One of the greatest ways to build wealth is to acquire income generating assets that put your finances to work and create multiple sources of passive income.
It’s easily one of the best ways to reach your financial independence and retirement goals. After all, having a range of income producing assets allows you to use your already saved money and multiply it.
There are many ways that you can earn income from assets that you own as a great strategy for achieving financial independence. That said, they all have their own advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider before making an informed decision.
In this article, we’re going to take you through the best income producing assets that can help you make more money.
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Best income generating assets
1. Online business
One of the best and easiest ways to invest is to start your own online business.
At first, your business may require a lot of potential work to build an audience. However, once you have an audience, your online business can become a great asset for producing income.
Online businesses are great for generating income, although you should be ready for the fact that they may take some time to build. However, even though many online businesses, such as e-commerce websites, YouTube channels, or blogs, will not make any money right away, they have the potential to generate a huge amount of income in future.
Great choice! After all, it’s one of the cheapest online businesses to start at under $3 per month – less than a cup of coffee! In fact, that’s the price you’ll get if you launch your site with Bluehost, which is easily my top pick for the best website host for beginners to use. Not only will you get a free domain name, but you definitely don’t need any tech experience to get started.
To find out more, check out my simple step-by-step guide on how to start a blog as I show you the exact steps I took to start on the path to earning thousands of dollars every month – on the side of my full-time job!
What are the advantages of building an online business?
There are countless advantages of running an online business, and here are some of them:
- Low operating costs. Operating a business online does not require you to have an actual office, warehouse, staff, inventory, or transportation vehicles. If you sell products, for example, you can have them sent directly to your buyers via suppliers. That means you do not have to invest money in your own inventory. Moreover, the direct delivery of products to buyers reduces the shipping time and makes your clients much happier.
- 24/7 availability. If you are running a business online, you can provide services to your clients 24/7. If you have a website, clients can visit it and be aware of your services at any time from any part of the world. You can even provide services for a longer period of time, even during the holidays. All you need to do to maximize your profit is to make your business available for those clients who prefer online shopping.
- Good customer support. With the help of the Internet, you can resolve customers’ problems and answer their questions without spending too much time. You could even outsource this through hiring a virtual assistant to take care of customer queries, saving you time while keeping your customers happy.
- Convenience to operate your business from any part of the world. One of the best things about having an online business is that you can operate it from any part of the world. All you need to have is a solid internet connection, which is not a problem today.
The most profitable online businesses to consider
If you are thinking about starting your own business but do not know where to start, here are some profitable online business ideas that you may want to try:
- Create your own blog. Having a blog means earning money with your own words. Given a blog is literally just another name for a website with content on it, you’ve definitely heard of some very successful and well-known blogs out there. There are many ways to monetize your blog, such as leasing ads space, displaying Google Ads, and others.
- Start selling stuff. If you are thinking of opening a store in order to sell things, having an online store is definitely cheaper than keeping a brick-and-mortar shop with a physical location. Moreover, with an online store, you can reach a bigger audience in different parts of the world, especially if you will use effective branding and SEO optimization techniques. You don’t even have to sell physical products only, with plenty of digital products being highly lucrative, including online courses and ebooks.
- Affiliate marketing. This is when you’re paid a commission when someone signs up for a product or service using your unique link. You can put these links on your website, on various social media platforms or elsewhere online. That said, it’s not simply a case of slapping some links online and waiting for the money to roll in. Instead, consider taking some training, like the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, run by someone who makes over $50,000 every single month from affiliate marketing.
- Online videos. Today, you can easily monetize your online videos – whether they are on Facebook or YouTube. There are different forms of videos that can be monetized, such as tutorials, vlogs, product reviews, product unboxing, or entertaining and comedy videos. With over 100 billion users on YouTube today, there is definitely a chance to start making money on the videos you record and create.
Stocks are investments representing an ownership share in a certain company. When you buy a stock, you are purchasing a small piece of the company that is called a share. Most stocks are sold and bought on stock exchanges, but there are private sales as well.
