One of the things I'm surprised your article doesn't mention is the tax advantages of this type of investment. The depreciation and rehab costs (purchasing distressed properties) can be huge deductions to ones income taxes, which none of the others have. Then, along with the appreciation of real estate, this passive income investment outperforms the notion of maxing out my 401k as well.
What I find most interesting is the fact that I had never considered options like LendingTree or realityshares for other income sources. Investing in property has been too much of bad luck for people that I know personally, so I am interesting in getting involved in a situation where I would have to be dealing with maintenance issues or tenants. There are services for you to do that, but I had not come across any that didn’t eat most if not all of the earnings. Then again, I live in the NY area. Investing in the midwest would not be reasonably possible for me, directly, but reading about realityshares is something I am going to look into further. That might be a real possibility.
If you like to be involved in the financial markets but have no interest or time to pick or analyse stocks, a good proxy can be dividend investment funds in the form of exchange traded funds or unit trusts. This put your funds in the hands of fund managers to pick out dividend stocks with dividends being paid out to unitholders. Similarly, there are exchange traded funds invested in basket of income instruments such as REITs with the dividends being paid out. For such diversified instruments, your risks is broadly market risks and volatility resulting from market fluctuations and industry wide risks.
Index funds provide you with a way to invest in the stock market that is completely passive. For example, if you invest money in an index fund that is based on the S&P 500 Index, you will be invested in the general market, without having to concern yourself with choosing investments, rebalancing your portfolio, or knowing when to sell or buy individual companies. All that will be handled by the fund which will base the fund portfolio on the makeup of the underlying index.
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, "it does not matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."
In equity valuation, residual income represents an economic earnings stream and valuation method for estimating the intrinsic value of a company's common stock. The residual income valuation model values a company as the sum of book value and the present value of expected future residual income. Residual income attempts to measure economic profit, which is the profit remaining after the deduction of opportunity costs for all sources of capital.