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.

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.
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.
Lastly, you’ll need someone to help you create your product. Unless you decide to do this yourself, you’ll need to choose wisely. There are a lot of different choices for finding a graphic designer. Fiverr.com is a cheap option for having someone create a basic icon or other graphic needs starting at $5. 99designs.com is another great option if you want to have multiple graphic designers compete against one another to pitch you their best versions of your idea. 99designs also offers a 100% money back guarantee (which I’ve used), so you have nothing to lose! Upwork.com is good for finding just about everything. You can find graphic designers, app developers, and even marketers. I would stick to a simple graphic designer and app developer. Some teams do both graphic designs and app development, but I personally like to keep those separate. From experience, I’ve gotten better content when I don’t use one-stop-shops.
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.
That $200,000 a year might sound like a lot to you, but the median home price in San Francisco is roughly $1.6 million or almost eight times our annual passive income. For a family of three in 2018, the Department of Housing and Urban Development declared that income of $105,700 or below was "low income." Therefore, I consider us firmly in the middle class.
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.
MBJ is an LLC formed by a group of practicing physicians in 2004 for the purpose of operating a surgery center. For income tax purposes, it is treated as an LLC, and it hires its own employees. It bills patients directly for facility fees and then distributes each members' share to him or her based on his or her share of the earnings, which is the facility fees less expenses. It uses a third-party accounting firm to prepare the Schedule K-1, Partner's Share of Current Year Income, Deductions, Credits, and Other Items, and all other accounting matters for the members. MBJ does not pay members/managers for the procedures they perform.
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.”
I also disagree that every person will crave more and have to go for more. That may be a true statement for a lot, but it doesn’t have to be true and it isn’t for everyone. The other perspective of that is that most likely the people who get themselves to financially freedom, because it is no small feat, are the type of people who are extremely driven and motivated to further challenge themselves, so it’s doubtfully in their nature to stop once they actually can.
For those of you who don’t want to come up with a $220,000 downpayment and a $900,000 mortgage to buy the median home in SF or NYC, who don’t want to deal with tenants or remodeling, and who wants to not do any work after the investment is made, check out Fundrise. They are my favorite real estate crowdsourcing company founded in 2012 and based in Washington DC. They are pioneers in the eREIT product offering and they’re raising an Opportunity Fund to take advantage of new tax favorable laws.

If you love design and you are an artistic person, selling digital products on Etsy could be a great way to earn passive income. Digital products require little maintenance, your customers will simply receive a link to download them (which means you don’t have to worry about shipping and returns handling). All you need to do is spend time upfront to create beautiful artwork! (Easy right?)


