Thanks for writing this Mr. Samurai. I just got over the student loan hump but I feel pretty good about it at 27 having a graduate degree and being 100% debt free. Now that I’m on the other side it is good for my brain to absorb some of your knowledge regarding passive income investments. I love gleaning wisdom from older folks who have been there and done that. Mentors rock!
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I wish there was a product that did this,” then invent it! Create a product, medical or otherwise, and sell it as a company or get royalties for it. It’s not impossible to figure out, I have many friends who have taken a concept to market. Don’t overlook an invention as a fantastic means of attaining passive income.

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.

Domain names cannot be replicated. If one is taken, the only recourse would be to approach the owner to discuss a sale. While there are other variations you could choose, sometimes owning a certain domain (especially if it is attached to your business) can be worth the premium. Often, people will scout out domain names that are still available, buy them, and then sit on them in order to sell them down the road. Depending on who may want the domain down the road, you could sell it for a large markup.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. I mean, when I speak to groups and ask how many docs in the room would cut their hours/shifts/call etc if their finances allow it and they all raise their hand. So taking a group of docs who not only have their financial ducks in a row, but also have a side income and pursuit already, why would they be working full-time?
Whether you take a “distribution” (aka free-cash-flow) in the form of a dividend, interest payment, capital gain, maturing ladder of a CD, etc, you are still taking the same amount of cash out of your portfolio. Don’t fall for the trap of sub optimizing your overall portfolio’s performance because your chasing some unimportant trait called “income”.
Because you’re publishing an eBook rather than a physical book, the costs are minimal. And you don’t have to print 1,000 copies of your book hoping someone will buy it. Instead, you can write your book, create a fancy cover for $5 using Fiverr and publish through services like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon will handle everything for you, then take a percentage of the revenue you generate.
Investing in coins and collectibles: Buffalo nickels and Spiderman comic books are good examples of coins and collectibles that can rise in value, and thus offer opportunity for passive income investors. You'll need to get up to speed on the value of any coin or collectible under consideration, but once you do so, you're on the way to price appreciation on a commodity you'll be paying a lower price to buy, and will garner a higher price when you sell.
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.

In 2017, I ended up deploying roughly $611,000 into stocks and $604,327 into municipal bonds. The stock allocation should boost dividend income by about $12,500 a year, and the municipal-bond portion should boost income by about $18,000 a year after tax ($26,000 pre-tax). Therefore, total passive income gets an about $38,500 lift, which recovers over half of my $60,000 loss from selling the house.
In expensive cities like San Francisco and New York City, net rental yields can fall as low as 2%. This is a sign that there is a lot of liquidity buying property for property appreciation, and not so much for income generation. This is a riskier proposition than buying property based on rental income. In inexpensive cities, such as those in the Midwest, net rental yields can easily be in the range of 8% – 12%, although appreciation may be slower.
Okay, now you know your idea has some potential to make app passive income. Start doing some homework. Download the app and use it. Get familiar with it. This is where you put on your creative thinking app. It’s not your app idea that has to be completely innovative. It’s the execution of it. A great idea will most likely already have a few versions of it. Read the customer reviews. See what they like. More importantly, see what they are complaining about. This will give you essential information on your target audience. It’s almost as if you’re skipping version 1 and going straight to version 2 of your idea.
If the amount you had at risk in an activity at the end of your tax year that began in 1978 was less than zero, you apply the preceding rule for the recapture of losses by substituting that negative amount for zero. For example, if your at-risk amount for that tax year was minus $50, you will recapture losses only when your at-risk amount goes below minus $50.
In 2017, I ended up deploying roughly $611,000 into stocks and $604,327 into municipal bonds. The stock allocation should boost dividend income by about $12,500 a year, and the municipal-bond portion should boost income by about $18,000 a year after tax ($26,000 pre-tax). Therefore, total passive income gets an about $38,500 lift, which recovers over half of my $60,000 loss from selling the house.

