What is a Passive Income?

Passive income is a type of income that is earned without the need for active involvement from the recipient. It is money that is earned on a regular basis with little to no effort required to maintain it. The idea behind passive income is to create a stream of income that will continue to generate revenue even when the recipient is not actively working.

There are several benefits to having passive income:

Financial stability: Having a steady stream of passive income can provide financial stability, reducing the need to rely solely on a single source of income.

Time freedom: Passive income allows individuals to have more time to do the things they enjoy, rather than being tied to a traditional 9-to-5 job.

Increased earning potential: With passive income, there is potential to earn more money than with traditional forms of employment.

Diversification of income: By having multiple streams of passive income, individuals can diversify their income and reduce their financial risk.

Retirement planning: Passive income can be a valuable tool for retirement planning, providing a source of income after retirement.

Freedom to pursue personal interests: With passive income, individuals have the financial freedom to pursue personal interests, start a business, or travel the world without having to worry about the impact on their income.

There are many different ways to generate passive income, including rental properties, dividend-paying stocks, interest from savings accounts, and online businesses, among others. It is important to remember that while passive income has the potential to provide a steady stream of revenue, it does often require some initial effort and investment to set up.

In conclusion, passive income can provide individuals with a number of financial and personal benefits, and can be a valuable tool for financial planning and stability.

Simplified Example

Imagine you have a lemonade stand. Every day, you make lemonade and sell it to people who are passing by. The money you make from selling lemonade is like your active income because you have to work for it.

Now imagine you have a savings account at a bank where you put some of the money you make from your lemonade stand. Every month, the bank pays you a little bit of money just for keeping your money there, even if you don't do anything. This extra money you get from the bank is like your passive income because you don't have to work for it, you just get paid for letting your money sit in the bank.

In this analogy, the lemonade stand represents your active income, and the savings account represents your passive income. Just like how you can make active income by working at your lemonade stand, you can also make passive income by investing your money in different ways.

History of the Term "Passive Income"

The notion of earning income without active labor has historical roots predating the term "passive income." Ancient societies engaged in various forms of passive income generation, such as land ownership, rental income, and investments in trade ventures. The term "passive income" likely surfaced in the late 19th or early 20th century, with early references appearing in economic and financial literature, often in contrast to "active income" derived from labor. An antecedent term, "improperty," introduced by J.A. Hobson in the 1930s, denoted assets used for extracting income without direct involvement. The term gained momentum in the mid-20th century with the rise of personal finance and investment literature. Authors like Benjamin Graham and Robert Kiyosaki emphasized the significance of establishing passive income streams for financial freedom. In the early 2000s, the internet and the growth of online businesses further propelled the term's popularity. Entrepreneurs and bloggers promoted various online income streams, including affiliate marketing, blogging, and online courses, leading to the widespread use of "passive income" in diverse contexts, such as financial planning, personal development, and online marketing.


Renting out real estate property: This is a classic example of passive income where an individual can earn rental income from a property that they own, without having to actively manage it on a day-to-day basis. The owner can hire a property management company to handle maintenance and tenant relations, allowing them to earn a steady stream of income with minimal effort. For instance, if an individual invests in a rental property and earns $1,500 in rent each month, they can earn $18,000 annually in passive income.

Dividend-paying stocks: Another way to earn passive income is by investing in dividend-paying stocks. This involves purchasing stocks in companies that pay out dividends to their shareholders on a regular basis, typically quarterly. By holding these stocks, an investor can receive regular income without having to actively trade or manage their investments. For example, if an individual invests $50,000 in a stock that pays a 3% dividend yield, they would earn $1,500 in passive income each year.

Peer-to-peer lending: Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms allow individuals to invest in loans made to other individuals or small businesses. The lender earns a return on their investment in the form of interest paid by the borrower. This can be a great way to earn passive income, as the P2P lending platform handles all aspects of the loan, from underwriting to collections. For example, if an individual invests $10,000 in P2P loans at an average interest rate of 8%, they would earn $800 in passive income each year.

  • Invest: The act of putting money into an asset or a venture with the expectation of generating a return.

  • Institutional Investor: Entities that manage large amounts of money to acquire financial assets and investment instruments.