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.
Deductions or losses from passive activities are limited. You generally can’t offset income, other than passive income, with losses from passive activities. Nor can you offset taxes on income, other than passive income, with credits resulting from passive activities. Any excess loss or credit is carried forward to the next tax year. Exceptions to the rules for figuring passive activity limits for personal use of a dwelling unit and for rental real estate with active participation are discussed later.
However, equipment leasing doesn’t include the leasing of master sound recordings and similar contractual arrangements for tangible or intangible assets associated with literary, artistic, or musical properties, such as books, lithographs of artwork, or musical tapes. A closely held corporation can’t exclude these leasing activities from the at-risk rules nor count them as equipment leasing for the gross receipts test.
Now, under the regime proposed by the 2018 federal budget, the same corporation would not be eligible for a refund of its RDTOH upon the payment of the Eligible Dividend. Instead, the corporation will obtain its RDTOH back only if the dividend paid is a dividend other than an Eligible Dividend. This will therefore eliminate the deferral of the additional 4% income tax.
​If you pay your bills with a credit card make sure it offers cash back rewards. You can let your rewards accrue for a while and possibly put the easy money you earned toward another passive income venture! (Be sure that the card you select doesn’t have an annual fee or you might be cancelling out your rewards). Check out this list of the best Cashback Rewards Cards.
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.
If a closely held corporation is actively engaged in equipment leasing, the equipment leasing is treated as a separate activity not covered by the at-risk rules. A closely held corporation is actively engaged in equipment leasing if 50% or more of its gross receipts for the tax year are from equipment leasing. Equipment leasing means the leasing, purchasing, servicing, and selling of equipment that’s section 1245 property.
Three full-time nonowner employees whose services were directly related to the business. A nonowner employee is an employee who doesn’t own more than 5% in value of the outstanding stock of the corporation at any time during the tax year. (The rules for constructive ownership of stock in section 318 of the Internal Revenue Code apply. However, in applying these rules, an owner of 5% or more, rather than 50% or more, of the value of a corporation's stock is considered to own a proportionate share of any stock owned by the corporation.)
YouTube is one of the most rapidly growing trends in 2018 and getting subscribers on YouTube is all the rage. You can create videos on any theme like opinions, comedy, love, tutorials, music etc. and put them on YouTube. Overlaying your video with Google AdSense will make you earn every time the ad is clicked. If you create YouTube videos for an education matter, you can repurpose these videos into an online course.
To save time and effort, a person can group two or more of their passive activities into one larger activity, provided they form an "appropriate economic unit." When a taxpayer does this, instead of having to provide material participation in multiple activities, they only have to provide it for the activity as a whole. In addition, if a person includes multiple activities into one group and has to dispose of one of those activities, they’ve only done away with part of a larger activity as opposed to all of a smaller one. 
​I’ve been into home décor lately and I had to turn to Etsy to find exactly what I wanted. I ended up purchasing digital files of the artwork I wanted printed out! The seller had made a bunch of wall art, digitized, and listed it on Etsy for instant download. There are other popular digital files on Etsy as well such as monthly planners. If you’re into graphic design this could be an amazing passive income idea for you.
Role of “real estate professional” can be well played by a non-working or stay-at-home spouse. If you’ve got one who’s willing of course. 🙂 Under current tax law, with a spouse/real estate professional materially participating in the rental property activities, the 3.8% Medicare tax (discussed in Section 1) can be entirely avoided. So, while there is a bit of burden in meeting the requirements, this could be a great play for a Doc and a real estate professional spouse who want to take unlimited real estate losses against regular earned income AND shelter any gains from the additional 3.8% tax.
As a result of this tax rate differential, the owner of a CCPC is almost always better off retaining corporate earnings and investing within their corporation. While a similar amount of combined corporate and personal tax is ultimately paid by business owners when monies are withdrawn through dividends, taxes can be deferred until such time as the money is required personally. This effectively allows business owners to temporarily obtain the benefit of investing a larger amount of money than would otherwise be available if they earned the money personally or immediately withdrew profits from their corporation.
Lending Club went public in 2014 and is now worth about $1.7B. They advertise P2P lending returns of over 7% for well-diversified portfolios of over 100 notes. I’ve personally been able to achieve a 7.4% annual return over the past two years in a completely passive way by investing in A and AA notes. Others have achieved a 10% annual return through relatively minimum effort.
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. 
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.
If you qualify as a real estate professional, rental real estate activities in which you materially participated aren’t passive activities. For purposes of determining whether you materially participated in your rental real estate activities, each interest in rental real estate is a separate activity unless you elect to treat all your interests in rental real estate as one activity.

I prefer assets that make me a high return for the lowest amount of work possible (semi-passive involvement). And assets that pay me in several unique ways. Cash flow is only one way RE makes money for me. I also get principal reductions, appreciation, tax advantages (depreciation), and I control the rental increases on a yearly basis. Plus a majority of the capital is provided by the secondary market on 30 year fixed low interest rate debt.
Another way to generate passive income is to invest and be a silent partner in a business. This is very risky, but with risk comes the potential for high returns. For example, several years ago both Lyft and Uber were looking for private investors to invest in their companies. Today, they are worth billions - but you as an investor would only reap that benefit if they go public via an IPO, or get acquired. So, it's risky.
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