How To Make More Money By Doing Nothing

How To Make More Money By Doing Nothing
A still pool does nothing in Sao Paolo, Brazil

It's always a good idea to make more money. If you can make more money by doing nothing, all the better!

It's been over a year since I swapped property management companies for my Lake Tahoe vacation rental (it's snowing buckets btw), but it was only recently that I marketed the property here to help boost its income for the second year.

The property used to be managed directly by the hotel, which would obviously garner the most amount of incoming calls and online inquiries compared to an outside property manager. When reservations were booked through the hotel, they randomly assigned which units those reservations went to. So when I was in their rental program, the only way I used to benefit was when the overall volume of guests increased.

Make More Money By Doing Nothing

That all changed when I moved to an outside property management company who charges a lower commission. They market my specific units on their website.

Therefore, the challenge is for them (Vacasa Rentals) to get well known enough to be a favorable company for vacationers to book living arrangements vs. the hotel's challenge of simply marketing The Resort At Squaw Creek as the premier Lake Tahoe vacation destination.

I used to try and help my cause by advertising my property on Craigslist while it was still managed by the hotel as well, but I stopped because it takes a lot of time dealing with inquiries and bookings.

You would think I'd be worried about seeing a drop in income by switching management companies, especially if I didn't market my unit on the side.

But I wasn't because I wanted to let them earn my business for the first year, so they wouldn't take me for granted. They gave me a guarantee that I would earn at least as much as I did from the hotel, or else they'd refund the difference.

It's interesting, but starting in Feb 2021, I've switched over from Vacasa to Turnkey to manage my vacation property rental. Vacasa just wasn't cutting it. Let's hope Turnkey does better. The co-founder of Turnkey has a unit at The Resort.


The old property management company started taking owners for granted by charging ridiculous extra fees to upkeep our property. For example, they wanted owners to spend $25,000 on new furniture and art, even though everything was fine. I wasn't down to spend $500 for one king size pillow. It felt like the government charging big bucks for a stapler.

With no ridiculous $25,000 on furniture to spend, no more huge commission to pay, and a guaranteed minimum income, there wasn't anything to lose my first year with the new management company. But the important focus was on the future beyond year one.

Based on previous efforts to market my property online to the public and to friends, I know that I can boost rental income by 20%-25% a year. But it was important to let the new property management company work things out on their own so they could focus on at least replicating what I earned with the old property company.

Imagine if I worked hard marketing my property and grew revenue by 25% higher than the guarantee level. I'd be screwed in the second year and beyond because the property management company wouldn't hustle any harder since they surpassed the minimum by so much. They might have confused my efforts with theirs.

By letting the new property management company try and grow the business on their own the first year, they had to give my property more exposure on their home page, promote The Resort At Squaw Creek and Lake Tahoe more, experiment more with rental rates, and pay more attention to my unit.

I've personally been able to e-mail or talk to eight of the property management employees on the West Coast to help focus their attention on marketing my property due to the guarantee over the past 12 months.

Now that there is no more guarantee, I can rest assured knowing they did everything possible to make the unit as much money as possible. I won't tell them that I'm helping them help me in the second year or beyond because I want to keep their hunger alive for as long as possible. But it's inevitable they will no longer feel the same sense of urgency marketing my unit, even if they do make more in commissions if I make more money.


Preventing Children From Spoiling

No parent wants to raise their child to become a spoiled brat who believes the world owes them something. But if you buy your child everything without her having to work for it, that's exactly what she'll become. She'll have no appreciation of how hard it is to make money. As a result, there's a good chance she won't work her ass off in school. And when she's flunking out of school and can't find a job to support herself, she'll be knocking on your door for financial support in no time.

There are so many people I know who went to expensive private schools and don't give a damn about creating their own wealth because their parents are just going to hook them up with everything anyway. It's hard to appreciate money when you don't have to work hard for it. It's easy to say you are slumming it with a roommate and spending frugally when you've got a huge parental safety net below.

If you do everything and buy everything for your child, it's going to be so difficult for the average child to get motivated enough to maximize their potential. There is no way I'm telling my children they will be financially OK if they do nothing. They must do some struggling on their own.

