Passive Income

Passive Income Ideas & Rules of Thumb

Our passive income ideas & rules of thumb for passive investing should help, BUT, do your own due diligence. Keep an eye on your selection and on the company’s news feed.

Click the ticker at left to see each company’s profile on Yahoo Finance.  If you are lost or confused, you should take an introductory class on investments at your local college or hire a competent financial advisor with references you trust.  Our Glossary page should help too.  An * indicates I own the investment.  Rules of thumb for passive income investing follows this list.

IEP – Icahn Enterprises 15.91% 

GZPFY – Gazprom 2.85%

CG – The Carlyle Group 1.88%

CLM – Cornerstone Strategic Value Fund 13.68% 

SPYD – S&P 500 High Dividend ETF 5.08%

VNQ – Vanguard REIT 3.02% 

VNQI – Vanguard Int’l Real Estate 1.99%

SBRA – Health Care REIT  9.19%

KMB – Kimberly Clark Corp 3.37%

MLPGX – Oppenheimer SteelPath MLP 8.46%

ARR – Armour Residential REIT 12.24%

GIM – Templeton Global Income Fund 6.99% yield (GIM invests in government bonds.)

GGN – Gabelli Gold & Nat Res Trust 9.57%  (Options income from gold & gold related investments.)

AOD – Aberdeen Total Dynamic Dividend Fund 7.19% yield

BGY – Black Rock Int’l Growth and Income 6.65% yield

BOE – Black Rock Global 6.45% yield

CII – Black Rock Enhanced Capital and Income Fund 5.8% yield

EXG – Eaton Vance Tax Managed Global 8.21% yield

IVR – Invesco Mortgage 12.16% yield

AGNC – American Capital 9.39 yield

MMM – 3M Corp 3.43% yield

KMI – Kinder Morgan 6.93% yield

T – AT&T 8.83% yield. (I believe telecom is a good place to be.)

HTGC –  Hercules Technology Growth Capital  8.02% yield

PFF – IShares S&P Preferred Stock Index 4.26% yield

FAX – Aberdeen Asia Pacific Income 8.27% yield

AB – Alliance Berstein 7.05% yield

AWF – Alliance Bernstein Global Income  6.63% yield

VIV – Telefonica Brazil 7.54% yield

TWO – Two Harbors Investment Group 11.45% yield

PSEC – Prospect Capital 8.58% yield

FGD – First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend 4.88% yield

SPFF – Global Preferred ETF 5.84% yield

VYM – Vanguard High Dividend ETF 2.76% yield 

VZ – Verizon 4.98% yield

SDIV – Global X Super Dividend ETF 8.49% yield

HYG – iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF 4.14% yield

DEM – Wisdom Tree Emerging Markets Dividend ETF 4.89% yield

MIC – Macquarie Infrastructure N/A yield

RY – Royal Bank of Canada 3.74% yield

VOD – Vodafone Group 10.81% yield

AUY – Yamana Gold 3% yield

VPU – Vanguard Utilities Income 2.83%

Passive Investing Rules of Thumb

  • You may also want to consider municipal bonds.
  • If you want a cash investment, investigate foreign currencies that pay much higher interest.
  • Another idea (a risky one) is to buy shares on margin, collect the dividend, and sell.  Look up the ex-dividend date (the day you need to buy shares by to receive the dividend) and line up a bunch of trades.
  • You can hedge (insure) large stock positions with “long puts.”  Keep in mind you can’t insure closed end funds (CEF’s) and mutual funds with puts.
  • You can learn about options trading at the CBOE.
  • You might consider covered calls for higher income.
  • Preferred stocks and preferred ETF’s could be an idea, as well.
  • Remember, you can get capital gains (appreciation of share price) and increasing dividends.
  • Remember, wait for closed end fund’s (CEF) price to drop below their NAV before you buy.
  • Look into “the dogs of the Dow” strategy.
  • Look into the “Iron Condor” options strategy. Iron Condors can yield up to 20% per month.
  • Don’t expect to hold many of the above investments forever. Stay on top of the ones you choose.
  • You will find it helpful to run stock screen tools on Yahoo Finance, CNBC, or Guru Focus to find big yields.
  • You can also use to screen stocks for dividends, insider buying, institutional buying and etc.
  • Be sure to read the last three years 10K and 10Q reports for prospective investments.  Make sure the companies you’re researching are not using debt to pay dividends.
  • As a rule of thumb, buy investments with a P/E ratio between 20 and 40. Too low of a price/earnings could be a value trap. You could find a winner with a P/E under 20.
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers a savings account that pays 2.25% (variable) in interest currently.
  • Consider tax lien certificates.
  • You can earn interest on your bitcoin and other cryptos by loaning your coin through a company like, Binance, sushi, or many other places.
  • Be careful with high yield bonds. Bonds are debt. Interest rates are low. What does a high yielding bond suggest its risk level is? How about the reward?
  • I’d say people with little cash shouldn’t invest exclusively for dividends.  You’d need a tech stock, right? 🙂
  • I’d park cash for the short-term in a simple money market.
  • Check out our “Wealth Calculators” page. See how far retirement or FI is for you.
  • Read materials that the pros read, like: Capitalist Exploits Blog.
  • Buy a Bitcoin mining machine (PC) if you have access to free or cheap electricity. 
  • I suggest putting your cryptos on a hardware wallet, like a Ledger (affiliate link. I get a small commission if you purchase a Ledger). By leaving your coins on the exchange, technically the exchange owns your coins. Therefore, get a Ledger through us and store your crypto on the hardware wallet called the Ledger.
  • You can simplify taxes on crypto gains with (affiliate link). Simply upload your trading history to and they’ll calculate your crypto capital gains taxes.
  • Again, you can loan your crypto or borrow crypto (aka “defi”).  If you’re brand new to crypto, start at Binance. Make very small wagers on swaps yielding thousands of percent – high failure rate.