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.
Since 2008 I've helped hundreds of thousands of people get started with their own online business—and here's the common denominator: Everyone starts from zero. So, if you're feeling behind—don't worry. I'll catch you up quickly with what you need to know. Let's start with what this thing called "passive income" really means, and is it even possible?
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.
Launching a side business or figuring out how to invest your money when you’re strapped for time isn’t easy, but the payoff makes it all worthwhile. The money you earn from passive income will undoubtedly have you well on your way to achieving your financial goals and that much closer to true financial freedom. If you’re wondering how your finances currently stack up, find out where you stand financially. No matter the result, Turbo’s personalized advice will help get you where you want to be.
We’ve discussed how to get started building passive income for financial freedom in a previous post. Now I’d like to rank the various passive income streams based on risk, return, and feasibility. The rankings are somewhat subjective, but they are born from my own real life experiences attempting to generate multiple types of passive income sources over the past 16 years.
With $200,000 a year in passive income, I would have enough income to provide for a family of up to four in San Francisco, given we bought a modest home in 2014. Now that we have a son, I'm happy to say that $200,000 indeed does seem like enough, especially if we can win the public-school lottery to avoid paying $20,000 to $50,000 a year in private-school tuition.
Thanks for writing this Mr. Samurai. I just got over the student loan hump but I feel pretty good about it at 27 having a graduate degree and being 100% debt free. Now that I’m on the other side it is good for my brain to absorb some of your knowledge regarding passive income investments. I love gleaning wisdom from older folks who have been there and done that. Mentors rock!
Domain names cannot be replicated. If one is taken, the only recourse would be to approach the owner to discuss a sale. While there are other variations you could choose, sometimes owning a certain domain (especially if it is attached to your business) can be worth the premium. Often, people will scout out domain names that are still available, buy them, and then sit on them in order to sell them down the road. Depending on who may want the domain down the road, you could sell it for a large markup.
Some people are fortunate enough to create residual income streams. Residual income (also known as passive or recurring income) refers to income that you continue to earn even after the work required is done. Fundrise is the simplest and most cost-effective way for the everyday investor to create a new stream of residual income through real estate investing.
I have had a LC account for almost 2 years. Invested 5k. A lot of very small loans. Unfortunately I had to invest though Folio FN. The fees reduce your return. Now, they are not even allowing that. My interest and return of principal are not being reinvested. I talked with LC and they are working on it for my state. Even if I can obtain access to the prime portfolio, I would only place 10 percent of my cash here and would reinvest for at least 3 years. I am still concerned about what would happen when a recession hits.
You can start earning passive income online via revenue sharing thanks to a tactic called affilliate marketing. No, this isn't one of those sketchy "get rich schemes." Affiliate marketing works like this: You, the publisher a.k.a. affiliate, signs up with a business to market its products on your website using banners and/or links within text. If a customer clicks on that content, they'll be taken to the business' own site. And for every one of those clicks that turns into a purchase (an action that's known as a conversion), you'll receive a commission as compensation for your referral.
Throughout his teaching, Shea will help you master the skills necessary to build an Amazon affiliate store that functions just like a powerful e-commerce site. That includes picking a niche and doing relevant keyword research; picking a theme for your affiliate store; setting up that store; implementing e-commerce SEO best practices, promoting your site; utilizing basic email marketing; maximizing conversions; and eventually outsourcing your work to efficient virtual assistants.
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.

I have to agree. Our Duplex cost us 200k initially in 1998. Over time and completely refurbishing the property with historically appropriate sensitivity, we invested another 200k or so. We just had a realtor advise us we could ask 700k for it today. It nets us 30k annually after taxes, insurance and maintenance. We still have a loan on it which I have not taken into account, that will be paid off within 5 years if we keep it. My mental drama now is, while I am quite giddy over the prospect of earning a tidy sum of profit if I sell, what then would I do to equal the ROI and monthly income this thing generates? Rents are low, they should be 4k a month and will only go up. Tempted to keep it and not sell. And while I do have some stocks, I basically suck at them. I am much better at doing properties.
The reading is organized as follows: Section 2 develops the concept of residual income, introduces the use of residual income in valuation, and briefly presents alternative measures used in practice. Section 3 presents the residual income model and illustrates its use in valuing common stock. This section also shows practical applications, including the single-stage (constant-growth) residual income model and a multistage residual income model. Section 4 describes the relative strengths and weaknesses of residual income valuation compared to other valuation methods. Section 5 addresses accounting issues in the use of residual income valuation. The final section summarizes the reading and practice problems conclude.
Finally, we will be investing in stocks for dividend income. Dividend income is the distribution of earnings from companies’ stock that is paid out quarterly and sometimes monthly. We will be investing in around 10-15 stocks that have a high dividend yield. For more information on what stocks we are picking and how dividend income works, check out this (link).
The vast majority of my investing is in retirement accounts and won't be tapped for income until I reach at least 59.5 years old. However, I have a very small taxable investing portfolio (less than $5k) with Ally Invest where I invest in a handful of stocks that I value. I do not use the earnings as income – I simply hold these stocks. But I have an unrealized gain of $340 from this year so far.
Generating passive income is NOT impossible. Passive income was just a dream for me until 2008. That’s when I was let go from my job due to the crumbling economy. With no other options, I bet on myself by trying to make my dream a reality. And you know what? The dream came true, and it’s totally awesome! I get to stay at home with my family, work when I want, and make my own decisions. This lifestyle is possible, and I want you to experience it too.
Another option: Consider starting your own real estate investment group. This is a great way to team together with other small investors, either via pooling your money together or simply by learning from eachother. According to Joseph Hogue, CFA from PeerFinance101.com, “The common bond in all real estate investing groups is that you help each other compete against the big money players to get the best returns.”
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:
I read about early withdrawal penalties on IRAs/401Ks very often. Almost always with a statement of “locked up” or “can’t touch” until 59.5. I’m sure you and well informed readers as well know about SEPPs in regard to IRAs/401Ks. For those that don’t SEPPs aren’t perfect but they are a way to tap retirement funds penalty free and I will be using in the future as I have over half of my equity investments within retirement accounts. South of a mil, North of a half. Let me add that I think your blog is outstanding.
When money is lent to a partnership or S-corporation acting as a pass-through entity (essentially a business that is designed to reduce the effects of double taxation) by that entity’s owner, the interest income on that loan to the portfolio income can qualify as passive income. As the IRS language reads: "Certain self-charged interest income or deductions may be treated as passive activity gross income or passive activity deductions if the loan proceeds are used in a passive activity."
There are, however, several misconceptions that serve to confuse investors. Unfortunately, it is these misconceptions that are preventing many investors from realizing truly passive income and potentially limitless wealth building opportunities. Nine misconceptions, in particular, could be putting your investment efforts in jeopardy? So what are they? Perhaps even more importantly, how can you navigate them to realize the potential your investing business really has?
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If you're looking to get started in real estate, look at a crowd funding solution like RealtyMogul. It works similar to LendingClub - you commit as little as $5,000 towards a property. When the property is fully funded, you become an owner, and will receive your share of the earnings and appreciation in the property.  Check out RealtyMogul to learn more. 
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