The Best Forms of Passive and Semi-Passive Income

To start, *pure* passive income simply means “you are rich”. The only way to earn income without doing a thing (ever) is by having a large sum of money. The good news? There are hundreds of other ways to earn income in both a semi-passive or passive way. Specifically, you can create semi-passive streams that tail off, you can invest in higher risk passive income that *may* generate a return well in excess of inflation and you can always work part time to generate “semi passive” income. Below is an outline of streams of income (what we view as best to worst).

Semi-Passive Income

A Landing Page with No Updates: This is the best form of semi-passive income. It means you have a website that *does not need to be updated*! Now we have to repeat that phrase. You create and set up a website that sells a product and *does not need to be updated*. If it needs to be updated then it’s not longer in the tier one semi-passive income segment.

Any website that sells a product that does not require updating could include anything from: vapes, electronic cigarettes, retail clothing, protein powder, cosmetics, jewelry etc. Quite literally anything where you go to a website and the same products are being sold day in and day out. Importantly, the reason why this is the best form of passive income is because of the return profile.

Roughly speaking say it takes about a year to get enough traffic to earn $2,000 a month. This may not seem like much, however, if it only took a year to get done correctly you’re now getting $24,000 a year or the same value as having $600,000 (in a single year!). If you create two of these you can now focus on bigger ventures. This is the primary reason why we recommend online sales as a starting point. If you can just create two of them you’re now free to build something more meaningful and have the money to both live on your own or reinvest the money into paid traffic to a more important venture (important ventures are not semi-passive income as you’ll be grinding away to get past plateaus). In short, a landing page that converts is your best form of semi-passive income.

Management Income: While we prefer having other people manage rental properties for us, there is money in this game as well. If you want to become a landlord you’re going to be forced to commit time (interviewing new tenants, repairs etc.). This means it’s not quite passive income but the time spent can be *leveraged*. This is a key part of this semi-passive income stream. If you own properties with a high cap rate (meaning annual rental income over value of asset) then you can obtain some leverage to boost the returns. This is secondary to landing pages for a key reason… If you go down this route use the static income to cover the cost of the mortgage payments by 2x.

Lets assume you have $4,000 a month in semi-passive/passive income. This means you can take on a mortgage payment of around $2,000 a month (we take a conservative stance and assume your $2,000 payment includes everything). To keep everything simple, this means you can put $80,000 down to obtain $400,000 in real estate value. Assuming your interest rate on the debt is around 4%, your payment is going to hit right around $2,000 a month (we include home owners insurance, taxes and some wiggle room for repairs in this $2,000 estimate). Now you can sleep well knowing your payments are protected and can look for the best possible tenant giving up a few bucks (slightly lower rental income) for a stable semi-passive stream of income.

Updated Information Websites: Yes you can make some money from blogs, but the real money is in paid traffic product websites. We are including this as a form of semi-passive income because we’re sure everyone visits at least one website with updated information not classified as a blog. Let use Coupons.com as an example. Now certainly, no one here is wasting their time clipping coupons. But. Remember that there is a LOT OF MONEY in selling to the masses (hence why motivational seminars always work! Never ending supply of always broke dudes looking to get “amped up!” or “fired up!” or “Hyped!!”). The masses are always looking for ways to cut costs, so you can offer a website that does just that (like the coupons website).

Another good example of information based websites is credit card offerings or something like million mile secrets. No one wants to actually do the work and they correctly advertise with the slogan “Big miles. Small Money”. This barely makes our semi-passive stream since there is a lot of updating here. It is possible to run a smaller scale website like this without working a 40 hours per week. (not easy but doable).

Return Based Passive Income

Now we’re moving onto pure passive income. All of these forms of passive income will not require you to do anything. We’ll ignore you being forced to set it up (less than 4 hours) and assume that you do absolutely nothing going forward. There are many many ways to make money if you have money and that’s a good thing. The reason why this segment is separated out is you should be willing to lose some money if things go south. This is called “higher risk return” passive income versus “risk free” passive income. There is an important distinction because the return profile is higher and you shouldn’t bank on 100% of it being stable every single year.

Owning Properties, REITs and Private Equity Real Estate: Now the difference here is you’re handing over the keys. Unlike the management income where you do it yourself you’re going to outsource everything. You throw money at the property and hand the keys over to someone else to deal with it. This is not a risk-free situation given 1) potential debt load, 2) trust in property manager, 3) interest rate environment and 4) any one time hazard/maintenance issue that kills your yield for the year. We peg a solid return at somewhere around 6-9%. This includes a management company eating into your yield and of course the natural reserve fund for any maintenance issues.

The second option is a REIT which certainly has risk associated to it. While they do offer high yields (distributing 90% of earnings to shareholders), the REIT is exposed to 1) tax rate changes – you’re taxed based on your personal income bracket vs. dividend distribution rate, 2) reliance on debt, meaning more leverage is needed to boost returns, 3) real estate can be extremely location dependent and is prone to cycles just like we saw in 2008 and 4) since it’s an equity product and as a shareholder, we have to realize they can only re-invest 10% of net income since the rest is being distributed. Take a look at REITs and you’ll see they move around in ways un-related to the stock market.

The third option is working through a private equity firm such as a Blackstone, Lone Star or Brookfield. You’re locking up your money for a longer period of time (typically) but the returns should be notably higher as well (double digits). Now there is certainly a wide range of private equity transactions from low to extremely high risk… But. Locking the money up for longer periods of time is generally the theme here. Unless you’re in the Ultra Rich group, it’s one of your best bets to get exposure to commercial real estate (apartment buildings, offices etc.).

Overall, we’d say if you looked at this group in aggregate shooting for high single digit to low double digit returns is doable with the right background research. Many people make a handsome living in the real estate industry (there are even executives who read this blog and have emailed us!) and there is a clear reason for it.

High Yield Bonds: If you know your industry extremely well, you can start dabbling into higher risk bonds. We wouldn’t recommend going into the low end of junk bond territory unless you’re extremely savvy but you can begin looking at items with a yield closer to the BB range. We’d emphasize that high yield bonds are for a special type of person 1) a person who is looking for additional yield given that they are already financially independent or 2) a person with significant domain expertise that knows the industry’s cash flow dynamics like the back of his hand. If you’re in one of these two positions you can find yields that are around 6-8% or so (sometimes even 10% if you’re extremely savvy and know the space well!). Importantly, our view is to wait on this one since rates are likely going up a few more times, but it is good to get your hands into the mix now to figure out which corporate bonds are good investment vehicles.

