Diverse Interests Create Diverse Income Streams

cash-moneyThe more interests you have, the happier you will be. Imagine if one of your hobbies is analyzing clouds, or cumulonimbuses for the scientifically savvy. You could step outside any time during the day and entertain yourself for hours.  There are so many things around us that our minds tend to filter things out so we can focus on more important tasks.  If we stopped to admire everything, we’d probably never get anything done!

Income diversification is important during weak economic times since you never know when one stream might dry up.  However, the funny thing is that I’ve never purposely thought about creating new income streams for the purpose of diversification until this year.  Instead, my diverse interests have lead me to have a diverse amount of income!  It never occurred to me to count up my non-job income and figure out what percent it is of total income. But, as I started adding things up, I was amazed to realize some months would regularly achieve 25% and up to 50% of my gross base salary!

VARIOUS EXAMPLES OF INTERESTS THAT CREATE INCOME

* Watches & Collecting. Ever since I was 8, I’ve been enamored with watches. I remember my first watch being a black Casio sports watch for $10 bucks and I was hooked! During the past five years, I’ve been able to collect and sell some of the more coveted watches on the market which can’t just be purchased at any store i.e. Stainless Steel Rolex Daytona, Panerai Ceramic, Patek Philippe Rose Gold Perpetual Calendar, IWC Big Pilot, and several vintage Omega Seamasters for example.  These are the types of watches where you need to get on a waiting list, or get hooked up by your jeweler since you’ve bought so much already.  For a couple years, I made about $10-$15,000 a year buying and selling watches.  When I was a kid, I used to collect sports cards, comics, and ancient (1,000+ year old) coins as well. I wonder what those are worth now 25 years later.

* Teaching Tennis. I used to give private lessons for $40-50/hour for about 5-10 hours a month. Teaching is a great way to meet new people, keep in shape, and earn some spending money on the side. In fact, one of my dream jobs is to be a tennis instructor in Bora Bora a couple months a year. Who knows, one day I might meet a sugar mama! I no longer teach tennis, but find comfort knowing that if I needed some money, I could.

* Blogging. I love blogging, almost to the point of recognizing that I may have an addiction.  I’ve never focused on blogging as a way to make income, but as the advertising inquiries started flowing in, I realize that one could make thousands of dollars a month from their site so why not.  A lot of the money after the operating costs are donated away, however if I were to one day retire, blogging is definitely a great source of side income.  Every member of the Yakezie should be able to generate $1,000 a month from their sites by the end of this year if they leverage the network and the brand.

* Property. I’ve been buying property for the past 10 years and I don’t think I’ll stop. I equate real wealth to real assets such as property. I like the idea of owning land, shelter, and structure instead of just having dollars and cents stashed away in a bank somewhere. Ever since the beginning of time, having property meant having wealth. It’s amazing to watch your returns tick up as rent increases, while your payments stay the same.  Inflation works great that way for asset owners.

* Stocks and Bonds. The stock market is a fascinating animal. I’ve been trading stocks and bonds for about 15 years now and hit the big one in 2000 when some now defunct internet stock returned 52X on my investment in three months. I’ve never been that lucky again, and have also lost plenty of money too, but that was enough to wet my appetite forever. As a result, I’ve got a couple stock portfolios along with my 401K which I play around with. What you come to realize over a long enough period of time is that once you build a large enough portfolio, small returns still mean relatively large absolute dollar amounts.

* Interest Income. The only way to save is to save a lot.  For the past 7 years I’ve been saving at least 50% of my after tax pay.  In fact, I was doing some calculations on the plane ride home, and I’ve actually been saving 65-72% of my after tax pay for the past 3 years. It’s quite straight forward actually. All one has to do is save one bi-weekly paycheck a month and you’ve got saving 50% down. What I find more interesting is the sexy returns one can make just investing in long term CDs.  90% of my cash is locked in 5-7 year CDs yielding 4-4.35%. The only way to invest in CDs is to choose the maximum duration possible.  That way, you ensure the greatest return on your money.  Again, if you save long enough, you will come to appreciate what a risk free 4% return is worth every year. Imagine if you had $1 million in a 7 year CD. Isn’t $40,000 a year in risk-free interest income a nice sum? I think so. Especially if you have $2 million returning 4% guaranteed.

