Opportunity cost is the basic concept at the heart of residual income. Opportunity cost refers to what you are giving up to use an asset for a particular project or investment. Let's say you start with $100,000 cash in your stock portfolio and grew that money to $104,000 by spending only a few hours per month trading stocks. Now $4,000 in profit may look just fine when you consider that you only worked, say, 20 hours for it in total. However, once you consider your opportunity cost, your little hobby will not look nearly as profitable. If banks are paying six percent for risk-free certificates of deposit, your $100,000 would have grown to $106,000 simply by depositing it in a bank. Your opportunity cost is $6,000
However, the RI-based approach is most appropriate when a firm is not paying dividends or exhibits an unpredictable dividend pattern, and / or when it has negative free cash flow many years out, but is expected to generate positive cash flow at some point in the future. Further, value is recognized earlier under the RI approach, since a large part of the stock's intrinsic value is recognized immediately – current book value per share – and residual income valuations are thus less sensitive to terminal value.[5]
Greg Johnson is a personal finance and frugal travel expert who leveraged his online business to quit his 9-5 job, spend more time with his family, and travel the world. With his wife Holly, Greg co-owns two websites – Club Thrifty and Travel Blue Book. The couple has also co-authored a book, Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You'll Love. Find him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @ClubThrifty.
Many people in the investment world also define residual income as revenue stemming from a passive source. This revenue is created without a direct input of effort or time. The investment itself creates addition revenues without having to be managed. Some examples include royalties, dividends, interest, and rent. Take a dividend stock for example. Once the money is invested once, it will keep producing a dividend every year without having to input additional time or resources. This concept is the Holy Grail for most investors.
So how do you get started with the EP Model? First, you need to be an expert in the eyes of those you’re looking to serve. And again, you don’t need all those qualifications and credentials. A lot of people gain expertise and credibility just by sharing their experience learning something, which is something I’ve done on SPI.com. If you think about it, many people in the personal finance or fitness space establish their authority by sharing their journey and their process. They do it by sharing their experiences—and you can do the same thing, too.
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Nobody gets early FI investing in bonds, CD’s, or even stocks unless they make a huge income or are extremely frugal or a combination of both. Paper assets just don’t provide enough returns. Business income can be great but it is typically not as semi-passive as I would like and there is a relatively high failure rate. That is if you can monetize an ideal to begin with. RE investing needs to be higher ranked IMO as a way that the “average guy” can become FI.
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).

Now that you’ve chosen your market, find a way to start sharing your message, whether it’s a blog or podcast or Youtube channel, or whatever platform makes the most sense for your target market. Flynn says this is where you’ll start to build a fan base — and collect subscriber emails. You don’t need to get the whole world to follow you to make this work out financially. Wired cofounder Kevin Kelly wrote an article about 1,000 True Fans, which basically says that if you have 1,000 people paying you $100 a year, that’s a $100,000 a year. “You don’t need to serve everybody,”  says Flynn.
Use your base to build your audience, and when you’re starting out, take advantage of the fact that you don’t have a big following to give more personalized help to your first fans. “The people who are starting out — that’s their advantage,” says Flynn. “They have the opportunity to speak directly with those people few coming their way to find out what their problems are and give them the special treatment that bigger brands might not be able to do.”

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn passive income. You can find products to share via your social media platforms, website, or through an email blast. Once somebody purchases a product, you are given a 20-70% commission. I like to use Clickbank and find affiliates that correspond with my meditation brand. You can also seek affiliates out directly such as Hay House which offers a 50% commission on any courses sold.
I also noticed that in your passive income chart at the bottom that you don’t include your internet income other than sales from your book. Is there a reason for that? Do you not consider is passive because you are actively blogging all the time to create it? Or do you just not want readers to know how much money you generate from blogging activities?
First of all, the difference between 2 and 5 years is gigantic! Second of all, there again is no quantifiable evidence to prove the efficacy of that statement. It completely depends on the person, the desirability of the good or service, the competitiveness of the industry, the marketing and manufacturing, and much more. To simply say that across all industries you should expect to break* even in 2 to 5 years is complete unfounded garbage.
Which all goes back to my point – since companies change in a lot of unpredictable ways, it makes more sense for passive income to just ride the market by investing in a Total Domestic Stock Market, Total Bond Market, and Total International index funds, with allocations that depend on your goals and time horizon. For income, withdraw 4% or less, depending on what research you believe, and you’ve got a pretty low risk strategy.

I wish I had more time to put into real estate. Given the run up since 2012, I may even be interested in selling my condo that I currently rent out. I need to get it appraised to really see what it’s worth, but I think conservatively it’s gone up ~50%, although rent is probably only up ~10% or so. I am bullish on rents going up in the future… mostly in line with inflation, or perhaps even slightly faster due to constricted credit and personal income growth which should provide a solid supply of renters. At this point, I just don’t want to manage the property. I’ll probably look into a property manager as my time is likely worth turning it into a nearly passive investment.
Even if each patron only contributes a very small amount each month, it can still be a huge source of income. Take a look at the Patreon page for Kinda Funny, an internet video company. They have over 6,209 patrons which means an average of just $3 a month would be a monthly income of almost $19,000 – plus they get cheerleaders that are always happy to spread the word on their brand.
The underlying idea is that investors require a rate of return from their resources – i.e. equity – under the control of the firm's management, compensating them for their opportunity cost and accounting for the level of risk resulting. This rate of return is the cost of equity, and a formal equity cost must be subtracted from net income. Consequently, to create shareholder value, management must generate returns at least as great as this cost. Thus, although a company may report a profit on its income statement, it may actually be economically unprofitable; see Economic profit. It is thus possible that a value deemed positive using a traditional discounted cash flow (DCF) approach may be negative here. RI-based valuation is therefore a valuable complement to more traditional techniques.

Greg Johnson is a personal finance and frugal travel expert who leveraged his online business to quit his 9-5 job, spend more time with his family, and travel the world. With his wife Holly, Greg co-owns two websites – Club Thrifty and Travel Blue Book. The couple has also co-authored a book, Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You'll Love. Find him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @ClubThrifty.
The residual income approach offers both positives and negatives when compared to the more often used dividend discount and DCF methods. On the plus side, residual income models make use of data readily available from a firm's financial statements and can be used well with firms who do not pay dividends or do not generate positive free cash flow. Most importantly, as we discussed earlier, residual income models look at the economic profitability of a firm rather than just its accounting profitability. The biggest drawback of the residual income method is the fact that it relies so heavily on forward-looking estimates of a firm's financial statements, leaving forecasts vulnerable to psychological biases or historic misrepresentation of a firms financial statements.
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.
To create residual income, you need to create something that people will continue to buy on a regular basis long after you’ve created it. A house is a prime example of this as people will continue to pay rent for the right to live in the house. A business needs to have products that are sold over and over again rather than trading the business owner’s time for money.
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