Crowd Sourcing and Peer to Peer Lending: This is another interesting one since the risk profile is not well understood today. You’re essentially lending to other consumers or you’re piling in your money with other smaller scale investors into specific projects. This is a hot topic today given the advancements in social networks and trust amongst strangers online. The key to this investment vehicle is you’re making a call on the risk profile of the investment vehicle versus the printed sticker return. If the return is the same as a high quality corporate bond the only thing setting your idea apart is the assumed risk (a clear example would be Lending Club).

The basic items include: car loans, mortgages and credit card debt. You’re essentially acting as the bank and again, we think the real differentiator is the spread on the assumed risk you’re taking on. The yields are somewhere in the mid-high single digits.

Dividend Paying Stocks and the S&P 500: The last bucket is another one for long-term investors that we have already spoken about in the past. Buying index funds that mirror the S&P 500 (ticker: VOO) or dividend yielding stocks (ticker VYM). You’re taking a long-term view and are willing to take the sharp downturns during an equity market pull back. The main risk here isn’t that the stock market will stop going up over the long-term… the real risk is emotional distortion when the selling begins. The vast majority do not understand what it means to invest in an index fund as you’re assigning equal weight to the same old set of 500 companies. To explain this in extremely basic terms “If everyone decides to buy the same 500 companies every month is that an efficient market?”. The answer is of course not. Sure companies move in and out of the S&P 500 but everyone should see the point, with more money in this strategy the downturns will be more severe. Related: Explaining The Warren Buffet Passive vs Active Bet

Protection Based Passive Income

Government Bonds: This is the most basic form of protection based Passive income. Specifically, protection based passive income means you’re only protecting the principal values (more or less). If you generate a low single digit yield of 3-4% or so, you’re essentially getting nothing back once the year is done. You’re taxed at your normal tax rate and on top of that you have to strip out inflation of somewhere around 2% per year or so. We don’t think inflation is that low (1-2%) so we’ll go ahead and say all 3-4% of it just goes to stave off inflation. Boring stuff guys. This is to be used for asset protection. Instead of putting money into a savings or checking account where the value is being eaten up by inflation every year, you can throw that safety net amount into government bonds instead. No we don’t own these today.

Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPs): Now in theory, many of you read the prior paragraph and said “well buying TIPs will protect me the best from inflation” this is certainly fair in practice. The problem is the long-term view on allowing an instrument to be pegged to what the government says inflation will be! Since we don’t even believe the current inflation estimates we wonder if the future adjustments to inflation numbers every single year will really make any sense. If you’re interested in protecting assets and have a more positive view on the assumed rates of inflation on a year to year basis then these instruments may be useful for you (ticker: TIP). No we don’t own these today.

Certificate of Deposit: A whopping 2% return! Honestly that is where the higher end CD rates are and if you want to track them yourself then you can check out bankrate.com they have a solid overview of the interest rates. Notably, the one benefit of CDs is your ability to stagger. This means you set aside one chunk of money, lets say one 5-year CD at 2% and then every year you buy the same one. This way once you’ve done this four times, you’re constantly getting back the investment and the return as a safety precaution. We do stagger CDs at a rate of 4 months of annual income expenses. This means once you have a healthy financial portfolio you have about 2 years worth of income earning a small return but peace of mind that every single year you can take a 6-month living expense hit and not worry about it. We think this is an extreme safety precaution and it can be done with much less in a money market account.

Money Market Accounts: If you’re not ready to set aside 2-years worth of income like a pack rat then you can also go down the money market angle. Nerdwallet.com gives a solid overview of the money market options and also provides basic overviews of credit cards, mortgages, loans and insurance. We don’t operate with a money market account but we’d use this as a “worst case scenario” area for safety. If you’re in this camp, 3-months of savings is likely good enough because you should be reinvesting thousands upon thousands of dollars into your real business.

Concluding Remarks

Your entire net worth and income stream is no different than a sales funnel or building a pyramid. We’ll say it once and we’ll say it again. You’re either building someone else’s dreams or you’re building your own. With that you should be looking at the framework as follows:

1) You build a business and put every cent into making it grow whenever you see a risk reward opportunity that favors you

2) During your free time you build a few landing pages to sell products that are known to be high quality and get them to generate a few thousand dollars a month

3) If you struggle to do step 2, move to a managerial or information based product where you’re constantly updating, it’s a grind but all the money is being invested in item 1 where you’re looking to buy traffic

4) With excess money flowing in, start building out a recurring income portfolio of “return based” passive income. We have no major preference at this time (we used to prefer dollar cost averaging) between the four items but we do recommend a mix of at least two of the ideas

5) Depending on your risk profile look at protecting a couple of years of income by investing into low risk passive income items.

There you have it every important as it relates to passive income into a single post.

Importantly, for those that are serious about developing multiple streams of income and a high net worth, we can recommend Personal Capital. The Company offers *free* software tools with the following four key features: 1) ability to avoid losing money by tracking all fees associated with an investment product allowing you to choose the best possible fund for your future, 2) portfolio analysis where your risk profile is stacked up against your current age and retirement goals, 3) in addition to these free tools, you can also track your net worth and path to becoming a millionaire and 4) when you hit $100K in networth you’ll receive a free one time consultation with an investment professional at Personal Capital. After linking up all of your accounts you’ll be able to sit back and watch as your net worth goes up and your fees remain minimal over the next several years. We strongly believe that Personal Capital is the premier personal finance software tool when compared to its competitors such as Mint.

Comments

  1. SailorTerry says

    Real Estate in 2017, I am monitoring the interest rates waiting for it to go up high enough to drive prices back down to what should be a more reasonable valuation for property in my area. My side business is in manufacturing and fabrication. The equipment I own and the small warehouse that it is in I own outright. If I could do it over I would have chosen a business that required less capital to start up, but having no debt on the business allows me to outlast other business in the same field that are being forced to sell.