Helping A Partner

Let's say you are relatively well off, but your partner is not. You know you can take care of the both of you without her ever having to work again. Should you? Probably not because then your partner might not try as hard in her career. She might not take as many risks because she's already so comfortable. She might also start taking you and your money for granted as people tend to do after a while.

It goes back to allowing people to reach their potential as much as possible on their own. People won't respect themselves if they know they didn't get to where they are due to their own merit. It's the same thing with people not respecting others who inherited their wealth instead of creating their own wealth. There's a careful balance between helping them succeed and buying their success.

Confident, successful, and independent people are much more attractive partners wouldn't you agree? There's less insecurity by them, less resentment by you when the passion fades, and much more compatibility.

There are those of you who are objecting because marriage is all about being a team. I agree. However, it's best if both spouses are financially independent because marriages are no guarantee. I have a friend who recently got a divorce after 13 years. Her spouse was wealthy, and because she felt comfortable in the relationship and had to take care of their child, she did not keep her skills up to date. She's now having a very difficult time finding a job after being out of the workforce for 13 years. The alimony will eventually run out, and I wish her the best of luck.

If her husband had encouraged her to be more financially independent during their marriage and if she never got comfortable living a wealthy lifestyle, I'm sure she would have maintained her skills and found it easier to find work after the divorce. The divorce settlement wasn't great for my friend because she was the one who wanted to break up.

Thriving At Work

Work is an interesting animal because you need to perform to get paid and promoted. However, there can be situations where doing nothing and saying nothing can drastically help your cause. You just need to demonstrate patience. One person I know was able to get promoted because he didn't say anything about a horrific new hire his CEO made. The new hire looked the part and had the right pedigree, but when it came down to actually doing the work, the new hire was clueless.

Instead of speaking up about the bad hire, the person simply stayed silent, did his work, and let the new hire drown in his incompetence. After 11 months, the CEO finally realized his mistake and let the new hire go. Apologetic that he passed over my friend for the role, the CEO made it up to him by giving him a 40% raise, two extra weeks of vacation, and the new title he should have gotten 11 months ago.

Bad apples always slip through the cracks. The main reason is because not enough people from different levels interviewed the person. People who are looking for jobs are like actors during an audition. It's very hard to trick 25 people vs. one or two. Always make sure as many people interview a person as possible. Once you've hired someone, it's extremely difficult to let the person go without at least six months to a year of documentation.


Sometimes you've got to let people figure things out on their own, no matter how much you want to help them. I used to have a huge problem with always trying to help someone whenever I felt I knew best. My actions often came across as didactic, overbearing, and sometimes presumptuous. Nowadays, I'm much more laissez faire in my approach, partly because some people have shown displeasure when I reach out.

People want to listen to what they want to hear. It often takes utter failure for some to shake off their stubbornness and start to listen. We've got to be the better person by being supportive when they finally come around. Saying, “I told you so” isn't going to do anything but make you feel better for a couple seconds.

I'm hopeful my new Lake Tahoe property management company will do their best to generate as much rental income as possible. If not, I'll just have to ride them until I realize they just can't do any better.

Related: Are You Smart Enough To Act Dumb Enough To Get Ahead? 


It’s been over six years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good passive and active income stream online now. The top 1% of all posts on Financial Samurai generates 31% of all traffic. In other words, after putting in the hours to write some very meaty content over the years, 10 posts consistently generate a monthly recurring income stream that’s completely passive.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, creating, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with Bluehost.

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21 thoughts on “How To Make More Money By Doing Nothing”

  1. Hey! I have a question.
    Which do you think are the cheapest money making assets you can purchase out there? An idea I had is for example a vending machine, where you can make substancial profits with a very small investment. I don’t have a lot of money available as I just came out of College, however, I am debt free as I worked part-time for the last 4 years and I managed to actually save around 10k (I know its not that much but I am pretty proud). I have been searching for cheat assets I can buy that will give me a small but consistent cash flow, which I could then reinvest.
    Great post by the way!

  2. A friend of mine told me once never to offer unsolicited help or advice in the workplace, because if I give it away it becomes worthless. He said i shoul wait for people to recognize the value and come to me.

