Household income is any money or cash flow that comes into the home on a consistent basis, either through work or investments. Maximizing your household income ensures you have plenty of money when you need it, which isn't always easy. But, with multiple income sources, the impact of the loss of one income source has less impact on your overall portfolio. There are three main sources for household income: earned income, investment income and government assistance.
Wages and Salary
A steady paycheck from earned income is by far the most common form of household income that most people receive. Your paycheck is earned through work, either as labor or selling your work product. You may earn an hourly wage or salary from a specific employer, which is paid on a regular basis. Or, you may be self-employed, in which you own your business selling a product or service.
Make your money work for you with sound investments. You can earn additional household income through such sources as dividend payouts, interest and rental income. Buying and renting a property gives you a consistent rent payment each month. Placing your money in interest-bearing accounts, such as certificates of deposit and money market accounts, nets you earned interest on your money each month. Investing in the stock market can also add household income in the form of regular dividend payouts.
When you fall on hard economic times, you may qualify for government assistance to bring in an additional income source to help you get through the lean times. Unemployment benefits allow you to collect government benefits while you look for another job. When your income falls under specific poverty levels, you may also qualify for welfare benefits including food stamps and health insurance coverage to help you get by. If you suffer a disability, then you may be able to draw Social Security disability benefits to help when you cannot work due to injury or disability.
Of course, retirement means you don’t have to go to a day job anymore. In retirement, your income comes from all three sources, including Social Security benefits, payouts from retirement accounts such as IRAs or 401(k)s and possibly a pension. A comfortable retirement requires very careful and diligent planning to ensure you have enough income to last you throughout your golden years without needing to work for a wage or salary again.
Leigh Thompson began writing in 2007 and specializes in creating content for websites. She has been published online in various capacities. Thompson has an associate degree in information technology from the University of Kansas and is working on a bachelor's degree in business and personal finance.