    A peace of property has come on to the market where it is listed as residential and zoned for commercial use, acquiring this property will allow my operation to expand to a bigger building, but I will be acquiring debt in the process, which I don’t like. The price of the property is listed at about 14% higher than what I think it is worth, it is currently a buying frenzy where I am at. This a unique situation as not being listed as commercial allows for better lending terms and interest, typically commercial property will have to be all cash or 5 yr loan amortized over 20yr with a balloon payment at the end.

    In anticipation of interest rates going up I am looking to cash out on my old property and acquire this one and relocate my business. I am looking to finance this property as a 30yr mortgage so that I can have a larger cash reserve if lending becomes tight going forward. The income from the business can cover the monthly cost of the mortgage and I really only need it to buffer me for 6 years and I can pay off the property in cash at the rate that I am saving from my primary job, but there will always be there uncertainty of not having the job although I’ve been employed for 12yrs now.

    With all this recent talk about building a business and taking the appropriate risk this will allow my business to grow and better utilize my down time as my home and business will be on the same property. However if interest rates go up enough I can see that I will stand to loose value on this property in the short term by paying 14% too much for it initially. My intent is not to flip this property in the short term. Can I justify this move to acquire debt when I nearly have none? The business generates income as it is but I am not working it as aggressively as I could be. I am still forced to commute from my apartment to the shop if I choose to take on work. I am also reaching the limits of the available power at my shop keeping me from running multiple CNC machines at the same time, it will be an added cost to upgrade utilities at my current shop as oppose to it already being adequate at the new property.

    The outcome will be that I have more cash on hand, acquire debt on a building on a 30yr mortgage, but be able to run my business more aggressively. What are your thoughts.

    P.S. would have asked this on FB in the 30min window but don’t spend my days on FB. Glad to see the string of new post and waiting on the book.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Tough to call since we don’t know your business model. We’d say if the debt looks servicable it should be fine.

      What happens if everything goes down by 50% (all your income) for 1 full year? That’s usually the worst case scnario. If you can survive that type of hell it’s probably good to go.

      Again this is something to talk to someone in your sector about. Maybe someone else can chime in the comments (have some smart people reading here!)

      You’re already successful so run a “worst case scenario” if the stress will be bearable then you’re good to go. That’s up to you though!

      • SailorTerry says

        Debt is serviceable but after analyzing it more I don’t want to be exposed to a dip in real estate prices that will leave my money tied up too long. Overpriced is overpriced to me, I am not an expert real estate speculator by any means, I just do not want to get caught up in the investment strategies of “normal people”. I’ve been catching up with old friends and I think their influence got into my subconscious thinking. If the market goes in their favor I will get the “told you so”…I’ll just smile and nod.

        Thanks for the reality check and I am going to stick to my principles, not going to keep debt on the books for more than 5 years. I will continue to search for property to expand my business but must fit my turnkey criteria, no compromises. Buying real estate was a by product of my business and capital is better utilized for new equipment, infrastructure improvements and client acquisition. ROI on my machines is calculated by the hours I keep them running, not how much floor space they occupy.

        Will wait out the residential real estate market as I am typically unaffected by mortgage interest rates as I never really have the intent to carry a debt on the books for the entire 15-30yr term. Leave that for the lazy socialist liberals that want to build wealth by leveraging up their means…the world still needs loyal employees who are debt ridden. Don’t let them know that they enjoy the luxuries and freedom that capitalism built.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        The fact that you’re okay with being “wrong” ie prices go up tells you its probably out of the risk wheel house for one reason or another for you.

        That’s actually a good psychological point you highlight, if you’re *unwilling* to see it go up (missed opportunity) then you’re likely in the right risk to reward wheelhouse.

        Interesting to see how you came to your conclusion! Sounds like not quite worth it to you!

  2. says

    Between the FB posts, tweets and the website you guys are killing it with knowledge. I look forward to the book for my library.

    In your rental property example $2k a month = $24k noi = 6 cap on a $400k value. Not bad but this is most likely a single tenant property (in the ny/nj market) and most likely a condo in a nice community. if you can’t afford a larger multi tenant property buy a nice condo as an investment.

    If you can get into a larger property, managing it is a time suck, especially if the tenants know how to get in contact with you. Always say you are the property manger and never the landlord.

  3. Roark says

    If you’re young with a high NW ($1-2M) but turubulent and competitive biz model – what would you gravitate towards? Tons of energy and don’t want to stop. Under 25

    Currently involved in a private deal and a real estate deal with 75 percent of other cash liquid.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Stick in the semi-passive camp. Create a few boring sites LPs that don’t require shady sales tactics (we’re guessing you’re an affiliate cloaking?)

      If everything is clean you should find a more boring niche to build a couple of stable sites. Then you may want to actually go the private equity route since you have a high risk tolerance and a long time horizon.

      Finally, to offset your “overly ambitious” downside (going all in and losing everything). Stagger out at least a year or two of living expensss into CDs. Don’t sit them in cash at least offset the inflation in a worst case scenario situation.

      • Roark says

        Thanks for the reply!

        I’m going to setup a CD this week and then work on some semi passive investments.

        Yea my current biz strategy is shady. It would be nice not to have anxiety about it. Also not a long term biz.

  4. Pds says

    What’s your take on Selling Stock Options as a means of semi-passive income? Focusing on risk-defined strategies with high probabilities of profit. Doesn’t take much time to manage. It’s a model similar to running an insurance company.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      That’s semi passive since you have to essentially redo them every time they expire and watch them to see if you should get out and re-issue

      Buffet has recommended selling long-term puts on the s&p. If you want to write options we suggest owning the underlying shares so you don’t go broke one day if it moves in a big way through the strike.

  5. YM says

    Awesome post!

    The one most familiar with is “A Landing Page with No Updates:”. Solid non-paid traffic websites generating consistent $2k/month would be awesome to cover living expenses.

    As you know, if you bring paid traffic into the equation $2K or even $10k a *day* is not unheard of, but this is a whole new ball-game, technically involved, a whole new risk profile, and *lot* less semi-passive (in the beginning).

    Need to learn more about management income and jump in…

    Keep these types of posts coming! And expand on the landing page strategies!

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Yes you can that’s for a real business. The biggest mistake is going down the shade route full blast and running out of steam.

      Set up a quality site with minimal work that sells a high quality item first. Crete a good product then put on the traffic hose.

