Dividend investing is right up there for sure. You don’t have to charge $48. You can charge <$10 to boost sales. The internet has enabled so many creatives to publish their works at a low cost. People will surprise themselves if they try to create like when they were in school. The other reason why I have Creating Products edging out dividends is because of the much higher POTENTIAL to make a lot more money. For example, $20,000 a year in book sales requires $570,000 in dividend investments to replicate the same amount. Plus, there is capital risk. With book sales, there is a correlation with EFFORT, and you are not beholden to the whims of the markets.
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.

There are dozens of ways to generate passive income. However, the option you select has to do with two metrics: time and money. Either you have a lot of time or a lot of money. Most people usually don't have both. But, if you have a lot of money, generating passive income almost instantly is easy. You can buy up some real estate and begin enjoying rental income. Or, you can invest in a dividend fund or some other investment vehicle that will begin generating a steady income for you.


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​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.
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!
Unearned income is not subject to payroll taxes. This is good news! However unearned income sources are included in your calculation of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for federal income tax purposes. You can find your AGI on line 37 of your 1040 tax form. Most unearned income such as interest income from CDs or savings accounts, IRA withdrawals, and pension payments are taxed at your marginal tax rate. However, certain types of unearned income, such as capital gains and qualified dividends are taxed at a lower rate.
I have a total of three CDs left. There is no way in hell I’m selling them after holding them for 4+ years so far to take the penalty. The CDs are for 7 years. That would be completely counterproductive. As a result, I feel very stuck with ever getting my CD money back if I wanted to. If the CDs were for just 1 or 2 years, I agree, it doesn’t matter as much. But combine a 7 year term with 4%+ interest is too painful to give up.
Anthony, nice setup! To your question about the rental mortgages, you haven’t said what interest rate you are paying. As a start, if you are paying more than the risk free rate (Treasury bills) which you probably are, then a true apples to apples comparison would be yes, pay off the mortgage. But, if you are comfortable taking more risk, you have other options to invest in which you *hope* will yield you more over the coming years. You also didn’t say whether the rentals generate net income and if so, how much? What is the implied rate of return on the equity you have invested in them? If you pay the mortgages off, you’ll have even more equity tied up, will the extra net income make that worthwhile? Maybe you should use the money to buy more rentals instead, if purchase opportunities still exist in your town. … this is less of an answer than a framework to analyze the decision, hope it is helpful.
I hope you remember me for my good qualities and not my bad ones because I have plenty of both. As far as the tax bill, I’ll have a podcast coming up on it but probably won’t do a post until it’s law and probably not until well into the new year. I’m sure I’ll offend all of my listeners with the podcast and the post, both those who think the tax system should be more progressive and those who think it should be less progressive.
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.
If you have a small amount of money and you want to create passive income, but you don’t know anything about investment, try to read some blogs about the stock market. Do not go to a financial advisor, they will take you a lot of money, and if you don’t want to invest 100k, it’s better to try that by yourself. You can read Rich Dad Poor Dad to get a necessary explication about the financial world.
When a taxpayer records a loss on a passive activity, only passive activity profits can have their deductions offset instead of the income as a whole. It would be considered prudent for a person to ensure all the passive activities were classified that way so they can make the most of the tax deduction. These deductions are allocated for the next tax year and are applied in a reasonable manner that takes into account the next year's earnings or losses.
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.
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.
Mike, I don’t consider the income from FS to be passive, as I’m spending time commenting to you right now. But since 75% of my traffic comes from search, the most traffic I would probably lose is 25% for probably a year. And then my search word rankings would probably slowly fade given frequency of posting new content is one of the search algo variables.
An item of deduction from a passive activity that’s disallowed for a tax year under the basis or at-risk limitations isn’t a passive activity deduction for the tax year. The following sections provide rules for figuring the extent to which items of deduction from a passive activity are disallowed for a tax year under the basis or at-risk limitations.
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Real-estate crowdfunding ($9,600 a year): Once I sold my SF rental, it was natural to reinvest some of the proceeds into real-estate crowdfunding to keep sector exposure. I didn't invest a lot in some of my favorite real-estate investment trusts because I felt a rising interest-rate environment would be a stronger headwind for REITs. But if I could be more surgical with my real-estate investments by identifying specific investments in stronger employment-growth markets, I thought I could do better.
The IRS requires REITs to pay out at least 90% of its income to shareholders.  Thus, REITs tend to be higher yield since a large fraction of the earnings come out as dividends, which may be beneficial for certain income oriented investors.  The flipside is the tax cost for investing in REITs since income must be distributed and as a holder the taxes flow through to you.
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”.
The practice of day trading refers to buying and selling mostly cheaper varieties of stock. These traders don’t hold onto stock like traditional investors do. Instead, they earn profits by day trading. Now, this type of trading can be very risky because the market is volatile. Also, the cheapest types of stocks are highly likely to be negatively impacted by scams and fraud. Regardless, some traders do manage to master the art of day trading by researching the companies from which the stocks originate. Studying price history charts and understanding trends in a particular sector can help traders become proficient in their craft. Thanks to new tech, anyone can become a trader from the comfort of their personal computer or smartphone.
The main idea behind the new passive income rules is to create a system that taxes businesses proportionally to their overall size and income amount. If you’re mostly dealing with smaller startups and family-run businesses, these new passive income rules will probably have little effect, and may even allow companies more freedom to grow their business.
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.
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.
Millionaire Mob is a former investment banker that hung up his suit and 'deal sleds' to focus on ways to travel the world, build great relationships and learn. I am looking to help others learn passive income techniques, invest in dividend growth stocks, earn travel rewards and achieve financial freedom. I increased my net worth from -$60,000 (yes, negative) to over $500,00 in 5 years. I used Personal Capital to track my net worth. I love their platform.
Well written piece, but I question the core premise. Why the fascination with maximizing “income” (passive or otherwise). Shouldn’t the goal simply be to maximize long-term after tax growth of your entire portfolio? If this takes the form of dividend paying stocks, so be it. But what if small caps are poised to outperform? What if you want to take Buffet’s or Bogle’s advice and just buy a broad market index like the S&P 500, (no matter what the dividend because you’ll just have it automatically reinvested to avoid the transaction fees).
Maybe such a business is owning a McDonald’s franchise or something. If one has the capital (Feasibility Score 2), then the returns might be good (Return Score 6). But the Risk Score is probably under a 5, b/c how many times have we seen franchise chains come and go? Like, what happened to Quiznos and Jamba Juice? A McDonald’s franchise was $500,000… probably much more now?

It is helpful to have an understanding of the bigger tax items – basis and depreciation.  Basis is the cost or purchase price of the property minus the value of the land (note: you cannot depreciate land).  The depreciation deduction you can take on residential real estate per year is the basis (cost less land) divided by 27.5.  Depreciation is a great tax deduction you can take every year but will affect your gain or loss when you sell the property.
Finally, I imagine the biggest debate with my ranking is Creating Your Own Product as the #1 passive income source. If most people have never created their own product, then it’s easy to give it a thumbs down. There won’t be much complaint about Private Equity Investing being in last place because most people are not accredited investors. But given I believe that plenty of people can create their own product if they try, pushback is inevitable because a lot of people simply don’t try!

​Affiliate marketing is the practice of partnering with a company (becoming their affiliate) to receive a commission on a product. This method of generating income works the best for those with blogs and websites. Even then, it takes a long time to build up before it becomes passive. If you want to get started with affiliate marketing check out this great list of affiliate marketing programs.
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