There are three main categories of income: active income, passive income and portfolio income. Passive income has been a relatively loosely used term in recent years. Colloquially, it’s been used to define money being earned regularly with little or no effort on the part of the person receiving it. Popular types of passive income include real estate, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and dividend stocks. Proponents of earning passive income tend to be boosters of a work-from-home and be-your-own-boss professional lifestyle. The type of earnings people usually associate with this are gains on stocks, interest, retirement pay, lottery winnings, online work and capital gains. 
There is also an idea that we should work to build a passive income asset and then sit on the beach relaxing for the rest of our lives. The truth is that most people would get extremely bored with this scenario and will be eager to find something to do. That’s why the world’s billionaires continue to work… they love what they do and it stopped being about the money a long time ago.
Another benefit of residual income is that, if the income stream is large enough, one does not need the main focus of his life to be on making enough money to survive. Having a comfortable and continuous level of residual income opens up more opportunities to travel, look into other business opportunities, and even take the time to indulge in his hobbies.
Whether you know how to flawlessly apply eye makeup or build a wooden shelving unit, you can create an online course or video for others to follow. Websites like Udemy and Teachable allow you to build a course, such as how to learn a new language or write a cover letter. Once you build your course and set the price, there’s little work to be done. You’ll receive residual income from each person who signs up to take your course.

This is an ideal strategy if you live in an area where real estate prices are too high to realistically invest in, or you don’t want the hassle and expense of traveling all over the country visiting potential properties. Plus, if you are new to single-family real estate investing, letting a place like Roofstock guide you through the process is a great way to get your feet wet.


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.

Residual income is different from a salary, or linear income, which is paid out strictly based on the number of hours a person works. Someone who works on a salary is often said to work “paycheck to paycheck.” This is because he pays all of his bills with his first paycheck and then must wait until he gets paid again to have more money. Ideally, someone will work hard building up a business so that he can enjoy the residual income once his goals have been met. Then he can work on additional projects while still earning money from his business.

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).


When looking at income in the future, shouldn’t we be looking at what is going to happen and determine if that is what we want life to look like? We need to work backward from that point until we reach today, viewing our decisions with money as the pre-cursor of tomorrow? The reason we even talk about residual income is that’s the goal of retirement or what we like to call time freedom.

Well written piece, but I question the core premise. Why the fascination with maximizing “income” (passive or otherwise). Shouldn’t the goal simply be to maximize long-term after tax growth of your entire portfolio? If this takes the form of dividend paying stocks, so be it. But what if small caps are poised to outperform? What if you want to take Buffet’s or Bogle’s advice and just buy a broad market index like the S&P 500, (no matter what the dividend because you’ll just have it automatically reinvested to avoid the transaction fees).
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Risk: The tricky part is choosing the right stocks. Graves warns that too many novices jump into the market without thoroughly investigating the company issuing the stock. “You’ve got to investigate each company’s website and be comfortable with their financial statements,” Graves says. “You should spend two to three weeks investigating each company.”
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Passive income is earnings derived from a rental property, limited partnership or other enterprise in which a person is not actively involved. As with active income, passive income is usually taxable. However, it is often treated differently by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Portfolio income is considered passive income by some analysts, so dividends and interest would therefore be considered passive.
Generating passive income does NOT happen overnight. I don’t live, teach, or believe in get-rich-quick schemes. My first online business took about a year of hard work before it was generating enough income to support my family. There was nothing easy about what I had to do to get that business going. But in relative terms, it was “quick” because I decided to opt-out of the work-till-sixty-five-deferred-life plan and make my own luck happen. You can do it too.
BankRate.com suggests that individuals need at least $250,000 in retirement savings in order to receive just $1,000 a month in passive income. Clearly, some will struggle to save that much, and few will be able to live on such little income – especially when you take inflation and currency devaluation into consideration. This calculation is based on a 5% withdrawal rate, which is also a similar rate of return mortgage lenders will use in crediting investment income when applying for a loan. While this might sound low to some, it may be incredibly generous given how much many have actually lost on other investments. The fact remains, passive income investments don’t require as much money as many think.
When most people think of investing opportunities, they think of stocks, bonds, and precious metals. While these are still some of the most common ways to invest, the platforms have evolved, and there are more options than ever. Gone are the days of mountains of paperwork, high brokerage fees and unattainable account minimums. Now you can invest on your own terms.
“The biggest surprise is real estate being second to last on my Passive Income Ranking List because I’ve written that real estate is my favorite investment class to build wealth. Real estate doesn’t stack up well against the other passive income sources due to the lack of liquidity and constant maintenance of tenants and property. The returns can be huge due to rising rental income AND principal over time, much like dividend investing. If you are a “proactive passive income earner” like myself, then real estate is great.”

