7 Best Income Producing Assets to Buy in 2024 (Expert Picks)

Common motivations for buying assets include the potential for financial gain and stability. Investing in assets like stocks, bonds, real estate, and even starting a business can be a strategy to earn passive income, allowing your money to make money for you is one of the smartest moves you can make.

Ready to dive into passive income? Here’s the list of the 7 best income-producing assets that you can invest in to start earning passive income.

You can also check out the video below to learn more about side income and how I got started:

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  • Watch Ramit Sethi host Netflix’s “How to Get Rich” 
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Table of Contents

Acquire safe income-producing assets

These are conservative, low-risk income-producing assets, including high yield savings accounts which serve as a safe, low-risk option for earning income with higher interest rates compared to traditional savings accounts. The trade-off to its low volatility is that you won’t earn as much as more aggressive assets. It’s still a good idea to have a few of these in your portfolio to ensure proper diversification. Additionally, money market funds are low-risk investment options that invest in lower-risk securities, offering a steady income stream and easier access to funds than CDs, making them a valuable complement to conservative assets in your portfolio. Including dividend stocks and other income-producing assets in your investment portfolio is crucial for diversification and stability.


Asset #1: Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

A certificate of deposit, or CD, is a low-risk financial investment offered by banks.

How they work is simple: You loan the bank money for a set amount of time, known as a term length, and you gain interest on the principal during this time.

A typical term length is anywhere from three months to five years. During this time, you won’t be able to withdraw your money without taking a penalty hit. But it’s pretty much assured that your money is growing at a fixed rate.

The interest rate varies on how long you are willing to invest for. The longer you loan money to the bank, the more interest you can earn.

And since CDs are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000, they’re very low risk.

But there are a few drawbacks:

  • Inflation. The average inflation rate in the U.S. over the past 60 years is 3.7%, which stands on the high end for most CD interest rates. This means you can actually lose money if you keep your money in CDs due to inflation.
  • Low aggressiveness. If you’re young, that means you can stand to be a lot more aggressive with your investments (because you have more time to recover from any losses). Your potential for growth is much higher. This allows you more wiggle room to invest in riskier assets and potentially earn more money.
  • Length of investment. You might not be able to part with your cash for a long time, especially if you have other financial goals in the near future (buying a home, vacation, weddings, etc.).

Buying this asset is a good idea if you want a low-risk investment that ensures you peace of mind. You might also want to know which is better for you, CD vs Roth IRA.

Asset #2: Bonds

Much like CDs, bonds are like IOUs. Except instead of giving it to a bank, you’re lending money to the government or corporation.

And they work similarly to CDs, which means they’re:

  • Extremely stable. You’ll know exactly how much you’ll get back when you invest in a bond.

  • Guaranteed a return. You can even choose the term you want a bond for (one year, two years, five years, etc.).

  • Smaller in their returns, especially when compared with more aggressive investments like stocks.

Corporate bonds are another type of bond investment, offering a different risk and return profile compared to government bonds. They are riskier due to the creditworthiness of the corporation but can offer higher returns. Diversifying through bond ETFs can mitigate the risk of individual corporate bonds.

If you want to know exactly how much you’re getting back, bonds are a great investment.

For more, check out my article about understanding stocks and bonds.

Asset #3: Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

The U.S. Congress established real estate investment trusts, or REITs, in 1960 to give people the opportunity to invest in income-producing real estate.

REITs are like the mutual funds of real estate. They’re a collection of properties operated by a company (aka a trust) that uses money from investors to buy and develop real estate.

They’re a fantastic choice if you want to get involved with real estate investing but don’t want to make the commitment of purchasing or financing a property. Like with most blue-chip stocks (more on those later), REITs pay out in dividends.

REITs also focus on a variety of different industries, both domestic and international. You can invest in REITs that build apartments, business buildings, or even healthcare facilities.

(NOTE: There are some taxable implications for REITs.)

In all, they are a straightforward way to get involved with real estate without having to eat the upfront cost of buying property. To get started, go to your online broker and purchase a REIT like you would a typical investment.

One to consider is the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ). This is Vanguard’s ETF fund that tracks a REIT index from MSCI Inc., a noted investment research group.

Watch the video below to discover how to invest with Vanguard:

If you still don’t know how to do that, that’s okay! Check out my article on mutual funds to find out exactly how you can open one.

You can also learn more about how to invest in real estate with my in-depth guide.

Buy risky income-producing assets

The following assets are riskier investments that might require more active management on your part. The earning potential for these investments is high. If you put the time and effort into these assets, you might find yourself with a nice sum of money to show for it.

real estate houses neighborhood

Exploring alternative investments like private equity, physical metals, and fine art can further diversify your portfolio into areas with potentially higher returns. Platforms such as Masterworks offer an innovative way to invest in art, allowing you to buy shares that represent investments in high-value artwork, adding a unique dimension to your investment strategy.

