PASSIVE INCOME: Definition, Types & Ideas in 2023

Passive income
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These days, having multiple sources of income is rather typical. It’s a means for some folks to make ends meet. Others see it as a method to increase their fortune. It can also help you feel more comfortable financially. If one source of income becomes unavailable, another can be used to replace the void. While the type of income earned via regular work is the most prevalent, there is also passive income. It is not a passive activity to create and manage passive income streams. This post was designed to help you understand passive income, types, ideas and lots more.

What is passive income?

Regular profits from a source other than an employer or contractor are considered passive income. Passive income, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), can originate from two sources: rental property or a business in which one is not actively involved, such as receiving book royalties or stock dividends.

“Many individuals believe passive income is about getting something for nothing,” says Todd Tresidder, a financial counsellor and former hedge fund manager. “It appeals to the ‘get-rich-quick’ crowd But, in the end, it still works. You simply provide the effort upfront.”

In practice, you may undertake some or all of the work upfront, but passive income frequently necessitates some additional work along the way. To keep the passive cash flowing, you may need to keep your product updated or your rental property well-maintained. However, if you stick to the method, it may be a terrific way to earn money while also providing you with some extra financial security.


Active income, passive income, and portfolio income are the three main types of revenue. Earnings from a rental property, limited partnership, or other business in which a person is not actively involved, for example, a silent investor are examples of passive income. Passive income proponents are often supporters of a work-from-home and be-your-own-boss professional lifestyle. In recent years, the term “passive income” has been thrown around a lot. It’s been used colloquially to describe money earned on a regular basis with little or no work on the part of the recipient.

The IRS defines passive income as either “net rental income” or “revenue from a business in which the taxpayer does not materially participate,” and it can include self-charged interest in some situations.

Types of Passive Income

Self-charged interest, rental properties, and enterprises in which the individual receiving the revenue is not a substantial participant are examples of passive income. In order for income to be classified passive, there are specific IRS requirements that must be fulfilled.

#1. Self-charged interest type of passive income

The interest income on a loan to a partnership or a corporation working as a pass-through organization (basically, a business designed to minimise the consequences of double taxation) by the entity’s owner can qualify as passive income. If the loan funds are employed in a passive activity, certain self-charged interest income or deductions may be classified as passive activity gross income or passive activity deductions, according to the IRS.

#2. Rental properties type of passive income

With a few exceptions, rental properties are considered passive income. Any rental revenue you earn as a real estate professional qualifies as active income. If you’re “self-renting,” which means you own a space and rent it to a corporation or partnership where you do business, that revenue isn’t considered passive unless the lease was signed before 1988, in which case you’re free from having that income considered passive. “It makes no difference whether the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement,” the IRS said.

#3. Material participation in a business type of passive income

If you invest $500,000 in a candy store with the understanding that the owners will pay you a portion of the profits, it is considered passive income as long as you do not participate in the management of the business in any meaningful way. Because you contributed “substantial participation,” your income might be considered active if you assisted the owners in managing the business.

The IRS has standards for material participation that include the following:

  • If you’ve dedicated more than 500 hours to a business or activity from which you’re profiting, that is material participation.
  • Your participation in an activity has been “substantially all” of the participation for that tax year, that is material participation.
  • If you’ve participated up to 100 hours and that is at least as much as any other person involved in the activity, that also is defined as material participation.

What are the Easiest Forms of Passive Income?

The term “passive income” refers to any source of money that doesn’t need any effort on your part to generate it, such as rent from rental properties, dividends from stocks, product sales (that require little to no effort), royalties, and so on. The point is that you can make money with little to no actual work on your part by engaging in one of these side gigs.

How Much Money Can I Earn from Passive Income?

There is a broad range of passive income sources. Some folks make a few dollars a day, while others pull in well over one hundred grand annually. It all comes down to the methods you pick to generate passive income and the amount of effort you put into them.

Passive income ideas

If you’re considering developing passive income ideas, take a look at these tactics and learn what it takes to be successful with each one, as well as the risks involved.

#1. Selling information products

Establishing an information product, such as an e-book or an audio or video course, and then kicking back as money flows in from the sale of your offering is a popular technique for passive income ideas. Sites like Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera can help you distribute and sell your courses.

Alternatively, you might use a “freemium model,” where you establish a following by providing free content and then charge for more thorough information or for individuals who want to learn more. This methodology could be used by language teachers and stock-picking guidance, for example. The free content demonstrates your competence and may entice people looking to advance their careers.

Opportunity: Information products can deliver excellent passive income ideas because you make money easily after the initial outlay of time.

Risk: “It takes a massive amount of effort to create the product,” Tresidder says. “And to make good money from it, it has to be great. There’s no room for trash out there.”

If you want to be successful, Tresidder says you need to develop a strong platform, advertise your items, and prepare for new things.

