The ideas that follow are not truly “passive income,” in that they require a significant amount of effort. However, I’m defining the term loosely and considering anything where one hour of work does not equal one hour of pay as passive income. The idea is that you put the work in up-front and then reap the benefits down the road. Read on for my top 10 passive income ideas!
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5. Depreciation: Otherwise known as depreciation losses, depreciation tax write-offs are essentially the most important tax deduction in a passive income investor’s arsenal. As their name suggests, depreciation losses permit the owners of rental properties to write off the cost of the home over a predetermined period of time. The subject property is essentially a business expense, and therefore can be written off.

The activity is a personal service activity in which you materially participated for any 3 (whether or not consecutive) preceding tax years. An activity is a personal service activity if it involves the performance of personal services in the fields of health (including veterinary services), law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, or any other trade or business in which capital isn’t a material income-producing factor.


The SBD provides a low rate of corporate tax on the first $500,000 (known as the “SDB limit”) of active business income annually. Business owners and incorporated professionals who don’t need to pay out corporate earnings to fund their personal lifestyles are able to enjoy a significant tax deferral of up to 41 per cent by simply leaving funds in their CCPC and investing them.
In this economy, it seems like more and more of us are looking for a way to earn passive income. Whether we need to pay off credit card debt or just need some extra cash, passive income could come in handy. But what is passive income exactly? Depending on who you ask, it may not be as “passive” as you think. Let’s take a look at what it is and the top ways to make it.
Portfolio income is derived from investments and includes capital gains, interest, dividends, and royalties. Various types of portfolio income are taxed differently. For example, capital gains on investments held for longer than 12 months are taxed at a rate of 10% to 20%, and those held for less than 12 months are taxed as regular income. However, portfolio income is not subject to social security and Medicare taxes.
Depending on the level of AAII otherwise earned in a particular year, you may wish to consider investments that lean towards growth rather than annual interest or dividend income, as you may better be able to time the recognition of a capital gain. In addition, since capital gains are only 50 per cent taxable, it would take $100,000 of realized capital gains to generate $50,000 of passive income that is counted towards the AAII test.
You don’t have to be a big corporate executive to need an assistant. Filing, emailing, scheduling and organizing the results of your moneymaking ventures takes time. And that's time you don’t want to waste while building your passive income empire. Nor do you want to expend any more time and money training and paying a new employee than you need to. Instead, consider hiring a virtual assistant.
The maximum special allowance of $25,000 ($12,500 for married individuals filing separate returns and living apart at all times during the year) is reduced by 50% of the amount of your modified adjusted gross income that’s more than $100,000 ($50,000 if you’re married filing separately). If your modified adjusted gross income is $150,000 or more ($75,000 or more if you’re married filing separately), you generally can’t use the special allowance. This is because the special allowance is reduced to $0 since the modified adjusted gross income is over the $100,000 amount.
3. Start as soon as possible. Building a livable passive-income stream takes a tremendously long time, largely because of declining interest rates since the late 1980s. Gone are the days of making a 5%-plus return on a short-term CD or savings account. Today, the best 12-month CD is at 2.5%, and the best money-market rate is about 1.85%, which is not bad, considering such rates were below 0.5% just a couple of years ago. Know that every $100 you save can generate at least $2.5 in passive income.
The E-Commerce model is an interesting one. The idea is that you get products made cheaply (usually China) through a site like Alibaba, ship them to a warehouse (or your own house!), put the product description up on Amazon (or your own website), get some sales and then send out the product. There is a big learning curve with this one and you need some money up-front to get the products.
3. Start as soon as possible. Building a livable passive-income stream takes a tremendously long time, largely because of declining interest rates since the late 1980s. Gone are the days of making a 5%-plus return on a short-term CD or savings account. Today, the best 12-month CD is at 2.5%, and the best money-market rate is about 1.85%, which is not bad, considering such rates were below 0.5% just a couple of years ago. Know that every $100 you save can generate at least $2.5 in passive income.
Portfolio income is income generated from selling an asset, and if you sell that asset for a higher price than what you paid for it originally, you will have a gain. Depending on the holding period of the asset, and other factors, that gain might be taxed at ordinary income tax rates or capital gains tax rates. Interest and dividends are other examples of portfolio income.

