In February 2007, Pat Flynn was working at an architecture firm making $38,000 a year. He mulled boosting his earning power by getting an architecture license, but the process would likely take six to eight years. When he heard about getting a credential in sustainable design and environmentally friendly building called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), he decided to go for that, as no one in his department had it. The one problem? The exam was so challenging, just one-third of test-takers passed.
Build an investment portfolio that pays out dividends (Stocks / Bonds / Mutual Funds). Dividends are payouts that companies give to their investors as a portion of their earnings. They’re often paid out quarterly. If you’ve already got an investment portfolio, it’s time to take a good look at which stocks, bonds, or mutual funds you own. You’ll see consistent returns from the ones that pay dividends. This is a fantastic way to earn passive income. Invest once and watch the returns pile up.
The practice of day trading refers to buying and selling mostly cheaper varieties of stock. These traders don’t hold onto stock like traditional investors do. Instead, they earn profits by day trading. Now, this type of trading can be very risky because the market is volatile. Also, the cheapest types of stocks are highly likely to be negatively impacted by scams and fraud. Regardless, some traders do manage to master the art of day trading by researching the companies from which the stocks originate. Studying price history charts and understanding trends in a particular sector can help traders become proficient in their craft. Thanks to new tech, anyone can become a trader from the comfort of their personal computer or smartphone.

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Rentals, just like stocks, throw off cash. With rentals we call that cash “rent”, and with stocks we call it dividends. A significant difference however is that the S&P 500 has appreciated at ~6% per year (above inflation) for the last 100 years…..Real Estate has had almost 0 growth above inflation. So are rents higher than dividends? Maybe, maybe not. But unless you got one heck of a deal, the delta in rent over dividends will have a very tough time making up for the 6% per year difference in appreciation.
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.
Crowdfunding is a newer way to invest, having emerged onto the scene just within the last few years. Most people have heard of sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, and a very similar concept exists for real estate. Developers are always looking to raise capital to fund their projects. Through the various online platforms, investors have access to these projects and can choose to invest in both residential and commercial properties. See the List of My Favorite Crowdfunding Sites.
It’s a (mostly) short term, higher risk, higher reward place to invest cash that has a low correlation with the stock market, but is far more passive than buying and managing properties, has more opportunity for diversification than private placements (minimums of 5-10K, rather than 100K), and most of the equity offerings (and all of the debt offerings) provide monthly or quarterly incomes. Unlike a REIT, you can choose exactly which projects you wish to invest in.
2. Repairs: Slightly more ambiguous than their interest deduction counterpart, repairs can only be deducted in the event that they are ordinary, necessary, and reasonable in amount. That said, repairs can only be deducted in the year in which they are made. Common repairs that can be deducted from your taxes come April are fixing leaks, repainting, plastering, replacing broken windows and fixing floors.
But nowadays, there is so much opportunity if you search for brand-suitable domains and also keyword-rich or otherwise popular names on the myriad of new domain name extensions like .io, .at etc.  And I should know, because I’ve paid several domain squatters a king’s ransom to purchase these sorts of domain names in the last few years!  Continue reading >
This is important to understand this because it is a difference of how you spend your time. No-joke big-time investors make money in their sleep without putting in any effort because they invest in passive income investments. If you are putting in effort, while you might be making bank and doing great at it, you are working. You are making a lot of income because you are rocking out a J-O-B. The no-joke big-time investors, if you’ll notice, also put in a lot of effort but their effort is not on what is currently making them income, it is on finding the next thing that will provide them more income!

Investing in rental properties: Another form of real estate investment, rental investments (i.e. becoming a landlord) could steer you down the passive income path of steady monthly rent checks that you can use to pay off a mortgage loan on the rental property. After the mortgage is paid off, those monthly checks go right into your bank account -- potentially for years to come. 

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.
Income from an oil or gas property if you treated any loss from a working interest in the property for any tax year beginning after 1986 as a nonpassive loss, as discussed in item (2) under Activities That Aren’t Passive Activities , earlier. This also applies to income from other oil and gas property the basis of which is determined wholly or partly by the basis of the property in the preceding sentence.
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.
It’s obvious that stocks outperform real estate in terms of capital gains, but I would like to see S&P compare to Real Estate in SF, Manhattan, LA. Our house in NC was $80,000 20 years ago. It’s only $150,000 now. Same house in Santa Monica went from $200,000 to $1.8 million. People who happen to bought real estate in major metropolitan would have a natural positive association with real estate investment.
Say you’re always super busy, but you still need some ways to make passive income. You’re in luck! Starting with a fun option, you can buy a gumball machine! Once you buy one, set it up somewhere and wait for the coins to roll in. The same goes for a vending machine. You can up your earnings with a vending machine, too, by simply stocking whatever’s in high demand at its location. The key to earning a solid amount of passive income here is to choose the right location.