The reason I consider dividends artificial and believe they don’t matter is because you can just as easily reinvest your dividends. If a stock is worth $100/share, I don’t care if it issues a $1/share dividend or if the share price instead increases to $101/share – either way, I have the same amount of money, because there’s no difference to my net worth whether I take the dividend or sell part of a stock.


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.

Having an extra house, condo or apartment is potentially quite lucrative, especially if  what the tenant pays covers your mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc. Someone else is basically building your pool of wealth because in 10 or 20 years, you’ll have this $100,000+ asset that is paid off. You can sell it for a large chunk of cash, or keep renting it out and have a nice, steady stream of income. The major problem is that managing this isn’t exactly passive, unless you hire a rental management company who generally take one month’s rent out of the year in exchange for doing this.
That is a nice list of passive income sources. Actually, the most up-to-date list of dividend growth stocks is the list of dividend champions, maintained by Dave Fish. The list of dividend aristocrats is incomplete at best. For example, the dividend champions list has over 100 companies that have managed to increase dividends each year for at least 25 years in a row. The list of dividend aristocrats has no more than 50 – 60.

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 do not meet any of the above criteria and you lose money on a real estate investment, you still may be able to reduce your taxes. First, use a loss on one real estate investment to offset a profit on another investment. If you make $20,000 on one apartment building but lose $3,000 on a duplex, you will end up with only $17,000 in taxable income from real estate activities. If you only own one property, the IRS usually allows you to carry that loss forward to offset profits in the future.

Okay, now you know your idea has some potential to make app passive income. Start doing some homework. Download the app and use it. Get familiar with it. This is where you put on your creative thinking app. It’s not your app idea that has to be completely innovative. It’s the execution of it. A great idea will most likely already have a few versions of it. Read the customer reviews. See what they like. More importantly, see what they are complaining about. This will give you essential information on your target audience. It’s almost as if you’re skipping version 1 and going straight to version 2 of your idea.

If you have specialized knowledge in a certain topic, you can put together an online course to teach others. For example, if you have experience in real estate investing, you can create an online course “Real Estate Investing 101”. The benefit of an online course is that once you create the course material, you can sell it to as many people as you want.


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.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are another passive investment option for investors who aren't interested in dealing with the day-to-day burden of managing a property. One of the main advantages of a REIT is that they pay out 90% of their taxable income as dividends to investors. There is a downside, however, since dividends are taxed as ordinary income. That may be problematic for an investor who's in higher a tax bracket.


Great breakout of some common items that are (mostly) accessible to individuals. My biggest issue with p2p is the ordinary interest it generates and the ordinary tax that we have to pay. That really takes a bite out of the returns. Fortunately, I opened an IRA with one of the providers to juice the return with zero additional risk. 6-8% nominal returns over a long period of time will make me very happy. It should end up as 5-7% of the portfolio anyway, so nothing too significant.
“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.
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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.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is another model that has been gaining popularity in recent months. The major difference from the model that I described above is that instead of shipping it to a warehouse, you ship it directly to Amazon. For a cut of the money on each sale (and they also charge storage costs), they package it all up and send out your order. You make less money than doing it yourself, however once set up, it does have the hands-off factor going for it.
I've now only got an SF rental condo and a Lake Tahoe vacation rental in my real-estate-rental portfolio. Although I miss my old house, I certainly don't miss paying $23,000 a year in property taxes and another mortgage, and dealing with leaks and managing terrible tenants. I drove by the other day and couldn't believe how much noisier and busier the street was than where I currently live. I wouldn't be comfortable raising my son there.

​Self Publishing is mainstream today. When you purchase an eBook off of Amazon there’s a pretty good chance you’re buying a self-published book. Self-publishing is also ridiculously easy. I tried this a few years ago and couldn’t believe how simple the process was. To self-publish a book you’ll first need to write and edit it, create a cover, and then upload to a program such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Don’t expect instant success though. There will need to be a lot of upfront marketing before you can turn this into a passive income stream.
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