The underlying assumption is that we should all follow the same linear path from childhood until death, spending the majority of each day at work, trying to climb the ladder, to get a raise, to buy a bigger house, to fill it with an abundance of unnecessary possessions that provide very little satisfaction. Only after retiring is there freedom to explore, relax, or spend time with the people we love and cherish.
Rental properties are defined as passive income with a couple of exceptions. If you’re a real estate professional, any rental income you’re making counts as active income. If you’re "self-renting," meaning that you own a space and are renting it out to a corporation or partnership where you conduct business, that does not constitute passive income unless that lease had been signed before 1988, in which case you’ve been grandfathered into having that income being defined as passive. According to the IRS's Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules, "it doesn't matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."

The second category of passive income is drawing on sources that do not require capital to start, maintain, and grow. These are far better choices for those who want to start out on their own and build a fortune from nothing. They include assets you can create, such as a book, song, patent, trademark, Internet site, recurring commissions, or businesses that earn nearly infinite returns on equity such as a drop-ship e-commerce retailer that has little or no money tied up in operations but still turns a profit.

We—Joshua & Ryan—know first hand. The road to financial freedom was a long trek for both us. Even though we had prestigious six-figure careers, we struggled with money back then; and we weren’t financially free for a long time. In fact, it wasn’t until we walked away from those career’s (after devising a plan, of course) that we discovered how to get out of debt, how to eliminate unnecessary expenses, how to plan for our future, how to master our finances.


You might call it the time-money paradox. Most Americans trade the majority of their available time for a paycheck, and then spend the majority of each paycheck on depreciating material possessions. As the spending snowballs, many individuals desire a larger paycheck, which requires even longer hours and more responsibilities at work, leaving even less time to enjoy the income or possessions. It’s a vicious cycle that often continues in perpetuity until retirement or death.

MM Note: This is a guest post from 29-year-old Millennial Money reader Todd Kunsman. To learn more about creating financial freedom, check out how to retire in 10 years or less,  fast-tracking financial independence, and my book Financial Freedom: A Proven Path To All The Money You Will Ever Need. Now check out Todd’s 9 steps to financial freedom below.
I’ve quit my $16 dollar an hour job after 15 months to be able to work from home at 24 years old, a 2 year old with another on the way. Due to following one of my mentors, telling me that work does not have to be a hassle to my lifestyle. He has given me a great method to be able to work from home to generate more than my bi-weekly paycheck. Which was around $800 dollars a week. Not bad I know, but the actual work was very harsh to any human being ha. He also told me it would only cost my time and effort, only about 3–4 hours a day. So every since I made my transition my life has become a breeze with much less stress physically and financially.
To graduate into the temporary stage of financial freedom, you must spend less money than you earn and create a pool of savings. Otherwise, you will be forced to continue working indefinitely because your lifestyle depends on your employment income. As you begin to save a portion of your income, you might invest your savings in a diversified investment portfolio to produce a regular stream of income. Or, you might start a passion business on the side, creating another stream of income.
Learn how to start a blog in less than an hour. Follow the step-by-step instructions we used when starting our blog, which now has reached more than 20 million people. Creating this blog is one of the best decisions Ryan and I ever made. After all, our blog is how we earn a living. More important, it's how we add value to other people's lives. Read more
One of the commenters said,”Writing your own eBook and designing your own products can be very rewarding, you just need to get your work in front of an Interested Audience. This may sometimes prove a little more difficult than originally anticipated.” That’s where I am. I have two websites with e-books and products, but I can’t figure out where to advertise or how to promote them. Any ideas would be appreciated.

We also keep our Safety Nets in our Betterment accounts. We do this for two reasons: 1) the money is liquid, which means we have instant access to our Safety Net if we need it, and 2) when the money is sitting in a separate account, it is less tempting to access than if it’s in our bank accounts (plus it earns a better interest rate in a safe, conservative way).
I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of fancy budget spreadsheets, so I just use free tracking apps like Personal Capital. Then once a month I used the data and wrote down every bill and loan I had with the numbers next to them (some obviously varied slightly from month to month) along with every time I spent money on going out, food, clothes, etc. You’d be surprised at the things you catch that has affected your spending over the last year. Slight tweaks and adjustments can make all the difference in the amount you save. This was how I was able to identify how much money interest my student and car loans were accumulating and then identified it was critical for me to start paying them down rapidly.
@Palmetto - Thanks for the feedback. As far as making a pivot in my career, I just knew I needed to boost my credibility and change the path I was going on. Being in the computer science field, I was already technology driven and knew how important it would continue to be. I just looked into jobs that seem to be hiring the most and closely matched my interests, then looked at what I need to learn to be able to get that job. It wasn't too difficult because I already knew what I wanted to switch too and enjoy about some of my previous work. For other fields, I'm sure it might be more difficult to figure it out. But keep at it. Advice, really just do your research, make lists of what you enjoy/don't enjoy, what you'd like to learn more of and just dive in. Creating my own music blog was a huge stepping stone and opened more career choices. @Mrs Picky Pincher - Thanks for your point! I see where you are coming from. Agree, you shouldn't spend all your waking hours working, chasing the almighty dollar. However, I choose side hustles that are only a few hours a week or projects I know that won't consume my entire life. The reason I advocate for side gigs is because your full-time is never guaranteed. Sure you may be able to survive on some savings, but if anything were to happen to that job, you're in more of "what am I going to do" mode. I'm not in a panic for work because I have some supplement income still coming in while I continue to find the next gig. Just adds a bit less stress. And no, def don't want to think negatively about your future job, but something to always be mindful of. @Cody - Thanks! Hoping to contribute more to MM!
Wow! What an awesome list Jeff! My favorite is the stock photography as I love photography. I have some success there, particularly with one photo I make some decent income from. I think the key with stock photography is finding a shot that is high demand then find a new unique way to frame that shot. This is the reason my St. Louis Arch photo is a top 10 on both of the platforms you mentioned above. Thanks for the awesome ideas above!
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