It may seem intimidating to put money in the stock market at first, especially if you have never done it before. However, stocks have many advantages over other types of investments.
And what about two more free stocks? All you have to do is deposit $100 in your new brokerage account and two bonus stocks will be on their way.
Advantages of Investing In Stocks
Here is a list of the main advantages of stocks that you should know about:
- Potential for high return. Firstly, as with all investments, past performance is no guarantee of future performance. However, at the same time, the stock market boasts an upward long-run trend, and the historical data actually shows that stocks have the highest return of any other income generating asset over the long term.
- Liquidity. The stock market is like a big auction house. There are hundreds of investors who are buying and selling their shares every day. When you want to cash your stocks out, you can easily find a buyer, while other income generating assets are much more difficult to sell. For example, if you decided to invest your money into an investment property, you may have to wait for months until you find a buyer. With stocks, it is much easier – you can find a buyer the same day.
- Delayed taxation. If you purchase a stock and it goes up in value, you do not have to file a return on what you have earned. All you need to do is to report your stock gains when you decide to sell your shares for a profit. Moreover, if you lost money on your stock purchase, you can then use that money loss to reduce the taxes on other stocks you gain.
- Public information. In contrast to other investment types, the stock market is constantly watched by the entire world, and there is always public information about the stocks that helps you make an informed decision. For example, if a company wants to sell its stocks publicly, it has to release its financial statements that are reviewed by The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Investing in stocks is really simple – in fact, when it comes to figuring out how to buy income generating assets, these are one of the easiest. As we just mentioned, signing up for a free account with Webull is a great way to get started with this – especially given the free stocks you get just for signing up.
(Seriously, some people actually reported their free shares being from Facebook, Google and Apple.)
That said, it’s true that it can be a bit daunting the first time you try it, especially if it’s your very first time investing.
This is why you could consider starting out by using an app like Acorns. How it works is that it rounds up any purchases you make and invests the difference.
So let’s say you buy a sandwich for $4.30. The extra $0.70 will be automatically transferred to a separate account. That way, you’re saving and investing without even realizing it!
(You can see our full Acorns vs Robinhood comparison to find out more.)
Ideal for beginner investors
Want to start investing but always think that you don’t have enough money left over each month? Then Acorns is for you.
It automatically rounds up and invests your spare change, making it a great choice for starting to save and build wealth – without even noticing!
3. High-interest savings account
Another great opportunity for passive income is opening a high-interest savings account. You can make money by putting the money you already have in a high-interest savings account, which is a low-risk and quick way to earn some extra cash.
Most likely, it will not be life-changing, but earning even some compound interest here is a great place to start. This is how many investors start building their passive income. It can also be a smart option if you’re saving up money to purchase an income generating asset in future, like when you’re saving for a house deposit to buy an investment property.
A great option to consider for this is the Money Market account offered by CIT Bank. This account is a fee-free, very accessible and very safe option for saving money for your future goals or for earning more interest on the money you already have in your account.
Our pick: Best high interest savings account
Why? Well, because it’s got:
- 0.45% interest (over SEVEN times higher than the national average)
- No fees and only a $100 minimum deposit
- FDIC insured, meaning your money’s safe
4. Real estate
There are different real estate strategies that you can use to generate consistent income. One of the most common of them is investing in rental properties. Whether it’s apartment investing or standalone properties, rental properties offer a great opportunity to make a steady rental income over a long period of time.
This generally involves buying investment properties that are rented out to tenants in exchange for a monthly rate. As an investor, your main task is to determine how much you will be charging your tenants every month. This mostly depends on the current real estate market.
In order to start investing in rental properties, you generally need to purchase a property using a small portion of your capital and borrow the remaining amount as a mortgage from the bank.
What are the benefits of owning rental properties as income generating assets?
Here are the main benefits of investing in rental properties:
- You will be in charge of everything. You can choose what property you want to invest in, what tenants to rent to, and how much to charge in rent. You also decide how you want to manage and maintain your rental property. You have several options. You can either rent your property by using services like VRBO or Airbnb and rent it out by providing short-term vacation stays, or find a property management company that will help you find tenants for a long period of time.
