How does your financial picture differ when you discover the concept of financial independence in your late 40s?
That’s the predicament faced by the author of today’s Friday Feature just a few short years ago when she realized that it was time to get her financial house in order. Today, she can proudly claim five streams of income, a mix of active and passive.
Although she lives on the opposite side of the world from most of us, you’ll see that many of the challenges in Australia mimic those that we have here.
This post was originally published on Late Starter Fire.
Is this what my income streams should look like?
I had never been concerned about diversifying my income streams.
Until the pandemic hit. And I saw how jobs and livelihoods can disappear, literally overnight.
I will never forget the image of long lines of people queuing outside Centrelink offices on the nightly news, a sight that I’d never associate with Australia, the lucky country.
At that time in 2020, I was just concerned about surviving in my full-time job and ensuring we kept up with all the changes in procedures associated with Covid-19. It was a highly stressful time to be in healthcare. It still is. (I wrote about it back in 2020)
Fast forward. The uncertainty is still with us. The lockdowns. Businesses unable to open and trade. Low vaccination rates (but slowly improving). More infectious Omicron strain. And on and on it goes.
Why do I feel a need to increase my income streams?
It has nothing to do with wanting to be a millionaire! Even though we’ve all heard or read that millionaires have 7 income streams.
Over the last year, my full time job oscillates between periods of intense busyness and boring nothing-to-do days.
During the intensely busy seasons, as in now when we are in our sixth lockdown and ramping up vaccinations, I am mentally tired and worn down coping with it all.
(As an aside, it is mentally exhausting listening to why people don’t want to be vaccinated and explaining why they should. And it is challenging to remain upbeat and supportive when working with anxiety all around us. We are all waiting on tenterhooks, praying that we don’t become a Tier 1 site (ie a Covid positive case visits our premises) which means we’ll have to quarantine for 2 weeks. We are back to anxiously watching the daily positive case numbers. And back to split shifts where the day and evening shifts have no contact with each other, including outside work hours)
When we are in the boring I-have-no-idea-what-else-I-can-do-to-look-busy times, I worry that my job is not secure and the business will close down.
It’s a blessing I have a job. And that I can leave the house to work thereby not experiencing the social isolation during our lockdowns. But it’s a double-edged sword.
I am more likely to get Covid from my job. And inadvertently pass it on to others such as my elderly parents. Even though this is somewhat mitigated by all three of us being fully vaccinated, I still don’t want us to get Covid and the possibility of its long-term effects.
Maybe it’s a case of the grass being greener on the other side. But working from home sounds blissful at this stage.
Therefore, increasing my income streams is one of my goals for 2022. Just so I don’t have to depend on my salary so much. And I can dream about working from home someday.
My active income
Without question, my biggest source of income is the salary I earn from my full time job.
And I would definitely classify it as an active income. I actively trade my time, energy and effort (LOTS OF IT at the moment!) to earn this income.
Quite frankly, I don’t want to hustle. I have neither the energy nor the mental headspace to do so.
Therefore I’m not seeking any more active income streams. I don’t want extra shifts or another job in the same industry.
The only other active income stream I have is doing Octopus Group surveys (review). The income is sort of active but it’s not time consuming and I can do it while watching television so I don’t mind it. The income is also miniscule compared to my full time income, haha.
The longer I’m on my FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) journey though, the more I’m attracted to the concept of passive income.
What is passive income?
I define passive income as income I earn without actively doing something to generate it. Income that I earn while I’m sleeping.
How awesome is that? To have income streaming into my bank account without me having to work for it?
Is that even possible??
Yes and no.
Let me explain.
When you google ‘passive income ideas’, the lists invariably include rent from investment properties, dividends from shares, interest from bank accounts, investing in a business as a silent partner, income from blogging and other online activities such as selling printables, ebooks, affiliate marketing, dropshipping, etcetera.
I don’t know about you, but a) they either need money to begin with or b) they need a lot of time and effort to generate which doesn’t really shout ‘passive’ income or income that I can make in my sleep.
And herein lies the rub.
You need MONEY to generate more money.
Or you need to invest a lot of time and effort UPFRONT to generate money later.
So where does that leave me?
I have neither the ready cash to invest in investment properties nor do I want to be a landlord at this stage of my life so rental income is out of the picture. I’m not sure I classify rental income as passive when there is work involved in dealing with tenants, home maintenance, attending body corporate meetings (if owning units/flats) or dealing with agents.
I have no idea what dropshipping even means … more googling required. And you all know I’m not good at googling!
The interest rate is so low these days that interest from cash in my bank accounts would hardly buy me an extra cappuccino or two. But I wouldn’t knock it back – it is true passive income.
That leaves blogging and dividends from a share portfolio.
Blogging for passive income? Noo …
Or not yet.
I can tell you there is NOTHING passive about it right now, haha! I am sure eventually, I can make a profit out of blogging if I try hard enough and work at it long enough. However, I am not currently earning enough to break even.
It is a creative outlet for me and I do love sharing my message that it is never too late to start your FIRE journey, take control of your money and save for retirement. A big thank you to those of you who have supported my blog by reading and sharing with your friends, purchasing from my affiliate links and Action Plan – I love you all!
Passive income from blogging or selling digital products takes time and a lot of effort up front. Many things have to work out – how much traffic you get, how much marketing you do, how many products you have to sell, how many affiliate products and services you recommend and so on. It is a huge learning curve, to be sure. I’d love to have the time and energy to fully devote to it. But alas, hello my full time job.
And now to dividends from my share portfolio.
Dividends from my share portfolio
So as a matter of interest, I decided to chart my dividends.
And lo and behold! I do have income in the form of dividends from my share portfolio. Now, this is what I call passive income – income that I ‘make’ while sleeping. Income that I didn’t even realize I was getting.
This is because the majority of my dividends are reinvested automatically so I don’t see any cash hitting my bank accounts. Out of sight, out of mind.
That’s the good news.
The ‘bad’ news is that I have to keep investing and growing my portfolio in order to grow this passive income. And that means I need my active income derived from working a full-time job.
Until, that is, with compound interest growth, and (fingers crossed), companies continuing to grow despite the pandemic and thus be able to reward investors with dividends.
My 5 income streams in 2022
I have always tracked my spending but never tracked my income. After all, what is there to track besides my salary?
But after discovering I do have some income via dividends, I decide to look at the breakdown of my income streams.
So, I currently have 5 streams of income – a mixture of active and passive income streams.
The active income streams are from my full time job and doing Octopus Group surveys.
The truly passive income streams are from the interest earned from cash (mainly the emergency fund and my travel sinking fund) sitting in high yield online bank accounts and the dividends earned from my shares portfolio outside of superannuation.
I would classify blogging income as both active and passive – there is still considerable work involved up front before it can generate any passive income.
Right now, a whopping 85.7% of all income is from my full time job followed by dividends at 11.8% This makes dividends my biggest passive income source!
I would love for the above pie chart to look differently in a few years, with dividends and blogging income to have increased in comparison to my full-time job.
Now, I just have to come up with a plan to make it happen. 🙂
I have overwhelmingly felt the need to develop extra income streams in 2022 and to decrease my reliance on my full-time job.
In particular, I’d love to increase my passive income.
But as my biggest passive income source is from dividends, I still need my very active income derived from my full time job to invest in my shares portfolio which will then generate more dividends.
I’m looking forward to making money in my sleep 😴. Ah, what dreams I shall have!