Thanks for asking. https://passiveincomemd.com/what-is-passive-income/ gives a good summary of the definition I use. But in brief, it’s income that isn’t proportional to the time you physically put into acquiring it. It doesn’t mean it’s not without work or effort. It’s just that most of the work is done up front and it continues to pay off long after that initial effort. Real estate fits into that box. There’s definitely a spectrum but compared to what we do as doctors, where our compensation is directly linked to our time, most of these things are quite passive.
Value tends to be recognized earlier in the RI approach than in other present value-based approaches. To see this, recall that with a dividend discount model or free cash flow to equity model, a large portion of the estimated intrinsic value comes from the present value of the expected terminal value. Yet the uncertainty of the expected terminal value is usually greater than any of the other forecasted cash flows because it occurs several years in the future. Valuation with residual income models, however, is relatively less sensitive to terminal value estimates, which reduces forecast error.
Recently, the residual income (RI) model has become very popular in valuation because it purports to measure "value added" by explicitly taking into account the cost for capital in the income statement. Some proponents of the residual income approach have even suggested that the RI model is superior to the discounted cash flow (DCF) method and consequently, the DCF model should be abandoned in favor of the RI model. The residual income model is seductive because it purports to provide assessments of performance at any given point in time. The claim that the RI model is superior to the DCF model in valuation is puzzling because the RI model is simply an interesting algebraic rearrangement of the DCF model. Since the same information is used in both models, it is not unexpected that both models should give the same valuation results.

You say that you’re cautious with REITs due to the headwind caused by the rising interest rates. I’m with you, but at the same time earlier you said that you don’t expect the 10yrs yield to go over 3% for a long time. Now we’re nearly there. Does it mean that REITs become more attractive for you (like I see it), or you’re still cautious for some reason?


Many people talk about passive income and create the impression that you never have to do anything to keep that income going. The truth is that you will normally have to keep your eye on things if you want it to run smoothly. For example Richard Branson doesn’t run any of the 400+ companies he started but he goes over the numbers each day to make sure they’re performing well and calls the CEO if there are any problems.
So one thing I have to disagree with after having done hours and hours of research from Multiple CPA’s is “Dividends – 21% (passive)”. Thats actually not right. Thats actually “active”. I actually paid 2 different CPA’s to do research on this topic. One of them I paid 500 dollars to actually dig out the IRS tax code and “prove” it. If you are active in a business and the business pays you dividends its still active income (not passive).
ie first you need to haul ass and do something crazy, eg write a quality 20,000 word ebook (insanely not passive hahahah), but then you get to sit back and enjoy seeing PayPal sale messages pop up on your iPhone each morning as sale after sale after sale is made…on an ongoing basis and without any additional work. That’s some seriously Pina Colada flavored passive goodness!
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?)
The circular flow diagram illustrates the interdependence of the “flows,” or activities, that occur in the economy, such as the production of goods and services (or the “output” of the economy) and the income generated from that production. The circular flow also illustrates the equality between the income earned from production and the value of goods and services produced.[4]
If you’re a YouTube personality, this is how you generate your income. An amazing example of this how Antonio Centeno got 1 million YouTube subscribers. If you’re a blogger who gets a lot of traffic to your site and uses advertising or sponsorships, then you’re also following the AA Model. Got a podcast with sponsorships? Same deal. I talk about successful podcast sponsorships and other ways to make money podcasting here:
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.
Money is important. Of that, there can be no doubt. If you don't have enough for your basic needs, and a few necessary wants, there's no chance of you being content or happy in life. Everyone knows this of course. In fact, the need for money is why most of us go to work. But it’s never really enough is it? There's always some place we want to visit or some gadget that we want to buy but we can’t because of our barren bank accounts. So how do we get that extra bit of money that we're always craving for? Leveraging the power of the internet to generate a steady stream of passive income is the answer.
Peerstreet – This residual income option is slightly different, helping you earn money using real estate backed loans instead of the property itself. By helping fund the loan, you’ll earn a percentage of the interest rate charged to the borrower. Most loans are short-term, generally lasting between 6 and 24 months. You can build your own portfolio by choosing the exact loans you’d like to fund, or Peerstreet will choose the loans for you. Again, you need to be an accredited investor, although the minimum investment here is just $1,000.
This is such a fabulous piece. Thank you for your amazing efforts here. I was wondering -any initial thoughts on what one would charge an employer to post a job (for the idea about creating a site to help people with their resumes, etc)? I need to research for sure but was curious if anyone has any ideas on this. I have a background in the corporate world in management and recruiting and have been tossing this idea around for a while but am stuck. Thank you!

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.


Brian had found a huge need for web design in the restaurant and food truck space. After getting tired of working with client after client, he decided to turn his service-based business into a product-based one. He made his services more standardized and productized. He eliminated all his client work and created templates and products to serve that market instead. And it’s been going great for him.

