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7 Types of Income: How They Work

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In today’s world, having a single source of income is not enough to secure your financial future. It’s important to diversify your sources of income and understand how each one works. In this article, we will explore the 7 different types of income and how you can maximize each one to increase your overall financial stability.

  1. Earned Income

Earned income is a broad term that refers to the money you receive for services you provide or work you perform. It is the compensation you receive for the time and effort you put into your job, whether it’s through an employer, a side hustle, or self-employment.

Some common examples of earned income include:

It’s important to note that earned income does not include passive income, such as dividends from stocks, interest from bonds, or rental income.

Types of Earned Income

There are several different types of earned income, each with its own tax implications.

  • Wages and Salaries

Wages and salaries are the most common type of earned income. This type of income is earned through employment and is taxed through payroll taxes.

  • Commission Income

When you receive a percentage of the sales you produce, you earn commission revenue. Salespeople and real estate agents frequently make this type of income.

  • Self-Employment Income

You can make money through self-employment if you own or run a business, like a freelance gig or a small business. You are responsible for paying self-employment taxes on this type of income, which is taxed differently than wages and salaries.

  • Side Hustle Income

A side hustle is a part-time job or gig that is not your main source of income. Side hustle income is taxed in the same way as self-employment income.

  1. Business Income

Business income refers to the money a business earns through its operations. It is the revenue from the sale of products or services less any associated expenses. Essentially, business income is the profit a company makes after deducting all of its expenses.

Business income can come from various sources, including:

  • sales of products
  • services provided to customers
  • and investment income.

For example, a retail store may earn business income from the sale of merchandise. While a consulting firm may earn business income from providing services to clients.

  1. Capital Gains Income

Capital gains refer to the profit made from the sale of an asset, such as stocks, real estate, or bonds. It is computed as the difference between the asset’s acquisition price and selling price. Capital gains can be short-term (when the asset is held for a year or less) or long-term (when the asset is held for more than a year), and the tax rate on capital gains vary depending on the investor’s tax bracket and the length of time the asset was held. Some assets may qualify for special tax treatment, and capital gains may be taxed at a different rate than ordinary income.

  1. Dividend Income

A corporation pays its shareholders in cash or stock through dividend income. As a reward for their investment, shareholders receive a portion of the company’s profits. Dividends are normally paid quarterly or annually and are a fixed amount per share of stock.

Dividend income is received by investors who own shares of stock in a corporation. When a company declares a dividend, it sets a record date and a payment date. On the record date, the investor must be a shareholder of record in order to receive the dividend. On the payment date, the dividend is paid to the shareholder in the form of cash or additional shares of stock, depending on the company’s policy.

  1. Rental Income

When you rent out a house, apartment, business space, or storage unit, you get rental income. It is the rent that the tenant pays to use the property. Usually, it is collected once a month.

Landlords who own rental properties generate passive income from rental income. The landlord must find a tenant and sign a lease agreement that specifies the rental amount, length of the lease, and any additional fees or charges to collect rental money.

Rental income is taxed as ordinary income, meaning it is taxed at the individual’s marginal tax rate. However, landlords can deduct a number of expenses related to the rental property, such as mortgage interest, property taxes, maintenance and repair costs, and insurance, in order to reduce their taxable rental income.

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  1. Royalty Income

Royalty income is an ongoing payment made to an individual for the use of their work or property. This type of income is commonly earned through licensing agreements, where the owner of the work or property allows another party to use it in exchange for a fee.

For example, if an author writes a book and signs a contract with a publisher to release the book, the publisher will pay the author a percentage of the book’s sales as royalty income. Similarly, an inventor can earn royalty income by licensing the use of their patented invention to another company.

How Does Royalty Income Work?

To understand how royalty income works, let’s take a closer look at the licensing agreement process. A licensing agreement is a contract between two parties, where the owner of the work or property (the licensor) grants the right to use their work or property to another party (the licensee) in exchange for a fee.

The licensing agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the license, including the duration of the license, the scope of the license (what the licensee can and cannot do with the work or property), and the amount of the royalty fee.

Once the licensing agreement is signed, the licensee can use the work or property in accordance with the agreement. The licensor then will receive regular payments (usually a percentage of sales or revenue generated by the work or property) as royalty income.

Advantages of Royalty Income

There are several advantages of earning royalty income, including:

  • Passive income: Royalty income is a form of passive income, which means that you can earn money without actively working for it. This can provide financial stability and security for artists, inventors, and other creatives.
  • Flexibility: With royalty income, you have the flexibility to continue working on other projects or to focus on other aspects of your life, while still earning money from your previous work.
  • Recurring income: Royalty income is a recurring income, which means that you can earn money from your work for a long time, even after you have stopped working on it.
  • Scalability: The more successful your work becomes, the more money you can earn from royalties. As your work gains popularity, your royalty income has the potential to grow.

Disadvantages of Royalty Income

However, there are also several disadvantages to earning royalty income, including:

  • Slow start: It can take time to build up a substantial amount of royalty income, especially if your work is not yet well-known or in high demand.
  • Dependence on others: Your royalty income depends on the success of others, such as the licensee or the publisher of your work. Your royalty income may be impacted if they are unsuccessful in marketing or selling your work.
  • Limited control: Once you have signed a licensing agreement, you have limited control over how your work is used or marketed. This can be particularly challenging for artists and other creatives who are passionate about their work.
  1. Passive Income

It is a type of income received on a regular basis, with little to no effort required to maintain it. Passive income involves creating streams of revenue that generate money even while the person is not working.

There are several ways to generate passive income, including:

  1. Renting out the property such as a house or storage unit.
  2. Investing in stocks, bonds, or other securities that generate regular dividends.
  3. Selling a product or service through affiliate marketing, where you earn a commission for each sale made through your unique referral link.
  4. Creating and selling digital products, such as e-books, courses, or printables.
  5. Investing in peer-to-peer lending platforms, where you loan money to individuals or businesses and receive interest payments in return.

It’s important to note that passive income is not the same as guaranteed income and there may be some upfront work and risk involved in setting up the income streams. However, the goal is to minimize the amount of ongoing effort required in order to continue receiving passive income.

How to Maximize Each Type of Income:

  • Earned Income

To maximize earned income, consider seeking out promotions or starting a side hustle to supplement your primary income.

  • Business Income

To maximize business income, consider expanding your customer base, finding new markets, and increasing your product offerings.

  • Capital Gains Income

To maximize capital gains income, consider investing in a diverse range of assets and holding on to investments for the long term.

  • Dividend Income

To maximize dividend income, consider investing in dividend-paying stocks and mutual funds.

  • Rental Income

To maximize rental income, consider investing in real estate and maintaining the property to attract and retain tenants.

  • Royalty Income

To maximize royalty income, consider protecting your property through patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

  • Passive Income

To maximize passive income, consider investing in a diverse range of assets that generate consistent returns.


In conclusion, understanding the 7 types of income and how they work is crucial to maximizing your financial stability. By diversifying your sources of income, you can reduce your risk and increase your overall financial security. Consider exploring each of the 7 types of income and finding ways to maximize each one in your own financial journey. Remember, your financial success is not limited to one type of income, so don’t be afraid to experiment and explore new options.

With a strategic and well-rounded approach, you can create a solid foundation for a secure financial future. The key is to stay informed, educated, and proactive in your efforts to generate multiple streams of income. By doing so, you can ensure that you have a stable and dependable source of income no matter what the future may hold.

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