      • YM says

        Assume by shade you mean all out “cloaking” stuff which is a complete grind and very easy to burn out. The appeal for this is obviously the high margin.

        Legit products even if they are “jokes” sold to the masses can still make tons of money via a landing page, just less margin. Also a great way to learn to do the online landing page thing for your own product.

        Interested to hear, though, why it’s the *biggest* mistake thought and if one of you maybe went through that.

  6. says

    What are your thoughts on selling options against stock that you hold over the long term? IE. Own 100 shares KO, sell monthly or quarterly calls above the stock price. Obviously the downside would be if the stock blows above the strike and you miss out on some of the gains or tanks and you take a loss on the position. Otherwise, you get monthly/quarterly installments for owning shares plus dividends depending on the company.

  7. Kevin says

    What are your thoughts on buying an existing site / online business instead of starting one from scratch? I’ve seen them sell anywhere from 20-35x monthly profit. Seems like an easier way for a beginner with some capital to get started.

  8. WalkFastTalkSlow says

    Well at the moment I’m kicking myself @ your first topic…

    My main source of income is writing long-form sales pages on Upwork in SaaS & diet niches…while trying to build passive income on niche sites (pain in the ass)

    Never even thought about creating just a single landing page & relying on organic traffic.

    Gonna go ahead and assume the landing pages will be targeting niche products instead of the masses seeing as would be too hard to rank/get traffic in high competition markets…

      • RedKurrant says

        I have recently started copywriting (direct response letters) and am focusing on that until I can think if a business idea. With regards to creating affiliate landing pages, what’s the best strategy to use?

        I had a quick google and I found the following strategy:

        – Create a niche blog and associated landing page
        – give away a product related to the blog for free (eg ebook) and advertise on landing page, in order to gain email addresses
        – Send the new prospects a 7-day course related to the niche, in order to gain their trust
        – After all that, start to blog about other products and create associated landing pages

        What are your thoughts on this strategy?

  9. YM says

    For this specific type of site here that generates ~$2K/month —-> “Roughly speaking say it takes about a year to get enough traffic to earn $2,000 a month.”

    Are you assuming the general traffic source is SEO?

      • J says

        In terms of selling other peoples’ products that work, would you recommend most focus on these static seo lp’s, or would you also recommend getting into the paid traffic affiliate sales like the guys on STM?

        Sounds like there’s more than enough time to do both, but mainly wondering what your thoughts are in starting in the latter. From what I’ve read, the typical route for beginners would mostly be getting warmed up in offers like mobile pop sweeps in 3rd tier countries, buying high volume low quality traffic.

        And thank you for all you do, been on a roll lately! Each new post is like Christmas day for me as a kid.

  10. Robert says

    Hot damn it’s about time you guys opened up a little bit about receiving questions. Allowing a time constraint and requiring that they specific to the topic at hand is doing a major service to a lot of us frequent visitors that never post.

    I’m loving the frequency of posts as of late, especially in this rapidly changing economic environment. Most other financial websites offer such shit advice. I trust you guys and Financial Sam.

    This shit is gold. I try to tell some of my other friends about it, but of course only the winners pay attention. I of coursed have distanced myself from most of the others.

    33. Loan offficer at a Fortune 1000 mortgage company making money hand over fist. Regularly being pulled into special revenue generating projects and lately being pulled into meetings with the executives and VPs to spread knowledge fodatass. Think I have a future in consulting the way things have been going lately.

    Some of you young guys may want to look into getting into the mortgage game. It’s still lucrative even now because people want that borrowed money to pay off debt and will gladly pay for it. It’s a career for hustlers and doesn’t require a degree, just some licensing.

    Working like a madman on building net worth to obtain financial independence. I don’t spend nearly as much time on the semi passive income as I should. I like my return based passive income because I ain’t gotta do a damn thing about. Have a lot stored in cash due to the nature of my business, so I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it. Thought about rental properties, but I don’t want to deal with tenants. I appreciate the input about CD stacking. I’ve known about it for a while, but your insight on these investment vehicles is valued and appreciated. Time to pull the trigger.

    I’ll be buying your book. Hurry the hell up with it already.

    Keep up the good work.

    This shit is gold.

    Stay sharp. Keep hustling.

      • Robert says

        Portfolio is already loaded with higher risk investments, mostly equities and index funds. I have the cash as a hedge in case of loss of employment or reduction in value. I figured the CDs would at least put my cash to work to keep up with inflation. I’ll consider looking into some of the riskier return based investments you guys suggested.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        Ahh okay then you’re fine. Definitely need some cash aside if things hit the fan. Probably best to do short term CD staggering then go longer as interest rates tick up this year so you’re not locked into a low rate for 5 years.

      • Robert says

        Boom. That’s what I was looking for, thank you. I’ve noticed that CD rates have been increasing slowly and your prior post indicates that I should watch these and other fixed income opportunities closely. Didn’t want to throw $25 – 40K into a 5 year CD knowing full well that I could have put portions of it into higher yielding accounts over time.

        CapitalOne seems to be offering the highest rates, though I like Ally’s history of being a reputable CD stacking company. They even have a nice CD stacking tool on their site.

        Are there ways to avoid paying taxes on the income generated whenever the CD comes due? Like automatically rolling the earnings into the next CD? I’ll read up on this, just want your insight.

        I’ve also seriously considered P2P lending too, though I need to do a lot more research. I analyze people’s credit every day, so it’d be nice to play banker myself and collect interest. I just hate the feeling of being owed money and a lot of the people that need money the most are the ones least likely to pay it back.

        I think I may also look into purchasing condos in downtown Dallas eventually. I just don’t like the idea of having to deal with tenants and having my money tied up. I like liquidity/semi-liquidity. The market is strong out here though, properties values are moving up, and I’m sure I’ll always have a tenant.

        Thanks again for your help. Glad you guys are open to taking questions, even if it’s only for a short window. This much more valuable that sitting across the desk from a dude at Fidelity who only makes $45K a year. Hard to take advice from a guy without much money in the bank.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        1) nothing we’re aware of to avoid the interest taxes, personal income is terrible hence emphasis on a biz for deductions & lower taxes!
        2) with your background p2p makes a lot of sense, you do it everyday already! Maybe once you put a small amount away start looking into it more seriously if you’re uncomfortable giving the keys to a home to someone else

        Laughed out loud at financial advice from dudes making $50K a year… sad!