It’s not just the little guys like me who are being squeezed by the constant updates. Even YouTube’s top creators have expressed frustration with changes to the YouTube monetization platform. It’s constantly changing and evolving, so you must be willing to adapt. Plus, it helps having a blog so you’re not relying on a single platform or your income.
A business thrives or fails depending on its marketing and system for generating leads. You need leads to make sales. No audience or exposure means you won’t get fresh faces checking out what your business does. Too many entrepreneurs spend all their time on the “busy work” and not enough on audience building. There are some great ways to build an audience and generate new leads:

You say that you’re cautious with REITs due to the headwind caused by the rising interest rates. I’m with you, but at the same time earlier you said that you don’t expect the 10yrs yield to go over 3% for a long time. Now we’re nearly there. Does it mean that REITs become more attractive for you (like I see it), or you’re still cautious for some reason?
Rentals, just like stocks, throw off cash. With rentals we call that cash “rent”, and with stocks we call it dividends. A significant difference however is that the S&P 500 has appreciated at ~6% per year (above inflation) for the last 100 years…..Real Estate has had almost 0 growth above inflation. So are rents higher than dividends? Maybe, maybe not. But unless you got one heck of a deal, the delta in rent over dividends will have a very tough time making up for the 6% per year difference in appreciation.
During my first year as a financial advisor, I got a small base salary. After that, it was up to me to figure out how to find and retain new clients. Fortunately, I quickly learned how to market myself, meet new people, and set myself up for success. And over time, I made the connections I needed to grow my base of clients, earn a real income, and produce the type of results my clients wanted.
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.
The reason I consider dividends artificial and believe they don’t matter is because you can just as easily reinvest your dividends. If a stock is worth $100/share, I don’t care if it issues a $1/share dividend or if the share price instead increases to $101/share – either way, I have the same amount of money, because there’s no difference to my net worth whether I take the dividend or sell part of a stock.

There are dozens of ways to generate passive income. However, the option you select has to do with two metrics: time and money. Either you have a lot of time or a lot of money. Most people usually don't have both. But, if you have a lot of money, generating passive income almost instantly is easy. You can buy up some real estate and begin enjoying rental income. Or, you can invest in a dividend fund or some other investment vehicle that will begin generating a steady income for you.

Passive income differs from active income which is defined as any earned income including all the taxable income and wages the earner get from working. Linear active income refers to one constantly needed to stay active to maintain the stream of income, and once an individual chooses to stop working the income will also stop, examples of active income include wages, self-employment income, martial participation in s corp, partnership.[4] portfolio income is derived from investments and includes capital gains, interest, dividends, and royalties.[5]

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!
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.
I hope I can reread this and maybe may have to do it again but when I do I then I have questions- I would love for someone to be able to work with me who’s at rock bottom with extreme poor financial choices and still continues to go through a terrible vicious cycle. Currently I do have a secure full time job with many benefits however been on medical leave this year and falling behind – Christmas is around the corner and I can’t even handle back school! I have two savings accounts that I can’t save in and a checking account overdrawn – desperate need of help – you think come out of this hole and by next year and 1/2 can save that $80,000 – but I am in despair – pride to side – please consider charity case till money starts coming back in
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.
S + T + M > I + G + X the levels of income, expenditure and output will fall causing a contraction or recession in the overall economic activity. As the income falls households will cut down on all leakages such as saving, they will also pay less in taxation and with a lower income they will spend less on imports. This will lead to a fall in the leakages until they equal the injections and a lower level of equilibrium will be the result.
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.

Haha, that is too funny. I wanted to make an app back in the day called “MyShares” (You can probably tell how I cam up with the name at the time). The idea was that I would loan out books and DVD’s and then would never get them back. Then I thought, how cool would it be if I could rent those items out and that would motivate people to bring them back. Obviously, books and DVD’s are cheap, so this isn’t the money maker. The idea that would probably make the most money would be things like tools, ATVs, etc.

I prefer assets that make me a high return for the lowest amount of work possible (semi-passive involvement). And assets that pay me in several unique ways. Cash flow is only one way RE makes money for me. I also get principal reductions, appreciation, tax advantages (depreciation), and I control the rental increases on a yearly basis. Plus a majority of the capital is provided by the secondary market on 30 year fixed low interest rate debt.


If you have specialized knowledge in a certain topic, you can put together an online course to teach others. For example, if you have experience in real estate investing, you can create an online course “Real Estate Investing 101”. The benefit of an online course is that once you create the course material, you can sell it to as many people as you want.
Coaching – I’ve been coaching ever since I was in college and I love it. And since I coach a club team, the time commitment averages only about 10 hours a week. The money isn’t great if you depend on it for living but it’s the perfect secondary source of income since it’s very easy for me to get hired as a coach(and it’s tax free through business deductions).

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.
Okay, so if I haven’t discouraged you yet, and you’re still reading, then congrats. You’re likely one of the few that will see things through when it comes to setting up passive income streams. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. It’ll require a tremendous amount of your time and energy on the front end in order to enjoy the benefits of reaping years of income on autopilot. The best part? Passive income is addictive. Once you have one stream online, you’ll search for more.

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.
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!

stREITwise offers a hybrid investment between traditional REIT fund investing and the new crowdfunding. The fund is like a real estate investment trust in that it holds a collection of properties but more like crowdfunding in its management. The fund has paid a 10% annualized return since inception and is a great way to diversify your real estate exposure.
Unfortunately, it took a while for the real lessons to sink in. I was probably 20 or 21 when I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad the first time, which means I wasn’t exactly sure who I was yet. I knew I wanted to work hard and make money, but I wasn’t sure how. This made me a prime candidate for  multi-level marketing pitches, and the dream of “getting rich quick.”
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.

The first application of residual income, the remaining money after debts are paid each month, is relevant when analyzing a person's financial status or ability to qualify for financing. The second application, the more widely recognized meaning of residual income, is money that is received on an on-going basis for work that is completed once. This form of income allows the recipient to generate revenue that is not based on time limits. Residual income is the foundation for wealth because it offers flexibility in earning and maximizing income. It also allows income to be generated long after the work has been done.
×