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've got a $185,000 CD generating 3% interest coming due. Although the return is low, it's guaranteed. The CD gave me the confidence to invest more aggressively in risk over the years. My online interest income has come down since I aggressively deployed some capital at the beginning of the year and again during the February market correction. You'll see these figures in my quarterly investment-income update.
What I’m doing: My realistic goal is to have a blended annual return of 2x the risk free rate. With a current 5% hurdle, I am not paying down mortgages that cost less than 4%. Debt at 5% is a wash. My realistic blue sky scenario is a 3-4X rate of return over the risk free rate which can be achieved with property, stocks so far for the past five years, and certain private equity investments. Where I am dragging is my blended average CD interest rate of roughly 3% from an old CD coming due. I’ve rolled some money into a 12-month CD with CIT Bank at 2.5%. It’s the best rate I can find. 
1. The final and most powerful form of residual income, in my opinion, is investing and insurance. Most people have 401K’s and IRA’s, so I am going to leave that for the investment side. Within that, I think our Foundation Freedom Phases is by far the easiest, safest and most powerful tool for several reasons: a. It is contractually guaranteed, so the terms cannot be changed once it has begun. b. It is truly residual because the cash-value growth is guaranteed and you don’t have to create, leverage, train, hire, rent or do anything but flow your money through it to get it. It requires no specialization or mastery, it’s just banking.c. Everyone does it. To survive, life requires you to bank in some fashion, meaning you earn money in some way, hopefully residually and you spend it. That will happen until the day you die. d. Our strategy takes advantage of that cash-flow and allows you to earn residual, passive, tax-free income forever. I can’t stress this enough. This is the easiest, riskless way to earn truly passive, residual income. e. Investing can be residual, but it takes more effort, skill, and planning. Further, there is the element of taxation and losses that take away and limit the consistent potential of our strategy.

Residual income models of equity value have become widely recognized tools in both investment practice and research. Conceptually, residual income is net income less a charge (deduction) for common shareholders’ opportunity cost in generating net income. It is the residual or remaining income after considering the costs of all of a company’s capital. The appeal of residual income models stems from a shortcoming of traditional accounting. Specifically, although a company’s income statement includes a charge for the cost of debt capital in the form of interest expense, it does not include a charge for the cost of equity capital. A company can have positive net income but may still not be adding value for shareholders if it does not earn more than its cost of equity capital. Residual income models explicitly recognize the costs of all the capital used in generating income.
“[T]he stream of continuing payments that are earned by Brad and/or Karen from the commissions (current and future) earned by the brokers within a book of business. Residual income arises from all sources of income relating to or derived from an identified book of business, including commissions earned by the brokers within that identified book of business from any source whatsoever.”
#9 Military pension/VA disability. Obviously requires a lot of front end effort in your 20s and/or 30s depending on length of service however once out and receiving it is totally passive with cost of living adjustment included most years. It has changed somewhat with new “blended retirement” plan but even those not staying past first or second enlistments often will get some VA rating. My wife got it on both ends of her service as the Navy paid for med school and then she was rated by VA after seven years active duty.
Passive income is attractive because it frees up your time so you can focus on the things you actually enjoy. If a doctor wants to earn the same amount of money and enjoy the same lifestyle year after year, they must continue to work the same number of hours at the same pay rate—or more, to keep up with inflation. Although such a career can provide a very comfortable lifestyle, it requires far too much sacrifice unless you truly enjoy the daily grind of your chosen profession. Additionally, once you decide to retire, or find yourself unable to work any longer, your income will cease to exist unless you have some form of passive income.

It’s been almost 10 years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good income stream online now. Financial Samurai has given me a purpose in early retirement. And, I’m having a ton of fun running this site as well! Here’s a real snapshot of a personal finance blogger who makes $150,000+ a year from his site and another $180,000 from various consulting opportunities due to his site.

Real estate is the obvious choice if you are going to make money on your money. I personally am not at the point where I can do any of this in a meaningful way BUT my parents are and they now own a couple homes outright and are collecting income from them to power their retirement income. It makes a lot more sense for anyone that has a chunk of cash sitting in the bank and are planning on slowly drawing from it because you technically still have all that money in a property (or multiple properties) and can sell them if you really need the lump sum of cash but you’ll earn great interest payments until you do that.
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