The practice of day trading refers to buying and selling mostly cheaper varieties of stock. These traders don’t hold onto stock like traditional investors do. Instead, they earn profits by day trading. Now, this type of trading can be very risky because the market is volatile. Also, the cheapest types of stocks are highly likely to be negatively impacted by scams and fraud. Regardless, some traders do manage to master the art of day trading by researching the companies from which the stocks originate. Studying price history charts and understanding trends in a particular sector can help traders become proficient in their craft. Thanks to new tech, anyone can become a trader from the comfort of their personal computer or smartphone.
Passive activity loss is defined as “the excess of the aggregate losses from all passive activities for the taxable year over the aggregate income from all passive activities for that year.” A passive activity is any trade or business where the taxpayer does not materially participate. The taxpayer would materially participate in an activity if “they are involved in the operations of the activity on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis “Dr. Hardy's activity does not meet the material participation 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.
You pay two main types of taxes on earned income, Social Security/Medicare taxes (called FICA, OASDI, or payroll taxes), and federal and state income taxes. The payroll taxes that are automatically taken out of your paycheck have two components. First, 12.4 percent of earned income is paid to Social Security. Your employer pays half of this tax, and you pay half. If you are self-employed you'll pay the full 12.4 percent, however, the "employer" portion of 6.2 percent is generally tax deductible.
One aspect you might want to add to your scoring is “inflation protection”. At one end, bonds and CDs generally pay a fixed nominal coupon that doesn’t rise with inflation. Stock dividends and Real estate rents (and underlying property value) tend to. Not reallly sure how P2P lending ranks- though I suppose the timeframes are fairly short (1 year or less?) and therefore the interest you receive takes into account the current risk free rate + a premium for your risk. Now that I think about it, P2P lending probably deserves a lower score in the activity column than bonds too (since you probably need to make new loans more often).
After these tenants move out, I'm thinking of just keeping the rental empty with furniture. It sounds stupid to give up $4,200 a month, but I really hate dealing with the homeowner association, move-in/move-out rules, and maintenance issues. Given that the condo doesn't have a mortgage and I have to pay taxes on some of the rental income, I'm not giving up that much. The condo can be a place for my sister, parents, or in-laws to crash when they want to stay in SF for longer than a week or two.
There is a specific tax definition of passive income, known as “passive activity” to the Internal Revenue Service. Passive income is any income you make without actively working or are materially involved. The IRS defines it as any rental activity or any business in which the taxpayer does not “materially participate.” Nonpassive activities, or active activities, are businesses in which the taxpayer works on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis.
You could also do this by charging for financial plans and managing people’s investments.  The fee’s you charged would be recurring as long as you managed the relationship to keep them happy.  This approach to passive income has a much higher barrier to entry due to needing qualifications, licenses, and building relationships over time.  If done correctly, it can be a very lucrative source of passive income.
I use a property manager to handle my rental properties. Most months, my only involvement is checking my bank account to verify I received my checks, then making a payment to the mortgage company. If you don’t have enough money to buy a rental property, you can get started investing in real estate by buying a REIT stock or investing through platforms that let you buy a partial interest in a building.
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. 
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. Physical 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.
Secondly – and this is just quibbling – I’d change that risk score. The risk of private equity is incredibly high and should be considerably riskier than bonds! You are providing a typically very large amount of capital to one business that you agree to have no control over, and the success or failure of that business over a locked, predefined term determines your return. And in the few deals I’ve negotiated for clients, my experience has been that there are often management fees, performance fees, etc. that may cut into your potential gains, anyway. You’re putting a lot of eggs in one basket, and promising an omelet or two to the management no matter what. You really need to be confident that you found the next Uber before you take this giant risk!
Any passive activity losses (but not credits) that haven’t been allowed (including current year losses) generally are allowed in full in the tax year you dispose of your entire interest in the passive (or former passive) activity. However, for the losses to be allowed, you must dispose of your entire interest in the activity in a transaction in which all realized gain or loss is recognized. Also, the person acquiring the interest from you must not be related to you.
And real estate does more than just track inflation – it throws off income (which is important to some people and useful to most). And while your underlying asset is appreciating, the income also grows as rents increase over time. And if you make smart and well-timed purchases, both rents and asset values can increase at well above the rate of inflation.
Under the new rules, the active income a business is allowed to claim at the small business amount is tied to the business’ passive income. Businesses with less than $50,000 in annual passive income can claim the full $500,000 at the 9% small business rate. The amount eligible for the small business rate shrinks by $5 for every $1 over $50,000 that a business makes in passive income, until it eventually reaches zero.

In February 2018, the government of Canada introduced new rules for passive income that could affect how your small business clients are taxed. The new income rules relate to the amount of business income that can be taxed at the lower small business rate versus the higher corporate rate. If you work with small businesses that have a significant amount of passive income from investments, get to know these new rules so you can be ready to answer all your clients’ questions.