“Unless you are extremely lucky,” Tresidder continues, “one thing is not a business.” “Creating additional fantastic products is the best method to market an existing product.”

He claims that if you learn the business strategy, you can generate a steady stream of revenue.

#2. Rental income

Investing in rental houses is a great method to make money while you sleep. However, it frequently necessitates more effort than individuals anticipate.

According to John H. Graves, an accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) in the Los Angeles region and author of “The 7 percent Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement,” if you don’t take the time to learn how to make it a profitable endeavor, you could lose your investment and then some.

Opportunity: To earn passive income ideas from rental properties, Graves says you must determine three things:

  • How much return do you want on the investment?
  • The property’s total costs and expenses.
  • The financial risks of owning the property.

For example, if your goal is to earn $10,000 a year in rental cash flow and the property has a monthly mortgage of $2,000 and costs another $300 a month for taxes and other expenses, you’d have to charge $3,133 in monthly rent to reach your goal.

Risk: There are a few questions to consider: Is there a market for your property? What if you get a tenant who pays late or damages the property? What if you’re unable to rent out your property? Any of these factors could put a big dent in your passive income.

Economic downturns can sometimes be difficult. You may find yourself with renters who are unable to pay their rent, despite the fact that you still have a mortgage to pay. Alternatively, if salaries fall, you may not be able to rent your house for as much as you could previously. And, as a result of low mortgage rates, home prices have been rapidly rising recently, so your rents may not be able to pay your bills. As a result, you should consider these risks and prepare contingency plans to protect yourself.

#3. Affiliate marketing

Website owners, social media “influencers,” and bloggers use affiliate marketing to promote a third-party product by providing a link to it on their site or social media account. Although Amazon is the most well-known affiliate partner, other big brands include eBay, Awin, and ShareASale. Instagram and TikTok, in particular, have grown in popularity among those trying to build a following and market their products. This is one of the well-known passive income ideas.

You might also consider building an email list to help readers find your blog or to lead them to items and services they might be interested in.

Opportunity: The site owner receives a commission when a visitor clicks on the link and purchases something from the third-party affiliate. The fee might be anywhere from 3% to 7%, so you’ll need a lot of visitors to your site to make any money. However, if you can increase your audience or find a more lucrative sector (such as software, financial services, or fitness), you may make a lot of money.

Risk: If you’re just getting started, you’ll need to put in some effort to create content and generate visitors. Building a following can take a long time, and you’ll need to figure out the appropriate recipe for drawing that audience, which can take a long time. Worse, once you’ve used all of that energy, your audience may abandon you in favor of the next big influencer, trend, or social media platform.

#4. Flip retail products

Make use of online marketplaces like eBay or Amazon to sell items that you’ve found at a discount elsewhere. You’ll be able to arbitrage the difference between your purchase and sale prices, and you could even be able to establish a following of people who follow your offers.

Opportunity: You’ll be able to benefit from price discrepancies between what you can locate and what the average shopper can find. This could be especially beneficial if you have a contact that can assist you in obtaining reduced products that only a few other individuals have access to. Alternatively, you could be able to locate valuable items that others have neglected.

Risk: While internet sales can occur at any moment, making this technique passive. You’ll need to work hard to acquire a dependable supply of merchandise. Also, you’ll need a reliable supply of funds because you’ll have to invest money in every one of your products till they sell. You’ll need to be in the market to avoid paying too much for something. Otherwise, you can end up with things that no one wants or that require a significant price reduction to sell.

#5. Peer-to-peer lending

A peer-to-peer (P2P) loan is a personal loan by a third-party intermediary. Such as Prosper or LendingClub between you and a borrower. Funding Circle, which targets enterprises and offers bigger borrowing limits, and Payoff, which targets better credit risks, are two other players.

Opportunity: As a lender, you earn income via interest payments made on the loans. But because the loan is unsecured, you face the risk of default, meaning you end up with nothing.

To cut that risk, you need to do two things:

  • Diversify your lending portfolio by investing smaller amounts over multiple loans. At and LendingClub, the minimum investment per loan is $25.
  • Analyze historical data on prospective borrowers to make informed picks.

Risk: Mastering the metrics of P2P lending takes time, so it’s not a 100% passive income idea. And you’ll want to properly assess your potential borrowers. You must pay special attention to payments received because you are investing in many loans. If you want to increase your income, you should reinvest whatever interest you earn.

High-yielding personal loans are more likely to default during economic downturns. Therefore if COVID-19 or one of its derivatives causes greater economic suffering. These loans may default at higher rates than in the past.

#6. Dividend stocks

Shareholders in companies with dividend-yielding stocks receive a payment at regular intervals from the company. Companies pay cash dividends on a quarterly basis out of their profits, and all you need to do is own the stock. Dividends are paid per share of stock, so the more shares you own, the higher your payout.