  3. I disagree about spouse thing. A husband and wife are a team — no need to hold back support so they can learn independence. Both spouses should naturally want to maintain some independence and self-sufficiency BUT one spouse shouldn’t feel the need to “teach” the other. And, one spouse staying home with the kids while they are young is perfectly natural. The years that your kids are little (infant and toddler stages) are so important and go by so quickly. They are truly some of the best times in a parent’s life. Why ruin for both parents when you can have one stay home? Sam, I don’t think you have kids, and it shows in this post! You don’t understand. Talk to me when your wife is putting your precious 1 year old in day care or with a nanny for 10 hours a day so that she can “keep her skills sharp”. No disrespect for people that choose that route, but if you have a choice to be home with your kids, there is no shame in it! Life is not meant to be only focused on earning potential.

    1. Not sure why you would feel ashamed staying at home to take care of the kids. Staying at home to raise a family is probably the most important job one could have. Are you currently staying at home raising kids?

      My only suggestion is to encourage each spouse to not only be a team, but also seek their own financial independence as well. That is the best case scenario because separations happen all the time. Why wouldn’t you encourage your spouse to be independent, unless you are depending on your spouse?

      1. I’m a working mom but I wish I was staying at home! Hm, I thought you were saying that your friend that got a divorce should’ve been working to keep her skills sharp instead if staying home? Maybe I was reading too much into it!

        1. In an ideal world, it would be great if there were never any breakups. But we all know that breakups and divorces happen all the time unfortunately.

          Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst by always keeping one foot in the door with connections and skills up to date. Read, watch, take some classes on the side.

          I know too many spouses who ended up single and struggling after a separation. I consult with a couple of them now.

        2. I agree with Sam. Unless there is some huge settlement, women often get hurt the most post seperation because they spent years raising new a child. It’s important to keep skills active and at least do some volunteering in a field of interest.

          Nobody goes into a marriage thinking they’ll break up.

  4. Wow 25K for furnishing? I’d love to go check out your place one day!

    I agree that we cannot raise kids by offering them everything. They need to have their own struggles and learn from them.

  5. As a new parent, I struggle constantly with the help vs self-development balance both for my child and my wife.

    It’s one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do so far in life. I can only hope it gets easier with practice.

    For the child, I’m already planning the financial lessons he’ll learn. For the wife, we have a similar struggle between child raising and career development. For now it looks like part time daycare for the child and part time consulting for the wife to keep her job skills sharp. But as always with all things children, it’s constantly evolving.

  6. I love the part about helping out a partner. I could pay off all of my wife’s massive student debt loans but then she would obviously take that for granted and she’d never know the pain and sacrifice of having to pay off that much debt.

    1. Nice job making her suffer Harry. I’m sure when she makes the big bucks as a practicing doctor, she’ll remember your support! But, so longer as you are doing a little suffering too, and not living it up without her, all is good!

      1. That’s what I was thinking. I’m sure your wife will remember that, Harry. If she’s like me, she has an elephant’s memory.

        I can’t wait until she is earning a huge salary and doesn’t want you to “take it for granted.” Muahahahahahahhha!

  7. wow 25K for furnishing – you have to share a picture of your place! I am inspired how well you diversified to build wealth.

    I try to live by example instead of saying too much, I feel children learn faster that way even if not for now but years on. I remember not wanting to be my parents and that is exactly who I am now – so that means more absorbed that I know. Spoiling kids these days is easy – the opportunities are everywhere. I resort to refurbished kindle than IPad (although I can buy one). I resort to one toy than two and ask them to share. I resort to both share a room although we have 3 rooms in the house. No birthday parties at fancy places, no excessive request for Christmas gifts etc.
    I just make their life as difficult so as to ease the pain later :-)

  8. This is great advice, but it’s tough. We’ve already started doing this with our daughter (she’s 14 months). It’s simple steps like when she falls and isn’t really hurt, stepping back and letting her pick herself up rather than cooing at her and making a big deal of it. As she gets older, we’ll of course apply this philosophy to financial things, but sometimes the hardest thing is doing nothing – or so i’m finding.

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