Use Passive Income to Bolster Your Bank Account

Ah, “passive income”. Conjures images of relaxing by the sea while money flows into your bank account, doesn’t it? But, while seaside escapes are a reasonable goal, don’t be fooled by the word “passive.” The term “passive income” refers to money you can make with little effort to maintain. And enjoying the benefits of reliable streams of passive income requires some upfront investment of time, money or both. If you want to earn more through financial instruments, you’ll need money to get things going. If you want to make money selling unique content or products, you’ll need to put time and energy into the creation process. And, if you want to go the real estate route, you’ll need to invest both time and money into making the operation run smoothly.

But don’t let these obstacles deter you; this kind of regular, passive side income will help you pay off debt faster, build up your retirement and rainy day funds and give you the peace of mind you’ll want while you’re doing that relaxing by the sea.

Here are some ideas to get you started.


If you have money sitting around, it’s a good idea to invest it so it doesn’t lose value. One increasingly popular investment route is putting money in an index fund. This is a type of mutual fund with a portfolio that tracks the market. You won’t need to choose investments, rearrange your portfolio or make any other decisions, making this investment truly passive.

You can also invest with an automated online advisor, also known as a robo-advisor. Financial firms that offer this service manage client portfolios at a fraction of the cost of a human financial advisor, which can help investors earn higher returns.

Get in the real estate game

Real estate certainly requires an upfront investment of time and money, but once your business is established, you’ll be collecting rent checks every month. If you don’t want to deal with tenants and maintaining your property, you can hire a management company to handle these logistical details.

If you have a spare bedroom or a spare unit that goes unused, consider offering it up to travelers on vacation rental sites like AirBnb. Your degree of involvement depends on you. You can play local host to a parade of new international friends, or you can check out and leave that to a management company.

And if you want to make yourself several more steps removed from the process, consider investing in a Real Estate Investment Trust, which operates like a mutual fund that has stakes in multiple real estate ventures. Advantages include special tax considerations and generally higher dividend yields than stocks and bonds. Not only is this a super passive way of investing in real estate, you can sell your interest at any time, making it very liquid.

Create and sell content and products

If you have unique content or products to offer, sell that stuff online! This requires an upfront investment of time and likely money, but once your content is up there and reaching an audience, you can watch that steady stream of income flow.

So what can you sell online?

Stock photos. If you submit your photos on websites such as Shuttershock and iStockphoto, you’ll receive a commission every time your photo is sold.

Your expertise. Package your expert knowledge as an ebook, a YouTube series or an online course (like the ones Udemy offers). Once the work is done, throw it online and let the internet do the rest of the work.

Earn cash back while you shop

Here’s a solution for those who don’t have the time or money to invest in high-earning streams of passive income – shopping! Sites like eBates, TopCashBack and Extrabux give you a percentage of whatever online shopping you do – anywhere from 1-40% –  as long as you click through via their website. With shopping sites like Walgreens, Expedia, even Amazon and eBay represented, the dollars could start adding up.

Passive income isn’t exactly as “passive” as it sounds, but with some dedicated effort, you could start planning that seaside view sooner than you think.

The materials on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and do not reflect the opinions of ChimpChange LLC or Central Bank of Kansas City, Member FDIC. Several of these blog posts may contain links to content on third party websites which are provided for your convenience, please note that linked sites may have a privacy and security policy different from our own, and we cannot attest to the accuracy of information. ChimpChange LLC and Central Bank of Kansas City do not guarantee nor expressly endorse any particular product, service or third party content.