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How to Make $500 a Month in Passive Income


You can produce $500 a month in passive income through savings accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, funds and other investment vehicles. Each offers varying rates of return, degrees of safety, convenience, and liquidity. And each requires a significant initial investment to produce the required amount of passive income.

A financial advisor will be able to help with your investment decisions.

How to Make $500 a Month in Passive Income

Passive income generally refers to money you receive automatically without having to do anything such as work for wages. The most common way to generate passive income is through purchasing investments that pay you interest or dividends.

Producing passive income in this way calls for putting in money rather than putting in the effort. However, once you have invested the money, you can cash checks or receive deposits to your bank account without any intervention on your part.

And there are many investments you can make to produce $500 monthly in passive income. Here are some of the most accessible and reliable:

Savings Account

A bank or credit union savings account is as passive, safe and convenient as you can get. The top-paying savings accounts yield around 4.5% annually. At that rate, depositing approximately $133,333 will give you $500 monthly.

Certificates of Deposit

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are relatively safe, somewhat better-paying and a little less convenient than savings accounts. The best one-year bank certificates of deposit yield about 5% annually. So if you buy a $120,000 12-month CD, you’ll get about $500 in passive income each and every month.


Corporate bonds are riskier than bank deposits. But AAA-rated bonds are generally considered safe and historically yield a little over 4%. If you buy $125,000 worth of AA-rated bonds, you can expect to receive the equivalent of $500 a month. That usually comes in quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments.

Dividend-paying Stocks

Shares of public companies that split profits with shareholders by paying cash dividends yield between 2% and 6% a year. With that in mind, putting $250,000 into low-yielding dividend stocks or $83,333 into high-yielding shares will get your $500 a month. Although, most dividends are paid quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

Diversified Securities Portfolio

SmartAsset: How to make $500 a month in passive income

A diversified securities portfolio of 60% stocks and 40% bonds has returned about 6.1% annually on average for the last decade, according to Vanguard. If future performance matches past performance, which is not guaranteed, $100,000 invested in a well-chosen 60/40 portfolio could grow by about $6,000 a year. The return includes dividends as well as price appreciation, so you may have to sell some of your investments to get $500 a month.

Exchange-Traded Funds 

Low in cost and easy to buy, passively managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) produce returns that vary according to whether they track stock, bond or other indexes. To cite one example, Vanguard’s High Dividend Yield ETF yields approximately 3%. You’d need to invest approximately $167,000 to get $500 a month in passive income from that ETF.

Real Estate

Purchasing shares of a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is one popular way to get passive income from real estate. Publicly traded REITS pay dividends at an average rate of about 3%. So you’d need $167,000 to produce $500 in monthly passive income this way.

Other income opportunities that are somewhat less passive can also provide regular monthly income with varying amounts of effort. Drop shipping, for example, is a business model that involves setting up an online store and taking orders for products that pass directly to a supplier, who fulfills them without you having to do a thing except accept payment.

Direct investments in real estate, such as purchasing rental properties, can produce income that the internal revenue service (IRS) views as passive income, entitling it to more favorable tax treatment than earned income from working. However, managing residential real estate can involve considerable effort and attention on your part unless you pay a management company to take care of leasing, repairs and other tasks.

Bottom Line

SmartAsset: How to make $500 a month in passive income

To generate $500 a month in passive income you may need to invest between $83,333 and $250,000, depending on the asset and investment type you select. In addition to yield, you’ll want to consider safety, liquidity and convenience when selecting the investments you’ll employ to provide monthly passive income. However, once you’ve made the decision and put down your money, you can expect to receive regular payments without much, if any, additional future effort.

Tips for Investing

  • Financial advisors help investors analyze various investment options and can help create a plan of action to meet their goals. Before investing in any passive income investments, consider talking with an advisor to understand how it fits within your portfolio. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • When investing your money, it is important to diversify your assets among many different types of stocks and bonds. This helps you gain exposure to multiple sectors of the market and benefit from their growth. Our asset allocation calculator helps you select a profile that’s right for you based on your answers to simple questions.

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