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.
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.
I’m still a big fan of InfoBarrel, Eric, even though I haven’t been able to write much. With what I am earning there, I’ve actually shifted to outsourcing quite a bit of content…call it a “respite” from writing, I had just needed a break. Even if one pays $5-$10 per article, IF the keywords are researched properly and effectively, one can easily turn that one article and earn several hundred off of it in it’s lifetime. Right now, one of my friends had written a single article that, already this month, has earned over $83 on InfoBarrel. Not too shabby at all…
Peer-to-peer lending ($1,440 a year): I've lost interest in P2P lending since returns started coming down. You would think that returns would start going up with a rise in interest rates, but I'm not really seeing this yet. Prosper missed its window for an initial public offering in 2015-16, and LendingClub is just chugging along. I hate it when people default on their debt obligations, which is why I haven't invested large sums of money in P2P. That said, I'm still earning a respectable 7% a year in P2P, which is much better than the stock market is doing so far in 2018!
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.

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What’s also really important to realize here is that when I took the exam I was teaching people to study for, I didn’t get a perfect score. In fact, I didn’t even get close to a perfect score. I passed. But I also knew a lot about this exam—way more than somebody who was just getting started diving into studying for it. And it was because of that, because I was just a few steps ahead of them, that they trusted me to help them with that information. To support this, I provided a lot of great free value to help them along the way. I engaged in conversations and interacted in comments sections and on forums. Most of all, I just really cared about those people, because I struggled big-time with that exam myself.
While compiling this list, I did my best to avoid scams, and stick with practical ideas that work. I have tried many (but not all) of these ideas. Some of these helped me earned a few dollars here and there, but there are some that helped me earn extra money on the side every single day — and some are still providing me with revenue! Note that not all ideas will fit your skills and abilities. What works for you depends on your abilities and your current financial situation.
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.
Hello from the UK! Fundrise and Wealthfront are only available to US residents it seems :(. Any other readers from the UK here? The only thing I have managed to do from Sam’s list is getting a fixed rate bond (CBS is having a 5-year fixed rate at 2.01% – not great but the best I could find ). Don’t know if the FIRE movement will ever take off here but would love to trade tips/ideas on how to reach FI and have the freedom to consider alternative rythms to living.
Do you watch real estate reality shows? Have you dreamed of fixing and flipping houses? What about being a landlord? Believe it or not, real estate is a good way to earn extra income. Real estate investing includes fixing and flipping houses. This requires capital in the form of cash and/or credit. If you can partner with someone, do it. You'll attend housing auctions and bid on houses; you can get them for a good price. Hire a contractor to fix up the inside and outside (could cost anywhere from $10,000 and up), have the house appraised, sell it, make a profit and split the profits between you and your partner(s). Of course, you could buy properties (e.g., houses and apartment buildings), and become a landlord. Another alternative is to become a real estate agent. Speak with seasoned investors and realtors to find out if this passive income strategy is right for you.
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!
Buy a small business: A local small business, like a car wash or a laundromat, is a great way to put money down on a money-making venture. Automate it so you don't have to be on the premises unless you're collecting money. Go into a local business with your eyes wide open - study the books, especially on income and expenses, and examine water and utility bills if your venture will be open 24 hours.
3. Start as soon as possible. Building a livable passive-income stream takes a tremendously long time, largely because of declining interest rates since the late 1980s. Gone are the days of making a 5%-plus return on a short-term CD or savings account. Today, the best 12-month CD is at 2.5%, and the best money-market rate is about 1.85%, which is not bad, considering such rates were below 0.5% just a couple of years ago. Know that every $100 you save can generate at least $2.5 in passive income.
Passive income is the gap in my financial plans at the moment. I started investing nearly 2 years ago but I’m so close to the beginning of that journey that I don’t quite see it as making income yet. I’ve been better with employer pensions and they’ve grown a really good amount over the last 12 months, but I won’t get my hands on them for a long time yet.
First: I understand why you would say that such investments are restricted to only accredited investors, because generally, that’s true. There are means, under federal securities regulations and Blue Sky laws in each state, to sell interests to non-accredited investors – but usually those means are so heavily regulated and involve disclosures so similar to cumbersome registration requirements that it is not worth it for the seller to offer to non-accredited investors.
This is a buzzword I heard about through a few career coaches. Slowly more awareness is spreading that we can escape the rat race and find alternative ways of working, and indeed, the days of having to choose one particular career path are becoming outdated. The recession is forcing us to think of more imaginative ways to make a living and I am determined to use every skill and talent I have to start generating multiple income streams. Before I was racking my brain for YEARS because I just couldn’t choose one career path! I am only just beginning on a small scale and am not making any real money as yet, but this year I will dig out the toolboxes I’m not currently using and set up various things that will hopefully bring in the pounds. Thumbs up to multiple income streams.
I agree mostly with the real estate advice. I’m looking for ways to take advantage of the condo I own to get up the rent from ~$0.90/ft to the $1.2-1.5/ft that seems more like the range in the same area. I’d have to put in a bit of capital (probably 10k on the low end for just the basics up to 40k if I wanted to remodel the kitchen and 2 bathrooms up to par with the area), so the return is likely there if those upgrades warrant $1.30/ft (given the unit is larger than most 2br/2ba in the area).

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