- Money in your pocket. You will receive a steady monthly income every month, even after all your expenses. For example, if you decide to rent your property out for $1,100 a month, and your monthly expenses including the mortgage is $700, you will have $400 of monthly income.
- Tax write-offs. As an owner of a rental property, you are entitled to tax deductions. You can write-off the following: interest on credit cards that were used to make purchases on the property, maintenance repairs, insurance, travel expenses, professional and legal fees, interest on a mortgage, and property taxes.
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What if I don’t want to (or can’t afford to) buy my own property?
Crowdfunded real estate investment
If you are thinking about real estate investment but don’t quite have the cash to buy your own property – or can’t be bothered dealing with the management of a property yourself – you should consider trying something like Fundrise.
Fundrise is an online real estate investment platform that is used for making long-term investments in private real estate. All you need is at least $500 as a minimum investment and you can pool your funds with other investors.
From there, you’ll be able to take advantage of the returns generated by properties that are owned and managed by Fundrise – meaning more money for you without the hassle of managing these investments yourself.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
An REIT (real estate investment trust) is a company that owns, finances, and operates income-producing commercial real estate. This makes REITs very similar to mutual funds.
They are one of the key considerations for those who are thinking about constructing an equity or fixed-income portfolio. That is, REITs give an opportunity for an average American to benefit from valuable real estate without having to purchase their own property. They can also help their communities to grow and revitalize.
REITs allow anyone to make investments in portfolios of real estate assets the same way they invest in other industries – either through an exchange traded fund (ETF) or mutual fund, or through the purchase of individual company stock.
In total, REITs own over $3.5 trillion in gross assets across the United States, including stock-exchange REITs that own about $2.5 trillion in assets, which represents over 500,000 properties in the US. In total, an equity market capitalization of all the American REITs is more than $1 trillion.
REITs invest in a great variety of real estate property types, including apartment buildings, offices, data centers, hotels and infrastructure, cell towers, retail centers, and warehouses.
You may also be interested in: 8 Best Schwab Index Funds to Build Your Wealth
You can definitely build a website to become an income generating asset. In fact, with some work and patience, it can even become entirely passive.
And the good news is that websites are super inexpensive to start. In fact, it will cost less than $3 per month when you sign up with Bluehost, which is our recommended host when you’re just starting out. You’ll even get a free domain name with that!
You also don’t need any tech skills to get started. Simply follow the steps in our guide on how to start a blog and your site will be launched in less than 20 minutes.
There’s also the option of purchasing an existing profitable website to start making money quicker. This will cost more than building it yourself, clearly, so it’s going to depend how much cash you have available for this now and how quickly you want to start generating serious income.
That said, you can often pay back your investment here pretty fast. For example, if you purchase a website that costs $15,000 that makes a monthly income of $1,000, you will be able to earn your initial investment back in 15 months, and then you will be left with a free cash flow of $1,000 per month.
How can websites be income generating assets?
There are a ton of ways that people can make money through their websites. These include:
- Advertising – Everyone knows what this is. You display ads on your site and the ad provider pays you based on the number of visits your site gets.
- Affiliate marketing – This is when you’re paid a commission when someone buys a product or service that you recommend. There’s serious money to be made here, with someone like Michelle Schroeder-Gardner making over $50,000 a month from this.
- Selling your own products – You can use your website to advertise digital or physical products that you’re selling.
- Flipping the website – Many people build up their websites with the main purpose of eventually reselling it for a much higher price.
On the topic of reselling your website, as a general rule, you can expect to sell a site for around three times its annual earnings. Clearly, then, when you build it up to a certain point, there’s serious money to be made here.
One of the recent examples is the authority website The Wirecutter that was started by a former editor of Gizmodo, Brian Lam, in 2011. In 2016, it was bought by the New York Times for $30 million.
