I will share what we did, because it’s an incredible success story. We used an existing tax loophole where if you sell your primary residence (after having lived there at least two years) you get to keep your profit tax-free. So, we stair-stepped. We bought house after house, at least two years apart, used the profit money to pay down on the next house (so on and so forth, yadda yadda) building up equity as we went along… and now, we own a $600,000 house debt-free. And now we are using our paid-off home as leverage to borrow money to buy commercial buildings to rent out. I like commercial because it’s a BUSINESS transaction… kids, pets, other wear and tear that you see with residential rentals is nonexistent. People take care of their business space much better than residential. You have to be in a good area for renting out commercial – a thriving business community – to make this work. But that’s how we “made it”, and though it took 15 years, we will have residual income to take care of us when we’re old enough to retire. People made fun of us for moving so much, but who’s laughing now? 😉 Oh, and our child only had to change schools once (and we wanted to anyway) because we stayed in the same general area as we moved around. We were careful not to disrupt his life too much.
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This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis. Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin.
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.”
How can I increase my income without working more?
The robo-advisor company charges a 0.50% fee and on top of that there the fee charged for the ETFs (which is anywhere from 0.25 to 0.5% as well). Robo-advisor companies help you rebalance your money automatically so your original asset allocation is preserved. Basically, you can be completely hands off and all you need to do is funnel your money in there and they will invest it for you.
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While these activities fit the popular definition of passive income, they don’t fit the technical definition as outlined by the IRS’s Passive Activity Losses—Real Estate Tax Tips. Passive income, when used as a technical term, is defined as either “net rental income” or “income from a business in which the taxpayer does not materially participate,” and in some cases can include self-charged interest. It goes on to say that passive income “does not include salaries, portfolio, or investment income.”
But, it took me a while to get to that point. Where I once worked in my financial planning office on most days, I started by testing things out with a few days per month away from the office at first. From there, I began working remotely 2-3 days per week, then 4-5 days per week, and so on. Eventually, I was able to run my business remotely without ever having to show up for work.