17 Top Income Producing Assets

A Comprehensive Guide To Income Generating Assets

Income-producing assets for passive income and active income.

They are some of the best assets to build wealth. Because of the cash flow they provide.

It’s all about building multiple income streams. That’s exactly how millionaires build wealth.

So, if YOU are serious about making money and having more money. Read on to learn about asset-based income.

Let’s start with a summary list of the ultimate income-producing assets.

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Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.


A list of the best income investments to buy.  We will discuss them in this order:

  • Certificates of Deposit
  • US Savings Bonds
  • High Yield Savings Accounts
  • Money Market Accounts
  • Bonds
  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending
  • Preferred Stocks
  • Dividend Growth Stocks
  • Growth Stocks
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
  • Exchange-Traded Funds
  • Your Primary Residence
  • Rental Properties
  • Real Estate Crowdfunding
  • Land
  • Owning A Privately Held Business
  • You And Your Time

But first. A little background information on why I choose income investing.

For me, it wasn’t until my early 30’s that I really clarified my investment objectives.  Objectives that I believed in. And felt I could stick with through good times and bad.

So when it comes to my personal investments, I have three primary objectives.


Investment objectives are important when selecting income producing assets that meet your needsPin

I invest money primarily to:

  1. Generate cash flow – also known as passive income
  2. Grow that cash flow to produce more passive income over time
  3. Increase my asset base through capital appreciation

In short, I’m an income investor investing for monthly income.

Priority Based Investing

You can see that a current income and growth of that income top my list of investment strategies.

Other than my personal residence, I won’t own an investment asset unless it pays a regular and recurring passive income stream.  In other words, I like to buy income-producing assets.

This is why I like to say that I am an income investor. And I think that income-producing assets are some of the best assets to buy.

My Favorite Asset To Buy: Dividend Stocks!

Dividend growth stocks are good assets to buy because they achieve all three of my investment objectives.

But many times I will sacrifice income growth and capital appreciation in the sole pursuit of objective 1, just plain old cash flow to increase my asset-based income.  Who couldn’t use a little more cash?

Related: 60+ investment assets that appreciate in value


Not all of the income-producing assets I’m going to discuss in this article should be considered investments.  Some are more appropriately referred to as savings.  Savings products typically have less risk.

Risking Your Money

Investing is about putting your money at risk in exchange for a returnPin

What does risk have to do with it?  Well, generally the more risk you take the greater the opportunity for higher investment income from your assets and higher overall return on investment.

So we will start with the least risky income-producing assets and move to higher risk income-producing assets as we go.

Keep in mind that as you take more risks, you should have a longer time horizon.

For example, if you need the money in 6 months for a down payment on a house, then take less risk.

“What Do I Mean By Yield?”

We will also talk about the yield for some of the income-producing assets. Because yield is an important part of understanding investment income.

Yield means the percentage of the amount invested and returned annually back to the investor or saver.

For example, invest $1,000 at a 3% yield and get $30 dollars of annual income.  Sometimes yield is referred to as the interest rate or just rate for short.

With the onset of another recession, yields are falling. It is hard to earn more than 1-2% from the safest income-generating assets.

That’s where investment risk comes into play again. If you want more cash flow from your assets then take more risk. Just be sure to understand the risks you are taking. After all, it’s your money.

Finally, 1 more thing before we get rolling. Just in case it is not obvious by now, let’s define exactly what an income-producing asset is.


According to Investopedia, earning assets are income-producing investments that are owned, or held, by a business, institution, or individual.

These assets also have a base value and the ability to produce additional funds beyond the inherent value for the investment holder. This allows the investment holder to maintain the assets as a source of earnings.  Or, sell the assets for a lump sum based on its market value.

As you build your asset-based income, you may need a tool to see and manage it all. This is a good problem to have. I recommend Empower.

Empower is free to sign up for and use.

See all of your money and accounts in one place. Get a total view of your unique financial picture. See your retirement readiness score too.

Check out Empower here.

Buying These Assets As A Beginner With Little Money?

