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.
But two months later, with the economy slowing down after the financial crisis, his firm began laying people off, and Flynn was informed that after his current projects were finished, he also would be out of a job. At the same time, he couldn’t help but notice that in the LEED exam forums he had frequented, people were referring to him as an expert and directing questions his way. He began to think he might capitalize on that.

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]
All ideas take some amount of time and money to come to fruition. Some people have a lot of one of these, but not much of the other. A lot of successful ideas have started when one person had the resources that another did not. And many businesses have been started using 0% loans from credit cards to fund their concept and keep the business going until it achieved success.
However, self-publishing is a good option for generating passive income and fits very well with the “work-up-front, reap benefits later” model. It’s a ton of work to write a book, especially when you’re just getting everything like editing, formatting, cover design, and book descriptions all figured out. But, once you do all that work, you can upload it to Amazon and then hopefully keep earning commissions for months or even years.

The amount of tax you will pay on passive income will largely depend on the amount of income you generated and the ways in which it was obtained. For example, income from interest or short-term capital gains will be taxed according to standard income tax rates, while qualified dividends will be taxed according to long-term capital gains rates if you made more than $38,600 in ordinary income.

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We are going to start with 1.5 years of all spending needs in cash. We will draw 1800 to 1900 per month. We will add to this from the index funds by taking a portion of the gains in good years to supplement. This is the total return portion of the equation. Obviously, if stocks decrease drastically over a 5 year period, then I would have to reload by selling some of the ETF holdings.
“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. 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.”
In order to generate $10,000 in Net Operating Profit After Tax (NOPAT) through a rental property, you must own a $50,000 property with an unheard of 20% net rental yield, a $100,000 property with a rare 10% net rental yield, or a more realistic $200,000 property with a 5% net rental yield. When I say net rental yield, I’m talking about rental income minus all expenses, including a mortgage, operating expenses, insurance, and property taxes.
Net royalty income from intangible property held by a pass-through entity in which you own an interest may be treated as nonpassive royalty income. This applies if you acquired your interest in the pass-through entity after the partnership, S corporation, estate, or trust created the intangible property or performed substantial services or incurred substantial costs for developing or marketing the intangible property.
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.
I own several rental properties in the mid west and I live in CA. I have never even seen them in person. With good property management in place (not easy to find but possible) it is definitely possible to own cash flowing properties across the country. Not for everyone and not without it’s drawbacks, but it seems to be working for me so far. I’m happy to answer any questions about my experience with this type of investing.
REITs provide an easy way to get real estate exposure in your portfolio but it is crucial that you avoid asset class overlap.  Since many stock and index funds include REIT companies, having a separate allocation to REITs in a portfolio may create double counting.  Certain fund managers strip out REIT companies from their equity investments to avoid this issue.  One example is Dimensional Fund Advisors.  For those who want real estate exposure without the hassle of being a landlord, purchasing REITs may be the way to go.

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.

Grouping is important for a number of reasons. If you group two activities into one larger activity, you need only show material participation in the activity as a whole. But if the two activities are separate, you must show material participation in each one. On the other hand, if you group two activities into one larger activity and you dispose of one of the two, then you have disposed of only part of your entire interest in the activity. But if the two activities are separate and you dispose of one of them, then you have disposed of your entire interest in that activity.


