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Passive Income Ideas to Boost Your Retirement


Planning for retirement can be a daunting task, especially considering the unpredictability of the market. The 2008 financial crisis serves as a stark reminder of the perils of putting all your eggs in one basket. Many who solely relied on their stocks saw their retirement savings drastically diminish during the crisis. However, a diversified passive income strategy, best devised and managed with the aid of a financial advisor, can potentially safeguard your retirement fund against such uncertainties. 

The Impact of Passive Income on Retirement

Passive income, which includes earnings from sources such as investments, rental income and royalties, can significantly enhance your retirement fund. The more diversified your investments are the better your portfolio can help you achieve your long-term financial goals. 

To illustrate, consider an account of a 55-year-old woman who wisely invested in rental properties along with different investments in the stock market. By the time she retired at 65, her rental properties were generating an annual passive income of $30,000 in addition to the growth of your portfolio. This income significantly boosted her retirement fund, providing her with a comfortable retirement. 

Similarly, consider another account of someone who started investing in dividend-paying stocks during their 30s. At retirement, his stocks were generating an average annual dividend income of $20,000, supplementing their other retirement income sources. 

As you can see, there are different opportunities to earn passive income which can all help you supplement your income in retirement These examples represent how a financial advisor can effectively help individuals plan and manage their diversified passive income sources to potentially augment their retirement funds.

Passive Income Investment Options

Man and woman looking at passive income ideas for retirement

There are various strategies, or investment types, to generate passive income, each with its own set of risks and returns. The right investment for you is going to depend on what your goals ultimately are and what you want to accomplish with your portfolio. Here are some of the most common types of income investments:

  • Rental property: These investments can provide a steady income but involves property management hassles. 
  • Peer-to-peer lending: This type of lending carries the potential for higher returns and greater risk as not everyone you lend money to may pay it back.
  • Royalties: Royalties from intellectual property (IP) can supplement other income if you have software, a book or other types of IP. 
  • Dividends: Many stocks may pay out a distribution of profits from the company, called dividends. It can be a very passive way to maximize income during retirement if you choose the right dividend-paying stocks.

A strong passive income strategy in your portfolio is going to be diversified in some way. This could mean having multiple types of investments from the group above or it could be having a variety of types of one investment type. For example, having dividend-paying stocks in multiple industries to protect against the poor performance of one could be a way to diversify your strategy. 

Taxation of Passive Income in Retirement

Different types of passive income are taxed differently. For example, rental income is subject to ordinary income tax rates while qualified dividends are taxed at lower long-term capital gains tax rates. If you have a diversified portfolio then you should think about speaking to a tax professional who is experienced in dealing with the types of investments you have.

Strategies such as tax-loss harvesting, which involves selling securities at a loss to offset a capital gains tax liability and investing in tax-advantaged accounts, which can provide tax benefits, can be beneficial for retirees. The right tax strategy for everyone is going to be very personalized to your portfolio. 

Calculating How Much Passive Income You Need

It can be difficult when planning out your portfolio to know how much money you need to come in from passive investments. Outside of working with a professional, such as a financial advisor, there are ways for you to estimate how much you may want to invest in certain passive investments to help you reach your goals. 

One can utilize a simple formula to estimate how much passive income might be needed for a comfortable retirement: (Annual living expenses – Annual pension/Social Security benefits) = Required annual passive income. 

You’ll obviously need to also calculate your expected social security benefits. The role of pensions and social security benefits in this formula is to account for that portion of your total retirement income. This formula can provide a baseline for planning your passive income strategy and financial advisors can provide personalized assistance for your planning process.

Bottom Line

Man discussing passive income ideas for retirement with his financial advisor

By diversifying passive income sources and planning meticulously, you could potentially work towards building a robust retirement savings fund that can provide a more comfortable life in your golden years. Retirement should be about enjoying the fruits of your labor and not worrying about finances, and with the right financial planning and diversified income strategies, this can potentially be achieved.

Tips for Retirement Planning

  • To make a personalized plan for your retirement you may need to speak to a financial advisor. They can help you make a plan for retirement that includes passive income to help you achieve the right balance you’re looking for. Finding a 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 have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Another good opportunity is to use SmartAsset’s asset allocation calculator, which can provide suggested portfolio breakdowns based on your risk profile.

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