What Are Monthly Residuals?

Monthly residuals add to your income for prior achievements.

Monthly residuals add to your income for prior achievements.

Monthly residuals are a wonderful method of increasing your income, getting paid for things you did in the past that continue to generate money for you. Those who qualify receive a check or electronic payment every month based on work completed in the past. Many sales and marketing people earn monthly residuals by selling a product or service that generates income months or years after the original sale. For example, you might sell a life insurance policy with a 10-year term. The insured pays his monthly premium religiously. The insurance company then pays the selling agent monthly residuals -- a percentage of the monthly premium -- for up to 10 years.

Types of Income

There are three primary types of income you might earn. Active income is your compensation from working at a job. You basically trade "hours for money." Your employer pays you an amount based on your hours worked or the sales you make while at the workplace. Portfolio income involves money you make from interest, dividends, royalties or capital gains, when you sell an asset -- stock, real estate, etc. -- after owning it for some period. Passive income includes monthly residuals, which represent regular income you earn, not for active participation now, but for your past achievements.

Jobs Typically Paying Residual Income

Insurance agents, authors, credit card processing professionals, multilevel marketing participants and actors are good examples of people who often receive monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual residual income. For example, your job is to sell credit card processing services to retail merchants. A merchant signs a card-processing contract with your company. First, you will receive active income for making the sale. Every month thereafter, as long as the merchant stays with your company, you receive monthly residual payments based on the merchant's credit card sales volume. The more merchants you have, the higher your monthly residual income.

Jobs Paying Monthly Residuals

In addition to the noted jobs, there are many others that include monthly residuals. Use this rule of thumb: Industries that offer products or services that involve "pay as you go" contracts or agreements often pay monthly residuals to sales employees. For example, alarm companies selling ongoing home or business monitoring for a monthly fee may offer residual income to those who sell this service. In some cases, jobs that involve referring prospects for services that continue month-to-month also pay residuals. Always verify that, regardless of the industry, a job you're considering does or does not pay monthly residuals. Never assume.

Monthly Residual Strategies

In addition to the obvious -- increasing your monthly income -- many people develop specific investment plans for their monthly residuals. Popular strategies include allocating monthly residuals to a retirement account, a down payment on a home, education expenses and an emergency fund. Your strategy should include establishing a reserve for income taxes if you receive residuals in full, without withheld taxes. This prevents unwelcome surprises at tax time.

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