Who doesn’t want to have a steady stream of extra cash? That’s why the concept of passive income is very attractive to many Singaporeans. Having passive income means you no longer rely solely on the salary you earn from your day job.
However, there’s no such thing as free lunch. Generating passive income still requires a certain amount of investment and effort. Additionally, while you may expect growth in your finances, you should not expect explosive growth.
If you have a day job and want to earn extra income on the side, here are some ways to earn a passive income stream with little time and effort.
How Much Passive Income Do You Need?
According to the article published on SCMP, you’ll need USD 3.23 million or approximately S$4.33 million to achieve financial freedom in Singapore. This may seem like a tall order and could be overwhelming when you’re estimating the amount of passive income you’ll need. But don’t be discouraged!
The truth is, the amount of passive income you need will depend on your lifestyle. Here are a few things you need to consider:
- How much money do you need every month?
- What is your idea of a dream retirement?
- What kind of lifestyle do you have?
- Do you have other financial obligations, such as paying off your mortgage?
For instance, if you plan to travel overseas frequently, then you’ll need to generate a higher passive income stream to pay for those expenses.
10 Ways To Earn Passive Income in Singapore
1. Buy Stocks
If you’re thinking of dipping your toes into passive income investing, then generating money off the stock market is a good option.
Companies pay their stockholders dividends every year. That said, you can invest in dividend stocks that give out high dividends. However, dividend income is variable which means it can be cut depending on the company’s performance and other variables.
There are two types of stocks you can consider:
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): These are companies that own or finance income-producing real estate.
- Blue Chip Stocks: These are large and established companies, such as DBS, OCBC, Singtel, and more.
Consider investing in stocks with a high dividend yield of at least 4% returns.
Is there another way to generate passive income through dividend stocks?
You can also earn money by selling dividend stocks at a higher price than the amount you bought it. Since stock prices fluctuate, you’ll need to monitor the stock prices to determine the best time to buy or sell them.
2. Purchase High-Quality Bonds
If you’re looking for a relatively low-risk investment, then consider purchasing bonds. But what are bonds?
Bonds are typically used by governments and large corporations to finance their projects. That said, when you purchase a bond, you loan money to that company. In return, you’ll receive fixed interest payouts.
Once the bond reaches the maturity date, you can receive the interest payment. You can also sell the bonds to a third party if you don’t want to hold on to the bond.
What’s the Difference Between Stocks and Bonds?
This is completely different from buying stocks. When you buy stocks, you are exchanging your money for a small stake in the company. With bonds, you are lending your money to the company. Purchasing bonds is slightly less risky than buying stocks since you’ll be paid a fixed amount in interest.
3. Rent Out A Property Or Room
Do you have extra rooms in your home? You can earn rental income by leasing them out to long-term tenants. While rental income is one of the most straightforward ways to earn passive income, this type of investment requires time and effort.
Here are a few things to consider before renting out a property or room:
- Property repairs or maintenance: You need to make your space appealing to attract potential tenants. Depending on the condition of the room or property, it could range from simple repainting to a full-scale renovation.
- The upkeep costs of the property: Pipes and taps may start leaking, furniture gets worn out, or the fridge may get faulty. You’ll have to pay for the repairs and replacements.
- Hiring a real estate agent: You may need to consider outsourcing an agent to help you find tenants. However, the fees may end up eating into your rental income.
That said, rental properties take time to generate income. You have to consider your home loan payments, the cost of stamp duty, and home renovations or repairs. To earn a profit, your rental income must exceed your mortgage payments plus any home renovations.
4. Invest via Robo-Advisors
Not bold enough to invest in stocks and bonds? You can start diversifying your investment portfolio via Robo-Advisors.
Robo-advisors are digital platforms that use automated, algorithm-based financial planning to help you create a diversified investment portfolio. These digital platforms have little to no human supervision.
So how does it work?
A typical robo advisor platform will ask you questions about your financial situation and future goals via an online survey. The data gathered from this survey will help the platform determine your risk appetite. Once that’s done, the platform will offer advice and provide you with the best investment solution.
What portfolios should I consider?
If you’re looking for passive income, you may consider StashAway’s Income Portfolio[. This portfolio pays out dividends based on the distribution of its underlying ETFs. The projected total payout every year is 3.75%.
Another option you can consider is OCBC’s RoboInvest which has a mix of 33 portfolios across 6 markets. These portfolios offer capital gains that are dividend-yielding. To get started, you need to deposit S$100.
This investment option not only offers lower fees than a traditional financial advisor, but the support is also available 24/7.
5. Invest In Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
Don’t have time to study individual stocks in the stock market? Investing in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) is a good option. But what are ETFs?
ETFs consist of a basket of securities, such as stocks, bonds, and commodities. Most ETFs track the market index, such as Straits Times Index (STI), as a whole, making it an excellent option for newbie investors looking for passive income streams.
And since it is a basket of securities, it is not as volatile as individual stocks and is easier to manage for those with busy lifestyles.
So how do you get started?
You can choose to invest in any fixed-income ETFs based on the market or sector you want. For instance, STI tracks the top 30 companies in Singapore. This includes DBS, CapitaLand, Singtel, and more. So instead of buying stocks individually, you can invest in a single product that is an STI ETF.
6. Buy Mutual Fund or Unit Trusts
Mutual funds, also called unit trusts, are a kind of investment wherein your money is pooled with other investors, allowing you to benefit from a diversified portfolio. Mutual funds are professionally managed by a fund manager who will then invest in a diversified portfolio of investment assets, such as stocks, bonds, or other types.
If you were to invest in these assets alone, you’ll be shelling a larger capital since you’ll be buying the assets individually. Plus, you’ll have to manage them on your own which can take a lot of time.
