I like rain, it helps my garden grow, and I like multiple streams of income, it helps my money grow. Creating multiple streams of income in your life will not only help you increase your wealth, it will bring you more security in times of uncertainty- like we are facing now with COVID-19.
Being dependent on one source of income, such as a salaried job, can be detrimental if that source of income goes away or is significantly decreased. This was the case for many people when COVID-19 unexpectedly changed our world and life as we knew it almost 3 months ago. Even some people that had well-paid jobs and were overall financially comfortable found themselves in predicaments because of lost jobs, layoffs, or reduced pay. As a side-note this is where an emergency fund would come into play, because COVID-19 was an emergency situation for many. Emergency funds and their importance will be discussed in detail in a future blog post.
So let’s talk about how having multiple streams of income is another building block on the path to financial freedom. There are three types of income:
- Earned or Active Income: This includes money earned from a job, such as salary, wages, tips, and bonuses. It also includes self-employment income, such as work done as an independent contractor. Active income also includes income from a business in which you actively participate. This type of income also includes alimony you receive, certain forms of retirement income, such as pensions and distributions from 401(k) plans and traditional IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts).
- Investment Income: This type of income is attained from investments and includes interest income, capital gains, and dividends.
- Passive Income: This type of income includes income from real estate investments, including investments in actual properties and investments in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), and income from businesses where you don’t materially participate (ie: a silent partner in a business in which you are invested but don’t play an active or material role).
So now that we’ve defined the three types of income, let’s talk about how we can create multiple streams of income in our own lives. Investing from a young age is key because of the magic of compound interest (more about compound interest in a later blog post but it is magic and a key to creating wealth). Even if you are no longer in your youth, investing is still important. Why? When you invest your money, you can make money while you sleep! Now there are times when your investments will take a downturn- as many of ours did in the last few months. This is also one of the reasons it is key to start investing early, so you have time to ride out these changes in investments over a longer period of time. A money tip of the day is, if your employer matches a percentage of the money you invest in your 401(k) plan- always invest at least the maximum matching percentage, otherwise you are throwing away free money. If your employer has a 5% match and you only invest 4% of your salary, you are throwing away 1% in free money that your employer would match. So know your employer’s match amount and at a minimum invest the match percentage. Another money tip, every time you get a raise put at least a portion of the raise towards increasing your investments. You know you can live on the previous salary amount, so before you get used to the increased paycheck, direct deposit some of your raise into an investment account and/or increase your 401(k) investment amount.
There are lots of ways to get creative with generating more earned or active income. Maybe you have a passion or hobby that you can turn into income. I’ll give you a real life example. I love vintage anything and I go to estate sales and yard sales- for me it’s relaxing, fun, and interesting. I have furnished at least 50 percent of my house with vintage and gently used items and saved thousands of dollars doing so, while making my home unique, original, and authentically me. Besides saving myself a bunch of money, I realized that I could buy vintage items and resell them- so I added a small income stream by turning a hobby into some extra cash. Take a look at what you love to do and see if there is a way to generate some income from it- maybe you can tutor or mentor someone, take a gig job, pet-sit, help someone with handiwork or tend their garden. The list is endless- and unique to everyone, so think outside of the box and the ideas will come. Also, remember to know your worth at work and ask for a raise when it is due.
Passive income is also an option- not everyone wants to be a landlord but money can be made doing so. If you should choose this path, do your due diligence and make sure it is the right move for you.
You can also work a part-time job to increase your current income situation. There was a time in my life when I was working a 40-hour a week day job, when that job finished I walked across the street to work as a cocktail waitress at a high-end hotel (they fed me dinner-which was a bonus), and I had a third job working as a waitress in a local Italian restaurant a night or two a week. Now that schedule of three jobs was taxing and I didn’t do it for too long but I did it long enough to meet my financial needs/goals at that time. And I had some fun doing it- for those of you who know and like 80’s music- I served Adam Ant drinks in that fancy hotel bar!
The idea is to start building multiple streams of income- get creative, get resourceful, get excited, and get started!
Susan, the MoneyMaestra