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Passive Income and the Holy Grail

It’s whispered about on blogs, referenced to endlessly on forums, and longed after by many a daydreamer stuck in the daily grind doldrums of their local cubicle. It’s championed by a number of individuals, some with good intentions at hear and others to sell snake oil to an unsuspecting public. Who wouldn’t want to be able to bring in money without any work involved, to be able to pursue whatever is they want without being bound by the daily need for money?

I know I do.

With that said, I’ll let you in on a little secret: passive income is out there. Unfortunately in order to obtain it you’re going to have to put in a lot of work or money initially.  In my own adventures, here’s what I’ve discovered as successful sources of passive income. Note that nothing is truly passive, you’ll always have to do some maintenance or check portfolios, but about as passive as it gets (for me).

Marketing: My brother and I currently have a niche site portfolio consisting of about 16 sites. Some have managed a Google Pagerank, some not, but all manage to rank for their particular targeted keywords and bring in various amounts of visitors. These visitors are valuable to Google, as visitors click on the locally displayed Adsense, and earn money for me. These can earn up to $2.00 per click, though it varies wildly. Those that have PR are also valuable to other advertisers, and these income sources combine to make a significant amount of passive income. Whether I’m there to update the site or not, visitors still come and occasionally click.

Investing: You don’t get much more passive than shoving your money in an income-producing investment vehicle and watching the dividend check roll out. Unfortunately you’ll need 2 things if you expect to make passive money in the long run: money and patience. Investing in dividend paying stocks and ETFs can reward you with dividends every 1-6 months, but you have to be willing to take your lumps in the stock market. In addition you’ll need seed money, and that can take time to build up.

Everyone has their own version of “passive” income. Some claim real estate is a viable option as well, but it’s not something that interests me due to the legal hassles of finding and keeping tenants and the fact that most landlords borrow to obtain the property their renting. It’s not for me, but it could be for you. The sources above are my own way of earning extra cash without having to constantly put in effort. They could work for you too.

1 Comment on “Passive Income and the Holy Grail”

  1. #1 leavingtheratrace
    on Mar 19th, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Real estate is the best passive income stream I know about. True there is a lot of work and money up front. But at the end of the day you own brick and mortar and the renters pay your mortgage, taxes, and insurance. If you’ve done your homework well then you also get to have some money deposited into your bank account monthly. So you build equity in the building, tax benefits (which are enormous) and the positive cash in the monthly deposits. But you have to manage the property (or get someone to do it for you.- Personally this is the WAY to go. People do it professionally. They get paid when you get paid. Less time for you to focus on it.) I have done it from 10,000 miles away from my properties. So if I can do it anyone can… It was the best financial decision I made by far. Eight years ago we had a break even net worth. Having kids forced the issue. Rather than flush more money away . (read stock market “investments”) I learned about this business and put a team of professionals together to help me succeed.

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