        Yes we’re going to push this blog harder this year so expect more, just can’t burn every waking minute doing Q&As as we’re sure you understand.

        Overall, sounds like p2p makes more sense once you set your “worst case” money aside

  11. Rudiger says

    For everyone asking about staggering/laddering CDs, it might be helpful to work through an example. Let’s say your initial investment is $250k. You divide it equally ($50k tranches or equivalent to $5k expenses per month) into five CDs: 12mo, 2yr, 3yr, 4yr, and 5yr. After the first year, you can reinvest your money in a 5yr CD and continue to earn a greater return on your long-term CDs.

  12. TaxMan says

    If setting up a biz to do the landing pages, would you register it as an LLC or an S-Corp? S-Corp seems to be the way to go because of the tax advantage.

  13. Rich says

    Don’t usually tell my goals but doing online business right now, to hit financial independence with passive income by the end of the year (20yo now). Great timing for this post.

    Anyway, I was wondering how you’d turn copywriting into some consistent passive income, aside from landing pages?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Nothing we can think of, sell a video course on how to do copy writing

      Question doesn’t add up, if you’re good at copy you can make good unchanging sites that generate money so… answered your own question!

  14. Nixon says

    First off, much respect to WSPs for a great March so far! There have been some outstanding posts this month that only leave me craving more for Efficiency. This is the only website I visit regularly as their info is legit and there’s too much money in the world to numbingly flip through Facebook for hours every day.

    I can’t speak as much to the online business aspect yet (I’m starting to work on that one), but feel like I am a good source of knowledge on some of the other topics.

    I’ll start with rental real estate as I have a large holding of properties. I spend maybe 10-15 hours a month on a large portfolio thanks to the help of a property manager. I routinely get cash on cash returns of *at least* 10-20%, with minimal work (relatively speaking).

    I’ve already read a couple comments about not wanting to manage tenants. I hear this often from friends as well who ask me about getting into the real estate game. You know what my response is? If you don’t want to manage tenants, you don’t want success bad enough. I know within one minute if someone has the mindset to be a successful real estate investor or not, and this is the most common red flag example. The second most common red flag? Are you willing to spend your Saturday checking out and analyzing deals rather than watching the NCAA tournament from 12pm to 12am? No? You don’t want it bad enough.

    Back to dealing with tenants…hire a property manager. Yes you will pay money for the service and it will hurt your returns, but if you buy a property correctly you will be able to afford it and still make plenty of money. My avg rent per month on my units is around $800 and managers typically charge between 5-10% depending on your scale. If you’re just starting out and paying $80 ($800/rent x 10% mgmt. fee), that’s the best $80 you’ll ever spend because you don’t have to deal with tenants, contractors, or accounting. Side note: don’t choose a property manager solely based on the mgmt fee. You can find a manager for 6% ($48/month in my example vs $80) and save a few bucks, but the wrong property manager can cost you *much more* than that in excess repairs or lost income. Find a manager who is going to look out for your best interests as an investor, not just someone looking to increase their revenue.

    Here’s the deal I’m working on today. 16 units priced around a 10% cap rate for $500K (that means around $50K of cash flow a year *after* paying a manager, but before debt service). The lending terms I went with on my last deal was 75% LTV at 4.5% using 25 year am. That would cost me about $25K of debt service a year on this deal, leaving $25K of the original $50K cash flow. I’d put up $125K of equity and end up with a 20% cash on cash return on a semi-passive basis. I’ll do these deals all day long.

    You can also get into REITs as WSP suggests as it’s a great place to get passive yield. Your best bet is to DCA into VNQ, although be mindful at the moment as REITs tend to underperform in a rising interest rate environment thanks to the bond-like income. Dividends will be taxed at your ordinary rate vs. qualified rate, but netting 66% of VNQ at 4.7% is higher than 85% of VYM at 2.8%. Check out PFF as well for another high yielding (5.7%) ETF that isn’t related to real estate.

    As for peer lending, I’ve been invested at Prosper since 2007 and I’ve averaged 5.8% returns since, although I auto-invest into less risky credit grades. You’re taxed here at ordinary income rates and the loans are unsecured, so I don’t allocate a lot of capital to this asset class.

    • YM says

      Thank you for this post!

      Any books or resources that you’ve vetted / recommend for newb to RE looking to buy their first rental property in terms of finding/analyzing and vetting good deals?

      Know there are thousands of books out there, but only a handful are probably worthwhile.

      thanks again

      • Nixon says

        There are a thousand real estate books out there and just about any of them will get you a decent base of knowledge.

        BUT

        Your best education by far (and it isn’t even close) is to get out there and do your first deal.

      • Houston Portfolio says

        Hey YM, I’m in the same position as you brother.

        Unless someone on here with more experience thinks otherwise, I think http://www.biggerpockets.com is a great way to get the break down of how real estate investing works and how to choose your first investment property.

    • Ambitious says

      Wow. Thank you so much for this comment. Im definitely getitng into real estate as my next semi-passive investment.

      • ownmyhood says

        Another thing I’ll add is, if you want to get into owning income property, don’t be the guy who buys a duplex in order to “live in one unit and let the other unit pay my mortgage” as a side hustle. If you’re going to get into this game plan on going big or not wasting your time (scale remember).

        Real estate is a complex endeavor that involves quite a few areas of expertise (sales, advertising, legal, building trades, tax accounting etc). You don’t have to be a master of all of them, but must be at least competent enough to judge whether someone else who you’re paying is doing a good job. Learning all this takes a lot of time and doing so just to “pay your mortgage” is foolish.

      • RE Guy says

        I know personally someone who started with something similar to the “buy a duplex and live in unit while the other pays my mortgage” strategy, only he bought it well enough to much more than cover the mortgage (which is a standard you should absolutely set for yourself), and he bought a multi-unit, I believe 4. Some people don’t know this, but up to 4 units of pure residential still qualifies for residential mortgages, one commercial downstairs one residential upstairs (most common) is commercial, 5 units of residential and up is commercial.

        The main point of ownmyhood that I agree with 100% is not just buying a property to pay your mortgage, but buying a place to live in it and have it as an investment can be done all sorts of ways (including renting rooms, always legal if you live there to my knowledge a.k.a. Airbnb before there was an Airbnb), and for those who are really strapped for cash, that means you can even get a single FHA loan for a few % down.

