Passive income: Expected Average Return on Investment

In a world where financial stability is a priority, understanding the average return on investment (ROI) from various passive income opportunities is crucial. Whether you are a seasoned investor or someone exploring different avenues to generate passive income, this article will shed light on what you can expect from your investments.

Passive income: Expected Average Return on Investment

Return On Investment

Defining Passive Income

First, let’s clarify what passive income is. Passive income refers to earnings generated with minimal effort or active involvement. It’s money earned while you’re sleeping, as the saying goes. It can come from a variety of sources, including investments, real estate, royalties, and more.

Importance of Diversifying Income Streams

Diversifying income streams is a smart financial move. It helps spread risk and ensures that if one source of income is underperforming, others may compensate. This diversification can include both traditional and emerging passive income opportunities.

Traditional Investment Options


Historically, stocks and bonds have been go-to options for investors. Stocks can provide an average annual return of around 7-10%. However, it is important to note that the ROI can vary widely from year to year. For example, in some years, the stock market may generate returns of 20% or more, while in other years, it may generate negative returns.

Factors that affect stock ROI

A number of factors can affect the ROI of stocks, including:

  • The company’s financial performance: Companies with strong financial performance are more likely to generate higher returns for investors.
  • The overall market conditions: When the stock market is doing well, investors are more likely to buy stocks, which can drive up the prices of stocks.
  • The company’s industry: Some industries are more cyclical than others, meaning that they experience periods of growth and decline. Stocks in cyclical industries may be more volatile than stocks in non-cyclical industries.
  • The company’s management team: A strong management team can help to guide the company to success, which can lead to higher returns for investors.
  • Investor sentiment: Investor sentiment can also play a role in stock prices. If investors are bullish on a particular stock, its price will likely rise. If investors are bearish on a particular stock, its price will likely fall.

Dividend Stocks

Average ROI

The average ROI for dividend stocks is around 7%. However, the ROI can vary widely depending on the company and the overall market conditions. For example, some companies pay dividends of 10% or more, while others pay dividends of 3% or less.

Factors that affect ROI

The following factors can affect the ROI of dividend stocks:

  • The company’s financial performance: Companies with strong financial performance are more likely to pay dividends and to increase their dividend payments over time.
  • The overall market conditions: When the stock market is doing well, investors are more likely to buy dividend stocks, which can drive up the prices of these stocks and reduce the dividend yield.
  • The company’s dividend policy: Some companies have a policy of paying out a certain percentage of their profits in dividends, while others have a more discretionary approach.


bonds tend to offer a more conservative but steadier return, usually in the 3-5% range.

Factors that affect bond ROI

The following factors can affect the ROI of bonds:

  • Interest rates: When interest rates rise, bond prices typically fall. This is because investors can buy new bonds with higher interest rates, making older bonds with lower interest rates less attractive.
  • Inflation: When inflation rises, the value of bond payments decreases. This is because the purchasing power of money decreases over time due to inflation.
  • Bond quality: Bonds with higher credit quality (i.e., lower risk of default) typically offer lower yields than bonds with lower credit quality.
  • Bond maturity: Bonds with longer maturities typically offer higher yields than bonds with shorter maturities. This is because investors take on more risk by investing in bonds with longer maturities.

Real Estate

Investing in real estate can yield good returns, averaging around 7-12%, depending on the property type and location. Real estate can offer both rental income and property appreciation.

Factors that affect ROI

The following factors can affect the ROI of rental properties:

  • The location of the property: Rental properties in desirable locations are typically more expensive to purchase, but they can also generate higher rental income.
  • The type of property: Single-family homes are typically easier to manage than multi-family homes, but multi-family homes can generate higher rental income.
  • The rental market: Rental markets in major metropolitan areas are typically more competitive, but they can also generate higher rental income.

Savings Accounts

Savings accounts are one of the safest forms of passive income, albeit with lower returns, typically around 0.5-2% annually. They provide security but might not beat inflation.

Factors that affect savings account ROI

The following factors can affect the ROI of savings accounts:

  • Interest rate: The interest rate is the most important factor that affects the ROI of savings accounts. The higher the interest rate, the higher the ROI.
  • Account fees: Some savings accounts charge monthly fees or fees for certain transactions. These fees can reduce the ROI of your savings account.
  • Minimum balance requirements: Some savings accounts have minimum balance requirements. If you do not maintain the minimum balance, you may be charged a fee or your interest rate may be reduced.

Emerging Passive Income Opportunities

Emerging opportunities offer investors new ways to earn passive income.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending platforms enable you to earn interest by lending money to individuals or small businesses. Returns can range from 5% to 10%, with higher risk associated with higher returns.