Also, you can get into many of these passive income options with $100 or even less. Yes, some of these options require large sums of cash.

But, if you are a beginner looking for your first assets to buy, you do not need a lot of money!

No excuses. Let’s start building our multiple streams of income. And saving a little money before we do is a good way to start. Let’s discuss that first.

Do You Need To Save Some Money First?

Saving money is the first step to building a base of assets that generate cash flow. If you need to save some money before getting started, consider Rakuten

Rakuten is free to join and they offer new members a $10 cash bonus for signing up!

You should definitely check out Rakuten to save money by getting cash back rebates on every dollar you spend. Then, put those savings into income-producing investments.

No more delays, let’s dive into examples of income-generating assets.


Our first income-producing asset is certificates of deposit.  Investopedia defines a certificate of deposit as follows:

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a savings certificate.

It has a fixed maturity date and specified fixed interest rate that can be issued in any denomination aside from minimum investment requirements.

A Guarantee To Get Your Money Back

A CD restricts access to the funds until the maturity date of the investment.  CDs are generally issued by commercial banks and are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000 per individual.

My overall asset allocation includes a permanent allotment to cash.  So I like to get as high of an interest rate as possible on that cash.

CDs are a solid choice for safe passive income. CIT Bank has an assortment of CDs you can choose from.

Build A CD Ladder

I employ a CD ladder strategy.   I hold 5 CDs each maturing sequentially in one of the next 5 years.  When the oldest CD matures during the year, I reinvest the balance into a new 5 year CD. 

I search for the best CD interest rates on a website called Deposit Accounts.


US I bonds are an income generating assetPin

US savings bonds are another great choice as an income-producing asset. 

2 Types Of US Savings Bonds

They come in two varieties, Series EE and Series I.

Series EE savings bonds are low-risk savings products that pay interest for up to 30 years.

Series I savings bonds are also a low-risk savings product. During their lifetime, I Bonds earn interest and are protected from inflation.  Source:  TreasuryDirect

Savings Bonds Are Low Risk

US savings bonds are backed by the US government.  But our US government is racking up tremendous amounts of debt.

Even so, it is unlikely that a saver would not get their money back when they want it.  So this is a very low-risk savings option.

Another Bonus: Tax Deferral!

Another benefit of savings bonds is tax deferral.  You do not have to pay tax on the investment income until you redeem the bond. Therefore your income compounds tax-deferred.

Tax deferral is a great feature if you are in a high-income tax bracket.  Or just do not like paying taxes, like me.

I Prefer I Bonds

Finally, I personally prefer I Bonds among the different types of savings bonds available for purchase.

They are a great hedge against inflation.  The income paid will go higher as inflation goes higher protecting your purchasing power.

Finally, the yield on an I Bond depends on when you bought the bond. And it depends on the rate of inflation.


High yield savings accounts have some similar characteristics to CDs. These accounts are also considered income-producing assets.

Get Your Money Back When You Want It

They can be FDIC insured.  However, unlike CDs, they have no minimum holding period.  The saver can get his or her money whenever they want it. 

Because of the flexibility offered, high yield savings accounts usually have a lower interest rate than CDs.

The Interest Rates On High Yield Savings

High yield savings accounts were a pretty good deal when interest rates were really low during the years after the great global recession.  A saver could park their cash and get a decent interest rate.

Current rates dropped and will likely stay low for a while.  CIT Bank offers some excellent online options if you are looking to build your savings.

Money market accounts are another type of asset that generates cash flow. So, let’s talk about money market accounts next.

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Similar to high yield savings accounts, with money market accounts, the saver has access to their cash whenever they need it.

Your Money Is Not Guaranteed

Money market accounts, however, are typically not guaranteed.  They are comprised of very short-term, high-quality investment securities.

Money market accounts carry an asset value of $1 per share owned.  If you deposit $100 dollars in a money market account, then you are the owner of 100 shares at $1 per share.

What Is “Breaking The Buck”?

Only in very rare circumstances does a money market account share value differ from $1 dollar.  This is called “breaking the buck”.