    • ownmyhood says

      Also a real estate investor (I own over 100 apartments) in most cases I would recommend training and hiring your own property manager over a paying a management company. While the short term costs in time and money may be greater (training, setting them up with office, tools etc), in the long term you’re not going to pay for someone else’s overhead and the needs of your tenants/buildings will always take preference.

      As an added bonus, you can also make money managing other’s properties if you want to get in to that game.

      • Nixon says

        Spot on comment. You just have to get to the level of scale where you can bring management in house.

    • RE Guy says

      $800 a month I consider “low income” (For a single family home. Not necessarily for a unit in a multifamily, i.e. 800 for studio or one bedroom with a single occupant is certainly not low income from my perspective). On managing tenants, the lower the income the greater the chance of them defaulting or them running a scam.

      So A) basically with tenants like this you have to play the father figure and train them to act like a normal adult by being firm + fair, thinking out your policies ahead of time and enforcing them objectively (even when it means you come out behind, even when you have to be “tough” or “mean”). And B) you need to screen them a lot harder than the middle incomes, the college students (where you just get their parents to guarantee anyway), or the higher income upscale places. That screening to prevent scams and possible evictions is the big skill you need there and also the one that is hardest to develop.

      That would be the single skill I’d like to see in a competent property manager as well as the discipline to filter out the bad ones, however much extra work that takes, to get the good ones. Also, maintaining final authority to allow or reject a tenant and keeping your eye on the process of putting a new one in is a great idea. And I like to think of that 5%-10% as a sort of “growth tax” where you could be doing that low income work yourself or you could be paying someone else that so that you free up your time for growth opportunities a.k.a. buying new places.

      Just an aside on the NCAA comment, someone said a famous basketball player’s name to me in conversation today, as if I was supposed to know, and I had to ask himself to repeat himself twice haha.

  15. DeadEnd60ker says

    What do you guys recommend doing to get started on setting up that landing page/learning copywriting from scratch?

  16. LifeIsJustGettingStarted says

    Graduated last December and moved to largest city in the country (not in US). Making 2.5x median income, live backstreet work, 15 min walk from main city nightclubs.
    Plenty of free time that I’d be using for improving full time job (Tech). Now, established, started reading Finch Sell’s A Guide to Affiliate Marketing. What is the best way to start off in affiliate marketing (assuming I have very limited knowledge of marketing): 1) Create basic LPs for gaming vertical and analyze its data or 2) Set up data collector and based on the data choose demographics to target with LPs?

  17. LL says

    Great post gents. You’ve metioned before theres only 2 types of markets; High wealth or the Masses.

    When it comes to Affiliate landing pages, which market do you guys prefer to cater to and why?

  18. Brian says

    I am currently from a major city that is 2 hours aways from NYC, the housing market here are way cheaper than the nyc housing market, so it is pretty good and affordable to invest in. I am considering moving to NYC to start a career track with a major tech company (I currently work in Engineering, but am planning working my way up into executive level where the pays are way more), you mentioned that being a landlord requires time for interviewing tenant and repairs, would you think it would be doable and manageable for me to working in nyc while owning a rental unit in my current city while I working in NYC?

    I know that places in Manhattan or Brooklyn are just way to expensive for real estate investment unless you have significant capital. Do you think areas like Jsersey city, west new york, queen etc would have more opportunities for real estate investing?

    Alternatively, I was thinking of purchasing empty lots in my current city and re-selling them at a later at a higher price? what do you think?

    I apologized if this is too many questions in go, much appreciate you for doing this.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Far too many questions. We are not going to give you this much advice sorry. Someone else can help!

      There are real estate opportunities in every single city in the world so… boil it down to something simple and we’ll answer we’re not holding hands through 3 paragraph questions my man!

      If we answer questions like this it’ll become a disaster like the Q&A page we used to have.

  19. Anthony says

    What’s your take on hard money lending on real estate, secured business loans (e.g. equipment) etc.? In my market hard money for flipping houses costs double digits plus an origination fee.

  20. learner says

    The landing page sounds like a great idea but how do have your page consistently rank at the top of google searches for that particular product?

  21. Mike says

    Real Estate piqued my interest about five months ago. I read several books on the topic and closed my first deal on a Triplex as of March 1st.

    A concern many people have is vacancy.

    My answer to that so far? High quality presentation sells itself.

    I hired a small marketing firm in my town to do professional photos, aerial drone shots, and photoshop to enhance the colors. It only cost $200. My realtor friend posted it on MLS which automatically lists it on numerous sites (ex. Zillow). The first unit rented out one day after closing. I’m currently three weeks in and the second lease will be signed tomorrow. So far out of five leads two will close. Based on the interest, I project 100% occupancy easily before the first mortgage payment is due. Additionally, I’m doing this while deployed overseas. It just takes a few scanned papers, some phone calls, and a friend to show the property here and there.

    It should cash flow a little over $500 a month after the mortgage payment.

    Currently looking for my next bigger deal so I can talk the big numbers like Michael Porfirio Mason 😉

    For other newbies, I second the recommendation about BiggerPockets. And once you know some of the basics, I reccommend Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur by Jim Randel. Look him up on YouTube.

      • Mike says

        Biggerpockets has a book called The Book on Real Estate Investing With No and Low Money Down.

        All said and done, sale price of $254k and only about $1,500 of my own cash put into this investment so far.

        Negotiate for the seller to pay as much of the closing costs as possible. Preferably all of them.

      • RE Guy says

        I think biggerpockets can be a good resource for beginners, and possibly if you have some good knowledge already a resource for looking deeper into specific topics. For example I read a thread there on construction of a full home from a lot, which is more than I do (I renovate with at least four walls and a roof already in place), so it was interesting to see something tangential to my own knowledge base.

        The issue with it is that it’s got a whole host of contributors of various levels of competency, different background and goals etc. I know one contributor personally, from a local real estate group, and know his information to be good, so I enjoyed reading his posts. However it is easy to get confused or get misinformation in the form of biases you may not recognize as a beginner from there.

