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
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.
Pursuing passive income can be the right move for you, especially if you just need some extra cash to pay off debts. It’s important, though, that you find the right side hustle for you and your lifestyle. There’s no point in creating passive income if it’s not passive at all. Decide how much time and money you have to spare. Then choose the passive income venture that will prove most worthwhile.
If you qualified as a real estate professional for 2017, report income or losses from rental real estate activities in which you materially participated as nonpassive income or losses, and complete line 43 of Schedule E (Form 1040). If you also have an unallowed loss from these activities from an earlier year when you didn’t qualify, see Treatment of former passive activities under Passive Activities, earlier.
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.
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.
A loss is the excess of allowable deductions from the activity for the year (including depreciation or amortization allowed or allowable and disregarding the at-risk limits) over income received or accrued from the activity during the year. Income doesn’t include income from the recapture of previous losses (discussed later, under Recapture Rule ).
If you sell your entire interest in a passive activity through an installment sale to figure the loss for the current year that isn’t limited by the passive activity rules, multiply your overall loss (not including losses allowed in prior years) by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is the gain recognized in the current year, and the denominator is the total gain from the sale minus all gains recognized in prior years.
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.

If a passive activity interest is transferred because the owner dies, unused passive activity losses are allowed (to a certain extent) as a deduction against the decedent's income in the year of death. The decedent's losses are allowed only to the extent they exceed the amount by which the transferee's basis in the passive activity has been increased under the rules for determining the basis of property acquired from a decedent. For example, if the basis of an interest in a passive activity in the hands of a transferee is increased by $6,000 and unused passive activity losses of $8,000 were allocable to the interest at the date of death, then the decedent's deduction for the tax year would be limited to $2,000 ($8,000 − $6,000).


I agree mostly with the real estate advice. I’m looking for ways to take advantage of the condo I own to get up the rent from ~$0.90/ft to the $1.2-1.5/ft that seems more like the range in the same area. I’d have to put in a bit of capital (probably 10k on the low end for just the basics up to 40k if I wanted to remodel the kitchen and 2 bathrooms up to par with the area), so the return is likely there if those upgrades warrant $1.30/ft (given the unit is larger than most 2br/2ba in the area).


Also, financial freedom is different for every person – that’s where lifestyle design comes in. If you determine that you need $4,000 or $8,000/month (your financial limit, as you called it) to allow you to never have to work again and live the kind of life you want, then you have achieved financial freedom through lifestyle design when your passive investments produce that income. It’s a very straight forward concept, and tons of investors have proved it’s doable.
Generally, any gain or loss on the disposition of a partnership interest must be allocated to each trade or business, rental, or investment activity in which the partnership owns an interest. If you dispose of your entire interest in a partnership, the passive activity losses from the partnership that haven’t been allowed generally are allowed in full. They also will be allowed if the partnership (other than a PTP) disposes of all the property used in that passive activity.
Now I’ve been using Swagbucks for a while and have found the money works out to just under $2 an hour so this isn’t something that’s going to make you rich. You’d have to work 2,500 hours to make $5,000 so that’s about three and a half months, non-stop. The thing with Swagbucks though is you can do it when you’re doing something else so I flip through surveys and other stuff while I’m cooking dinner or flipping channels.
Great post. Fortunately I learned pretty early on that our whole tax system is set up to provide greater advantages to those earning passive income. Meanwhile, the majority of the workers in the country continue to trade their precious time for a paycheck, and then get screwed through additional taxation on that money. I’m still working a 9-5, but my passive income grows with every month and I’m always looking to build more streams of passive income. You never know when one of those little streams will turn into a raging river and start really providing massive amounts of cash!
In order for you to make the kind of passive income you would like you need to make sure the market segment you want to help has critical mass.  If you have the best widget in the world, but only 14 people need or want it, then you don’t have a viable business.  The great article 1,000 True Fans, by Kevin Kelly, cofounder of Wired Research, talks about if you have 1,000 people who are your customer, each paying you $100 a year, you now have $100,000 a year of passive income.  The point is that you don’t need to serve the entire human population, just enough to have critical mass. 
Herbert and Wilma file a joint return, so they’re treated as one taxpayer for purposes of the passive activity rules. The same owner (Herbert and Wilma) owns both Healthy Food and Plum Tower with the same ownership interest (100% in each). If the grouping forms an appropriate economic unit, as discussed earlier, Herbert and Wilma can group Plum Tower's grocery store rental and Healthy Food's grocery business into a single trade or business activity.
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.
Our favorite platform for this is RealtyMogul because you get the flexibility to invest as little as $1,000, but can also participate in REITs and private placements – typically not offered to the public. Investors can fund real estate loans to gain passive income or buy an equity share in a property for potential appreciation. Their platform is open to both accredited and non-accredited investors.
I have not. While I am intrigued with the possibility of making online income, it seems to be less passive then how I want to spend my time. Regarding your blog / site, you have done quite well for yourself. However, you have to keep pumping out content or your site would eventually go out of business. That sounds like more of a commitment then I would want. Regarding your book sales, it is probably relatively passive now, but certainly was not when you were writing the book. Now if you love it, great. Just not for me.
Earned income is the money you earn from working. It includes wages, salaries, tips, and net earnings from self-employment income. It also includes union strike benefits and some types of long-term disability benefits. With some types of deferred compensation plans, the payments are also considered a form of earned income. Earned income is taxed differently than unearned income.
Rental properties are defined as passive income with a couple of exceptions. If you’re a real estate professional, any rental income you’re making counts as active income. If you’re "self-renting," meaning that you own a space and are renting it out to a corporation or partnership where you conduct business, that does not constitute passive income unless that lease had been signed before 1988, in which case you’ve been grandfathered into having that income being defined as passive. According to the IRS, "it does not matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."
Virtual assistants can do anything that doesn’t require a physical presence: Scheduling appointments, making calls, sending emails, creating and processing invoices and general project management can all be done virtually. And tasks beyond administrative work are possible, too: Virtual assistants can be trained for customer prospecting and other key business operations. In short, it’s worth learning how to use their talents to your benefit.
Case Schiller only tracks price appreciation of RE. RE as rental investment vehicle is measured primarily on rental yield or cap rate or some other measure. Price appreciation in that scenario is only a secondary means of growth, and arguably should be ignored as a predictor of returns when deciding on whether or not to invest in rentals. More important key performance indicators for rentals are net operating income and cash ROI. Appreciation, if it occurs, is a bonus.
Creating original content that other people love can be very rewarding to you from a personal growth perspective (people value something you have created) and from a financial perspective (people are willing to pay you for it).  You create something once, but keep getting paid a royalty for it long after you completed it.  Music is a nice example.  You write/perform the song once, and then sell it online.  Each time someone downloads your song you are paid a percentage of that sale, what a nice way to generate passive income!
The IRS defines depreciation losses as “allowances for exhaustion, wear and tear (including obsolescence) of property.” According to their website, “You begin to depreciate your rental property when you place it in service. You can recover some or all of your original acquisition cost and the cost of improvements by using Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, (to report depreciation) beginning in the year your rental property is first placed in service, and beginning in any year you make improvements or add furnishings.”
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