Even if the underlying assets in the fund do not support a $1 per share value. Financial institutions that offer money market accounts will usually cover the difference.

Breaking the buck is a huge negative for the financial institution offering the money market account.

Once again, CIT Bank has it covered when it comes to money market accounts. Stash your emergency fund cash in a CIT Bank money market account today.


I could write an entire article on bonds since they have so many different characteristics.

They come in different variations. And, they can be purchased through a variety of investment products.

Bonds As Defined By GenYMoney

To keep things simple, I’m going to borrow the definition of a bond from my friend GYM over at GenYMoney.

She has a talent for explaining things in simple terms.  And recently GYM wrote an article on one specific type of bond called green bonds.

Here is GYM’s definition of a bond:

 A bond is a fixed income investment whereby an investor essentially lends money to an entity like a company, government, or project for a defined period at a fixed rate of interest.

Keep Bond Investing Simple With Funds

I like simplicity and diversification when it comes to bonds.  So I like to invest in bonds through mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Mix And Match With Several Bond Funds

Then I mix and match my funds to achieve a nice diversified portfolio across these bond asset categories.

  • Mortgage bonds
  • Floating rate bonds
  • Investment-grade corporate bonds
  • High yield corporate bonds
  • Municipal and government bonds
  • International bonds

Bond Interest Rates And Risk

Because of the diversity in types of bonds and the risks associated with them, interest rates can really vary.

For example, high-quality, short-term municipal bonds can yield very little.  On the other hand, speculative-grade corporate bonds can yield 6-8% and even much more.

The more risk that an investor will not get their money paid back by the borrower, the higher the interest rate the borrower must pay.  As I said early on, more risk means more potential reward.

But One Bond Fund Can Be Enough

You may not be interested in selecting individual bonds, mutual funds, or ETFs.  Then take the easy route and select one well-diversified bond ETF or mutual fund that holds bonds from a number of the areas mentioned above.

If you only want to own 1 bond fund, I give my favorite option in the article below. It takes a simple, set it and forget it approach to do it yourself investing. The 3 fund portfolio I discuss includes 1 bond fund and 2 dividend stock funds.


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Peer-to-peer lending is known as P2P lending for short.

P2P lending enables individuals to obtain loans directly from other individuals.  The P2P lending process cuts out traditional financial institutions as the middleman.

Companies and their websites that facilitate P2P lending have greatly increased.   As a result, P2P lending has become a viable alternative method of financing. And a source of passive income from another type of income-generating asset, direct loans.

Interest rates on P2P loans vary depending on the risk profile. They can be as little as 2-3%. Or as high as 10% and even more.


Preferred stock is a hybrid security that has a mix of bond and common stock characteristics.

Pros and Cons With Preferred Stock

The investor doesn’t have the capital appreciation potential like common stock.  In exchange, the investor normally receives a high dividend yield.

In addition, the holder receives preferential treatment before common stockholders on the receipt of those dividends.

Banks, insurance companies, and utilities are big issuers of preferred stock.  Like bonds, you can buy individual company issues through your broker or invest through mutual funds and ETFs.

A Preferred Stock Fund Is A Good Way To Go

The I Shares Preferred and Income Securities ETF (PFF) is one example of a lower-cost preferred stock ETF.

PFF has many preferred stock holdings for diversification.  And it pays an attractive yield.

To invest in any type of stock or ETFs, you need a brokerage account. If you don’t have one yet, here’s how to get one with Webull.

For A Limited Time: Free Stock From Webull

I have a Webull brokerage account.  Webull has a very powerful, but easy-to-use app for buying and selling stocks.

And, it is simple to sign up and get started.

For a limited time, Webull gives you free stock just for opening your account.  In that way, I guess Webull is an income-producing asset.  Why?  They give you free stock!

Sign up with Webull here if you are ready to buy and sell stocks for free. And get free stock.

Let’s continue with other more common types of stocks. Next, my favorite assets to invest in…


By investing in the common stock of a company, you are a part-owner in that business.  And, participate in all the potential rewards and risks that go with ownership.

