In fact, as I laid in bed one morning coming up with this post, I could really only think of one aspect of passive income that is worse than earned income. If you are a high earner, you can’t deduct real estate losses against your earned income unless you qualify as a “real estate professional,” which basically means you spend > 750 hours a year doing it. That’s it. The rest of the time, passive beats active.
Even if you’re personally liable for the repayment of a borrowed amount or you secure a borrowed amount with property other than property used in the activity, you aren’t considered at risk if you borrowed the money from a person having an interest in the activity or from someone related to a person (other than you) having an interest in the activity. This doesn’t apply to:

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.
Passive income differs from earned income and portfolio income in a variety of ways. Passive income is generally defined as a stream of income earned with little effort, and it is referred to as progressive passive income when there is little effort needed from the individual receiving the passive income in order to grow the stream of income. Examples of passive income include rental income and any business activities in which the earner does not materially participate during the year.
I wish I had more time to put into real estate. Given the run up since 2012, I may even be interested in selling my condo that I currently rent out. I need to get it appraised to really see what it’s worth, but I think conservatively it’s gone up ~50%, although rent is probably only up ~10% or so. I am bullish on rents going up in the future… mostly in line with inflation, or perhaps even slightly faster due to constricted credit and personal income growth which should provide a solid supply of renters. At this point, I just don’t want to manage the property. I’ll probably look into a property manager as my time is likely worth turning it into a nearly passive investment.
You’re personally liable for a mortgage, but you separately obtain insurance to compensate you for any payments you must actually make because of your personal liability. You’re considered at risk only to the extent of the uninsured portion of the personal liability to which you’re exposed. You can include in the amount you have at risk the amount of any premium which you paid from your personal assets for the insurance. However, if you obtain casualty insurance or insurance protecting yourself against tort liability, it doesn’t affect the amount you are otherwise considered to have at risk.
Passive income investments can make an investor's life easier in many ways, particularly when a hands-off approach is preferred. The four options outlined here represent differing levels of diversification and risk. As with any investment, it's important to weigh the anticipated returns associated with a passive income opportunity against the potential for loss.
Investing in real estate has been around for ages.  Whether you are looking to buy your first duplex or getting into a large commercial property, rental properties can provide passive income through rents with some very appealing tax benefits.  This method can be harder to get started with given the initial capital needed in most cases, but is certainly a great way to generate passive income.
P.S. I also fail to understand your fascination with real estate. Granted we’ve had some impressive spikes along the way, especially with once in a life time bubble we just went through. But over the long term (see Case Shiller real estate chart for last 100 years ) real estate tends to just track inflation. Why would you sacrifice stock market returns for a vehicle that historically hasn’t shown a real return?
Get Paid To Shop: The Shopkick app is a free mobile app that pays you walk into stores, link your credit card, scan barcodes in stores, shop online, refer friends and more. Convert points into gift cards and other cash prizes. This app makes shopping fun, and you even get a 250-point bonus when you sign-up as a new member. The best part? It's 100% FREE to join.

Let me disabuse you of that notion right now: making money online is not so easy and you actually have to know what you’re doing. 10 years ago when self-publishing was booming and affiliate marketing was in its infancy, you could get rich with some sketchiness. Those days are long gone now. Self-publishing has matured and it’s far, far harder to propel your way up the all-important rankings. Google has come down hard on the spam and if there’s any hint of that on your websites, you’ll get penalized which means no search engine traffic sent your way. This is the death of the Internet marketer.
You’ll also want to include some sort of “Rate Me” system. This is where after the user has used your app, you give them a popup to rate your app. This allows your app to generate more ratings and reviews which help with the app store algorithm (ASO) ranking. Another popular tactic is to funnel positive feedback to your ratings and negative feedback to emailing you directly. Not only does this improve your overall rating, but it gives you quicker and more direct feedback from emails. Allowing you to respond to them instantly and help them resolve their issues.
Investing is arguably the easiest way to make passive income.  The problem is most investments sound good in theory but don’t work out so well in practice.  And if you don’t have much experience or access to capital, let alone the time to work it all out, it can seem more or less impossible.  However, there is one smart way to invest that just might work.  Continue reading >
If your passive activity gross income from significant participation passive activities (defined later) for the tax year is more than your passive activity deductions from those activities for the tax year, those activities shall be treated, solely for purposes of figuring your loss from the activity, as a single activity that doesn’t have a loss for such taxable year. See Significant Participation Passive Activities , later.
This article dovetails nicely with your recent podcast “How to Get Rich Quick.” I would argue that you are not “inherently lazy.” My reasoning is that you are working at 1.5 FTE when you are F.I. I would confirm that once you have the real estate team in place, it is passive as you have suggested. The “work” with passive income comes at the beginning. Whether that be your book, website development, studying the real estate team, or learning finance. Lastly, I like Rockefeller’s quote on passive income. Perhaps you could add it to your quote bank. Here it is: “Do you know the only thing that gives me pleasure? It’s to see my dividends coming in.” There is no doubt, it is much easier to earn money on your money than work a job and earn money.
You could also do this by charging for financial plans and managing people’s investments.  The fee’s you charged would be recurring as long as you managed the relationship to keep them happy.  This approach to passive income has a much higher barrier to entry due to needing qualifications, licenses, and building relationships over time.  If done correctly, it can be a very lucrative source of passive income.
With the objective of circumventing this 4% tax deferral, the 2018 federal budget proposes, with certain exceptions, to limit the access to the RDTOH pool in circumstances where the dividend paid by the corporation is a dividend that is an Eligible Dividend. The idea here is to align the refundable tax paid on passive income with the payment of dividends sourced from that passive income. The new measures apply for taxation years starting after 2018 and will require the tracking of two RDTOH pools for CCPCs.