Dividend Stocks

Investing in dividend stocks can provide both stock appreciation and regular dividend payments. Average ROI varies, but it can be 5-7% on average.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves promoting products and earning a commission on sales. ROI in affiliate marketing can vary greatly but can go well above 10% with the right strategies.

Average ROI in Traditional Investments

The average ROI in traditional investments generally falls within the ranges mentioned earlier. It’s important to note that these returns can fluctuate based on economic conditions, market trends, and the individual investments you choose.

Average ROI in Emerging Passive Income Opportunities

Newer opportunities like peer-to-peer lending, dividend stocks, and affiliate marketing have the potential to offer higher ROI. However, these options also come with increased risk, and returns can fluctuate widely.

Factors Influencing ROI

The ROI you can expect is influenced by various factors:


Higher-risk investments often come with the potential for greater returns, but they also carry a higher chance of loss.

Market Conditions

Market conditions play a significant role. Economic downturns can impact the performance of stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Duration of Investment

The longer you hold an investment, the more likely you are to ride out market volatility and benefit from compounding returns.

Maximizing ROI

To maximize your ROI, it’s crucial to diversify your investments, consider your risk tolerance, and stay informed about market trends. A well-thought-out investment strategy is your best tool for achieving your financial goals.


In conclusion, the average ROI from passive income opportunities can vary widely. Traditional investments like stocks, bonds, and real estate provide relatively stable returns, while emerging opportunities such as peer-to-peer lending, dividend stocks, and affiliate marketing offer the potential for higher returns but come with increased risk. Understanding your risk tolerance and having a diversified investment portfolio is key to achieving your financial goals.


  1. What is the safest passive income option?
    • Savings accounts are considered one of the safest options, albeit with lower returns.
  2. Are emerging passive income opportunities riskier than traditional investments?
    • Yes, emerging opportunities often carry higher risks but can also offer higher returns.
  3. How can I start with affiliate marketing?
    • To start with affiliate marketing, you can join affiliate programs of companies and promote their products or services through your online platforms.
  4. Can I invest in both traditional and emerging passive income opportunities?
    • Yes, diversifying your investments across both traditional and emerging options is a prudent strategy.
  5. What should I consider before investing in real estate for passive income?
    • Consider location, property type, and market conditions before investing in real estate for passive income.

Now that you have a better understanding of the potential ROI from various passive income opportunities, you can make informed investment decisions that align with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Remember that all investments carry some level of risk, and it’s essential to do your research and consult with financial experts before making any significant financial decisions.

Financial Literacy Investing

What Are The Main Investment Types?

We’ll try to list the main investment types out there, how they function, i.e. how do you make money from them and we’ll try to classify how passive they are and the usual expected volatility.

What Are The Main Investment Types?

1. Real Estate

There are several ways to invest in real estate, from land acquisition, land development, single family rentals, multi family rentals, office rentals, industrial rentals. While there are a lot more hybrid investment types from house hacking to vacation rentals, we’ll only go through the main investment types in this introductory post.

1.1 Single Family Rentals

This is probably the most straightforward investment type in the real estate space: acquiring single family homes and rent them out. The business is simple: rent the home and maintain it in habitable condition for the customer.

The owner of the rental also may also profit down the road by selling the property for a profit if it appreciates.

1.2 Multi Family Rentals

Similar to single family rentals, but the asset is in general an apartment building. Duplexes and triplexes, smaller buildings, also qualify as multi family.

1.3 Land Acquisition

This is usually an appreciation play, where one would simply acquire land hoping to sell later in time, for a profit, if the land appreciates in value over time.

There’s one main exception regarding agricultural lending, where one can lend its land to a farmer to exploit the land. The owner of the land receives a rent and in exchange the farmer can exploit the land growing crops or farming livestock.

1.4 Land Development

Land development consist in acquiring raw land and developing it, usually bringing electricity, water and sewer to sell it to a real estate builder to then build and sell buildings, often multi family or single family homes.

1.5 Office Rentals

This is similar to multi family rentals, in the sense that this involves usually bigger buildings, however they’re usually leased to companies or specialized professionals.

1.6 Industrial Rentals

This is similar to office rentals, but concerns industrial buildings usually leased to companies. In this categories we usually have warehouses or industrial buildings able to house machinery.

2. Stocks

Stocks are usually fractions of a company traded on an exchange.  By buying the stock, you buy a fraction of said company.

2.1 Regular Stocks

By buying the stock, you expect the company to do well and have its share price increase to later sell it for a profit.

2.2 ETFs

ETFs or Exchange Traded Fund are usually funds that invest in several companies/stocks or track some indexes. It allows you to own a pool of investments without the hassle of having to buy every single one of them individually.

Similar to stocks, you’d buy the ETF expecting it to go up in value to sell for a profit.