Get More Passive Income Every Year

The dividend stocks I’m talking about usually increase their dividend payments every year. They are referred to as dividend growth stocks.

The growing dividend helps your income keep up with inflation and increases your passive income over the long run.

While you, as the investor, focus on a rising stream of dividend payments, you can be less concerned about the day-to-day stock market volatility.

Why? Because you receive a large piece of your investment returns in cash every quarter.

In addition, as the company raises its dividend year after year. The stock price will usually follow an upward trend. Right along with the dividend.

The Simply Investing Report

To always pick the best dividend stocks, I use an advisory service called Simply Investing.

Simply Investing is delivered to my inbox every month. From its monthly dividend stock recommendations, I know I’m investing in stocks that provide safe income and represent a great value.

Learn more about Simply Investing by checking it out here.

Dividend Stocks Meet All Of My Objectives For Income Producing Assets

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As I mentioned earlier, dividend growth stocks achieve all three of my income and growth investment objectives.

  1. Current income in the form of passive income
  2. Growth of that passive income
  3. Capital appreciation

I prefer my dividend growth stocks with yields ranging from 3-5%.

In my opinion, dividend growth stocks are some of the best assets to build wealth and become a millionaire.


First I want to say that growth stocks are not your typical income-producing asset. Why? Because they either pay a very small dividend. Or, no dividend at all.

But many investors use pure growth stocks to produce income. Amazon stock is a perfect example.

Amazon stock pays no dividend. But some investors create an income stream from the stock anyway.

Here’s how…

In the past, Amazon stock has dramatically increased in value. So, let’s say you bought 10 shares for $400 per share. At the time, your total investment cost $4,000.

Next, let’s say over the years, a share of Amazon stock increased to $2,000 per share. So, your 10 original shares are now worth more than $20,000.

By selling 1 of the original 10 shares for $2,000 cash, you have created income. And still, maintain ownership of 9 shares valued at about $18,000.

Sometimes this method is referred to as creating a “homemade dividend”.

As a result, growth stocks are another example of an income-producing asset. They are very good assets to buy.


Morningstar is another one of my go-to resources. Whether it’s stocks, bonds, or ETFs.

Morningstar helps me find, evaluate, and monitor investments that best meet my needs. Check out a free 14 day Morningstar trial here.

Now, we have just covered both dividend stocks and growth stocks.

But there is one type of stock that deserves special attention.  That is real estate investment trusts.  Or, REITs for short.


First of all, REITs are special because they allow you to participate in the real estate market.  But, you do not have to deal with the responsibility of being a landlord.

We all know that real estate is finite.  That is a fancy way of saying there is only so much real estate.  And no more will be created.

This makes real estate a great asset to buy.

But how does a REIT operate?  An equity REIT owns, finances, and manages income-producing assets.  The assets are in the form of real estate.

When you purchase stock in a REIT, you will own a small portion of an office or apartment building that has been bought by a large company.

A REIT generates rental income from each property it owns.  Then, it distributes the profit to shareholders in the form of dividends.

REITs receive favorable tax treatment from the government.  That is, as long as they pay out most of their profits to owners as dividends.

That makes REITs a great income-generating asset.

You buy stock in a REIT just like buying any other dividend stock or growth stock in the stock market.

And, as you know by now. You need a brokerage account to do this.


Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are one of the best assets to buy. Why? Because ETFs make investing in income-generating assets easy.

What is an exchange-traded fund? An exchange-traded fund is a collection of securities that tracks an underlying index.

Many of the assets we have discussed thus far including dividend stocks, growth stocks, REITs, and bonds can be purchased through ETFs. By investing in ETFs, you get immediate diversification among many assets.

Furthermore, there is no need to research numerous individual assets to buy. Finally, ETFs pay income either monthly or quarterly depending on the ETF you choose.

An ETF is called an exchange-traded fund since it is traded on a stock exchange just like an individual stock. The price of ETFs shares will change throughout the trading day as the shares are bought and sold on the market.

All of these points make ETFs one of the best ways to generate cash flow from investments.


