There is a specific tax definition of passive income, known as “passive activity” to the Internal Revenue Service. Passive income is any income you make without actively working or are materially involved. The IRS defines it as any rental activity or any business in which the taxpayer does not “materially participate.” Nonpassive activities, or active activities, are businesses in which the taxpayer works on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis.
2. Real Estate: Real estate is #2 for one simple reason, leverage – using smart debt and other people’s money. When looking at real estate rents and the potential for income real estate provides, it is the trifecta of residual income. First, a home or rental property can appreciate, so capital appreciation is the first long-term benefit of owning a home. Second, rent. Other people are paying the mortgage, insurance, property taxes and maintenance while you own that piece of real estate. Third, tax protection. Rental income is taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income and you can depreciate real estate by taking a paper deduction on your annual tax return not to mention expensing the cost of mileage, mortgage interest, and updates to the property. Rentals done right can generate almost double what the stock market can in dividends and interest. The fourth and maybe most hidden, but important benefit is that over time rent’s rise, protecting your cash-flow against inflation, while your mortgage interest can be at a fixed rate potentially.
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.
Residual income can have two different definitions or applications. The first definition, a less common application of residual income, is the money that is left after monthly debts are paid. This calculation is particularly important when a person is seeking financing or a loan based on their income and available money to cover the additional debt. In this scenario, the residual income is calculated by this formula:
Here's another example. If a person owns apartments that are rented out at a profit, they earn money each month without working a specific number of hours. If the owner earns $100/month net income from each apartment, the determining factor is how many apartments they own, not how many hours they work. Therefore, they may own 1 apartment and make $100 net income each month, or they could own 500 apartments and make $50,000 ($100 per apartment) each month.
2. Focus on income-producing assets. Internet growth stocks may be sexy, but they provide no income. To build a large enough passive-income stream to survive, you must invest in dividend-generating stocks, certificates of deposit, municipal bonds, government Treasury bonds, corporate bonds, and real estate. You're free to invest in non-income-producing assets for capital appreciation too. You just want to earn reliable income when the day comes to leave your job.

In equity valuation, residual income represents an economic earnings stream and valuation method for estimating the intrinsic value of a company's common stock. The residual income valuation model values a company as the sum of book value and the present value of expected future residual income. Residual income attempts to measure economic profit, which is the profit remaining after the deduction of opportunity costs for all sources of capital.