CONCLUSION – DIVERSIFY AND BE INTERESTING!

Each of the six items above is like a hobby or a game to me. Play the game long enough and one day, you’ll wake up as I’m waking up now to discover the income potential of them all. If the six hobbies can regularly generate over 50% of my day job income, I’m pretty sure that I will retire and move on to different things. Will I be able to achieve 50% of my day job income in 6-7 years? Possibly. However, in the meantime, I’m just having fun!

This week, I’ll be introducing an exciting new online product which will hopefully be a 7th income stream besides my day job. This product of building a profitable online store is incredibly thorough and I’m pumped to try it out. I think it will be a fun process and I hope many of you who are interested in building multiple income streams buy the product and join me on the journey!

Recommended Products To Build Wealth:

* Manage Your Money The best way to increase your wealth is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing, how my net worth is progressing, and where my spending is going. The best feature is the 401K Fee Analyzer which has saved me over $1,000 in annual portfolio fees I had no idea I was paying! There is no better tool online that has helped me reach early retirement. It only takes a minute to sign up.

* High Interest Savings Account: I recommend EverBank with a 1.11% yield compared to 0.1-0.2% money market yields on average. A 1.00% savings rate where you can freely access your money without penalty is a no brainer compared to locking your money up for 5-10 years at only 2%. Online banking is the best place to park your cash and it’s very convenient to deposit or withdraw money. Don’t let traditional banks get away with paying you nothing in interest as you fall way behind due to inflation!

Post is updated as of 4Q2013.

Regards,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    I started blogging a few years ago and was surprised when I found out that others were actually making money from it.

    Do you see yourself dropping any of your income streams to focus on another? Has your day job ever interfered or distracted you completely?

    • says

      The day job never interferes, bc that is the most important source of income. What’s more important is not having any of one’s hobbies detrimentally interfere with one’s main source of income.

      What is your main source or income now MD?

  2. says

    Hi Sam,

    Just a clarification… It’s not really that your “diverse interests have lead [you] to have a diverse amount of income!” It’s your draw to entrepreneurship that has led you to make money on your various hobbies and interests in life.

    This distinction, though subtle, is important, based on your previous post. Not everyone will be able to make money on their hobbies, *not* because these areas don’t have earning potential, but because not everyone is as talented as you in being able to build a profitable income stream from them- as you yourself suggest.

    Regards,

    Adam

    • says

      Hi Adam, I’m definitely drawn to entrepreneurship, but I am definitely no entrepreneur yet. The previous post on defining what a real entrepreneur is was part a message to myself to create goals on various hobbies.

      I don’t have any talent for making any money. I just have lots of interests now which so happen to be making some money.

  3. says

    Wonderful posts Sam- you are a machine! I really respect your drive and i love how you’re able to sock away 50% of your take home income.

    increasing your income streams can be beneficial. It never hurts to explore options and then cut what doesn’t work for you. I helped a friend with his website design business and discovered not only did I enjoy it, but I could make some cash with it. It’s lead to my freelance work which comes from 3 income streams.

    • says

      Sounds great! Finding income through what we enjoy is simply the best. And once we add some business structure, careful not to make it overly structured, we could really have a great thing going!

      Saving one paycheck a month is such the simplest straightforward method of saving 50% of income, it’s awesome!

  4. says

    I too have always had multiple income streams. Though my efforts to buy up Gulf coast property has been hammered of late. Values down 60%….

    But at 53, I hope to ride the wave to it’s return, and my grandchildren-to-be should enjoy it!

    • says

      I feel you on the turbulent ride in propertly land, from the highs to the lows now climbing back up. I’ve decided to build an income property portfolio not a buy/sell portfolio. So, what I’m focused on ia just cash flow.