What types of mutual funds can you buy? Some of the most common mutual funds are:
- Money market funds: Highly liquid assets, such as cash, and short-term debt instruments such as bonds.
- Fixed income funds: Bonds and government securities
- Equity or stock funds: Invests in stocks so risk and growth potential may vary
- Index funds: Tracks performance of an index such as STI.
The downside of buying mutual funds is the high fees and potential mismanagement. That said, choose a reliable and reputable fund manager and buy only from a regulated trading platform.
7. Contribute To CPF Life
CPF Life is one of the best annuity plans that every Singaporean has. Although it’s not something that comes to mind when you think of passive income, CPF Life still plays a huge role in creating a comfortable retirement lifestyle.
The Basic Retirement Sum for those turning 55 this 2022 is S$96,000. According to The Straits Times, the 3.5% increase, you can expect the sum to be $99,400 in 2023, $102,900 in 2024, $106,500 in 2025, $110,200 in 2026, and $114,100 in 2027.
Unlike private annuity plans where there’s a risk of non-continuity or non-guaranteed portion of the payouts, CPF life payouts are guaranteed by the Singapore government.
8. Invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
If you’re interested in property investments, then consider investing in REITs.
REITs are funds that allow investors to access a portfolio of income-generating estate assets in Singapore, such as shopping malls, offices, hotels, and industrial properties. It pools together money from various investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of properties.
So how does it work?
The REIT leases out spaces within the property and will collect rent. This rental income will form the yield that will be distributed to shareholders as dividends. REITs are required to distribute 90% of their taxable income per year to their shareholders. That said, they are known to have high dividend yields of 4% to 8%.
9. Purchase an Annuity Plan
Aside from building your passive investment portfolio, you can also consider purchasing an annuity plan. Annuity plans are a type of retirement plan that provides monthly payouts during your retirement years.
One of the best-known annuity plans in Singapore is CPF Life. However, you can also purchase annuity plans from insurance companies. When you purchase a plan, you can choose to pay a single premium or pay a fixed premium over a specified period. This will help you achieve financial independence in your golden years.
Once you’ve reached the retirement age, you will start receiving payouts for the number of years stated in the plan. Some annuity plans offer lifetime payouts.
Even if you already contribute to CPF, you can still set aside money to pay for the premiums of a private annuity plan. In doing so, you will enjoy higher payouts during your retirement years.
10. Invest In Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs)
One of the safest bonds you can consider is the Singapore Savings Bond. These bonds are backed by the most credible institution – the Singapore Government. The minimum investment amount per bond is S$500. Your capital is guaranteed and you can easily withdraw it at any time.
As an investment, SSBs have the following features:
- Low risk since they are backed by the Singapore Government
- Lower returns compared to other stocks and bonds
- High liquidity you can withdraw any time
- Each individual can only invest up to S$200,000
- Payout step-up interest
- Non-transferrable which means you can’t sell or trade the bonds.
For the 28 March 2022 SSB issuance, the interest rate is 1.91% if held to maturity (10 years). That said, if you invest S$1,000 and wait for the government bonds to mature to the full 10-year period, you’ll get S$193 in interest.
Tips in Building Your Passive Income Portfolio
Passive income investing means growing your money from your investments. Aside from putting your money away into a savings account and letting it earn interest over time, you can also look for investment opportunities. But every form of investment comes with risks.
Some risks are bigger than others, but it also comes with satisfying rewards. Here are a few things you need to know to start earning passive income in Singapore:
- Start by investing a small portion of your monthly salary. Remember the 50/30/20 rule of thumb? Take a portion of your savings and invest it in stocks, bonds, or other investment portfolios you want to get into.
- As you move through your investment journey, you will learn new skills and techniques. This will help build your confidence in investing more and working your way up.
- Reinvest your returns. Do this until you can accumulate enough capital to survive an entire year on annual returns of your passive income. You can also increase your investment budget so you can further diversify your investment portfolio.
Things To Look For in a Passive Income Investment
This is one of the key factors to consider, especially when you’re a newbie in investing. Don’t be blinded by the promise of high returns and dividends. You have to first make sure that the stock, bond, or mutual fund you’re investing in is safe.
That said, do your due diligence. Research about the stock or bond you want to invest in. Find out the financial health of the company and if they can pay dividends to their stockholders.
2. Ability To Grow
A good investment must become more valuable over time. This means investing in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds that will do well.
For instance, if you decide to invest in ETFs, consider investing in an index that has long-term growth. Mutual funds, on the other hand, may perform better in the short term since investment decisions are based on the current market conditions and the fund manager’s own expertise.
That said, consider the investment’s ability to grow over time. Will the investment lead to higher returns? Or will it lead to lower returns over time due to high expense ratios?
Lastly, consider investing in a diversified portfolio. There are passive income investments that allow you to do just that from the get-go. For instance, you can invest in REITs wherein you’ll be exposed to different real estate investments in Singapore. Or you can invest in ETFs which are a basket of asset classes.
With these options, you don’t have to research and learn about individual stocks and companies. You can choose to invest in one asset class in less time with the least effort.
Passive investing doesn’t mean there’s no risk involved. Choosing your passive income investment will depend on your financial goals as well as your risk tolerance. That said, be wary of any investment portfolio that promises very high returns as it could be a scam.
- The amount of passive income you need will depend on your lifestyle. For instance, if you like to travel or want to have a luxurious lifestyle, then you may need a higher passive income than those who prefer a simple lifestyle.
- You can earn passive income through buying high-yield dividend stocks, government-backed bonds, or investing in real estate properties.
- If you don’t have time to learn about individual stocks and bonds, you can invest in ETFs, REITs, or Robo-Advisors since these investment portfolios do not require you to choose individual securities.
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