The Hardy’s used a partner and tax director at an accounting firm with more than 40 years of experience to prepare and file their tax returns. In 2006 and 2007, the Hardy’s reported their income from MBJ as non-passive based on the CPA's professional judgment. They claimed a total disallowed loss and he determined that the income was non-passive based on MBJ's Schedule K-1 that it distributed to Hardy.
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.
This Social Security payroll tax is enforced on the amount of earned income that you receive up to a specified dollar limit, which is called the contribution and benefit base, or earnings cap. In 2018, this dollar limit is $128,400, up from $127,200 in 2017. This means that no additional Social Security payroll tax is owed on earned income in excess of this limit.
“Where a lot of people mess up is they try to build a business or create a product that serves everybody, and by trying to serve everybody, you serve nobody. You have to specialize and niche down and find a market with a pain point that you, based on your experience, based on your education and based on your passion, can help,” he says. Your earnings will directly reflect how well you serve that particular audience, and the more your message resonates with them, the more opportunities you’ll have to sell to them.
Are you totally convinced that I have completely diverged from talking about active vs. passive income? I don’t blame you. I would have forgotten about those by now too. But let’s bring them back now. Ok, how do those relate to lifestyle design? Well, I’m assuming we have established that your personal lifestyle design does not involve working, correct? Do you remember which kind of income requires you to work for it? Active income. So then for complete lifestyle design, do you want to have to rely on any active income? No. You only want passive income because passive income doesn’t require much, if any, work on your part. Then you are free to travel or play or watch TV all you want.
Passive income is the concept of developing an income stream that can last into perpetuity with limited ongoing work. Passive income does not come without hard work. Do not let the word ‘passive’ fool you because it takes significant work. However, if you do it right upfront you will reap significant benefits over the long-term. Track your passive income with Personal Capital.

Another thing that belongs firmly at the top of passive income ideas lists is affiliate marketing, where you earn a commission for each product or service that you recommend. My new focus these days is on Amazon affiliate websites. The idea is that you talk about, or review products that you can find on Amazon. People visit your website, click on some of your Amazon affiliate links, buy a product on Amazon and you get a commission for any sales, not only for that specific product but for anything they buy within a 24-hour period.
You will get a good gauge of the market when you release your app. It’s analogous to going fishing. You have to cast your app out to see if anything bites. Once you get a few bites, you can start adding a few new features to improve your app passive income. A couple bells and whistles. Finally, start paying attention to feedback. The best way to set yourself up for success with both analytics and feedback are to integrate them both before releasing your app.
I love travel photography. I spend a bunch of time on credit card churning and manufactured spending, which allows me to travel the world for virtually free. When I’m on the road, I take my camera with me to generate an additional form of passive income. Not only that I truly enjoy travel photography. It is a great hobby for me. Is hobby income passive or nonpassive income?

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world. Follow @DanCaplinger
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.
Maybe such a business is owning a McDonald’s franchise or something. If one has the capital (Feasibility Score 2), then the returns might be good (Return Score 6). But the Risk Score is probably under a 5, b/c how many times have we seen franchise chains come and go? Like, what happened to Quiznos and Jamba Juice? A McDonald’s franchise was $500,000… probably much more now?
This is simple. Do your research and choose a paid price point. Once your app is released you can tweak your pricing to find the optimal value. From personal experience, I’ve noticed I generally make more money when choosing to go the premium route vs the budget route. Meaning, I price the app higher than my competitors to let them know they are purchasing a more premium product. Of course, this is not always the case. Sometimes the $0.99 apps do better since they generate more downloads and climb the app rankings easier. Higher app ranking means more visibility.
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Dividend investing is right up there for sure. You don’t have to charge $48. You can charge <$10 to boost sales. The internet has enabled so many creatives to publish their works at a low cost. People will surprise themselves if they try to create like when they were in school. The other reason why I have Creating Products edging out dividends is because of the much higher POTENTIAL to make a lot more money. For example, $20,000 a year in book sales requires $570,000 in dividend investments to replicate the same amount. Plus, there is capital risk. With book sales, there is a correlation with EFFORT, and you are not beholden to the whims of the markets.
The second withholding amount is for Medicare tax. This tax is 2.9 percent of all wages. Again, this tax is jointly the responsibility of the employee and the employer, with each paying 1.45 percent. Unlike the Social Security tax which has an earnings cap, this tax does not. Any wages or other forms of earned income are considered subject to this tax. If self-employed, you pay the full 2.9 percent. These payroll taxes are used to fund Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits.
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If you know anything well, a place, how to fix something, how to make something, how to do something, you can write a guide for it. You can sell your guide as an e-book, offer it as a download for a fee on your site or reach out to bloggers with similar content and ask if they will offer it as a paid download on their website (for a price of course).
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