What I find most interesting is the fact that I had never considered options like LendingTree or realityshares for other income sources. Investing in property has been too much of bad luck for people that I know personally, so I am interesting in getting involved in a situation where I would have to be dealing with maintenance issues or tenants. There are services for you to do that, but I had not come across any that didn’t eat most if not all of the earnings. Then again, I live in the NY area. Investing in the midwest would not be reasonably possible for me, directly, but reading about realityshares is something I am going to look into further. That might be a real possibility.
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and need to resolve tax problems with the IRS, such as audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes. In addition, clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. To find a clinic near you, visit or see IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.
Investing in rental properties is an effective way to earn passive income. But it often requires more work than people expect. If you don’t take the time to learn how to make it a profitable venture, you could lose your investment and then some, says John H. Graves, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) in the Los Angeles area and author of “The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement.”
When I did her recent tax return she had $45,000 in passive losses from the rentals and $35,000 in income from her S-Corporation. I called her and found out how many hours she had only worked for three months in her S-Corp, which was less than 500/750 hours per year.  I changed the nature of the income from the S-Corporation to passive, thereby eating up the passive losses from the rental. 

Another way to obtain real estate exposure in your portfolio is through the purchase of Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs.  A REIT is a company that owns or finances income- producing real estate.  REITs are usually structured as a mutual fund so you can purchase REITs on major stock exchanges and offer several benefits such as real estate exposure, diversification, low correlation with financial assets, and potentially higher income than regular equities.

With $200,000 a year in passive income, I would have enough income to provide for a family of up to four in San Francisco, given we bought a modest home in 2014. Now that we have a son, I'm happy to say that $200,000 indeed does seem like enough, especially if we can win the public-school lottery to avoid paying $20,000 to $50,000 a year in private-school tuition.
Investors turn to real estate as a way to build long-term wealth, earn additional income, and generate a tax shelter. Using real estate as a tax shelter that extends to other income can be a complicated process. Knowing how you can use any losses generated by your rental real estate starts with understanding how the IRS defines and treats passive and active income.

The IRS requires REITs to pay out at least 90% of its income to shareholders.  Thus, REITs tend to be higher yield since a large fraction of the earnings come out as dividends, which may be beneficial for certain income oriented investors.  The flipside is the tax cost for investing in REITs since income must be distributed and as a holder the taxes flow through to you.

Everyone knows how profitable the right passive income property in the ideal location can be, but the same properties often coincide with more impressive tax benefits and deductions. However, far too many investors overlook the deductions they can make when it comes time to file their taxes. Having said that, approaching tax season with an acute attention to detail and an understanding of the deductions awarded to passive income investors can mean the difference between a profitable rental property and losing money on your real estate venture.
Solomon Poretsky has been writing since 1996 and has been published in a number of trade publications including the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." He holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Columbia University and has extensive experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology.
4. Home Office: Passive income investors, not unlike most professionals that work from home, are allowed to deduct their home office; provided it meets the minimal criteria. What’s more, this deduction helps both renters and homeowners. You can deduct your home office whether you on the home it is in or are simply renting it. However, like every other deduction on this list, the home office must meet certain requirements to qualify for a deduction.
When you invest in a dividend-paying stock, you are buying a share of the company and you literally become part-owner of that business. As the company grows and generates extra cash that it doesn’t necessarily want to re-invest, it might decide to return some of the extra cash to the shareholders in the form of dividends. And because you own a fraction of the company, you will receive a portion of the cash!

One way to make passive income with more involvement is to write and publish an e-book. Got some knowledge or a great story idea you’ve been itching to share? Put it all in a book and sell it online! If all goes well, you could be raking in the royalties for years to come. Of course, there is some considerable work involved in writing, publishing and selling a book. However the advent of self-publishing e-books makes this a considerably easier option than it used to be.
For tax years beginning after January 24, 2010, the following disclosure requirements for groupings apply. You’re required to report certain changes to your groupings that occur during the tax year to the IRS. If you fail to report these changes, each trade or business activity or rental activity will be treated as a separate activity. You will be considered to have made a timely disclosure if you filed all affected income tax returns consistent with the claimed grouping and make the required disclosure on the income tax return for the year in which you first discovered the failure to disclose. If the IRS discovered the failure to disclose, you must have reasonable cause for not making the required disclosure.

The most liquid of the private investments are investing in equity or credit hedge funds, real estate funds, and private company funds. There will usually be 6 month – 3 year lockup periods. The least liquid of the private investments are when you invest directly into private companies yourself. You might not be able to get your money out for 5-10 years, depending on the success of the company and upcoming liquidity events.

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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.”
One great way to generate a passive income is through affiliate marketing. Now, this does depend on the size of your list. Yes, size matters when it comes to your list. Especially if you're looking to make some serious money and do it on autopilot. But, list-building takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. And you need to add value to your list or you become obsolete.