Generally, any gain or loss on the disposition of a partnership interest must be allocated to each trade or business, rental, or investment activity in which the partnership owns an interest. If you dispose of your entire interest in a partnership, the passive activity losses from the partnership that haven’t been allowed generally are allowed in full. They also will be allowed if the partnership (other than a PTP) disposes of all the property used in that passive activity.
Once you start to see some success, don’t be led astray by the money. While Flynn does use affiliate marketing to make money, he only ever recommends products that he has personally used and likes. He is inundated by offers to earn $50 per sale through commission on products he has never even tried. “I’m like, ‘I don’t even know you, I don’t know what this product can do, and I don’t know if this product will help my audience.’ I only use products I’ve used before, because that trust you have with your audience is the most important thing in the world.” He says if you do recommend a product for the incredible commission but your audience has a bad experience with it, your credibility will be shot.

Acorns: Acorns is a great way to start investing and building wealth. As it turns out, Acorns will pay you $5 to start investing with them for as little as $1. That’s a 500% return, plus it’s probably time you started investing for your future. They even have features like round-up and found money that allows you to get free money from places you already shop at.
This one is for people who want to work hard but make significant money online. Online learning courses have become very popular on the web, and you can find a lot of Youtube who starts selling courses in their field. It depends on the knowledge you have. If you have an extensive knowledge in Financial Education, then go and open a course. If you are a book bike rider, you can make a course about riding a bike and earn a significant passive income from that.
Real estate investors don’t get to enjoy that lower qualified dividends rate on their passive income, but they get something almost as good- depreciation. Now I’m of the school of thought that you get to take depreciation mostly because buildings and appliances really do depreciate, but even so, it gets pretty favorable tax treatment, particularly for a high earner. Depreciating your property allows you to defer taxes on them until you sell the property and the depreciation is recaptured. That deferral by itself is very useful, particularly if it allows you to defer it until such a time as you are in a lower bracket. You can also avoid that recapture completely by doing 1031 exchanges from one property to another until the owner dies and gets that step-up in basis at death. But wait, there’s more. That recapture tax rate maxes out at 25%, even if you’re in the 39.6% tax bracket.
In order for you to make the kind of passive income you would like you need to make sure the market segment you want to help has critical mass.  If you have the best widget in the world, but only 14 people need or want it, then you don’t have a viable business.  The great article 1,000 True Fans, by Kevin Kelly, cofounder of Wired Research, talks about if you have 1,000 people who are your customer, each paying you $100 a year, you now have $100,000 a year of passive income.  The point is that you don’t need to serve the entire human population, just enough to have critical mass. 
The E-Commerce model is an interesting one. The idea is that you get products made cheaply (usually China) through a site like Alibaba, ship them to a warehouse (or your own house!), put the product description up on Amazon (or your own website), get some sales and then send out the product. There is a big learning curve with this one and you need some money up-front to get the products.
Here are our top 5 passive income ideas for 2018. These passive income streams will help you get started securing your financial future. These income streams will allow you to do what you want, when you want it. Please note our passive income ideas are not necessarily new to 2018, but these are key areas that every person researching passive income should participate in.
The real value of a building lies in the tenant. If you’re the tenant and you’re a good tenant, you might as well be the owner, otherwise, you’re giving that benefit away to someone else. A few years back we bought most of our buildings from other owners after renting from them for many years. Our approach to the building owners was, “We want to own our own offices, we are willing to pay you a fair price for the building, but if you won’t sell, we’ll buy somewhere else and move. 4/5 sold to us, the one that wouldn’t sell, we decided to buy a new office building and moved. Owning your own office is typically a very safe and very good investment if bought at a fair market value and assuming you are planning on staying put at least 5+ years. If you are trying to buy the office from your current landlord, I think a fair price is somewhere between the value of a vacant office building and the value of a stable physician occupied office with a long-term lease.
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.