      It’s kinda interesting. Economy bad in SF, more people rent. Economy good, one is t able to buy, so they rent! I’ve raised the rent by 45% in the past 8 years here while debt has actually gone down due to refinances. It’s like a positive 60% spread.

      People should definitely be looking/buying now.

  5. says

    Not be a financial hater, as Shawanda over at “You Have More Than You Think” would call me, but when you start calling your income streams “games” you can quickly lose if you’re not careful. Now that’s a general statement, because I’m sure that you are very careful, but most people were not as careful during the dot com and real estate bubble and so they subsequently lost BIG TIME.

    I suppose that I will one day try for multiple streams of income through real estate, but the way I see it, rental income is only a passive income stream if it’s not taking money out of my pocket (the only take-away that I can remember from Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad). Right now, my $1500 mortgage can only generate $1100 in rent, and because I originally financed my home with a thirty year, vice a fifteen or smaller year mortgage, the principal is going NOWHERE. :) I’ll never finance with a thirty year mortgage again.

    You sound like you live a full life, Sam. Busy, but full.

    • says

      I’m not sure how busy I really am compared to others though is a point I’m making. I never until this year thought about my various income streams. This is thefirst time I wrote then down in a post.

      My income streams are games/hobbies to me as I don’t depend on them for anything. However, I see your point. I just don’t want any of my hobbies to interfere with my main source of income, and I don’t want to stop having fun either, otherwise I’ll stop doing them.

      Teaching tennis stopped becoming fun bc blogging became more fun for example. I still play a lot, but purely for competition and the thrill of victory.

  6. says

    Multiple income streams are important! Seeing opportunities and developing the skills to take advantage of those opportunities is a little harder. I share some of the same interests (watches and income property), however I only made money from income property. I own 2 collectible watches, but never developed the skills to go further.

    • says

      There’s really no skill to watches. Just buy a watch that can’t be bought, find out what the market is willing to pay, and sell it! The internet has made it so easy to do. Anybody can do it. Once you start buying tons of merchandise, you get higher on the priority list to buy even more exclusive, hard to find pieces.

      People think buying a rare Ferrari is a waste of money. What’s a waste of money is buying a Ford Explorer as that loses way more money than a rare Ferrari, which makes you money!

  7. says

    I look forward to building multiple streams of income! I do enjoy blogging, so I will definitely work at making that one of my income streams. Perhaps tutoring. I am an Ultrasound Tech, and there are always new grads needing help with passing the national boards. What would one charge an hour for that? Any suggestions are welcome.

  8. says

    Excellent post Sam. I am definitely developing multiple income streams like you are doing. We have rental properties and are working to pick up another one. I’m blogging, but I’m pretty new so I’m not making much money yet. Hopefully that will pick up some steam this year. We have stocks investments. I definitely will need to look into CD once my main income stream dries up. The rates are pretty low now though so probably will wait a few years.

    • says

      Yeah, right! I can bet that so many young bucks who think they can make a living or healthy side income through poker have gone broke.

      Most I ever won was $2,000 or so. Poker is a zero sum game with a lot of bad beats!

  9. says

    Outside of my day job, my only other money making venture at this point is investing in income producing real estate. The only problem here is that is takes me 2 or 3 years to put together enough capital each time I want to buy a property. I could look at potential deals for hours each day, but can only pull the trigger maybe every couple of years – it’s painful to spend so much time on the sidelines!

    I also started blogging this year, but no revenue yet. Did have an offer to earn $20, which I turned down because I think it was a scam!

    Me and a good buddy are actively looking for a couple more income producing activities to pursue. So far we have considered:

    1. Getting 5-10 lawns to mow each week.
    2. Buying vending machines to put into office buildings.
    3. Buying a lake house for personal use, but mainly to rent out.
    4. Starting a residential cleaning company for high end homes (we were going to start this business for our wives to run!).
    5. Buying a liquor store.
    6. Starting a business that performs outsourced underwriting services for banks (we are both bankers).

    The only thing we have done so far is to get a contract on another rental property (short sale), which is awaiting bank approval.

