Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Which Is Your Best Income Source?

I was recently at the library when I stumbled upon Sean Toh's 4 Steps to Financial Freedom.

It was a pretty easy to read book and in it, I was reminded of the Rich Dad Poor Dad book that I read when I was in the Army and later on in university....

After reading Rich Dad Poor Dad and his advice to increase my income sources, I embarked on a journey to increase my portfolio and passive income so as to achieve financial freedom

Based on Rich Dad Poor Dad, one can earn an income throught the following methods:

1. Earned income
2. Portfolio income
3. Passive income

Earned Income

This is basically income which you earn using your sweat and toil be it at the desk or in the field growing tomatoes. Earned income is what most people are familiar with and many people stick to this source of income for their entire lives.

In my opinion, earned income is perhaps both Overrated and Underrated at the same time.

There is nothing wrong with focusing on this income source ALONE if you are certain that it will keep increasing and there will not be a day when this income will vanish and disappear.

Unfortunately for most people, earned income is no longer something that is guaranteed especially with the amount of retrenchments, compulsory retirement age and outsourcing that is taking place to countries like India and China.

On the other hand, some rich and well-to-do people get rich just be earned income alone. They get good jobs and get promotions and get paid higher salaries year after year.

I quit my $5K per month job this year and have thus suffered heavily in terms of my earned income. I find that I have less money to pour into my portfolio of stocks to increase my portfolio income which is what we will discuss next.

Portfolio Income

Porfolio income is earned from dividends that comes from one's stock or bond portfolios. Dividends are basically cash that is paid out to shareholders. The amount of dividends serves as a constant stream of income based on the porfolio of one's stocks.

I know of people who are able to earn sufficient portfolio income to retire because they have amassed a large portfolio of stocks that pay healthy dividends each year.

I started out collecting real estate investment trusts (REITs) because of their high dividend yields. Hopefully, this source of income will continue to rise over the years especially if I managed to re-invest whatever dividends I receive.

(I just collected a few hundred dollars in dividends for the month of November but it seems that this money will now be used for a short holiday trip instead of being reinvested...am I being wise?)

Passive Income

This can come from book royalties, renting out of houses, online income, etc. The magic of this income is that it requires little or no effort on your part and that is why it is termed "PASSIVE" income.

With this sort of income, you will be able to continue doing your daily job while earning an additional income that comes in day after day without you needing to working for it.

I started out some blogs to increase my online income as a source of passive income. I have been able to earn quite a steady and decent stream of income using Google's Adsense. Lately, I have been exploring Amazon's Associates Program too. Hopefully, this will start contributing to my passive income for the year 2010.


I am not on track to achieving my goal of $400 per month passive income. I admit that I have failed and that I will have a much higher and steeper slope to climb for year 2010 where I should hit a passive + portfolio income of $600 per month. May God Be With Me.

What are your income sources? Which source of income provides you with the biggest income? Are you focusing only on Earned Income while neglecting your portfolio income and passive income?


  1. I don't think blogging is really passive income as blogging require considerable time, effort and energy.

  2. My Earned income:
    2.5k take home from job
    average 4k from tuition

    Portfolio income:
    average 460 monthly

    From blogs:
    average 4 usd monthly...

  3. My target is for Portfolio & Passive Income to replace 70-80% of Earned Income by 2011 so that I can spend more time doing whatever I like to do.

  4. Hi CW8888,

    Yep, blogging is definitely not really considered passive income as the amount of time and effort spent on it does not warrant it to be called passive per se.

    However, I guess that if one creates a static website instead of a blog, it might be a potential source of passive income.

    Hi JW,
    Thanks for sharing how much you earn per income source. You are doing good!

  5. Hi FF,

    We are about the same age. While it is your decision to quit your $5,000 per month job, I feel that it is such a waste. Many people out there would love to be in your shoes. Some can never even smell $5,000 a month in their lifetime.

    You and I are both young, we can still work hard for at least the next 10 years while maintaining other sources of income. With $5,000 coming in every month, you would be able to save more, you would have more to invest (to get more dividends), you would have less to worry about. You will achieve your goals faster.

    In future, if you ever think of leaving a $5,000 job again, perhaps you could ask me to replace your positon. You should also consider only leaving your job when you have achieved your passive income of $4,000 to $5,000/mth. Not when you have not even hit $400/mth.

    Sorry but I feel people our age should not complain about working hard and long hours. Any job can be mundane, boring, tiring. It is what you make the best of it.

    Making money is never easy. Earning passive income is even harder.

    Think about it. Cheers

  6. I agree with Gohsip on active (earned) income. For me, I am older than you and frankly not even making what you used to make every month, yet I really really cherish the salary flowing in every month as it boosts my savings and brings me closer to clearing my HDB loan and also 1 step closer to financial freedom.

    I mean, come on, which job is interesting, challenging and makes you love it? There are days when I totally dread going to office and have to literally drag myself out of bed; but that's life man. No job is going to be interesting and stress-free - there is a price to pay for getting paid (I know this sounds cliched), and the more value you add the more you'll be paid. It's just the way our capitalistic society works.

