in the form of dividends. And because you own a fraction of the company, you will receive a portion of the cash!

Hey Alison! thanks for taking the time to check out the post! I specifically outlined the post so it would follow a specific structure. This is so readers know what to expect and it helps with the flow of the piece. I’ve actually just finished up a (shortened) PDF version of the post that includes a bonus idea not mentioned here. I’ll be adding this to the post shortly! You’re right on the ebook suggestion — could easily have been made into one. I noticed that you linked to it from the millionaire blog post, thank you so much. Kimberly and I really appreciate the mention.


A good portion of my stock allocation is in growth stocks and structured notes that pay no dividends. The dividend income that comes from stocks is primarily from S&P 500 index ETFs. Although this is a passive income report, as I’m still relatively young, I’m more interested in building a large financial nut through principal appreciation rather than through dividend investing. As an entrepreneur, I can’t help but have a growth mindset.

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.
Regardless, it took me around 18 months to start turning a profit online. It started with around $100 per month, then grew to $200 per month. Then it kept growing and growing until, eventually, the money I earned online surpassed what I earned in my regular, 9-5 job. That was last year, and my online income is still growing. Believe it or not, it all came from starting this simple, yet effective, blog.
Passive income is the Holy Grail for online marketers. It's automatic. Effortless. But, not at first. In the beginning, it's grueling. I liken this to doing the most amount of work for the least initial return. However, over time, as your passive income begins to increase, your reliance on an active income plummets. That's when the real magic starts to happen.
However, residual income typically has an expiration date, especially if it is being earned through a business. Effort must be continuously put into the business in order for someone to continue to receive residual income. Businesses must continue to market themselves in order to remain relevant. The best way to look at residual income in this sense is that it is a part-time job that earns full-time income.
Selling stuff you’re not even using on eBay or Amazon can be surprisingly profitable.  Not only do you get tax-free income, but you can spend less on housing and utilities because you don’t have to store all that stuff anymore.  Many people that start out selling on the internet just to get rid of their junk find it is so easy they open a side business doing it.
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!

However, you should pick a niche and blog about that. If you're launching a money related blog, maybe it'll be about how to make money in real estate or simply how to make money online. Pick the niche and stick to it. If it's a diet and fitness related blog, maybe the niche is the Ketogenic diet, the Atkins diet or some other form of diet or fitness.
Residual income is when you continue to get paid after the work is done. This includes royalties from books, movies, or songs and also income that comes from real estate or business investments where you don’t actually have to be present to earn it. For example, Bill Gates is still making a residual income from Microsoft even though he isn’t working there anymore.
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