This world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the good people that often act in irrational and/or criminally wrongdoing ways within the confines of their individual minds, core or enterprise groups, but because of the good people that don’t do anything about it (like reveal the truth through education like Financial Samauri is doing!). Albert Einstein and Art Kleiner’s “Who Really Matters.”
There is a specific tax definition of passive income, known as “passive activity” to the Internal Revenue Service. Passive income is any income you make without actively working or are materially involved. The IRS defines it as any rental activity or any business in which the taxpayer does not “materially participate.” Nonpassive activities, or active activities, are businesses in which the taxpayer works on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis.
Which all goes back to my point – since companies change in a lot of unpredictable ways, it makes more sense for passive income to just ride the market by investing in a Total Domestic Stock Market, Total Bond Market, and Total International index funds, with allocations that depend on your goals and time horizon. For income, withdraw 4% or less, depending on what research you believe, and you’ve got a pretty low risk strategy.
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.
5. Make sure you are properly diversified. Capital preservation is underrated. We saw a lost decade for tech stocks between 2000 and 2010 after the first dot-com bubble burst. It actually took 13 years for Nasdaq investors to get back to even. Investors in the Borsa Istanbul stock market index just gave up 10 years' worth of gains after they saw a plunge in their currency, partially due to increased tariffs by the US and a lack of confidence in the government. Your passive income needs to be properly diversified in order to take the hits.
While reading a very interesting book recently about the conquest of the Northwestern Territory (it’s Ohio, not Oregon for those of you who aren’t history buffs) I realized that the founding fathers of the US were all unabashed capitalists. Washington, Hamilton etc all held title to huge tracts of land West of the Appalachians that they had been speculating in for decades. Forming the US Army (a standing army was a big deal to a people who at the time equated a standing army with tyranny) and conquering the Iroquois was, in at least some respects, about profiting on their investments. While WCI readers probably don’t have any plans to conquer other nations, the real point of all this financial stuff we talk about on this blog is to turn yourself into a capitalist as quickly as possible. While capitalism has its issues, it’s still the best economic system we’ve found yet.
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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).
One way to make passive income with more involvement is to write and publish an e-book. Got some knowledge or a great story idea you’ve been itching to share? Put it all in a book and sell it online! If all goes well, you could be raking in the royalties for years to come. Of course, there is some considerable work involved in writing, publishing and selling a book. However the advent of self-publishing e-books makes this a considerably easier option than it used to be.
One of the latest trends is crowdfunding / syndications where money is pooled together to directly invest in various real estate properties. You do not get quite the variety and diversification you would in a REIT but it provides an opportunity to invest a smaller amount of money than purchasing a property directly. Usually, you are a limited partner in a partnership. Since you are not materially involved in the day to day activities, the income generated is passive income.
Passive activity income often gets very different tax treatment from the ordinary income that people have. In particular, passive losses are typically deductible only against passive income, and you're not able to claim excess passive losses immediately, instead having to carry them forward. It's therefore vital to understand the tax rules surrounding passive activity income in order to assess investments in passive activities correctly.
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