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:
You don't have to be Paul McCartney to rack up residuals. You might own properties that you rent out even though you're not a Realtor. Maybe a blog you started took off, and while you no longer work there, you still collect part of the profits. Or perhaps you're a serial entrepreneur who creates companies and moves on. You, too, are earning residual income.
Residual income has two real definitions. Let’s look at those first. Residual Income is income that continues to be generated after the initial effort has been expended. Compare this to what most people focus on earning: linear income, which is “one-shot” compensation or payment in the form of a fee, wage, commission or salary. The other definition for residual income is not actually a type of income, but rather a calculation that determines how much discretionary money an individual has available to spend after most monthly bills are paid. We believe that income that exceeds your expenses is called PROFIT! So, we are going to use the first definition for the sake of this document.
Generating passive income requires upfront work. Some say achieving passive income is actually quite an active pursuit. Some paths may be. But then they may not be truly passive income investments. Acquiring a passive income producing investment can be very simple, even if there are many others behind the scenes doing a lot of work to vet, package, and manage that investment.
As interest rates have been going down over the past 30 years, bond prices have continued to go up. With the 10-year yield (risk free rate) at roughly 2.55%, and the Fed Funds rate at 1.5% (two more 0.25% hikes are expected in 2018), it’s hard to see interest rates declining much further. That said, long term interest rates can stay low for a long time. Just look at Japanese interest rates, which are negative (inflation is higher than nominal interest rate).
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