Mike, I don’t consider the income from FS to be passive, as I’m spending time commenting to you right now. But since 75% of my traffic comes from search, the most traffic I would probably lose is 25% for probably a year. And then my search word rankings would probably slowly fade given frequency of posting new content is one of the search algo variables.
Investing in a business: Another good way to generate passive income is to invest in a business --even a small one -- in return for a percentage of the profits - just like Shark Tank, only smaller. Lending $10,000 to a local business that, for example, is working on a mobile app for Apple phones could lead to a passive income-generated share of the profits when that mobile app starts selling like hot cakes.
There’s stock and then there’s blue-chip stock. In poker, the blue chips are the most expensive. In the stock market, blue-chip stocks are considered more valuable and less risky than lower-priced stocks. These stocks belong to well-known companies like Facebook, Google, Johnson & Johnson, and so on. Due to the massive success of these corporations, they pay shareholders lucrative dividends. A single blue-chip stock can cost well over $500. If you can find the money, the quarterly or annual dividend payments would amount to generous passive income you can rely on. Though these stocks are considered more lucrative, all investments involve risk. Lehman Brothers’ stock was solidly blue- chip until the financial crises tanked the company. Keep that in mind when investing in this type of stock.  There are no guarantees in the stock market – only educated guesses.
Passive income differs from active income which is defined as any earned income including all the taxable income and wages the earner get from working. Linear active income refers to one constantly needed to stay active to maintain the stream of income, and once an individual chooses to stop working the income will also stop, examples of active income include wages, self-employment income, martial participation in s corp, partnership.[4] portfolio income is derived from investments and includes capital gains, interest, dividends, and royalties.[5]
Since David may never be coming back to this site, If anyone other than David can point me in the right direction, Id greatly appreciate it. I live in Chicago, and I need to buy a quality rental to hold long term somewhere but I have no idea where, and I really don’t want to buy in Chicago. Chicago is insanely corrupt and in HUGE debt. I cant leave Chicago in the near term, I take care of an aging parent, and if I left, my salary would drop by 50%. Id still like to diversify into a rental property.. but I feel that if I just call up a stranger, they’d attempt to sell me their best pig with lipstick, and pressure me to jump on the deal before someone else ‘stole’ it. I have no problem hiring a property inspector from a different city, but don’t want to waste hundreds of dollars if the agent is steering us towards crap property after crap property. I’m looking for broad advice. Any constructive reply appreciated. Thanks guys.

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If you or your spouse actively participated in a passive rental real estate activity, the amount of the passive activity loss that’s disallowed is decreased and you therefore can deduct up to $25,000 of loss from the activity from your nonpassive income. This special allowance is an exception to the general rule disallowing the passive activity loss. Similarly, you can offset credits from the activity against the tax on up to $25,000 of nonpassive income after taking into account any losses allowed under this exception.
According to Congressional Budget Office figures from 2011, the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay an average of 29.5 percent, those in the percentiles from 81 percent to 99 percent pay 22.8 percent, those from 21 percent through 80 percent pay 15.1 percent, and the bottom 20 percent pay 4.7 percent. Those numbers, of course, don’t include the 49.5 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax at all.
Why did P2P lending get a liquidity ranking of 6? It is quite possibly the most illiquid investment option you listed. You said you rank liquidity by “difficulty level of withdrawing your money without a massive penalty”, and for Lending Club notes, it’s not only difficult and extremely time consuming to sell all of your notes in their super illiquid market, but you would have to sell your notes at large losses to hope to get others interested in buying your notes. On top of that, it is impossible to withdraw your money any other way other than just waiting for interest/principal to pay off every month until maturity in 3 to 5 years. You can’t just one day tell Lending Club “I want to quit, please give me my money back.” One can even argue that it is less difficult to sell a home (in order to “withdraw” the money invested) than to withdraw all of their money from a P2P loan portfolio because it is very possible to sell a home before 3 to 5 years.

You actively participated in a rental real estate activity if you (and your spouse) owned at least 10% of the rental property and you made management decisions or arranged for others to provide services (such as repairs) in a significant and bona fide sense. Management decisions that may count as active participation include approving new tenants, deciding on rental terms, approving expenditures, and other similar decisions.