When you retire you will make a shift from relying on earned income to relying on unearned income. Because tax treatment will vary depending on the income source, it is best to have money available from multiple sources such as tax-free accounts like Roth IRAs, after-tax accounts like savings and investments in brokerage accounts, and tax-deferred accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform makes beautiful passive incomes with classic and higher-grade materials. You do nt need anything special in order to set up a successful passive income stream, you just need to commit yourself to the process and see the process through to completion. The passive income is important to stay the course, however, and to keep in mind that the ends are certainly going to justify the means. With 4.3 rating and more than 200 buyers, the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform top 10 passive incomes stands as the best choice.
I have to agree. Our Duplex cost us 200k initially in 1998. Over time and completely refurbishing the property with historically appropriate sensitivity, we invested another 200k or so. We just had a realtor advise us we could ask 700k for it today. It nets us 30k annually after taxes, insurance and maintenance. We still have a loan on it which I have not taken into account, that will be paid off within 5 years if we keep it. My mental drama now is, while I am quite giddy over the prospect of earning a tidy sum of profit if I sell, what then would I do to equal the ROI and monthly income this thing generates? Rents are low, they should be 4k a month and will only go up. Tempted to keep it and not sell. And while I do have some stocks, I basically suck at them. I am much better at doing properties.

Passive income is the Holy Grail for online marketers. It's automatic. Effortless. But, not at first. In the beginning, it's grueling. I liken this to doing the most amount of work for the least initial return. However, over time, as your passive income begins to increase, your reliance on an active income plummets. That's when the real magic starts to happen.
Good suggestions. I have many of these. One word about the “app” idea. I had a great idea related to personal taxes that I tried to get off the ground with my accountant as a partner. I would say it’s difficult to do this unless you have a coder on your team. Hiring someone is not really viable financially unless the app is simple. When we finally got the quote for a coder to write what we wanted (and after doing lots of mock ups ourselves and getting a demo for investors) the estimate was about 750k just to really get started.
Next, you can sell things you already have and make. For example, if you’re a teacher and have some great lesson plans, Teachers Pay Teachers allows you to put up and sell your lesson plans. You need the plan for your class anyways, why not sell it? The same goes for photos you’ve taken. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, and you can sell your photos on sites like iStock.
For purposes of item (1), above, an item of deduction arises in the taxable year in which the item would be allowable as a deduction under the taxpayer's method of accounting if taxable income for all taxable years were determined without regard to the passive activity rules and without regard to the basis, excess farm loss, and at-risk limits. See Coordination with other limitations on deductions that apply before the passive activity rules , later.
Nonetheless, there is still benefit to capturing the losses on a tax return.  When you sell a primary residence, up to $500,000 of capital gain for a married couple ($250,000 for a single person) may be excluded.  Unfortunately, rental properties are not awarded this gain exclusion.  Instead, any losses that the property generates over the years can be accumulated and offset with the gain upon disposition.
For those of you who don’t want to come up with a $220,000 downpayment and a $900,000 mortgage to buy the median home in SF or NYC, who don’t want to deal with tenants or remodeling, and who wants to not do any work after the investment is made, check out Fundrise. They are my favorite real estate crowdsourcing company founded in 2012 and based in Washington DC. They are pioneers in the eREIT product offering and they’re raising an Opportunity Fund to take advantage of new tax favorable laws.

Active participation depends on all the facts and circumstances. Factors that indicate active participation include making decisions involving the operation or management of the activity, performing services for the activity, and hiring and discharging employees. Factors that indicate a lack of active participation include lack of control in managing and operating the activity, having authority only to discharge the manager of the activity, and having a manager of the activity who is an independent contractor rather than an employee.


