Online courses have exploded in the past five years. Experts and creators can now create video courses to teach others their craft. A course can be about anything that people want to learn. Friends of mine have created courses and say the amount of effort is similar to writing a book. But once its done and starts to sell, it’s a solid passive income stream.
To save time and effort, a person can group two or more of their passive activities into one larger activity, provided they form an "appropriate economic unit." When a taxpayer does this, instead of having to provide material participation in multiple activities, they only have to provide it for the activity as a whole. In addition, if a person includes multiple activities into one group and has to dispose of one of those activities, they’ve only done away with part of a larger activity as opposed to all of a smaller one.
Successful YouTubers choose a theme for their channel—ranging from humorous commentary to gardening. As you acquire subscribers to your channel, your number of views becomes more consistent, which in turn grows your residual income. While you’ll need to produce regular videos to maintain your following, a couple hours of filming and editing pales in comparison to the revenue you can generate with minimum effort.
My dividend portfolio on Motif Investing holds three exchange-traded funds and 10 individual stocks. Just one of the stocks (Ford Motor) has a negative return and the entire fund is up 34% over the past year. Dividend stocks are by far the most passive income investment you can make if you invest in large companies that have stood the test of time.
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."
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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.
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.
3. Business: As I mentioned, not all businesses are created equal when it comes to residual income. Let’s take a look at a local taco stand. Sure, that taco stand might have loyal patrons and make the best damn steak taco you’ve ever had, but they also have to wake up every day and turn the lights on and fire up the grill to get paid for their special tacos. Versus, I own my own financial services business and we charge an asset management fee. So, literally tomorrow I am going to earn a fee whether I go in or not. Sure, I have to maintain relationships to keep earning that fee, but truly the income is residual because once I sign up one client I am going to make money off of their money perpetually. See the difference?
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.
Who cares, especially when very conservatively, the ultimate passive income includes a six digit or more base lease, plus an estimated additional six digits or more for rate increases and another six digits for more for various smaller and one bigger technology increase at 25 years. All four (base, rate, smaller and mega technology increases) combined, certainly could yield much more depending upon inflation, rate increases and technology increases?