What Is Residual Income? 10 Residual Income Ideas to Build Your Wealth

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Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

This post was written by Steve Cummings and originally appeared on Savoteur. Steve is the founder of the personal finance blog The Frugal Expat. As a traveller and expat, he has learned a lot about how to save money, live frugally, and invest for the future. His mission is to help people in saving, investing, and reaching financial independence. 

Most people believe that money is created through active income. They rarely think about passive income or even residual income as a source to generate wealth or financial freedom.

Wealth is thought of as being reserved for those that have the means to create and make money. These may be the rich and famous or even those that have inherited money. Why can’t we be part of those people that are wealthy? What rules restrict us from being able to make this wealth for ourselves and our families?

When exploring the means of creating wealth without using active income, we come across two types. There is passive income, and there is residual income. They both act very similarly, but as we talk about finance, it is better to think of the residual income.

What is Residual Income?

Residual income is an income that can be passive. The calculation determines how much profit or excess income is available after all expenses are paid off.

It is the leftover money we have after we have paid off any personal or business debt.

Most people trade time for money, but we create income streams without trading in more time with the residual income. These income streams are passive and allow us to keep our time without spending it to make more money.

Residual Income vs. Passive Income

Residual income and passive income seem to be used interchangeably within the internet world. You go to google to search, and some posts and articles come up with passive income ideas.

Let’s get these two things straight. The money that comes from all that work is passive income. Passive income comes from doing work like building a blog, writing posts, and using it to sell affiliates and ads if I were to buy rental properties that create massive amounts of cash flow, once all the work is done and the money comes in passively. You have now done all the work, and the income comes afterward.

We often think about active income. Work is done, and therefore, we get paid for the work. The work is done with the passive income, but the money keeps coming in. If you write one blog post and keep making money off it years later.

Residual income is the same, but you calculate how much profit you get from the passive income. With the blog you are writing, there are costs such as hosting, plugins, a theme, and even a mastermind group.

The rental property would have been bought with money and would have expenses like management fees, taxes, rehabbing the property, and maintenance.

In the end, you take the revenue you have created and subtract it from the involved costs. That is your residual income. 

Different Types of Residual Income

When talking about residual income, we come across two different types. There are personal and corporate.

Personal Residual Income

In personal finance, residual income is the disposable income. You can calculate your residual income every month by taking what is left over after paying all debts. This debt-to-income ratio is critical when looking to get loans from banks and lending services.

Banks and lenders want to see how much you keep to see if it is worth loaning you money. The debt to income ratio is significant to these lenders.

Lenders generally do not want to see a debt to income ratio over 43%. It is not good for business. So the lower the ratio, the more likely a bank is willing to lend money to an individual.

Corporate Residual Income

Corporate residual income is a bit different from personal. Corporations use residual income to assess their performance. That is the profit after paying all costs they have incurred to generate revenues. That is the net operating income.

They use residual income to evaluate the effectiveness of their investments, their teams, and their departments. It is a good measurement to see the health of a company.

10 Ways to Create Residual Income

Now we know residual income. It is time to make some. Here are 10 ways you can create residual income for yourself.

1. Invest in Real Estate 

Owning real estate can be a great way to generate monthly income. You can purchase a single-family home, duplex, or even apartment building. The great thing about owning real estate is that there will be a good cash flow coming in every month.

There will be additional expenses, but the work is relatively minimal. The rental payments can help pay off the mortgage, taxes, and repairs while you save the rest.

You can manage the property yourself or even hire a property manager to help you with the property. With a property manager, you can put some of your time into other valuable items, but you can manage the property yourself to obtain more income.

2. Vacation Rentals or Short-term rentals

Airbnb has become huge over the last many years. If you have a free room in your house, you can rent that out. It is an excellent opportunity to make extra money without having much work to put in it.

My friends had a big house with plenty of rooms to rent out to people for weekends. It was an excellent way for them to create extra money without extra work to create active income. 

You can also have a place in popular vacation spots like on the beach or the mountains to rent out short-term to use VRBO or other sites to make some good side income.

3. Invest in the Stock Market

Investing in the stock market is one of the simplest ways to create a passive income stream. Have you heard of index funds? They are one of the simplest ways to build wealth with your money in the stock market. You can continue to buy these index funds and allow compounding interest to really grow your money.

You can buy these funds with Vanguard or Fidelity. It can really make creating wealth simpler and easier for the average person.

It does take patience to allow your money to grow. If you can be patient and continue to invest, you will wake up in 10, 20, or 30 years with a massive portfolio. This is one of my favorite ways to create residual and passive income.

4. Invest in REITs

If you want to invest in real estate without having the responsibility of being a landlord, you could invest in REITs.

REITs are real estate investment trusts. These are companies that will buy up real estate and use your money to help them do it. You will get dividends from the residual income that the company makes off of its property.

This is an easy way to create some residual income. You invest in some REITs and reap the profits at the end of each month.

5. Start a Blog

Starting a blog can be challenging work that takes time and money to make things happen. If you want to capitalize on something with a high ROI, creating a blog can be a way you can do it.

It takes little money to start. You need to have a good niche, persistence, and start to write. Once you get started, you can build a following, and soon enough, as the blog grows, your income can grow along with it.

Many people have started blogs and created great avenues of income through these blogs. It takes time and patience, but you can dominate the interweb with your content if you find a good niche.

6. Launch a Podcast

If you enjoy talking with people or sharing ideas, you can start a podcast. Many podcasts pop up all over the place, but it is a newer field compared to the blogging world and offers many opportunities.

With a niche, you can help educate the world with your skills and expertise. The great thing about running a podcast is once you record, edit, and publish, you can wait as people download the episode.

In making money with podcasts, many people will go to Patreon and set up an account. That is a way for subscribers to help sponsor their favorite content. As the content creator keeps creating, his audience will continue to grow, and other sponsors will jump on to help fund and make the podcast profitable.

7. Write a book

Writing a book is a great way to build something and allow the income to come in after all the work. It can be as easy as writing it and publishing it as an ebook through Gumroad or even using Amazon’s KDP program to create the book.

If you are knowledgeable about a particular subject, you need to put that pen on the paper and write something that will help bring value to someone’s life. Something helpful will be worth it to people that will buy it.

This book can be an asset that continues to pay you days, months, and years after you have written it. It is a perfect way to start some residual income.

8. Create a course

Creating a course is much like writing a book. There are many skills out there that people would be willing to learn if they had a good course that can teach them.

Right now, the internet is full of courses to help improve your life, create skills, and help you even manage your money. If you can teach someone, then building a course is a great way to generate some good residual income.

9. Make an App

If you have some technical skills, you can use those skills to be an app. That can be an app about anything that people will find value in. For instance, you can have a finance app, a recipe app, or even a fantastic travel app.

Once you build the app, you are ready to go to make some money. Not all of us can create apps.

You can visit sites like Upwork and hire some people to code and create an app for you. If you have an idea, you can make it work.

10. Sell Digital Products on Etsy

If you are good at creating, you can create notebooks and other digital products. You can sell these on Amazon, but you can also sell these on Etsy. Create a digital product, then add a download button, and you have it set.

You make the item once and can continue to sell many more of those specific items. That can be as easy as creating cards, wall prints, inspirational quotes, or even sell digital versions of your artwork.

Final Thoughts

Residual income is a way to create much wealth. As you can make most of this money through passive income sources, you can generate more income. This is a massive step towards achieving financial freedom. As you think about it, it is not just about making passive income but creating enough income not to need an active job.

Remember that residual income is the income and profit after all expenses are paid off. With these 10 ways, you have the tools to go out and make your residual income streams.

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