        I do agree with getting their beginner’s guide to real estate, not because I have read it myself, but because I know the person who wrote it called the system of “buy, renovate, rent, refinance”, he says “BRRR”, which he correctly stated was something many investors have been doing for a while and he was just creating an acronym for easy understanding. In other words, if you treat it as a summary of various concepts and a jumping off point for either further study or just to give you a basic framework to use while you go out and start taking action then it is good.

        Of course, as Nixon said and I agree, your best education is your first deal. In fact I took a young guy out the other day to help him put together a buy on his first deal, which I consider slightly under my threshold, but where he’ll still make money, and explained to him “This deal is worth an additional 10k-20k because you’ll be getting your education out of it. Like as if you were paying a college for a semester of classes on real estate.”

        I would also just assume that with the website as you gain more experience you’ll see the concepts as basic or understand certain biases, so not to give it too much weight. A specific example, the writer of that book (if I recall) had been discussing using someone to do certain repairs and spoke against it, while another contributor (who had many more units) said “I could see if you already have your portfolio and are just trying to maintain cash flow, then it is good, but if you want to keep building it, you’re better off paying someone to do it and looking for your next property.” which I think aligns well with Nixon and my perspective. And also, if you are just starting out and don’t have a background in the trades, it could also possibly be useful (this is another point of dispute among some people), which may be in line with ownmyhood.

        Personally I screwed up some of my early renovations by doing things myself, to the point where I would get calls from tenants much later saying “That contractor you got was a real asshole, he did xyz and it was messed up” (not knowing I was the one who did it) to which I responded “Don’t worry, I’ll never, ever have him do construction work for me again!” haha.

    • Anonymous says

      Biggerpockets is amazing. Just spend 1 day reading then get to work, though. Easy to get sucked into the knowledge trap and continue to think you need to read and learn more.

      There’s a few rule of thumbs and a few spreadsheets to play with, then you need to get with a realtor and hit the streets to find deals.

      Took me 3 months of looking, but by then you’re ready to put an offer in and get things rolling. You should know the neighborhood you’re looking at, put the figures into a spreadsheet, and then close the deal.

      First time home buyers for non-commercial properties barely need any cash down so you’re more liquid. Cash on cash returns are great, as long as you cover mortgage, insurance, PMI, and taxes with a little buffer for maintenance, you’re golden.

      Get with your accountant to understand the tax benefits of rental properties and you’ll be looking for tons more within a year.

  22. ownmyhood says

    There are a lot of books on real estate investing out there, problem is most are terrible (and written by get rich quick gurus rather than people who have been there). If anyone’s actually interested here is an 8 step process to get started in real estate that actually works:

    1) Skip college and go to a tech school for a building trade, preferably the one that pays the most in your area (plumber, electrician etc).

    2) Get a job with a reputable contractor in your field, preferably someone who offers overtime opportunities. Work as many hours as possible, learn all you can and get licensed as quickly as possible. Make friends with other tradespeople on job sites, preferably the more intelligent, young, hungry ones (these can be tough to find). Save every penny you can.

    3) Locate an area that is run down, but shows some signs of turning around. Meaning multifamily buildings for sale that bring in double digit cap rates are common enough to where as there might be a few listed on the MLS and the population of the immediate area (or least the surrounding area) is not decreasing and preferably growing. Also, being within commuting distance to desirable downtown area helps a lot.

    There is quite a bit more than this when locating a suitable area, but I’ve got to leave some things for you to figure out. If this area is local, good for you, if not, time to pack up and move. There are a lot of places where you can buy double digit caps all day that aren’t total warzones. You don’t want rodeo drive (entry cost too high/tough to make money) but make sure it isn’t a demilitarized zone either.

    4) After locating the right area, use the MLS, targeted mailings, call campaign whatever to locate a building with potential for a double digit cap and an owner willing to sell. Bonus points if they are willing to hold paper. Remember these properties are rarely pretty, be prepared to deal with some rough tenants and buildings. If either of these scare you, stop reading now.

    5) Buy the building using a method that allows for at least some cash flow after all expenses (lenders don’t like negative cash flow). Meet the tenants, keep the decent ones, immediately evict the bad ones, raise all rents to market rates if they are not already (if you lose sleep over raising ol’ miss McGillicudy’s rent $50 per month or start shaking in your shoes when you realize you have to hand Chopper the Hells Angel an eviction notice, this ain’t your gig).

    Renovate the lousy units into nice apartments using low cost but durable materials. You’re not going for a luxury penthouse, just a nice clean apartment. Now is the time to call your buddies you met on the job to help you or at least learn enough to be proficient at a few other activities. Hanging drywall, painting, basic carpentry can be learned by anyone who’s willing to put in a little time.

    6) Learn how local apartments are advertised, list your vacancies, learn how to take nice pictures and write coherent, appealing descriptions. Price them right, don’t overprice or they will sit vacant and carrying costs will eat up any profit. And most importantly SCREEN YOUR TENANTS THOROUGHLY. Nice people will rarely tolerate living next door to dirtbags for any length of time.

    7) Alright, you’ve got one building cashflowing, good work. Time to sit back and let the rent checks fill up your bank account right? Wrong. Visit the property often, pick up litter, respond to maintenance calls promptly, evict non-payers and troublemakers and ALWAYS PAY ALL OF YOUR BILLS ON TIME. Credit will make or break you in this game.

    8) Now just repeat steps 4 through 7 over and over and over…

    A few things to remember:

    -When you are starting out, nothing is beneath you: Unclog toilets, keep your own books, do apartment showings, represent yourself in court. Learn these things now so you can teach and competently evaluate others to do them for you later.

    -Don’t let emotions get the best of you: From buying a property to resolving tenant disputes emotions run high in the real estate world. Dealing with a stubborn moron who you want to purchase a building from? Be nice. Handing a tenant an eviction notice? Be nice. Nothing to be gained from losing your cool.

    -Keep in touch with people that matter: RE agent points you toward a good deal? Keep in touch. A seller holds paper for you? Keep his contact info and reach out to him later if you need a reference. A bank loan officer mentions they have some foreclosures in the works? Call him in a few weeks and see how their coming along.

    All pretty obvious stuff if you read this blog. The moneys out there, if you want it, it’s yours.

    • RE Guy says

      I like the trade route or get in a business that puts you in contact with a lot of tradespeople.