Portfolio income. This includes interest, dividends, annuities, and royalties not derived in the ordinary course of a trade or business. It includes gain or loss from the disposition of property that produces these types of income or that’s held for investment. The exclusion for portfolio income doesn’t apply to self-charged interest treated as passive activity income. For more information on self-charged interest, see Self-charged interest , earlier.
Squidoo (which later became HubPages) is how I got my start with making money online and over the years, I’ve probably earned $5000+. It’s great for those who don’t want to bother figuring out the self-hosted website thing. HubPages’ drag and drop platform is ridiculously easy to use. What isn’t easy, however, is getting past their spam filters. My most certainly not-spammy Hubs have gotten un-featured and it seems that there’s nothing I can really do about it. I’ve given up on HubPages, but perhaps you’ll figure out the secret recipe and have more success than I?
I am 30 years old and am retired. Previously, I made a modest salary as an Army officer. I own three duplexes and a quadplex in central Texas (10 rental units in all), and each of the properties provide me with net rental yields in excess of 15%. The last deal is actually an infinite return as my partner paid the down payment in return for a 50/50 split on a property that would otherwise provide a net rental yield of 18%. The above net rental yields also factor in an excellent property management team who manages my properties while I pursue other investment opportunities. To date, I have never interacted with any of my tenants nor have I ever had to personally deal with any maintenance issues.

You are also free to choose a fund that is based on any index that you want. For example, there are index funds set up for just about every market sector there is — energy, precious metals, banking, emerging markets — you name it. All you have to do is decide that you want to participate, then contribute money and sit back and relax. Your stock portfolio will then be on automatic pilot.


This world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the good people that often act in irrational and/or criminally wrongdoing ways within the confines of their individual minds, core or enterprise groups, but because of the good people that don’t do anything about it (like reveal the truth through education like Financial Samauri is doing!). Albert Einstein and Art Kleiner’s “Who Really Matters.”
Employees and self-employed people have to pay federal income tax on earnings related to work, but the government also imposes income tax on various sources of passive income. Passive income or unearned income describes income that does not require active work, such as interest credited to savings accounts and investment income. The federal income tax rate on unearned income varies from one type of passive income to another. Note that the tax rate for passive income will differ for the 2018 tax year, as the new tax bill signed in December, 2017 changes some of these provisions.
We pitched to an angel investor group. They were very excited about the idea but wanted to know who amongst us (doctor, accountant, salesman) was doing the coding. When they heard we were outsourcing it, the wind went out of their sails immediately. They did want to meet with us again once we brought a coder on board but that person proved elusive to find. Coders in our area are looking for the steady paycheck, not willing to gamble on a startup.

This article dovetails nicely with your recent podcast “How to Get Rich Quick.” I would argue that you are not “inherently lazy.” My reasoning is that you are working at 1.5 FTE when you are F.I. I would confirm that once you have the real estate team in place, it is passive as you have suggested. The “work” with passive income comes at the beginning. Whether that be your book, website development, studying the real estate team, or learning finance. Lastly, I like Rockefeller’s quote on passive income. Perhaps you could add it to your quote bank. Here it is: “Do you know the only thing that gives me pleasure? It’s to see my dividends coming in.” There is no doubt, it is much easier to earn money on your money than work a job and earn money.

A loss is the excess of allowable deductions from the activity for the year (including depreciation or amortization allowed or allowable and disregarding the at-risk limits) over income received or accrued from the activity during the year. Income doesn’t include income from the recapture of previous losses (discussed later, under Recapture Rule ).


According to NOLO, “the home office deduction is available only if you are running a bona fide business.” That means any work dedicated to your passive income property from the confines of your own home can’t be a hobby. “If the IRS decides that you are indulging a hobby rather than trying to earn a profit, it won’t let you take the home office deduction.”

If you have any questions or you can’t decide how best to invest your assets, consider talking to a financial advisor. A matching tool like SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor can help you find a person to work with to meet your needs. First you’ll answer a series of questions about your situation and goals. Then the program will narrow down your options from thousands of advisors to up to three registered investment advisors who suit your needs. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while the program does much of the hard work for you.