Opportunity: Since the income from the stocks isn’t related to any activity other than the initial financial investment. Owning dividend-yielding stocks can be one of the most passive forms of making money. The money will simply be in your brokerage account.

Risk: The tricky part is choosing the right stocks.

Companies that pay out a large dividend, for example, may not be able to maintain it. Graves cautions that too many newcomers enter the market without first thoroughly researching the firm that is issuing the shares. “You have to look at each company’s website and make sure you understand their financial statements,” Graves says. “Invest two to three weeks in each company,” says the expert.

However, there are ways to invest in dividend-paying equities without devoting a lot of effort to research them. ETFs, or exchange funds, are recommended by Graves. ETFs are exchange funds (ETFs) that hold assets such as equities, commodities, and bonds and trade like stocks. This also diversifies your holdings, so if one firm reduces its dividend. It has little impact on the ETF’s price or income. Here are some of the top exchange funds to consider.

#7. Create an app

Making an app could be a method to put in the initial time investment and then reap the benefits over time. Your app could be a game or one that assists mobile users with a difficult task. Users will download your software after it is made public, and you will be able to earn money.

Opportunity: If you can build something that piques your audience’s interest, an app has a lot of potential. You’ll need to think about how to make the most money with your app. You may, for example, employ in-app advertisements or charge users a small price to download the software.

If your app becomes popular or you receive feedback. You’ll almost certainly need to add new features to maintain it current and popular.

Risk: The most significant risk here is that you will waste your time. There is a low financial risk if you invest little or no money in the project (or money that you would have spent anyway, such as on hardware). It’s a saturated business, though, and genuinely successful apps must provide users with a compelling value or experience. You’ll also want to make sure that if your app gathers any data. It complies with applicable privacy rules, which vary by country. Apps’ popularity can also be fleeting, which means your cash flow could dry up far sooner than you expect.

#8. REITs

A REIT is a fancy term for a firm that owns and manages real estate. REITs have a unique legal structure that allows them to pay minimal or no corporate income tax if the majority of their earnings are distributed to shareholders.

Opportunity: REITs, like any other firm or dividend stock, can be purchased on the stock market. You’ll get whatever dividend the REIT pays out. And the best REITs have a track record of increasing their payout on an annual basis. So you might have a steady stream of dividends over time.

Individual REITs, like dividend stocks, can be riskier than an ETF that has dozens of REIT stocks. A mutual fund provides quick diversification. And is typically safer than buying individual equities and you’ll still earn a good return.

Risk: You’ll need to be able to pick good REITs, just like you’ll need to be able to pick good dividend stocks. This means you’ll have to evaluate each of the firms you’re considering buying a time-consuming process. Even though it is a passive pastime, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might lose a lot of money. The price of this stock, like any other, might move a lot in the near term.

REIT distributions aren’t immune to economic downturns, either. If the REIT doesn’t earn enough revenue, it will have to reduce or remove its dividend. As a result, your passive income ideas can be hit right when you need them the most.

How do I Generate Passive Income?

The concept of passive income refers to the idea that you can invest time and/or money and then earn income without having to do any further labor. You will need to put in some work in the beginning to establish a source of passive income, but after that, you will be able to rely on that income in the years to come.

What is the easiest Source of Passive Income?

Purchasing dividend stocks might be the easiest way to generate passive income over time. Simply purchasing and maintaining ownership of these companies will result in quarterly dividend payments. Affiliate marketing is a great path to take if you want to develop a business that can offer you revenue even when it’s not being actively worked.

What is the Most Profitable Passive Income?

There is a wide variety of ways to earn passive income, and the method that is most lucrative for one individual might not be the most lucrative for another.

Investing in real estate, collecting dividends, and running a business are three of the most frequent ways to produce passive income.

How Many income Streams Should You Have?

When it comes to finding new ways to make money, there is no universal rule that applies in every situation. The number of sources of income you have should be determined by your current financial situation and your long-term financial objectives. But getting even a few is a step in the right direction.

Greg McBride, CFA, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, adds, “You’ll catch more fish with many lines in the water.” “Rental properties, income-producing assets, and business initiatives are wonderful ways to diversify your income stream in addition to the earned income created by your human capital.”

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t let the pursuit of a new passive income stream divert your attention from your current sources of revenue. It’s important to strike a good work/life balance and prioritize well.


What are 3 forms of passive income?

That sounds better. Passive income includes rental income, royalties and income from businesses or investment partnerships

What are the 3 types of income tax?

Discover the three basic tax types taxes on what you earn, taxes on what you buy, and taxes on what you own.

Is passive income ordinary income?

Just like income from a full-time job, income earned from passive activities is taxable. If you sell your interest in a passive income activity or sell a property that generates passive income, you are also responsible for taxes on any earnings you make.

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