A Q&A on Passive Income Investments ft. Ryan Scribner

October 22, 2021
By Rachel Martinez
Posted In: Investing Strategy

We recently sat down with Ryan Scribner, founder of Investing Simple—a personal finance and investing blog. Continue reading to learn a few tips for your portfolio, based on Ryan’s own journey into passive income investments. 

Q: Can you tell us about your experience with passive income investments to date?

I was always fascinated with the idea of earning money passively. I started off slow in 2015 and built up from there. Initially, my first investment was $5,000 into a mutual fund managed by my father who is a financial advisor. I ended up pulling that out months later to invest on my own. 

I think it is important to keep into perspective that everyone starts somewhere. While I have many sources of passive income now, it started with just 1. I am just an average guy who grew up in a small town in Upstate NY. However, I have been diligently saving, investing and growing my passive income streams for 6 years now. 

Right now, I have the following passive income streams; online blogs, stocks, rent payments, real estate appreciation from personal properties and crowdfunding platforms. I won’t count YouTube since I am fairly actively involved in that. However, the rest of these income streams involve very little of my time.

The two blogs I own are ones that I started myself which are Investing Simple and Farmland Riches. Combined, this brings in around $5,000 monthly. 

My stock portfolio is mostly small cap growth right now, but I do have some dividend investments which currently earn me around $1,000 quarterly. 

I own a rental property in Upstate NY. The mortgage is around $2,400 and the total rental income from the property is $3,575. After accounting for landscaping, water bills and other monthly costs, this brings in around $700 per month in positive cashflow. 

On top of the rental property, my primary residence is in Florida. Both of these properties have appreciated significantly in value, but I like to use a conservative figure of 5% annual appreciation. Based on that, this allows me to earn roughly $78,000 per year. However, real estate prices can fluctuate and this is a “paper gain.” I would recognize this only when I sell, which I have no plans to with either property. 

In total, these sources of income earn me around $12,500 per month passively. 

Q: What streams of passive income have you found most beneficial?

In terms of benefiting those around me, I would have to say blogging. My mom is a published author so it is in my genes. I started writing most of the content for these blogs myself initially, but now I strictly manage them. It’s a great feeling to be putting beneficial content out there on the internet that helps people. Not to mention, there is very little overhead with a blogging business.

In terms of my net worth, the best stream for me has been real estate. I had really good timing when purchasing my home in Florida earlier in 2021. The appreciation in the value of the property has had the single biggest impact on my net worth. While it could go down in the short term, I feel I got in at a very good time based on the local markets. Again, this is not money in the bank. I would have to sell, refinance or borrow against the house to realize the gains and have money in the bank. 

I don’t plan on doing that, however. I have over 20% equity in both properties and I prefer having a lower mortgage payment.

Q: What has been the toughest part of your path to passive income investing? Can you share any unexpected lessons you’ve learned along the way?

For me, one of the most difficult things was motivation to get started and a lack of knowhow. My parents worked hard when I was younger and we had a great middle class lifestyle. Nobody in my family was really wealthy, but we had our needs met and then some. I didn’t have any family members to ask about starting businesses or investing in real estate. I was the first one to take that path in my family. 

I was able to get motivated after studying Warren Buffett and learning about compound interest. At the time, I had no idea what small amounts of money could do for your wealth over time. As far as the lack of know-how, I turned to books and found mentors. I would find real estate investors in my area by asking friends and then sit down with them for coffee. Ironically, I ended up buying my rental property from a guy I had planned on meeting who was also a real estate investor. These connections are very important to anyone looking to get started with the rental gig. 

Q: What advice would you generally give to 9 to 5(+) professionals who are just beginning to explore passive income investing strategies?

You don’t have to go all in! Dip your toes in the water. There’s so many charismatic individuals out there telling you to “quit your job and make money without working.” First of all, some people really like their jobs. Second of all, it often takes years to build up passive income streams. My advice would be to build additional income streams while working. If you want to quit your job eventually, you still have to start somewhere. It’s a lot easier to build something up when you have a safety net – the J O B!

Q: Is there anything else you would like readers to understand about passive income investing strategies?

What I have found to be true is that low barriers to entry income streams have low yields. For example, dividend stocks are about as easy as it gets. You toss your money into some blue chips and receive dividends on a quarterly basis in most cases. However, you’ll realistically earn around a 3-5% yield annually. For some, that’s great. But others may want a bit more. 

I’ve made a lot more money from real estate appreciation and rent checks than I have from dividends, but it was a lot harder. The barriers to entry are much higher too; you can invest in stocks with $100 but owning a rental takes tens of thousands. Not to mention, the mortgage process, yuck!

Overall, don’t just stick to what is easy. 

About Ryan Scribner

Ryan Scribner is the co-owner of the personal finance blog Investing Simple. He started his entrepreneurial journey back in 2016 when he launched his YouTube Channel. Now, he has amassed over 600,000 subscribers and gets tens of thousands of hits a month on his blog. He left his “9 to 5” back in 2017 after finding creative ways to make money online. Now, he shares his experience with others with the goal of helping others create online businesses or secondary income streams!

All opinions expressed herein constitute the author’s judgement as of the date of this article and are subject to change without notice. Statements made are not facts, including statements regarding trends, market conditions and the experience or expertise of author are based on current expectations, estimates, opinions and/or beliefs. Such statements are not facts and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Past events and trends do not predict or guarantee or indicate future events or results.

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