While residual income can be used to describe the amount of net income after all costs are paid down, it also refers to the amount of money you continue to generate after your initial work is done. There are countless ways to make money, but some are much more time-intensive than others. Active income, for example, refers to when you directly act or perform a service for money, including salaries, wages, tips, commissions, and income from a business you’re actively involved with.
Money from dividends, for example, are taxed at a lower rate than money from a job. A business owner who works in the company she or he founded would have to pay more self-employment payroll taxes compared to someone who merely had a passive interest in the same limited liability company who would pay only income taxes. In other words, the same income earned actively would be taxed at a higher rate than if it were earned passively.
However, residual income typically has an expiration date, especially if it is being earned through a business. Effort must be continuously put into the business in order for someone to continue to receive residual income. Businesses must continue to market themselves in order to remain relevant. The best way to look at residual income in this sense is that it is a part-time job that earns full-time income.
Speaking from our own experience, you can’t be a passive McDonald’s franchisee. Every McDonald’s potential franchisee will need to complete at least thousands of hours of training before he/she would be approved to acquire a franchise and only if he/she has the financial resources to acquire a franchise. It could take years before one would get a single store franchise. Until the franchisee eventually has acquired multiple stores and established his/her own management team, the franchisee would have to put his/her nose to the grindstone and work his/her ass off every day. I won’t call it a passive investment by any stretch of imagination.
Residual income is calculated as net income less a charge for the cost of capital. The charge is known as the equity charge and is calculated as the value of equity capital multiplied by the cost of equity or the required rate of return on equity. Given the opportunity cost of equity, a company can have positive net income but negative residual income.