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11 Passive Income Ideas for 2024

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Updated February 18, 2024

Your job isn’t the only way you can make money. The cash stream from sources of passive income requires some upfront work, but once established, takes little to no time to maintain. While it can take some time to see the fruits of your labor pay off with passive income, earning money without regular work is possible.

Some common ways to earn passive income include investing and starting a business that can mostly run itself.

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How to make passive income

1. Real estate investing

Earning regular rental income means you’ll need to purchase, prepare and manage a property. Whether you’re renting it out for short- or long-term purposes, once established, can provide you with a predictable income source.

If you're interested in real estate investing but don't want to manage a property yourself, a platform like Realty Mogul may be worth considering. Realty Mogul is a real estate investment platform that allows individuals to invest in commercial real estate properties with as little as $5,000. Through the platform, investors can access a range of real estate investments, including rental properties, commercial buildings, and development projects. By investing in a diversified portfolio of properties through a platform like Realty Mogul, you can potentially earn rental income without the hassle of managing a property yourself.

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2. Invest in art or alternative investments

Investing some upfront cash can get you passive income since you won’t have to do much other than watch your investment value go up and down. Aside from securities such as stocks and bonds, consider alternative investments including physical metals and even fine art.

Don’t think you have enough money to invest in fine art? Platforms such as Masterworks allow you to buy shares representing an investment in the artwork—think Warhol and Banksy. You can vet the pieces on the website by looking at historical and average growth, and SEC documents.

Yieldstreet offers access to a wide range of private equity investments as well as a variety of other types of alternative investments.

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3. Sell designs or art online

Are you a photographer or love to draw? Consider setting up a website or on online marketplaces like Etsy where you can sell digital downloads of your artwork or photos. Platforms like Squarespace (use TIME10 promo code and get 10% off) make it easy for anyone to create a professional-looking website without needing extensive technical skills. Once you set it up, you’ll need to market your work to help sell more.

If you’re not sure how to facilitate the sale, platforms like Flippa can guide you through the process, including brokering the deal or helping with the legalities. Or, if you want to buy an existing business that’s already profitable and fairly passive, you can find one through Flippa or similar platforms.

4. Investing in a high-yield savings account or certificate of deposit (CD)

A certificate of deposit (CD) is basically a timed high-yield savings account. You put your money in for as little as 6 months and as long as 5 years. When you deposit money, the bank will offer a certain interest rate which will be deposited regularly into your CD account (usually monthly). CDs have become popular in recent months as CD interest rates have gone from years of essentially zero to up to 5% today. An excellent option would be the no penalty, 11 monthsCD offered by CIT which can yield as much as 4.90% ($1,000 minimum opening deposit, terms apply). Keep in mind that 4.90% gain on an 11 months CD worth $10,000 is $490.

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RELATED: High Yield Savings Accounts

5. Dividend stocks

If you purchase a dividend-yielding stock, you'll receive regular payments from the company. In most cases, companies will pay out dividends quarterly, and the more shares you own, the more dividends you'll receive. For those who don't want to pick individual stocks, you can consider dividend-yielding ETFs and mutual funds.

It’s worth noting that even high-yield stocks require a significant investment in order to produce enough income to live on. For example, the drug company AbbVie is considered a “dividend aristocrat” that has paid a steady dividend its whole life. It only pays around $5.00 per share per year in dividends. To make $40,000 per year with AbbVie stock, you will need to own 8,000 shares, which is worth $1,272,000 as of March 29, 2023.

Online brokerage platforms like J.P. Morgan Self Directed Investing can provide a user-friendly interface for buying and selling stocks, ETFs, and other investment options.

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It may be helpful to consult with a financial advisor to develop a well-rounded investment strategy that meets your financial goals and risk tolerance. SmartAdvisor by SmartAsset is one example of a financial advisor service that can connect you with qualified financial advisors in your area to provide personalized investment advice and guidance.

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6. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing happens when you share and recommend products to others and earn a commission each time someone purchases the product. Popular ways people share their affiliate links include social media, their website and email newsletters.

You may not need to invest a lot of money for this passive income stream, but it could take a lot of time and effort to get it started. People with fewer than 1,000 followers have a harder time convincing affiliates to add them as partners, and you make the most money when you have 50,000 followers or more. The influencer marketing blog HypeAuditor surveyed self-described influencers and found that micro-influencers (1,000 to 10,000 followers) earned on average $1,420 per month, and mega influencers with over 1,000,000 earned an average of $15,356 per month.

7. Peer-to-peer lending

This type of personal loan is where you (as a peer) lend money to borrowers. You’ll earn income in the form of interest paid back. To help reduce risk of borrower default, you can spread out the money you invest, or lend to others.

8. Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

You can get a less stressful, if less lucrative return on real estate investments with a real estate investment trust (REIT), which is a fund that invests in real estate and pays you a handsome dividend.

REITs don't require you to purchase and manage your own property. Instead you buy shares in companies that own commercial real estate such as apartment complexes, hotels, and office spaces. In return, you'll receive regular dividends. But like the dividend stocks mentioned above, you may have to make a considerable down payment to get enough return to live off of.

9. Rent out parking space

If you have a parking spot or space to park a car on your property that you're not using, you can cash in by renting it out to others. Some may want to park their car when commuting to and from work, or for the longer term (like if they're traveling). If you have the means, you can even consider renting out a space for others to park large vehicles such as RVs or boats.

10. Rent out a room in your home

Instead of purchasing and renting out a whole home, you can start small in real estate investing by renting out a room in your home. It could be for a short-term rental (like AirBnb), several months, or even as a space for someone to store their items.

11. Create an online product

You’ll most likely need an active and dedicated audience who will buy your products. You can create online courses, ebooks, or even workshops where you teach others a skill they want to learn.

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What is passive income?

Passive income is a type of regular income earned without working for an employer or job. It doesn’t require any active work where you’re receiving money in exchange for a service performed. Another way to think about passive income vs. active income is as rent vs. wages.

Once you put in the upfront investment — time, money, and energy — passive income takes little effort to maintain – you get paid for owning stuff. Your passive income can even earn its own money, such as through compound interest from your investments.

What passive income is not

Passive income is not a job or working that doesn't produce some type of asset that earns income. In other words, passive income isn't one where you have to be actively involved in order to earn money. It’s also not investments that won’t earn you any consistent returns.

How many income streams should you have?

You can have as many income streams as you want, but the right number for you will depend on your goals and current resources. If you don't have a lot of time to devote to establishing many passive income streams, it may make sense to only have a few until you can free up time. Or, if you have a limited budget, you may have to start small and grow your resources over time.

Yes, it takes a bit of work initially to be able to get regular passive income, but the effort can be worthwhile. When deciding on which passive income stream you want to pursue, think about how much time and money you can put into it right now. As you continue to grow your income, you may want to seek the help of a financial advisor to help you further manage your money.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can I make passive income with no money?

It is possible to make passive income with no money, but you may need to devote more time and effort for it to provide you with significant income.

How do I minimize my taxes on passive income?

You may be able to legally lower your taxable income by claiming any relevant expenses you put towards growing your passive income sources (such as qualifying business expenses), or putting some of the money earned towards tax sheltered accounts, like a traditional or SEP IRA.

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