How I built $5,000 of passive income starting with $0

My intake of dividends is continuing to grow.

| More on:
Happy dad watching tv with kids, symbolising passive income.

Image source: Getty Images

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Passive income is a key goal of mine, and I'm now receiving a sizeable sum of annual dividends.

However I started with $0 several years ago, and it took time to grow.

It has been a volatile journey, and there were some dud investments along the way. But, I'm pleased with how things are going.

I'd say there are three things that have helped get me to more than $5,000 of annual passive income.

Regularly investing

It takes money to make money, including with the ASX share market. Compounding is a powerful tool, but I needed to add snow to the money snowball which can make it grow faster.

I've tried to invest in the ASX share market every month, with the size of the investment depending on how my household's income and expenses play out each month.

Everyone's finances are different, but let me demonstrate what investing $1,500 per month can do – if the portfolio returns an average of 10% per annum and grows for 10 years, the portfolio would become worth $287,000. My portfolio is worth nowhere near as much as that, but I can see how much growth can help my portfolio's returns in the future.

A $287,000 portfolio with a 5% dividend yield would make $14,350 of annual dividends.

Choose businesses with growing passive dividend income

I have filled my portfolio with businesses that can deliver dividend growth and hopefully capital growth themselves. By making those picks, I believe that will mean I need to contribute less of my own money.

For example, in my portfolio, I own ASX dividend shares like Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL), Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW) and L1 Long Short Fund Ltd (ASX: LSF), which have been building a reputation for passive income growth.

Long-term dividend growth is an attractive feature. Annual dividend income of $100 which grows by 10% thanks to a dividend increase reaches $110 next year. That doesn't sound like much.

Fast forward to receiving $5,000 of annual income – a 10% rise would take that to $5,500. That's a lot of extra cash flowing in for one year.

That's why I like looking at businesses that have a habit of delivering good dividend growth.

Investing during market dips

As I've mentioned, I do regularly invest every month. I've significantly increased the size of my investments when share prices drop heavily.

Low share prices can boost the dividend yield from ASX dividend shares. For example, if an investment has a 5% dividend yield and the share price drops 30%, the yield (for new investors) is boosted to 6.5%.

I invested heavily during the 2020 COVID-19 crash and during 2022 to supercharge my dividend income, with a particular focus on the listed investment company (LIC) WAM Microcap Limited (ASX: WMI). I like the growth potential of ASX small-cap shares, and the LIC normally pays a large dividend yield to shareholders.

Recently, I have been investing in a number of S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) shares that I think have long-term (passive dividend income) potential.

Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has positions in Brickworks, L1 Long Short Fund, Wam Microcap, and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Brickworks and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Brickworks and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

More on Dividend Investing

Five happy friends on their phones.
Dividend Investing

Buy Telstra and these ASX dividend shares next week

Analysts think these could be great income options for investors.

Read more »

Australian dollar notes inside the pocket on jeans, symbolising dividends.
Dividend Investing

How I would generate $20,000 of passive income from ASX shares each year

Here's how I would generate huge pay checks from the share market.

Read more »

Three generations of male family members enjoy the company as they plan future financial goals together on a trek outdoors.
Dividend Investing

3 'forever' ASX dividend shares to build your wealth

I think you can happily buy these three stocks to hold for your entire life today.

Read more »

A businessman holds a bolt of energy in both hands, indicating a share price rise in ASX energy companies
Dividend Investing

Does a 6.5% yield with relative stability sound good? Consider this ASX energy giant

This stock looks like a compelling choice for resilient income.

Read more »

Four young friends on a road trip smile and laugh as they sit on roof of their car.
Dividend Investing

Top ASX dividend shares to buy in April 2024

Winners are grinners!

Read more »

Woman customer and grocery shopping cart in supermarket store, retail outlet or mall shop. Female shopper pushing trolley in shelf aisle to buy discount groceries, sale goods and brand offers.
Dividend Investing

2 ASX dividend shares to beat inflation

Here are two ASX dividend shares that I think can help protect against inflation.

Read more »

A woman has a thoughtful look on her face as she studies a fan of Australian 20 dollar bills she is holding on one hand while he rest her other hand on her chin in thought.
Materials Shares

When will Pilbara Minerals resume paying dividends?

Pilbara hasn't paid out a dividend in 2024 yet.

Read more »

A strong female rock climber holds on to a precarious cliff face by her fingernails.
Energy Shares

Uh oh! Are Woodside shares facing a 'dividend cliff'?

Woodside shares currently trade on a 7.1% fully franked dividend yield.

Read more »