You also have the option of buying an existing site and then building it up further to then resell it again, if you don’t want to wait to build one up from zero.
Today, there are hundreds of authority websites that are started every day on a variety of topics – from health to science. The number of authority websites that are constantly generating 5 or 6 figures per month is increasing as the digitalization of the economy is becoming one of the key activities in many countries of the world.
6. Social Media Accounts
Just like websites, social media accounts can be a great income generating asset.
They can become an income producing asset in different ways. First, you can start making money with the help of your social media account if you monetize your content through branded content or advertising.
For example, Enchuve.tv, one of the most popular YouTube channels in the Spanish speaking world, was purchased by 2btube for a lot of money with the purpose of becoming the leading Spanish speaking group.
You can also use your social media account for generating income indirectly by driving traffic to your income producing website.
It is also important to understand that there are differences between social media accounts and websites as income generating assets. Websites are considered owned properties, while social media accounts are rented properties.
This means that such social media platforms as Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube have their own rules that you have to follow, and they can ban your account at any time, in which case your income would vanish completely.
In addition to websites and social media accounts, there is another similar type of an income generating asset – domains. Instead of buying and then selling a website, there is an easier way that involves simply buying a domain.
According to GoDaddy, the most expensive domain name is carinsurance.com with a worth of almost $50 million. What’s even more impressive is that the purchaser also bought the second most expensive domain, insurance.com, for $35.6 million. These ended up being pretty good additions to their existing portfolio of domain names, which included internet.com (bought for a cool $18 million).
Even though there are only a few domains sold for millions of dollars, there are many of them that cost hundreds of even thousands of dollars on such marketplaces as Flippa and Sedo.
For buying your own domains, our go-to place is Hover.
How do domains work as income producing assets?
The key to turning a domain into an income producing asset is to buy it low and sell high, which is similar to buying and selling stocks. Many potentially lucrative domains in such developed countries as the United States and the United Kingdom have been already taken. Therefore, it is worth considering other countries that have just started their journey to digitalization.
You could also look at country codes that can form interesting domain names. Just take YouTube, for example, which also owns youtu.be – with the .be domain extension coming from Belgium. Similarly, Last.fm includes the extension of the Federated States of Micronesia.
Here are some other great ideas for how you could incorporate this for some creative (and probably cheaper) domains to buy.
One of the main reasons why investing in domains is a good idea is that their supply is quite limited, while demand is constantly growing because of the digitalization occurring in the world. As more people and businesses enter the digital arena, the demand for domain names is increasing.
Buying low and selling high is not the only way of generating income with the help of domains. You can also produce income through cashparking. This means placing advertisements on your domain while earning a certain percentage of revenue from the sales you have generated.
One more method of generating income with the help of domains is leasing them to businesses. This will allow you to generate traffic and leads.
8. Peer to peer lending
Peer to peer (P2P) lending is the practice of lending financial assets to businesses or individuals without a particular financial institution that would participate as an intermediary. That is, you’re essentially acting as the bank here by lending your own money out. In return, the lendee pays you interest on the loan.
It is usually done through online platforms that match lenders with their borrowers. Peer to peer lending offers both secured and unsecured loans. However, most of the loans in P2P are unsecured.
In general, peer to peer lending is a quite easy and straightforward process. All the transactions are done using a specialized online platform. Here are the steps of a standard P2P lending process:
- A potential borrower who is interested in borrowing money fills out an application on the online lending platform.
- The online platform evaluates the applications, as well as the potential risk and credit rating of the potential borrower.
- If the application is approved, an applicant is provided with the available options from investors based on the assigned interest rate and the applicant’s credit score.
- The borrower can check and review the available options and pick one of them.
- It is an applicant’s responsibility to pay monthly interest payments and repay the principal amount at maturity.
There is also a fee for both borrowers and investors charged by the online platform.
What are the benefits of peer to peer lending?
Peer to peer lending has the following benefits over other income generating assets:
- It is fast and convenient. It is a perfect investment method for those who want to secure their funds quickly.
