How to Get the Most Out of Passive Income in Your Portfolio


thomas callaway
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Passive income is broadly defined as money that comes from investments rather than employment wages. Examples include dividend income generated by stock investments or rental income derived from property you own. Passive income can play an important role in helping to meet day-to-day expenses and to accumulate wealth for retirement. 

According to research from Ameriprise Financial, 40% of investors across multiple generations have some form of passive income, and more than two-thirds (77%) of investors say passive income is important or very important to their retirement strategy.1

 Having more than one source of income to draw from can be a powerful way to hedge against risk and ensure you have the means to cover your expenses. This is particularly true for retirees who no longer earn a traditional income and need to recreate their paycheck. 

Five primary ways to generate passive income

Passive income can originate from a variety of sources. Here are five ways to generate passive income that may be a fit for your financial portfolio:

#1 – Dividend-paying stocks and mutual funds or ETFs

Stocks that generate competitive dividend yields are a prime source of passive income. If choosing individual stocks, pay attention to their track record. Companies with a history of raising dividend payouts consistently over time may offer the best, long-term opportunity. You can also find mutual funds or ETFs that emphasize dividend-paying stocks.

#2 – Bonds and bond index funds or ETFs

Investing in bonds is another way to generate income. Even if you are in the accumulation stage of life, bond income can play an important role in helping you build wealth. Not only do bonds offer a way to diversify a stock portfolio, but in today’s market, bond yields are increasingly attractive. Consider that at the end of 2021, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 1.52%. At the end of August 2023, the yield was more than 4%. Bond funds and ETFs are generally offering more competitive payouts today as well.

#3 – Cash instruments

Like bonds, cash-equivalent vehicles such as money market funds and certain certificates of deposit and bank savings accounts pay more attractive yields today. This is in line with changes to the yield environment in the broader bond market. Money put to work in this way generally has the added benefit of protection of principal value. Not only can you earn competitive returns, but you do so in a relatively safe manner.

#4 – Rental Property

Some people choose to own property, such as houses or apartments, rent them out and use the income to buffer their nest egg. While this is considered a passive investment, there may still be some sweat equity and ongoing costs involved in maintaining properties and attracting and managing tenants. You’ll also want to pay close attention to the state of the real estate market where you invest in properties. Ideally, these properties will appreciate in value over time.

#5 – Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

If the idea of generating income from owning properties appeals to you, but you don’t feel prepared to tackle the challenge of direct ownership, REITs offer an alternative. REITs are professionally managed like mutual funds, with money invested in properties such as office buildings, apartment complexes, retail spaces, warehouses or hotels. Those who invest in REITs primarily benefit from the income stream generated by the properties held. REITs are subject to market risk and various fees, and dividends are taxed as regular income. Evaluate any investment options carefully to understand how it may impact your situation. 

Work within your overall plan 

Passive income is most effective when the investment strategy is implemented within the context of your overall financial plan (with the plan itself designed according to your unique goals, timeframe to achieve them, and level of financial risk you want to accept along the way). Work with your financial advisor to determine how best to incorporate passive income strategies. A professional can discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the strategies above in more detail, and point you to other options not listed here.  And as a final tip, keep in mind that while passive is in the name, you should regularly review your passive income strategy to make sure it’s helping you achieve your financial goals. 

1 The 2023 research was created by Ameriprise Financial Inc. and conducted online by Artemis Strategy Group from January 19 to February 14, 2023 among 3,518 Americans ages 27–77. Millennial respondents have $25,000 or more in investable assets, and Gen X and boomer respondents have $100,000 or more. The sample is weighted on region and by generation on age, gender, race/ethnicity, assets, and income based on the Federal Reserve 2021 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED). To ensure sufficient response sizes for additional analysis, Ameriprise oversampled investors who identify as millennials. For further information and details about the study, including verification of data that may not be published as part of this report, please contact Ameriprise Financial or go to

Thomas A. Callaway CRPC®, is a Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Paris TX.  He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 30 years. To contact him you can go to or call (903)785-7000, office located at 2219 Lamar Ave Paris TX 75460.

This information is being provided only as a general source of information and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any securities, accounts or strategies mentioned.  The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for investment decisions, nor should it be construed as a recommendation or advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual investor.  Please seek the advice of a financial advisor regarding your particular financial situation.  

Investment products are not insured by the FDIC, NCUA or any federal agency, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution, and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value.

Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser.

Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC.

© 2023 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.


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