It is very important to understand that contacting a “professional” to learn how to do this only results in them trying to sell me crap properties (whether high end or low end). I’ve tried contacting realtors out of state, and they attempt to sell me crap or someone else’s problem. No one has a vested interest in actually helping someone or teaching them about how to get an out of state rental. very frustrating. I could go out tomorrow and buy a rental in my city, but that is the last place I want to own one. Anyone? Are there an real people on here?
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.
A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) provides individuals with the opportunity to invest relatively small amounts of money alongside other investors. By pooling resources, a group can take on bigger projects with bigger returns. And the risk of loss is spread across multiple investors, and depending on the size of the REIT, multiple investment properties.
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.
What are your thoughts on an Immediate Annuity as a passive income vehicle? I suppose it’s not a great investment since you never get your principal back, but the risk is zero and the cash flow is fairly good, approaching 6% currently. And, since you are guaranteed payments for life, you may not care that you never see your principal again anyway since you’ll be dead!
But then figure out your unique selling proposition, what advantage you can offer that the market currently lacks. “My advantage in the passive income marketing space is that I’m not afraid to share my failures or where my income comes from,” says Flynn, who details his impressive income every month. “Transparency is huge,” he says. Referring to the personal bio on his LEED exam site, he says, “You might think I’m not benefitting from putting my story on there, but it helps me establish a relationship with people there. I’m someone who went through the same experience people went through on the site.”
Squidoo (which later became HubPages) is how I got my start with making money online and over the years, I’ve probably earned $5000+. It’s great for those who don’t want to bother figuring out the self-hosted website thing. HubPages’ drag and drop platform is ridiculously easy to use. What isn’t easy, however, is getting past their spam filters. My most certainly not-spammy Hubs have gotten un-featured and it seems that there’s nothing I can really do about it. I’ve given up on HubPages, but perhaps you’ll figure out the secret recipe and have more success than I?
Depending on the level of AAII otherwise earned in a particular year, you may wish to consider investments that lean towards growth rather than annual interest or dividend income, as you may better be able to time the recognition of a capital gain. In addition, since capital gains are only 50 per cent taxable, it would take $100,000 of realized capital gains to generate $50,000 of passive income that is counted towards the AAII test.
However, while most are familiar with the concept of a passive income rental property, few are actually aware of just how good of an investment they can be. Of course the right property will attract tenants with monthly cash flow, but it is important to note that the benefits of a rental property extend far beyond that of the capital they bring in. In fact, you could argue that the cash flow is an added bonus, coming in a close second to tax benefits. For what it’s worth, the tax benefits associated with a passive income property can very well be the most attractive asset sought out by landlords.
The PPACA Medicare tax is a dangerous tax IMHO. It is an entirely new kind of tax. It is small and in jeopardy of going away but I predict it won’t. If it goes away it won’t be for long and it will grow over time – like most taxes. 3.8% is a starting point. This one has the added political appeal of “taxing the rich” and “unearned income” that makes it more palatable to the electorate.
My returns are based on full cash purchase of the properties, as it is hard to compare the attractiveness of properties at different price ranges when only calculating down payment or properties that need very little rehab/updates. I did think about the scores assigned to each factor, but I believe tax deductions are a SIGNIFICANT factor when comparing passive income steams.
Flynn, who blogs at Smart Passive Income and discusses his secrets at the Smart Passive Income podcast, defines passive income as “building online businesses that take advantage of systems of automations that allow transactions, cash flow and growth without requiring a real-time presence. We don’t have to trade our time for money one to one. Instead, we invest our time upfront, creating valuable products and experiences for people, and we reap the benefits of that time invested later,” he says, adding, “It’s not easy. I just want to make sure that’s clear.”
The business isn’t an excluded business. Generally, an excluded business means equipment leasing as defined, earlier, under Exception for equipment leasing by a closely held corporation , and any business involving the use, exploitation, sale, lease, or other disposition of master sound recordings, motion picture films, video tapes, or tangible or intangible assets associated with literary, artistic, musical, or similar properties.
I am an English major and a herbalist with so many ideas and no extra income to fulfill them. I recently started renting my extra apartment in the attic with Airbnb. It’s amazing how fast I accumulated some money for few hours of work between guests. Now I want to persue all my dreams of opening an online herbal store, publishing my ebook of treating Ulcerative Colitis with herbs, blogs, and videos, and pretty much all of the ideas mentioned here. I will save this article as its really helpful for whomever needs some ideas…
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