Author: Janet Kathalu
Friday, March 17, 2023

What Is the Difference Between Passive and Active Income

Most people don't know the differences between passive and active income, so they strain their financial stability. It's essential to know about the differences, and this article will be an excellent piece in guiding you to the differences between passive and active income. 

There are several differences between a passive and an active income, the main one being you must work to earn an active income, while a passive income requires minimal participation. Another difference you should note between the two is that an active income is taxable while a passive one is subject to deductions. Also, active income provides a source for passive income, while passive supplements active income; read on for more.

As you learn the differences between passive and active income, learn what both are and how passive income affects lifestyle. Also, learn about the typical kinds of income streams, how many you need, different passive income ideas, and much more.

What Is the Difference Between Passive and Active Income

When it comes to money, you must understand how you acquire it, and one of the essential things to do is to master your income. There are two types of income; passive and active income. You must have heard about them, but do you know the difference? It's essential to know their differences for multiple reasons, like knowing that IRS treats them differently and is taxable in different ways. So it's necessary to understand and classify them accordingly. 

What Is the Difference Between Passive and Active Income

What Is Active Income?

Active income is the money earned after working, maybe a full or part-time job. It's your salary, tip, or commission. Most people first earn an active income before earning a passive income. Some examples of active income are wages, salary, commission, tips, freelance fees, consulting income, etc. You can also be self-employed and earn an income. An active income earner can be a full-time or part-time worker, freelancer, or working on a contract. It is the most common type of income for most households. 

What Is Passive Income?

Passive income is the money you earn from an investment that requires minimal effort. Mostly, the investment was made from active income. The good thing with passive income is that you won't have to spend hours working and won't pay social security or medicare taxes. Examples of passive income are renting out a space, affiliate marketing plus ads, stock dividends, etc. 

How Does Passive Income Affect Lifestyle

As you have read above, passive income requires minimal participation or none at all. This allows you to lead a flexible life in that you can travel, vacation, focus on your passion or studies, etc. Everyone would love to show such a kind of life, and that's why most people have invested in passive income streams. Passive income may be significant to you that you eventually leave your preparatory work, or the more excellent idea is to have it supplement your work, making you save more and meet your financial goals fast. On top of that, it gives you financial freedom in that there is no stress about money and bills. 

What Is the Difference Between Passive and Active Income

What Is the Difference Between Passive and Active Income?

To be in a better position to define the difference between passive and active income, you need to work to keep your active income flowing. The reason being you will need the active income for your passive income. Active income requires your time and labour, while passive income requires investment andy minimal work if needed. In both cases, money still trips in at the end of the day. The table below shows a closer look at the differences between passive and active income. 

Passive income Active income
It is earned with minimum or no effort plus without material participation. Those who invest in it become their bosses.  It needs physical involvement plus material participation. People work under a boss to whom they report. 
Acts as a supplement to active income.  It provides resources for passive revenue. 
It allows people to invest in other activities and focus on their passion.  It does not leave people with enough time to follow their passion or time for their families.
It takes time to accumulate, maybe months or years, and consistency is not guaranteed.  It bears fruits fast and guarantees a regular income stream.
Generates money while you are busy with other things, like on vacation. Requires you to work for it and stay active.
Subject to potential deductions. Taxable income

How Many Streams of Income Do You Need for Your Financial Stability

What Is the Difference Between Passive and Active Income

Is there a specific number of income streams that one should have? It can never be enough; you can't get enough money that you don't need anymore. Having several income streams is the only way to build wealth. If you have a close talk with people who you think have made it, the rich ones, you will find out that they don't only have one or two income streams but multiple. That's their secret to success. But do highly paid professionals need to invest in several income streams? Or maybe they should focus on their profession and get the most out of it? Let's find out.

Do Highly Paid Professionals Need Several Income Streams? 

Highly paid professionals like lawyers and doctors should consider investing in several income streams. Why? Because they are in the best position to raise their financial stability. Why am I saying this? These individuals have the money; they can quickly increase their capital and invest it into creating several passive income streams. These passive income streams will manage themselves and, at the end of the month, deliver back the rewards to them without them having to do much. They can still focus on their primary job. All they have to do to ensure everything is in check is to have a great strategy, be disciplined, and check their expenses. So what streams of income am I talking about? 

What Are the Different Streams of Income

If you are a highly paid professional or curious, you may wonder about several income streams you can invest in. There is no blueprint for these streams, but here are the common ones you may consider investing in: 

  • Earned income-This is the money you get from your daily job, basically your primary source of income. You get cash in exchange for your time.
  • Business income-It's the income you get from your business by selling something or providing a service.
  • Interest income-It is the money you get from lending out money, savings account, real estate crowdfunding, etc.
  • Dividend income-Money is given to you due to owning shares in a company.
  • Rental income-The money you get from renting out your property or part of it.

What Is the Difference Between Passive and Active Income

Passive Income Ideas To Consider

Building your wealth is not an overnight journey; it takes time, so don't get stressed if you have one or two income streams. With time and consistency, you can achieve more and build wealth with financial income. Here are the passive income ideas that can help you in your financial freedom journey;

  • Create and sell books-The interesting thing with books is that you can create them for free, unlike a website or a stock investment. All you need to create a book is time, attention and a laptop. A great book creates income for you and builds your credibility; you stand out from a million people who don't have a book in their name.
  • Offer online courses-People are always looking for something to learn. Teach them how to bake, build a website, write, etc. The fantastic thing with online courses is that you will only have to create the course once and use it for years.
  • Buy rental property-You can use your active or passive income to save up and buy a property. That's the best way to generate more passive income streams and acquire more properties. Passive income thrives when you have a high number of investments.
  • Develop digital products or services-Apart from online courses and e-books; you can go further and create other materials that people don't use for learning only, like an app, sell templates, stock videos, photos, etc. The good news is that you can make most digital products. 


Don't get confused anymore about what active or passive income is. The two are different but still, relate in one way or another—more like they need each to substitute the other to grow. It would be best to have several income streams to grow financially and enjoy more significant rewards. Are you having it challenging to achieve your financial goals? Allow us to help you with passive income services and help you climb your financial freedom ladder. 

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