- Possibility to access lower rates. With P2P lending, many borrowers have an access to lower interest rates compared to those that they can get from such traditional lenders as banks and building societies.
- An initial quote will not affect the credit score. Those borrowers who want to get a loan through P2P lending can receive a personalized quote that will not have an impact on their credit score.
- It is a great alternative for a loan to traditional lenders. P2P lending is a great alternative to such traditional lenders as banks that is worth exploring.
- It can be more flexible than loans from traditional lenders. P2P loans are known for their great flexibility. For example, there is an option to change your monthly repayment date that will suit your finances.
There are different types of bonds that can be considered as income generating assets.
Savings bonds are more savings instruments than investments. They are debt securities that are issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in order to help pay for the US Government’s borrowing needs.
These bonds are considered as one of the safest savings instruments because they are backed by the US Government. There are two types of bonds – EE and I savings bonds.
If you invest in savings bonds, money is basically guaranteed. Moreover, if you buy EE savings bonds, you can expect your investment to double in value at maturity. And as an added bonus, if they are used for education, they are also exempt from federal income taxes and local taxes.
You may not be able to make a lot of money by investing in savings bonds, but it is definitely a great and safe instrument for saving money.
What are the benefits of savings bonds?
Here are the main benefits of savings bonds to keep in mind:
- Diversification of your risk. If you already own investments in bonds and stocks, you may want to consider investing in savings bonds as well. If you do this, it will not add any risk to your investment portfolio.
- Saving automatically. If your employer sponsors savings bond programs, they can automatically deduct the amount you designate from your paychecks to buy savings bonds.
- One of the safest investments. Savings bonds are absolutely safe and are considered no-risk investments.
- Possibility to invest small amounts. The minimum investment in a savings bond is only $25. If you purchase savings bonds through an employer-sponsored program, this amount can be even lower.
- No sales commission. When you invest in savings bonds, you do not need broker’s assistance to purchase them.
A government bond is a type of debt-based investment, in which you loan money to the government in exchange for an agreed interest rate. Governments usually use these bonds to raise funds that they are going to spend on developing infrastructure or new projects. As an investor, you can use government bonds to receive a set return paid at regular intervals.
What are the benefits of government bonds?
Government bonds have the following benefits:
- They pay a steady interest rate return
- Compared to other types of investments and equities, the risk is much lower
- Government bonds are considered a great diversifier because they usually perform well where other assets may perform much worse.
- Early redemption is easy because government bonds are purchased and sold on the open market every day.
A corporate bond is a type of debt security issued by a company and then sold to an investor. Compared to many other fixed-income investments, corporate bonds offer a higher yield.
Interest rates on corporate bonds are usually higher because they are considered to have a higher risk than government bonds. It is true even for companies with top-flight credit quality.
Here is a list of the main advantages of corporate bonds:
- Compared to government bonds, the growth potential is higher with corporate bonds.
- They are not very vulnerable to interest rate increases and inflation due to their shorter time to redemption
- They are considered a useful diversifier for low-medium, medium, and high risk portfolios
- They are not as risky as real estate or equities
10. Certificates of deposit
A certificate of deposit is defined as a savings account that keeps a fixed amount of money for a certain period of time (often six months, one year, or five years) in exchange for interest that is paid by the issuing bank. When you decide to cash or redeem your certificate of deposit, you will receive the money you invested plus the interest (if there is any).
The mechanics of certificates of deposit is quite simple. You lend the bank money for a certain period of time, and the bank pays you interest. In the end, you will be able to earn back your principal.
Many people confuse certificates of deposit with savings accounts. However, there are some differences. The main difference is that a certificate of deposit will require set amounts of time before you are able to access your funds without paying a penalty. For this reason, certificates of deposit often have higher interest rates than savings accounts.
For example, take a look at the one-year certificate of deposit offered by CIT Bank. It’s:
- FDIC insured
- Has daily compounding interest to maximize your earning potential
- $1,000 minimum deposit
What are the benefits of certificates of deposit?
