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If I decided to stop working on my online businesses, stop tutoring students in statistics, and stop doing any active work whatsoever for the foreseeable future, I would still be able to earn around $1,000 each month through a combination of passive website income, dividends from index funds and REITs, and interest from my savings account.
That’s pretty cool to me.
I could literally spend all day lounging around by the pool, playing basketball, watching Netflix, and doing whatever else I pleased and still bring in $1,000 without doing any work. Specifically, this income would come from:
Online businesses: Currently my collection of websites that I own generates around $700 each month through purely passive income sources. Much of this is due to the fact that I earn free daily recurring traffic on my sites through the use of SEO, which means people find my sites through search engines even when I’m not actively promoting my own articles.
Dividends: I typically earn around $250-$300 each month from my stock index funds and REITs that I hold in my brokerage account. This is purely passive income that comes in each month without any work on my part.
Interest: Each month I receive between $30 and $40 in interest from my online savings account. Similar to my monthly dividends, this income is purely passive and requires no effort from me.
Fortunately, I enjoy working on my online businesses and growing my income each quarter, so I would never consider quitting working altogether. But it’s a great feeling knowing that while I’m actively working on growing my income, I can expect to earn around $1,000 each month purely in passive income.
This brings up an important point: It’s possible to grow your income indefinitely if you just keep building and acquiring assets that make money for you while you sleep.
The Math Behind Growing Your Income Indefinitely
To understand the math behind how it’s possible to grow your income indefinitely, I’ll use myself as an example.
The first job I ever had as a teenager was being a cashier at a grocery store. I would work about 20 hours per week and earn around eight bucks per hour. After taxes and union dues it was more like six bucks per hour. So, I earned around $6 * 20 hours = $120 per week. To make things simple, let’s say I made $500 per month.
Each month I could do whatever I wanted with that $500. At the time, I was still in school and lived with my parents, so I didn’t have any major bills to pay. Still, I managed to find ways to spend all of my money each month.
So, I would work around 80 hours each month, spend all of the money I earned, and never really get anywhere financially. Worst of all, if I stopped working I would simply earn $0 each month.
In my mind, the only way I knew how to make money was to trade my time for dollars. And the only way that I knew how to make more money was to find a job where I could trade my time for a higher hourly rate.
What I didn’t understand at the time (and what many adults never actually learn) was that it was actually possible to increase my income indefinitely without working more hours and without working at a higher hourly rate. The key was to own assets that made money for me.
For example, suppose one month I decided to save the entire $500 I earned as a cashier and invest it into a stock market index fund with an annual dividend yield of 3%.
This meant I would have owned an asset that paid me $500 * 3% = $15 each year, or $1.25 each month.
So, moving forward I could still work 80 hours each month, but instead of bringing home $500 I would instead bring home $501.25.
Then, the next month if I invested another $500 into the same stock market index fund I would suddenly own $1,000 worth of assets with a dividend yield of 3%, meaning I would bring in an extra $30 each year, or $2.50 each month.
Notice the trend here: Each month I could work the same 80 hours, but each month my income could increase because I was slowly gaining more assets that were earning money for me. Understanding this simple idea is the key to understanding how to increase your income indefinitely.
You don’t have to work more hours or work at a higher hourly-paying gig to increase your income over time. You just need to make sure that you’re acquiring assets that will consistently earn money for you without any work on your part.
To illustrate this, consider the following situation where Bob earns the exact same annual salary for 20 years, but he slowly increases the amount he earns from owning assets each year:
He didn’t increase his salary at all over the course of 20 years and he didn’t increase the amount of hours he worked, yet he was able to increase his hourly income rate from $25.25 to $30 simply by acquiring more and more assets over the years that paid him while he was working at his day job.
I’ve personally experienced this own phenomenon myself with blogging. After six months of blogging, I was working on my site for about 60 hours per month and earning just $100 per month. My hourly rate was $1.66.
Fast forward to last month. I still worked on my sites for about 60 hours total, but I earned $1,500, so my hourly rate was $25.
So, I spent the exact same amount of time on my sites last month as I did nearly two years ago, but my income increased fifteen-fold because the value of my assets increased.
How to Grow Your Income Indefinitely
Whether you choose to acquire real estate, stocks, websites, products, or something else, you can grow your income indefinitely by acquiring more and more of these assets over time. As you acquire more assets, you’ll be able to earn more income not by working more, but by owning more things that pay you over and over again.
In fact, when the income you earn from assets becomes large enough, it becomes life-changing. I can attest to this myself. Knowing that I could earn at least $1,000 each month from assets I owned without any work gave me the confidence I needed to quit my day job.
Related Post: The Math That Explains My Decision to Quit My Job
Over the coming years I plan to build out my websites more and acquire even more traditional assets like stocks and REITs, which will allow me to keep increasing my income indefinitely. The secret isn’t in working more hours, but rather in owning more assets.
The more assets you own, the more income you can earn. Best of all, there is no upper limit on how much you can earn.
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
Although the bulk of his net worth is invested in index funds, his favorite place to invest in individual stocks is M1 Finance, a site that allows you to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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