  10. says

    You’ve got some great hobbies sam. I happen to agree with you 100% here, and I’m trying to get things set up for myself as well. I really like to make things, so this summer and next year I’m going to try my hand at producing things that people will want to buy (I’ve made some vanilla extract that I’m going to try to sell this year) But as for other things, they require more land than I’ve currently got.

  11. says

    In my experience most people segregate fun activities from money-making activities. They have a job or a business that makes them money so they can afford to do the things they love. But you are wiser than most because you are able to do the things you enjoy while also making money. The best of both worlds.

  12. says

    I’m blessed in that my hobbies have turned into income producers as well.

    In high school I loved tennis, and I turned it into a summer job for several years teaching tennis at local parks.

    I started blogging, and realized that my blog could make money. So I started several others as well, slowly turning it into a money making business.

    I enjoy doing design work on the side – and realized I could make some money at it – so I put up a site and now I make decent money every month doing design work for other bloggers and businesspeople.

    At one time I was pretty involved in ebay as well, buy and reselling stuff there for a profit.

    I think the possibilities are endless, you just have to find the angle that you can use to make your hobbies profitable!

  13. Investor Junkie says

    Hi Sam,

    A watch is an investment that returns dividends???? Yes collectables might be considered an investment, but it certainly doesn’t create income. At least for me for it to be considered creating income it must at least do once a year and still own the investment. I’m not sure how a watch fits this definition. All of your other examples fit this definition.

    • says

      Have you never been to a jeweler or watch dealer? That’s essentially what I was doing as a hobby. When you have watches priced at $5,000-$50,000, you can make a decent amount if you sell several at a 5-20% margin. I love negotiations and making transactions.

      It’s a new type of world.

  14. says

    Income diversification is definitely an area where I’m lacking. I really didn’t think about it until now, but one of the most lucrative activities I ever engaged in was modeling / promotional work. Now that I’m a bit older (and fatter), the whole modeling thing doesn’t work out so well. Either way, I’m confident I’ll be able to generate additional income from more cerebral endeavors. I just have to devise a plan and execute it.

  15. says

    I have finally gotten to the point where I think my income streams will total 50% of the money I make from my full-time job this year.

    I’m not sure where this is going to take me, but for now I plan on continuing the full-time job and save aggressively into my retirement portfolio.

  16. says

    Hell yeah Sam! Love the message, but wWould you really leave your job for just 50% of income? I don’t know if I could stomach it. That being said at 50% I would be able to take work as one of those income streams I could get rid of IF it became too stressful

    • says

      Very good question. I would like to think I could but I won’t know for sure. If I replicated 50% of my income now, I wouldn’t quit. But if it happened in 6-7 years, yes I would. If in 10 years, most definitely.

      It’s more a timing issue first, then money, instead of money first, then timing.

      Also, let’s say I ear $1 mil a year from my day job now, leaving if I earn $500k a year is probably a decent possibility.

  17. says

    The more interests you have, the happier you will be. —- I love this!!!

    As a creative, both professionally and personally, nothing I do is really all that lucrative. My hobbies are reading, music, movies, cooking/baking…hardly moneymakers. (Well, I guess if I was better and more confident I could busk…but thats kind of a crapshoot.)

  18. says

    Good point on investment income. I’ve figured out that the time I spend on researching stock speculations and investments is equivalent to having a second job that pays $80 to $90 an hour. I haven’t made anything yet from the blog, but then again I haven’t worked very hard at monetizing it either.

    • says

      For blogging, give yourself a full year, and if you can get to Alexa 100,000 or below, you will probably easily make $500/month + imo… same probably if you are at 200,000 or below.

  19. says

    I’m always amazed by the side jobs and hobbies people have that are aligned with their interests. I have one friend doing freelance photography on the side, another who builds custom motorcycles and yet another that does wedding planning on the side. I blog. We all have at least a couple extra tricks up our sleeves. The question is whether you monetize it, do it efficiently and whether it’s scalable that determines success!