      Regarding #3 I call these run down areas with signs of turning around “the borderlands” because they normally are on the border between a garbage area and a nice area.

      Regarding #4 I’m currently setting up a deal with a single digit cap on a multi that I will convert into a double digit cap, based on the purchase price and what I put in for the renovation and subsequent higher rental income. Not based off it’s “true” cap, it’s new after rehabbed value which I believe will remain single cap. Cap is more tired to the general area than the building as an aside, it’s more “how risky is it to rent properties in this neighborhood” or “what quality or income level of tenant will possibly be attracted here” and cap will generally decrease as the quality of tenant increases (it’s less risky to rent to a doctor than a bus driver, and the market recognizes this and makes doctor friendly buildings more expensive than bus driver friendly buildings, relative to cash flow). Currently the owner is warming up to the idea of holding paper. I agree with these points, and I’ll point out that something that is a true double digit cap out of the gate likely has some rougher qualities, as already mentioned.

      On #5 Here’s what I do: I decide ahead of time what my rules are and I enforce them. I do make them firm and strongly in my favor. I also add to that a moderate dose of pragmatic compassion; evictions are an expensive proposition and you may need to decide between a small and large loss. And I make the decision to evict more on something like the person not answering my phone calls than on them not being able to pay for a week or two IF we have a an agreed upon payment plan that I believe they will stick to. So, since I believe I conduct myself ethically, I never have any reservations about evictions or other corrective actions.

      #6 If I get too few phone calls I know it’s priced too high, too many and it’s priced too low. Know your market, know the seasonal variance, know what to expect as reasonable so you can adjust accordingly. Also as WSP says, I’ll say that sometimes trying to squeeze every dollar out of a place leads to having to compromise on the quality of the tenant, and that knowing this is also knowing what is a good tenant for that particular neighborhood.

      I’ve got to also agree with ownmyhood on leaving some things for people to figure out for themselves. You shouldn’t count on anyone giving away all their trade secrets, especially not for free, especially not on a public blog, the same way WSP won’t give you specific stock picks or exactly the products they market online. However all these resources combined make a great starting point for anyone looking to get into real estate, so if it is something you’d like to do, after us giving all this information in one place, you have no excuse not to start.

      Good luck!

  23. jason says

    long time reader of yours.

    do you have an opinion of building a blog/website that caters to adwords that are paying a high CPC?

    i know you guys are talking about selling a product or affiliate page, but was wondering what you think of creating a niche site that creates content with high CPC.

    thanks a ton.

  24. Amarsh213 says

    Curious of your thoughts on Ranching Cattle?

    My Grandparents own a small ranch with cattle. Each cow can have a calf every about once a year, with a nine month pregnancy and 5 months to the calf’s maturity. The calf are then taken to the auction barn where they are bid on by the large feed lot buyers who turn that calf into what you find at the grocery store. The price of beef fluctuates with normal markets.

    Right now it’s running low as shit like $1.10 per pound x 500lb calf that took 15 months to create with little investment(shots)=$550 profit If you have say twenty cattle= $11k every 15 months or so.

    Two years ago markets peaked at $2.20x 500lb x 20= 22,000

    is this decent passive income?

    Lets say 10 years from now when I am thirty years old and own say 60 cattle at a market price of $2.00 per lb x 500lb calf= 60k grand every 15 months.

    What do you think?

  25. says

    Live this site. I’m probably pretty different than most on here, dentist in mid 30’s, good income (over 500k), but obviously I only get paid when I work. Adding other docs, hygienists, growing the practice can add some passive income, but no windfall events. Should I be investing time in some of the strategies you all are using (online etc), or at this stage better to just reinvest in my business? I’ve been keeping it pretty boring with DCA, real estate in my expensive area seems like too many hours and dollars relative to the return, especially when I think of using those hours to just work more at the office. The money is good, but I’m starting to value time more, and not sure how to stop trading time for $$$.

    • says

      Depending on the size of your patient base + conversion rate, reactivating old patients can be a windfall event.

      A well-respected marketer I know of once mentioned a retired dentist friend of his who goes to other dentists, reactivates their patients for them. Said makes ~ $40k per reactivation.

      Strategically partnering with others in your area (e.g. luxury car dealerships, cosmetic surgeons, PI lawyers, chiropractors, physical therapists, or helping other dentists reactivate their patients) can create windfalls events also.

      If you specialize, partner with a specialist. (E.g. If you do orthodontics, partner with dance classes and gymnastics gyms who are filled with pre-teens who’ll probably need braces. If you help old people, then partner with a geriatric specialist, etc. etc.)

      Could you take private equity in a local business / entrepreneur / affiliate marketer who shows promise? (Risky, requires due diligence)

      Think bigger.

      Like Dr. Seuss said, you have be odd to be #1.

  26. says

    Passive income is the way to go. Finding something to sell can be hard barrier for many. IT is possible and difficult to achieve a successful landing page. Good overall ideas for passive income. I am building 4 sources as we speak.

  27. Matias Page says

    After a lifetime of stupid disregard for sales, I’m now absorbing sales ideas like a sponge (and putting them into practice). In a huge way thanks to you. So, this comment is more of a detailed thank you note… not really a question.

    I had this eBook in my head for a long time, and after reading this post I felt possessed started working in it like a mad man. It’s been around 20 days of working and almost not sleeping.

    The three words in the title are keywords that have an average of 100K to 1M searches per month each (according to google keyword planner). Domain is available. The book will be $9 I think. So, the landing page is the next step to get a good conversion. It’s the step I’m more hesitant about, because of my “sales phobia”… but the book delivers, this I know 100%.

    Thanks for all your writing. Waiting for your book!

  28. DaleB says

    Under the ‘Protection Based Passive Income’ section under ‘Certifcate of Deposit’, you mention the following:

    ‘We do stagger CDs at a rate of 4 months of annual income expenses. This means once you have a healthy financial portfolio you have about 2 years worth of income earning a small return but peace of mind that every single year you can take a 6-month living expense hit and not worry about it.

    Could you provide clarity on the maths here please? perhaps an example. Having a brain freeze and feeling retarded.

    Are you investing in 3 or 6-month CDS?

  29. Klossowski says

    What do you think about increasing your house mortgage in order to buy index fund ? The current interest rates here are now 2.0 percent.

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