Many people talk about passive income and create the impression that you never have to do anything to keep that income going. The truth is that you will normally have to keep your eye on things if you want it to run smoothly. For example Richard Branson doesn’t run any of the 400+ companies he started but he goes over the numbers each day to make sure they’re performing well and calls the CEO if there are any problems.
All that being said, the residual income valuation approach is a viable and increasingly popular method of valuation and can be implemented rather easily by even novice investors. When used alongside the other popular valuation approaches, residual income valuation can give you a clearer estimate of what the true intrinsic value of a firm may be. (Don't be overwhelmed by the many valuation techniques out there - knowing a few characteristics about a company will help you pick the best one. See How To Choose The Best Stock Valuation Method.)
The easiest way to make truly passive income is to invest your money into a stock, ETF, mutual funds, etc. The richest people tend to get even richer because they consistently invest and reinvest their money. Keep it up, and you might even be able to never have to work again. I know one guy whose investments now earn roughly $50,000 a year in dividends, and so he is free to live without working if he so chooses.
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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.
Index funds provide you with a way to invest in the stock market that is completely passive. For example, if you invest money in an index fund that is based on the S&P 500 Index, you will be invested in the general market, without having to concern yourself with choosing investments, rebalancing your portfolio, or knowing when to sell or buy individual companies. All that will be handled by the fund which will base the fund portfolio on the makeup of the underlying index.
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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.