    Anyhow, if your wife is still working and drawing a more than decent salary, you guys should still have enough to support yourselves and your kid. Just make sure at least 1 spouse has active income. For me and my wife, we dare not quit at all as we just had a baby and our HDB loan has yet to be cleared. That's our personal choice of course, but food for thought.

    My family's active income is about $5K take-home. Passive income is about $450 for rental income, and average $500 a month for dividends. I manage to save about 45-50% of this total every month, not counting any bonuses we may get throughout the year.

    Overall, it's slow but steady and I am happy.


  7. One more source of earned income:

    200 bucks p.a. for IPPT silver!

  8. Hi FF

    As per my previous 2 comments few days ago on your passive income "31 days to increase passive income", the issue is how do you increase your passive/portfolio income? The key is to get more income from other sources other than earned income and over time, work towards not relying on earned income.

    It may be slow and steady like what musicwhiz had mentioned. Think whether you can find other source of income like setting up a business ("B") where you can then use it to build your portfolio/passive income?

    Rich dad poor dad concept works well, provided you are disciplined in practicing it. One way is to convert as much and as fast your Earned income into other income so that you can have more income from other sources. As mentioned before, one must build the sufficient base capital to cover daily expenses.

    My Investment income which comprise of dividend, interest, T bills, etc. grow steadily over the years. Captial gain is additional source of income and it varies from year to year as it depends on market movements.

    All the best,


  9. Hi all,

    I konw it might sound really like a silly decision to quit my job back then. But I did it with my eyes wide open as I felt that there was more to life than just making a living. I was really dreading each day at work, totally not happy. It affected every aspect of my life and I decided that it was not "worth" the 5K.

    Yes, 5K is alot of money and that was why it was both a difficult and yet an easy decision.

    Hi T,
    I have been trying to increase my portfolio income by purchasing more REITs in the stock market that are giving between 5% and 10% yield. I initially allocated around $1000 each month to purchase these REITs and was hoping to use the dividends that I receive to reinvest them. Alas, I must say that I have not been as diciplined as I planned.

    Any business ideas to suggest?

  10. http://createwealth8888.blogspot.com/2009/09/your-money-or-your-life-some-pointers.html

    Ask yourself: Am I making a living or making a dying?

    - Examine your purposes for paid employment.
    - Break the link between work and wages to open up your options for increased earnings.

    FF, you may be right in your decision to quit your $5K paying job if you are making a dying.

  11. Hi FF

    Since you have alot of time to yourself, when you go around, you may observe some opportunities that may make some money. It may be some simple fruit juice store, etc. Find something that it can operate by someone for you and don't need much of your time there.

    Some people are good at FX, equity, so they can generate some income from there. But it is really specialised and not recommended unless you are really good at it.

    Sad to say most of people (>95%) will have to build the base from the "E - employment" segment. In order to get away from the rat race, one way is to convert these income as fast and as much as possible. Until one accumulated a comfortable amount or able to find new sources of income, one can call it quit.

    Keep exploring and keep the faith. If really can't get any other sources, the really no choice last resort may be E again. But again go in with a plan to exit as soon as possible.


  12. Actually, financial freedom, what is your current job after quitting your real job?

    Can I assumed that you have rich parents too? :p

  13. Hi,

    I was indeed making a dying..

    Even the job that I am in now is a plug gap sort of job.
    I won't reveal my job..hope that you don't mind. I don't like to be defined by the job or the title that I am carrying =)

    Why do you assume that I have rich parents? You think that they are giving me money? I paid for my own university education and stopped taking money from my parents at the age of 18. My parents are not rich..neither are they poor.. but they don't come into the equation of me achieving financial freedom. My parents also seldom talk to me about money matters. All that I have learnt from my dad is this: Be Your Own Boss and don't work for people

  14. Ok. There was once I took money from them.

    I had less than $10 in my bank account during my university days. I don't really know how my dad knew that I had no money but one day, he walked into the room and offered me $50 to "go buy something you like".

    It was either a coincidence or he knew that I was running out of money. How he knew I don't know cos I never told anyone except my girlfriend then. Maybe he saw my bank acct book or posb statements.. I have a terrible habit of leaving all my stuff lying around in my room in the past.

    Being very proud, I of course refused but he insisted and left the money on my table before walking out. I told myself that day that I will never be left in the situation where I have $10 in my account EVER again

  15. My Earned income:
    8k take home from job

    Portfolio income:
    low hundreds per month on average

    From blogs:
    about 1k monthly, but i have yet to replicate the success of my 1 successful blog (which did well, luckily for me).

    But i'm thinking of quitting in 1 year's time to go into education services full time. JW, do you mind sharing how you managed to earn 4k from part-time tuition alone?

  16. That is a lot you earn from your blogs. Can you share with me which blog you own? Would really like to learn from you.

    JW earns 4k per month because he gives group tuition of 5 ppl each.

  17. My blog is in one of your blogrolls!

    I'm now also giving tuition, earning 400/mth. This also helps prepare myself for the "education services" industry I'm targeting. In 1 year's time I will, like yourself, quit working to accelerate toward financial freedom. I hope I succeed.


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