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.
There was a time when CDs would produce a respectable 4%+ yield. Nowadays, you’ll be lucky to find a 5-7 year CD that provides anything above 2.5% The great thing about CDs is that there are no income or net worth minimums to invest, unlike many alternative investments, which require investors to be accredited. Anybody can go to their local bank and open up a CD of their desired duration. Furthermore, a CD is FDIC insured for up to $250,000 per individual, and $500,000 per joint account.
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.
Real estate investments generally are considered passive income – unlike income from a job, which is considered active – because revenue is generated from the money you invested rather than from the work that you do. You have to pay taxes on your income regardless of whether it's active or passive. Money earned from real estate investing is reported on the Schedule E form and gets carried forward to line 17 of your 1040 tax return. It's then included with your other income and is subject to regular taxes.
Payroll taxes are primarily Social Security and Medicare taxes. All earned income is subject to Medicare tax. That’s 2.9% (including the employer portion), plus the extra PPACA tax of 0.9% for a high earner. That’s 3.8%. What do you get for that 3.8% (which may be $20K a year or more for a high earner)? Exactly the same benefits as the guy who paid $1000 in Medicare taxes that year. And the guy who only paid Medicare taxes for 10 years and retired at 28. Doesn’t seem too fair, does it, but that’s the way it works. Social Security tax is a little better in that it goes away after $127,200 per year of earned income, but it is also a much higher tax- 12.4% including the employer portion. Social Security also gives you a little more of a benefit when you pay more into it, but the return on that “investment” is pretty poor beyond the second bend point.
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]
No matter what, if you own something, you will have to put some effort towards it, yes. Even if you are as hands-off as possible, you may need to use your brain occasionally. Although I would say with mine, I might have to use my brain for a total of a 30 minutes or less a year. The only thing I do for my properties are answer emails or calls from my property manager and give him approval to do random things. That doesn’t even happen that often though. The most ‘work’ I ever do on my properties, other than give approval for repairs, is stress if there is a vacancy or turnover or something. Stressing is pretty passive though. Oh, and I spend 20 minutes or less gathering any documents I have for my accountants come tax time.
I have only dabbled in drop-shipping before when I had an eCommerce platform 6 years ago or so. I think it is something that you could do on the side, but you would want to do in depth research on the industry you want to get into before setting up shop. It may be a little less passive up front, but over time you could take your hands off the wheel.