The world wants you to be vanilla...

…but you don’t have to take the same path as everyone else. How would it look if you designed a Rich Life on your own terms? Take our quiz and find out:

Asset #4: Dividend-yielding stocks

Some companies pay out earnings to their shareholders each quarter via dividends, making these “dividend stocks” a key component of dividend-yielding investments in the stock market. These are known as “blue-chip stocks” and tend to be reliable and able to weather most economic downturns, offering regular and potentially increasing payouts that contribute to passive income generation.

Many investors like to add a few dividend-paying securities via blue-chip stocks in their portfolio to ensure that they receive earnings consistently throughout the year. The stock market plays a crucial role in providing access to these dividend stocks and other income-producing investments, emphasizing the importance of diversifying a portfolio to mitigate risks while aiming for potential benefits.

And while some like to hand-pick individual shares to invest in, you can get started by investing in index funds that specialize in high-yielding dividends, including options that focus on dividend stocks for those interested in leveraging the lower volatility and reinvestment opportunities they offer.

A few considerations are:

  • Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Fund (VDAIX)

  • Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund (VHDYX)

  • Vanguard Dividend Growth Fund (VDIGX)

  • T. Rowe Price Dividend Growth Fund (PRDGX)

Asset #5: Property rentals

Renting out property seems simple enough:

  1. Buy a house or apartment building.

  2. Rent out the rooms to tenants for a nominal fee, aiming to earn consistent rental income.

  3. The rental checks come in each month while you sip pina coladas and make passive income.

That DOES sound awesome, but it’s also an oversimplification. In fact, renting out property is anything but relaxing. That’s because you’re responsible for all facets of the building you’re renting to tenants. That includes repairs, maintenance, and chasing down tenants who don’t pay you rent.

And if they do miss a rent payment, you’ll have to find another way to pay your monthly mortgage payment.

You CAN make money from renting out properties (many people do!), primarily through rental income. It’s just that doing so could negatively affect your finances in a BIG way. Check out my house poor article for a good example of that.

Luckily, with the rise of services like Airbnb, you could rent out a spare room in your house and not worry about buying a separate apartment unit.

You simply sign up for the platform and take advantage of short-term rentals. You’ll still have to deal with certain pains of property management, but you’ll be able to leverage property you already own (e.g., a spare bedroom in your house).

For many people, owning multiple properties can put a strain on your finances- and your relationship. In episode 88 of my podcast, I talked to a couple facing big problems thanks to their real estate portfolio.

Asset #6: Peer-to-peer lending

Also known as “crowdlending,” peer-to-peer (P2P) lending allows investors to essentially act like a bank. You loan money to others via a peer-to-peer lending platform (such as Lending Club), and later they pay you the money back with interest.

Unlike a bank, the person seeking the loan doesn’t have to deal with financial background checks or incredibly high interest rates due to things like bad credit history.

P2P lending isn’t without risks though. In fact, relying on someone with poor credit to pay back a loan might be one of the riskiest financial investments you could make. But if you’re willing to devote yourself more to learning about the platform and use money you don’t mind losing, it could be a fruitful financial investment.

Asset #7: Creating your own product (how to build an asset)

This is one of my favorite ways to make money. It’s also a way that you can build an asset instead of buying one. Not only is it low cost but it’s also easily scalable, meaning the sky’s the limit for your earning potential.

And you don’t need engineering or carpentry skills to create your own product either. In fact, you probably use products every day that you can create, like:

  • E-books
  • Online courses
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

These digital information products are perfect ways to earn money without sacrificing overhead.

But they come at a cost: Your time and energy. Not only do you actually have to create the product, but you also have to make sure that the product will sell.

That’s why we’ve devoted IWT to helping entrepreneurs create, grow, and scale their businesses. Check out the site today for more information on how you can get started with information products too. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do beginners start buying assets?

If you’re ready to start buying assets as a beginner, here are some things you can buy with a smaller budget.

  1. Certificates of deposit (CD’s)

  2. Bonds

  3. Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

  4. Dividend-yielding stocks

Beginners might also consider starting with a high-yield savings account and investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for diversification.

You can also read my easy-to-follow guide to investing for beginners.

Which assets are worth buying?

Here are 7 assets that can help you build wealth.

  • Certificates of deposit (CD’s)

  • Bonds

  • Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

  • Dividend-yielding stocks

  • Property rentals

  • Peer-to-peer lending

  • Creating your own product

Investing in individual stocks can also be a strategic move to create a passive income stream, though it requires careful research and diversification to mitigate risks effectively.

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Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.