2.3 Dividend Stocks

Dividend stocks are stocks that pay a dividend, sometimes monthly, but usually quarterly, as long as you’re holding the stocks. These stocks are usually from more established companies, with proven business models, where the growth of the stock usually lower but compensate for it with its dividend.

Dividend are taxed differently than capital gains from selling stocks for a profit and can be interesting in that regards.

Also several dividend companies tend to increase their dividend over time. Dividend aristocrats are dividend companies that have increased their dividend for at least 25 years.

2.4 REITs

REITs or Real Estate Investment Trust are companies that invest primarily in you guessed it, real estate. To qualify as a REIT must have at least 75% of its income derived from real estate and it must distribute at least 90% of its taxable income as dividend to its shareholders.

REITs income is usually taxed as income, unlike dividends and based on your tax bracket, it may be advantageous to hold them in tax preferred accounts such as a 401k or an IRA.

3. Bonds

Bonds are loan to a government (government bonds) or to a company (corporate bonds) for a certain period of time (maturity)and you receive interest (the coupon) , until the loans matures at which point you receive the principal payment.

4. Leveraged Financial Instruments

4.1 Options

Options, commonly on stocks, but can also apply against other financial instruments, are just that: option (not obligation) to buy (call option) or sell (put option) at a given price (strike price) until a certain time, the expiration date.

These investments are usually more volatile and riskier, because of the leverage builtin into the contract.

4.2 Forex

This is the currency market, where ones can profit from the gain of a currency against another. While usually reserved for more advanced investors, the concept is often eye opening that whatever you own that changes in value is a paired trade. When the USD/JPY forex pair trade goes up it means the US dollar goes up against the Japanese yen. When your home goes up in value, it means your home value goes up against the dollar. At which point you want to ask, is the house gaining in value or is the dollar losing in value?

Forex symbols are usually traded with leverage which can increase the risk if not managed carefully.

4.3 Futures

Futures are contract, usually on commodities but also on stock indexes and currencies. The contract establishes the price of an amount of a commodity at a certain date, e.g. The June 2020 Gold contract, at $1583, establishes the price of an ounce of gold by June 2020.

The market allows producers of such commodities to lock in a price for their production, while speculators, often blamed for commodities volatility allow the market to exist in the first place.

While not perfect, it should be noted that the existence of the market allow producers to hedge their production and many producers would not be in business without the existence of the futures market.

Futures , like the Forex, are usually traded with leverage which can increase the risk if not managed carefully.

5. Alternative Investments

This involves structured financial products in various area, such as art, real estate, marine, legal… It often involve lending money to a third party using various assets from the third party as collateral.

It’s usually reserved to accredited investors, i.e. investors earning more than $200,000 annually if single ($300,000 if married) or have more than $1,000,000  in assets excluding the primary residence. Or institutional investors like investment banks, pension funds and so on.

6. Private Equity

Private equity is generally speaking part of the alternative investments class, but probably deserves a note of its own. Like for alternative investments, these investments come mainly from accredited investors or institutional investors. There are 2 main segments in private equity: one for early stage companies or startups, one for later stage companies and distressed companies.

6.1 Early stage companies or startups

That’s usually where venture capital and angel investors come in. They will pool money or invest their own money to help develop early stage companies, usually in the hope the resell it at a higher price to a bigger company or take it to the public market, where they can exit their position.

The game in startups investing is that most of your investments will go to zero, but the few who survive will make a disproportionate amount of money.

If you want to put some rough numbers, successful startups investors, often see 90% of their investments go to zero. 9% percent of their investments get a 10-50x returns. And 1% turn into a 100-2000x returns and sometimes more.

The downside is that there’s usually no liquidity, so it’s very hard to liquidate your holdings and it’s usually a long game. It will take usually more than 5 and often around 10 years for those early companies to mature to the point where you can expect those enormous gains.

6.2 Distressed companies

Another side of private equity is to invest in failing or distressed companies. Investors usually buy the debt of a company at a steep discount and will try to turn the management around and eventually turn it into a profitable company again, so they can eventually collect the debt repayment.

If that ideal scenario fails and the company is forced into bankruptcy, investors will try to recoup some money during the bankruptcy process.

7. Institutional Investments

This are types of investments reserved for institutions (e.g. CDS), usually due to the amount required to participate in such investments which can range from several hundreds millions of dollar or billions of dollars and sometimes require special licenses to be allowed to participate into such investments. We won’t discuss much about these but it’s good to know that they exist because they can have some influence into other types of investments accessible to the general public.


We’ve presented most of the common investment classes. As far as building a passive income portfolio, we’ll talk more about rental real estate and stocks. We’ll also touch upon alternative investments and also discuss some opportunities with leveraged financial instruments when they arise.