Your paycheck helps you live, but accumulating wealth takes more than a steady 9 to 5 with a nice salary. The average millionaire has seven streams of income. Rather than solely earning a salary from a single occupation, financial prosperity is generated by multiple investments that earn money without requiring active work, also known as passive income.  

If you’ve ever heard someone say, “it takes money to make money,” or something along the lines of, “rich people make money in their sleep,” you’ve heard about passive income. 

Take a look at the first Black female and male musicians to reach billionaire status, Rihanna and Jay-Z. Rihanna went nearly bankrupt then grew a $600 million net worth. The majority of Jay-Z’s income is the result of smart investments and business ventures, such as clothing lines, sports teams, music streaming and restaurants.

The path to wealth building is rarely that straightforward, however. The racial wealth gap offers some proof. According to the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances from The Federal Reserve, the typical white family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family. The report sites access to retirement savings and the intergenerational transmission of wealth as major contributors to the wealth gap. Meaning, we don’t invest for retirement, and we don’t leave inheritance for future generations. 

Wealth accumulation is highest during someone’s working years, per the Federal Reserve report.  It’s never too early to take steps toward wealth building, and it’s getting easier to do so. Neobanks and digital finance platforms offer on-demand access to many of the banking and financial services that were previously only available to select demographics with existing wealth.

Fair, a purpose-driven neobank and financial services platform launching in May, is one example. It was intentionally created to address systemic barriers that contribute to the current wealth and opportunity gaps. The membership-based platform — think Costco for banking, lending and investments — will offer a full suite of digital banking features, among them are high-yield dividend savings accounts and interest-free loans, as part of its membership.

So, in honor of financial literacy month, here are three ways to add revenue streams to earn passive income right now:

      • Save in a high-yield savings account: A high-yield savings account is a type of savings account that typically pays 20 to 25 times the national average of a standard savings account. Rates vary between banks, as do the account requirements. Conduct research to find the best rate. Also evaluate minimum deposit and balance and account service fees. Digital banks frequently offer higher rates with more transparent fee structures. 
      • Get a Side Hustle: A side hustle doesn’t have to be another job by formal definition. There are opportunities to earn a little extra by doing things you are doing right now such as browsing the web, watching video content and testing websites. Check out this list as a starting point.
      • Additional Passive Income Sources: Rental property, stock accounts, investing in a startup and even monetizing your social media pages are examples of ways to earn passive income. Earning passive income typically requires a monetary or time investment upfront, but the earning potential continues to build over the years. Check out this list of 21 passive income ideas.

No matter where you are in your journey to financial freedom, the salary from your job is what you use to live in the present. Passive income is  how you can acquire extra cash to pay debt faster, create a cushion for emergencies, save for retirement and/or acquire investments. It is a necessary component for closing the wealth gap now and for future generations.

Toni Harrison is the Chief Marketing Officer at Fair, a multilingual digital bank and ethical financial services platform created to stimulate economic opportunity and wealth equity. She has led award-winning communication strategies, focused on diversity and multicultural targets, for Fortune-ranked organizations, global consumer brands, governmental entities and nonprofit organizations. Toni is a dedicated community servant, dog rescuer, Texas Longhorn and UCLA Bruin.