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Our homes are big investments.  And they are one of the best assets to buy because paying your mortgage is like forced savings.

But, did you ever think of your home as an income-producing asset?  If not, maybe it is time to do so.

Tapping Your Home Equity For Cash Flow

Over time the value of your home should increase. Most home values will increase along with the annual inflation rate. But, some homes and areas of the country experience a much higher appreciation.

Furthermore, each month you make a mortgage payment. A portion of that payment serves to decrease the amount of your mortgage debt.

The combination of higher home values and lower mortgage debt is very profitable. They both serve to increase your home equity.

So, when mortgage rates are low, consider refinancing your mortgage. And take some of your equity out in cash at the time of refinancing.

By doing this, your home is an asset that generates cash flow. It is a reason that your primary residence is one of the best assets to buy.

Renting Out A Room In Your Residence

Renting out a room in your home doesn’t require you to make any extra investment. So, your home can be an income-producing asset. This is a pretty passive income.

You can get a feel for managing a rental property and being a landlord without putting any money down.  Or, making a long-term commitment.

Services like Airbnb make it easy to connect with interested renters.  And you can make a significant income depending on the size and condition of your place and the location.


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Beyond renting out a room in your own home, you can also invest in a stand-alone rental property.  This has the advantage of separating your life from your asset that generates cash flow. Rental property is a hard asset to invest in.

On the other hand, a rental property may require a large investment. Especially if you are considering investing in luxury real estate.

It may take you some time to offset this cost.  So this is a longer-term option compared to renting out a single room in your primary residence.

There are a variety of options when it comes to generating an income from rental properties.  Here are the primary ones that are available to folks like you and me.

Vacation homes:  Are you lucky enough to own a vacation home?  If you are, rent it out when you are not using it.

Single-family rental houses:  Many people start generating asset-based income from a single-family home when it’s time to move.  They keep their old house and rent it out after moving to a new primary residence.

There are several advantages to bringing in cash from your former single-family home.

First of all, you know the property and its maintenance needs.  Furthermore, there is only 1 tenant to manage.  Finally, single-family homes will always be in demand when it’s time to sell or find a new tenant.

Multi-family rental properties: Think duplex or tri-level here.

Multiple tenants under 1 roof create cost savings through economies of scale.  Also, if you need a place to stay, you can buy a multi-family rental property and keep 1 unit for yourself.

On the other hand, you are becoming a full-fledged landlord.  With all the responsibilities that come with it. Your income becomes a little less passive and more active, in my opinion.

So, be prepared.  And know what you are getting yourself into.


Real estate crowdfunding pools relatively small amounts of money from multiple investors to finance a property or portfolio of properties.  Investor funds are invested in either debt or equity.

In return, the investor receives payments in the form of quarterly or monthly dividends.  It is another form of asset-based income.

Furthermore, owning equity in a crowdfunded real estate deal allows for capital appreciation.   The investor participates in the real estate asset appreciation when the property is sold.


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We are not quite done with real estate assets yet.  Let’s bring it down to its most basic form, land.

Land can be an income-generating asset.  But you have to make the land productive in some way.

You can start small.  Like, how about a corner of your yard for a hobby farm.  If you grow the best tomatoes in the county, your land can be an income-producing asset.

Or think big.  Investments in farmland or timberland are assets that produce income from your investments.


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How about starting a business by yourself or with one or more partners?  Most businesses begin for the sole purpose of producing income for their owner or owners.

To start and own a business, figure out what you are good at.  Understand what you are passionate about.  And be great at it.  It’s the best way to prosper.

So, private businesses are another example of assets that generate cash flow.  Make your business more successful.  And the income it produces will increase.

What types of businesses are successful?  Those that:

  • Provide useful products
  • Deliver important services
  • Provide information or entertainment
  • Solve people’s problems

Look around at all the basic businesses you see each day.   Notice that they fulfill one or more of these needs. What types of businesses will you see:

  • Car washes
  • Dry cleaners
  • Retail stores
  • Tax accounting offices
  • Legal service providers

Websites And Blogs

Websites in the form of blogs have become a popular business form. Why?

