Many people in the investment world also define residual income as revenue stemming from a passive source. This revenue is created without a direct input of effort or time. The investment itself creates addition revenues without having to be managed. Some examples include royalties, dividends, interest, and rent. Take a dividend stock for example. Once the money is invested once, it will keep producing a dividend every year without having to input additional time or resources. This concept is the Holy Grail for most investors.

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Index funds provide you with a way to invest in the stock market that is completely passive. For example, if you invest money in an index fund that is based on the S&P 500 Index, you will be invested in the general market, without having to concern yourself with choosing investments, rebalancing your portfolio, or knowing when to sell or buy individual companies. All that will be handled by the fund which will base the fund portfolio on the makeup of the underlying index.
Well written piece, but I question the core premise. Why the fascination with maximizing “income” (passive or otherwise). Shouldn’t the goal simply be to maximize long-term after tax growth of your entire portfolio? If this takes the form of dividend paying stocks, so be it. But what if small caps are poised to outperform? What if you want to take Buffet’s or Bogle’s advice and just buy a broad market index like the S&P 500, (no matter what the dividend because you’ll just have it automatically reinvested to avoid the transaction fees).
For most of us, if you want to increase your income, you usually have to put in more time. Either that, or find a job that will pay you more per hour or for the physicians out there, do what reimburses you the best. We spend tons of time trying to figure out how to gain a promotion, find another job that will pay us more, or rearrange our schedules so we can get some overtime.
I’ve never invested in real estate (except to live in), but am always intrigued by communities like FS who seem to have such a passion for it. My intrigue stems back to my earlier comments that the long term trends in appreciation in real estate are simply not very competitive versus equities, despite what Robert Kiyosaki had to say in his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Residual income is the amount of net income generated in excess of the minimum rate of return. Residual income concepts have been used in a number of contexts, including as a measurement of internal corporate performance whereby a company's management team evaluates the return generated relative to the company's minimum required return. Alternatively, in personal finance, residual income is the level of income that an individual has after the deduction of all personal debts and expenses have been paid.
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