You should know about the following benefits of investing in certificates of deposit in order to decide whether it is a good option for you or not as part of your portfolio of income producing assets:
- Safety. Certificates of deposit are among the safest assets to invest. They are issued by federally insured credit unions and banks are backed by the U.S. Government, meaning that there is no risk that you will lose your money. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), no one has ever lost their money invested in FDIC-insured certificates of deposit.
- Fixed and predictable returns. Unlike other types of investments and savings accounts, investors can count on certificates of deposit to deliver a specific yield at a specific time.
- Great selection of account options. There are different accounts that investors interested in certificates of deposit can choose from. There are no-penalty (liquid), bump-up, jumbo, and add-on certificates of deposit. If a traditional certificate of deposit is not the right choice for you, there are other options to consider that will meet your specific short-term needs.
What are income producing investments?
An income producing investment is a valuable asset or an item that you own and that has the potential to generate income. It can be something very simple, like a savings account, or equity, real estate, or a business that you operate.
By investing money in one or several assets and with some careful management (and a bit of patience), it’s more than possible for you to create steady passive income.
The great benefit of this is that it will allow you to make money while you sleep, drive, cook, or just live and enjoy your everyday life.
And as Warren Buffett once pointed out: “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
What assets can I buy with little money?
Investing money in the stock market is now considered an inexpensive way to start creating passive income. In particular, the rise of cheap, legitimate online trading platforms has made it easy to get started with a stock market investment as an asset you can buy with little money upfront.
For example, with Webull, you can start with only a few dollars in order to familiarize yourself with the stock market before making a big commitment and investing more money. In the past, investors had to pay several dollars every time when they were purchasing or selling stocks. Today, trades through Webull (and various other similar platforms) are commission-free.
You can also start an online business with little money, making it actually one of the cheapest income generating asset examples. Some types of online businesses do not require big investments. For example, you can start a website for less than $3 per month in hosting costs.
How do your assets make income for you?
Your assets can make income for you in a variety of ways. This can include when your assets gain value and you resell them, like with stocks or properties, or when people pay you to use those assets, such as rent, peer-to-peer lending or when customers buy from your online business.
This income can, in turn, then be used to further build up those income producing assets – or even to purchase new ones.
And while it can take some time to get to this point, with income generating assets, they can often be used to create passive income eventually. In fact, this is most people’s strategy for being able to achieve – and maintain – their financial freedom.
What are the most profitable assets?
Real estate is considered one of the most profitable assets. The main reason for that is that real estate offers predictable cash flow. Real estate appreciates in value and keeps up with inflation. Also, it offers equity growth through debt reduction and provides a higher return compared to many other types of investments.
Stocks are also a very profitable type of investment. Even though the stock market is quite risky, stocks give you an opportunity to earn higher returns than other investment alternatives, such as bonds, or certificates of deposit.
One benefit of stocks is that they often require less ongoing management, which has both time and cost advantages compared to real estate. Ultimately, though, whichever income generating asset is best for you is going to depend on your overall investment strategy.
What is the safest asset to own?
The safest asset to own is historically bonds. While their returns are relatively low, they are extremely secure given that they involve loaning money to the government and thus are basically risk-free. Having a savings account is also considered very safe as the deposits are usually guaranteed, at least up to a certain amount.
That said, all investments have some degree of risk, so make sure you’re comfortable with the risk profile of any income generating asset you’re considering buying (or developing).
Final thoughts on income generating assets
Picking from the list of best income generating asset ideas out there that picking which one to buy is going to depend on what works best for you.
Things like the amount of money you have available, your risk appetite and your short- and long-term plans are all going to be important considerations.
After all, when it comes to each of the income producing assets, there are pros and cons for each. That said, it’s still important to work out which is the best one for you as they can be critical in determining when you’re able to retire – or even if you’re able to do so.
This is why starting as early as possible to add some of these to your portfolio can have a massive impact on your financial future.
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About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured on Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a six-figure investment portfolio. Find out more.