Because of advances in technology combined with people’s desire to consume information and entertainment online. So, online options are no longer considered unconventional investment ideas.

I started Dividends Diversify years ago to tap into this trend. But just like any business, running a website is not a passive income. That is, if like me, you intend on running your website on your own. It takes work like any other business.

I enjoy it, so Dividends Diversify doesn’t seem like work. Like I said earlier if you want to start a business and run it, choose something you love to do.

Private Equity

Do you want to be an owner in 1 or more privately held businesses? But, do you not want to be involved in the day-to-day operation? Then private equity is the way to go.

Private equity is composed of funds and investors that invest directly in private companies. The private equity owners hire managers to run the companies. I worked in management at 4 different private equity-owned businesses during my working days.

When it comes to participating in private equity, there are a couple of issues. First of all, it takes a lot of money. Furthermore, that money is usually committed for at least 3-5 years. Finally, private equity funds do not normally pay a recurring passive income.

On the other hand, private equity shoots for large returns on your investment. At least 15% and oftentimes much more.

When a private equity fund liquidates after several years, you hope to hit the jackpot with a big cash payout. A payout that is much greater than your original investment.

Private equity is for the big money, big shots out there. But what about the little guys and gals like you and me?

One option is Business Development Companies (BDC). They operate similarly to private equity firms as I explained above.

But BDC’s trade like stocks on a stock exchange. So, you and I can invest in them. And most BDCs pay high dividends.

The ongoing dividends make BDCs an income-producing asset. And, a way to participate in private equity ownership.


You are your own best cash flow asset. Invest in yourself to increase your income from your job or your side hustle. Make your credentials stand out among the crowd.

I saved this one for last because it’s not passive income. It’s what I call income from your activities.

In this case, you are trading your time for dollars. Invest in your knowledge and skills to make your time more valuable to those who will pay you for your time.

Then, improve your resume. And get your name out there for a better, higher-paying job.

To repeat, this is not passive income. But, it is an important income source. Maybe the most important.

Then, funnel excess income from your activities into income assets.

Editors note: The videos above and when played in the site’s margin depict the primary categories of income producing assets discussed in this article. Specifically…

  • Cash
  • Loans and bonds
  • Stocks and ETFs
  • Real estate
  • Private businesses

In addition to the financial principles we believe in here at Dividends Diversify. Namely…

  • Money management
  • Investing
  • Dividend stocks
  • Building wealth

Finally, allow me to wrap up with a few concluding thoughts about today’s post…


Most of the assets we have discussed today produce passive income.  With the exception of owning and running a business. Or, more broadly, the income you earn from your time on the job or with a side hustle.

Running a business is a very active form of income.  Unless, of course, you can afford to hire out the management of the operation. Or, participate in private equity.

How Do Millionaires Build Wealth?

As I said at the beginning, it’s about creating multiple streams of income.  And then, growing that income. That’s what millionaires do to build wealth.

In 3 easy steps, this how to invest in assets:

  • #1 Save some money
  • #2 Put that money to work in income producing assets
  • #3 Use that extra passive income to buy more income generating assets

I truly believe that assets that generate cash flow are an excellent way to build up your finances.

So, look at the list below as a summary of the best assets to build wealth.  And start growing and managing your money today for multiple income streams tomorrow.

Here is a summary:

Examples Of Income Generating Asset

  • Certificates of Deposit
  • US Savings Bonds
  • High Yield Savings Accounts
  • Money Market Accounts
  • Bonds
  • Peer-to-Peer lending
  • Preferred Stocks
  • Dividend Growth Stocks
  • Growth Stocks
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • Exchange-Traded Fund
  • Primary Residence
  • Rental Properties
  • Real Estate Crowdfunding
  • Land
  • Owing A Privately Held Business
  • You And Your Time

Related Articles About The Best Assets To Buy & How To Buy Them

Resources For Cash Now & Improving Your Asset-Based Income Sources

Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

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Income Producing Assets For Passive Income: Build Your Wealth!