  20. says

    i was once told “find something you like doing, then find someone to pay you to do it”.

    can’t really speak to watches, but i got my wife a multi carat diamond ring from a tax / tariff / custom free jurisdiction. got it appraised in Europe and then in America as well, and the lower of the two was 45% more than what i paid for it. figured i could make a buy or two a year and flip it in the West.

    i have a question on a comment you made: “Every member of the Yakezie should be able to generate $1,000 a month from their sites by the end of this year if they leverage the network and the brand.”

    is there anywhere you talk about how to specifically leverage the network and brand to drive the 1k return?

  21. Charlie says

    I have a ton of interests. Too many I think because I don’t get to do them all because work takes up so much of my time, so I do what I can when I can in bits and pieces. Most of my interests aren’t really revenue generators but I like your point about diversifying income. I need to do more of that myself and it’s a great way to have some extra safety nets if an unexpected family emergency comes up or something.

  22. says

    I’ve always thought that multiple streams is a good thing. Personally I thought that 1/3 of your money in stocks (mostly retirement), real estate, and your own business would be a good mix..

    Although in practice I’ve found it much more difficult to get the business side of things up (but it’s fun trying). I’m also young so right now I’m focusing on stocks and/or real estate.

    I’d love to see an in depth article on what type of real estate you purchase, what you look for, what % you put down on your homes. I’m looking to get my first rental property in the next few months and would like some pointers.

  23. says

    Great post! Mr. BP and I started blogging to expand our love of writing, to have a hobby to share with each other, and, let’s be honest…to eventually generate money. With both of our “day” jobs creating 12+ hour work days, we continue to pursue the entrepreneurial dream of “passive” income”!

    • says

      Hi Mrs. BP! Good to see you hear. I hear you on your jobs, and wouldn’t it be nice to one day after working alot and saving alot making money from home and work only 2-4 hours a day? That’s my DREAM, and hopefully this product I’m highlighting tomorrow will help.

  24. says

    “Multiple income streams allow you to increase your potential earnings, while at the same time, lower your financial risk. It’s the best of both worlds.” – Anonymous

  25. says

    Wow, you are doing great! I wish my non-401k returns would provide more money, but they are small at this point. My blog is doing okay, but I’m not at that $1,000 level yet… I’ll have to try harder.

    Mostly, I’m thinking about trying to increase my day job revenue. I think I may jump ship, but I might be too late (according to one of your other posts, I should have looked earlier than now).

    • says

      I just sent you an e-mail, that should bring you to over $1,000 this month for sure! Check it out and sign up.

      It’s never too late to jump ship for your day job revenue if they want you!

  26. says

    Wow, Sam. That’s really impressive. And very true as well.
    I have two income streams: my day job and a teaching possition I have at nights a couple of times a week. I’m also blogging, but haven’t got to the point of generating an income from it yet. I’m still promoting my site, trying to engage an audience and using the several channels to achieve it. I guess I’ll start including income generating mechanisms on the site in a couple of months.
    Making the already saved money work by itself is also really good work. Interests from accounts, investments and others are an important source of income (when and if they are done right).

  27. Justin says

    Good article, but I feel most people commenting here (like myself) are bloggers, and that is their secondary stream of income… havent seen much esle yet.

    I recently started a personal finance blog http://www.moneyistheroot.com … let me know if you can provide any tips. I would luv to hear from someone with such a thorough and developed blog. Thanks!

  28. Tim says

    This really resonates with me, and it picked up my spirits. I like doing different things, but I sometimes have a hard time with feeling like a beginner. I do ok with trading, but I would be deluding myself if I attribute any success in to superior knowledge, when my success is really due to beating the herd.

    My current lifestyle costs 15% of before tax income, so my savings rate is relatively high, and my one income stream comes from cds and savings accounts.

  29. says

    when a country such as Japan happens to have low poverty,crime,solid work ethics, while a nation such as ours (U.S.) is wealthy,but at the same time, happens to have racial strife,wide income inequality, violent crimes, more social discordance;etc?

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