I read about early withdrawal penalties on IRAs/401Ks very often. Almost always with a statement of “locked up” or “can’t touch” until 59.5. I’m sure you and well informed readers as well know about SEPPs in regard to IRAs/401Ks. For those that don’t SEPPs aren’t perfect but they are a way to tap retirement funds penalty free and I will be using in the future as I have over half of my equity investments within retirement accounts. South of a mil, North of a half. Let me add that I think your blog is outstanding.
I just can’t seem to get my head around creating my own online product. When you talk about it, you make it sound like its mostly just about putting in the time and plugging away at it. Problem is I can never seem to come up with any ideas for a site or product that seem remotely unique or compelling or that I have any special knowledge about. The stuff I do know about is pretty commodity type knowledge that can mostly be found on thousands of sites on the internet already. Any tips on discovering what your “unique angle” is? I mean, you have a pretty compelling and somewhat unique personal story of working on wall street and then walking away at a young age.
Real estate rental income is one of the best passive income opportunities I’ve taken advantage of. When you buy a rental property, you are buying a home, apartment building or commercial building, then renting it out to someone who cannot afford to buy it themselves. It is a win-win for everyone. They get a nice place for a reasonable price and you get a property that is being paid for by the tenant.
You don’t have to limit yourself to one or two solutions or vendors. Financial products are packaged by investment analysts and then sold by salespeople. Do your own research and find products that match your needs, instead of blindly accepting what your financial advisor loves – products that generate huge commissions for themselves at the expense of ignorant clients.
The great thing about this program is that you can run their browser on as many devices as you want. With just one device, you can earn $65 per year assuming you leave it running constantly. The only condition is that you must have each device running on a unique IP address. You can either get multiple IPs or request a family member or friend run the same link for you.
Real estate crowdsourcing allows you to surgically invest as little as $5,000 into a residential or commercial real estate project for potentially 8 – 15% annual returns based off historical data. Such returns are much better than the average private equity, CD, bond market, P2P lending, and dividend investing returns. With P2P lending, borrowers can sometimes default and leave you with nothing. At least with real estate crowdsource investing, there’s a physical asset that’s backing your investment.
With the objective of circumventing this 4% tax deferral, the 2018 federal budget proposes, with certain exceptions, to limit the access to the RDTOH pool in circumstances where the dividend paid by the corporation is a dividend that is an Eligible Dividend. The idea here is to align the refundable tax paid on passive income with the payment of dividends sourced from that passive income. The new measures apply for taxation years starting after 2018 and will require the tracking of two RDTOH pools for CCPCs.
If you have anything in excess, like house space, cars or even your driveway, you can consider renting out. Since you already own these items, you wouldn’t have to go around buying new things. Simply list these things somewhere, like a room on Airbnb, to get started. You will probably have to put in some time and money for the upkeep, but otherwise it’s a pretty passive venture.
If you inherited property from a decedent who died in 2010, special rules may apply if the executor of the estate files Form 8939, Allocation of Increase in Basis for Property Acquired From a Decedent. For more information, see Pub. 4895, Tax Treatment of Property Acquired from a Decedent Dying in 2010, which is available at IRS.gov/pub/irs-prior/p4895--2011.pdf.
If you own residential or commercial property and earn income by renting it out, then you must pay taxes on your earnings just as you do any wages or salaries that you earn. What you must pay in taxes depends upon what type of investor you are classified as by the Internal Revenue Service. How your rental property taxes are discerned by the IRS depends upon if the IRS views you as an active investor or a passive investor.
Real estate rental income is one of the best passive income opportunities I’ve taken advantage of. When you buy a rental property, you are buying a home, apartment building or commercial building, then renting it out to someone who cannot afford to buy it themselves. It is a win-win for everyone. They get a nice place for a reasonable price and you get a property that is being paid for by the tenant.

You can’t start charging right off the bat without your audience knowing anything about the value you offer (though you could still indirectly earn money from them with the right ads). “The best way to go in terms of a long-term passive income business [is] delivering value and information for free, and therefore establishing expertise, knowledge and trust with your audience,” says Flynn.
You don’t have to be a big corporate executive to need an assistant. Filing, emailing, scheduling and organizing the results of your moneymaking ventures takes time. And that's time you don’t want to waste while building your passive income empire. Nor do you want to expend any more time and money training and paying a new employee than you need to. Instead, consider hiring a virtual assistant.
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
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.
Crowdfunding is a newer way to invest, having emerged onto the scene just within the last few years. Most people have heard of sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, and a very similar concept exists for real estate. Developers are always looking to raise capital to fund their projects. Through the various online platforms, investors have access to these projects and can choose to invest in both residential and commercial properties. See the List of My Favorite Crowdfunding Sites.
Passive income differs from active and portfolio income. However, despite its name, passive income doesn’t always mean you can sit back idly while you earn money. In fact, the IRS also includes in its definition of passive income as “net rental income” and sometimes self-charged interest. This means to begin earning passive income, you’ll need to invest some time and/or money at least at the start. Because the IRS still views it as income, that means passive income is subject to taxation.

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.
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.
Comment Policy: We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and are subject to approval. Comments are solely the opinions of their authors'. The responses in the comments below are not provided or commissioned by any advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any company. It is not anyone's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
×