Working as a nurse or a computer engineer for a salary are two examples of active income. In contrast, residual income is income from an investment that earns over the minimum rate of return. You get paid for work you completed once or are periodically overseeing. With residual income, you don’t have to be present or intricately involved to get paid.
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.
No one should turn down wind farming’s ultimate passive income for the next 30 or more years … even 60 years when there is a positive cash flow on the sum total of all base payments when computing inflation for the next 60 years based on the previous 60 years, as long as the next era’s energy resource is not perfected (at which time they would not renew the option for the second 30 years).

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.
P.S. I also fail to understand your fascination with real estate. Granted we’ve had some impressive spikes along the way, especially with once in a life time bubble we just went through. But over the long term (see Case Shiller real estate chart for last 100 years ) real estate tends to just track inflation. Why would you sacrifice stock market returns for a vehicle that historically hasn’t shown a real return?

7. Royalties: the creation of music, books, inventions, machines, patents. A royalty is something you have sold or created and put it on a platform that you do not run and then receive compensation based on when the item is purchased or used. Most of us do not have the potential to quickly create royalty streams. Not to say you couldn’t specialize in something and write an ebook or if you are musically inclined you couldn’t write a song, but to create true residual income, that is going to take a lot of effort and skill. This is the purest form of passive residual income, if you can achieve it.
Risk: The tricky part is choosing the right stocks. Graves warns that too many novices jump into the market without thoroughly investigating the company issuing the stock. “You’ve got to investigate each company’s website and be comfortable with their financial statements,” Graves says. “You should spend two to three weeks investigating each company.”
A different definition of residual income is that this is income derived from passive investments, rather than from a person's active income-generating activities. Examples are interest income, royalty income, rent, and increases in the value of investments held. Individuals typically work throughout their careers in order to build up a sufficient amount of this income to support them during their retirement.
At some point in life, passive income becomes the ‘Holy Grail’ for every investor. For some, passive income strategies have an impact early on. For others, it comes mid-life – in an effort to prepare for the unexpected. Then there are those that don’t start pursuing it until retirement is in sight, and panic sets in. Unfortunately, there are so many myths surrounding passive income that individuals can take detours down the wrong rabbit holes for years. So what are some of the misconceptions about passive income that need to be busted?
If you’re familiar with the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” you know that it applies to just about any area of your life including—and especially—your finances. In addition to retirement becoming an ever-elusive goal, no one has guaranteed job security so by diversifying your income you can feel more secure about saving for your future. You’ll be less likely to find yourself in credit card debt and happier as a result of being financially secure.
Ebooks, which can be published through sites like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, are an increasingly popular option. Because these books are self-published, the process is quicker, allowing you to build residual income faster than the traditional publishing route. Whether it’s a romance novel or a how-to book on fly fishing, you can create a book and have it available for purchase in a matter of weeks.

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We are going to start with 1.5 years of all spending needs in cash. We will draw 1800 to 1900 per month. We will add to this from the index funds by taking a portion of the gains in good years to supplement. This is the total return portion of the equation. Obviously, if stocks decrease drastically over a 5 year period, then I would have to reload by selling some of the ETF holdings.

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.


Good ranking FS, I’d have to agree with the rankings. And it looks like your portfolio covers five of the six! Some people consider real estate passive will others classify it as active. But every scenario is different, whether you are doing all the maintenance and managing yourself, or you are contracting out a lot of the work. Obviously it takes a lot more time and effort than purchasing a 36 month CD and “setting it and forgetting it.”
Unfortunately, I can’t answer that conclusively one way or the other. It all depends on you, what you like to do, your work ethic, personality, etc. If you are a good writer perhaps you could write a book and make money that way. Or, you could start your own website and do affiliate marketing. Just because you are young it doesn’t mean you can’t make money doing at least a few of these ideas. I wish you luck in your money making efforts!

Residual income is calculated as net income less a charge for the cost of capital. The charge is known as the equity charge and is calculated as the value of equity capital multiplied by the cost of equity or the required rate of return on equity. Given the opportunity cost of equity, a company can have positive net income but negative residual income.
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