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How to Generate Passive Income

How to Generate Passive Income

Our spending and saving habits develop over time, and it is because of this reason that they are often hard to change. Economists use a phrase called “propensity to consume,” which suggests how much of additional portion of $1 earned will be consumed by us. For example, if I earn an additional $100 a day and spend 90% of this $100, my propensity to consume will be 0.9, which is often considered a high number. We often fail to change our propensity to consume because our spending patterns are deeply rooted into our psyche.

Since our spending habits are hard to change, little bit of passive income can help us to support our already-established spending habits without actually putting strain on our regular income.

Passive income is an income which is received on regular basis with little or no effort. However, to reach to a level where you don’t have to do anything and earn little extra on regular basis, you need to take some efforts to find avenues from where passive income can flow.

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Deciding on a purpose

Although it would be nice to earn little bit of extra income without putting in any effort, you’re going to have to put in some effort at the beginning. First, you must be clear about why you want to earn passive income. Is it that you want to support your existing lavish shopping? Is it that you feel uncertain about the future and want to have alternative sources of income? Are you finding it hard to earn enough regular income to support your family and yourself, therefore you need extra passive income?

Searching for the right reasons to earn little bit of extra income may help you to see your present circumstances in a more effective manner. For example, if you want passive income because your regular income is not sufficient enough to support you, you need to evaluate as to whether you are in right profession or job? If work is not sufficiently paying you according to your skills, you may need to change your job rather than committing yourself to generating passive income. So clearly decide as to why you need passive income and where you will spend it.

Paddling the wheel of your life’s cycle

There is a very famous economic theory on our spending and consumption habits which sheds a lot of insight on the ways in which we can customize our spending patterns as we progress in our lives. This small and beautiful hypothesis suggests that we, as individuals, smooth out our consumption and saving patterns over our lifetime.

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As an individual, you need to determine what stage of your life cycle you are in right now. Are you single? Are you married with no children and dual income? Will your spouse leave his or her job if you decide to have kids? Are you nearing your retirement? These are simple questions which you need to ask yourself and clearly establish answers for them. The benefit of this exercise will be enormous because your life cycle will determine your saving and consumption patterns, and thus, you can easily decide on how much passive income you require.

For example, if you are married with a single income and have two school-aged children, your consumption requirements may be different as compared to a person who is single. Thus, identifying your stage of life will help you to clearly assess how much resources you need to put into the source which can generate enough passive income to support you.

Say you want to invest in real estate and rent to tenants. You must first decide whether or not your existing income will be able to bear the burden of additional mortgage payments. What if you are unable to find renters? Will you be able to afford your other expenses as well as additional mortgage payments until you rent out your property?

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Cultivate the habit of saving

You will probably never be able to generate passive income if you don’t cultivate the habit of saving. Probably the first and only rule to earn passive income is to save first. Save even if it’s only 1% of your income, and you will build the momentum to accumulate sufficient money.

Identifying the source

On paper, it may seem easy to invest in real estate and earn the rent as passive income, but in a practical sense, it is often difficult to translate this investment into income. Identifying the source which will generate a stable passive income is probably the biggest challenge you might face. You may require external help. Most activities that generate passive income, like starting a blog or selling items on Craigslist or eBay, can end up taking so much time that they aren’t really “passive” activities anymore.

Similarly, putting your money into real estate in an economic scenario like the current recession may only result in the depreciation of the value of your property, which can cause you to lose on value and win on earning interest. So clearly identifying the stable and trusted source is one of the key issues you need to look into.

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Always play safe

If you are too busy in your life and job and have lots of responsibilities, you need to play safe. One of the easiest and probably best options to start with for earning passive income to invest your money into high interest paying saving accounts. A simple search on comparison sites can give you a little insight into what kind of rates are being offered by the banks and financial institutions on the saving accounts. So start putting your extra money in high yield saving accounts.

Another good and probably the safest option is to invest into government securities. Government securities may offer low returns, but they are safe and can support your life style. Don’t go for stocks because investing in stocks requires a certain degree of investment acumen and financial expertise. Always play safe even if you have moderate level of understanding as to how the stock market works.

Some sources from where passive income can be generated

  • Consider the following passive income investment opportunities:
  • High yield savings and money market accounts
  • Government treasuries and bonds
  • Rent from real estate investment
  • Interest income on high quality AAA rated corporate bonds
  • Selling your music on digital music services such as iTunes (only if you are artistic in nature)
  • Write articles for sites such as hubpages.com
  • Write a blog entry and hope that someone might donate to you

Don’t be ambitious

Please remember that your passive income may not be higher than your active income. Your goal should be to achieve a combination where both incomes are greater than your current active income.  Don’t expect too much, but always remain optimistic. You and I may not be as lucky as J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown, but we both certainly deserve a good vacation.

Remember that you should remain playful, enjoy your journey, be compassionate and kind, and never become greedy. Keep in mind that our needs are already taken care of by the source which has created us all–we need only to trust in that source. Having passive or active income is just another way to receive what is already ours..

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Adnan Manzoor

Data Analyst & Life Coach

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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