How to invest £250 a month to target a £33,900 passive income for life

Investing a modest amount of money each month in carefully selected stocks can establish an impressive five-figure passive income stream. Here’s how.

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Building an attractive source of passive income in the stock market doesn’t necessarily require a lot of starting capital. A fairly substantial portfolio is needed to generate meaningful dividends to cover living expenses. However, investors can leverage the power of compounding to build one over time through consistent buy-and-hold investing.

In fact, sparing as little as £250 a month to bolster a portfolio is sufficient to establish a lucrative income stream. Here’s how.

Buy-and-hold vs trading

As exciting as it may sound to buy and sell shares in rapid succession for short-term gains, trading is a complicated game that even professionals struggle with. After all, trying to predict which way stocks will move in the short term has very little to do with fundamentals. Instead, it’s mainly about human psychology – an irrational and largely unpredictable factor.

However, while mood and momentum dictate the direction of stock prices in the short term, the quality and performance of underlying businesses determine what happens in the long run. Buy-and-hold investing seeks to capitalise on this, paving the way to a sustainable passive income.

By drip-feeding money into high-quality enterprises over time, the impact of temporary downturns can be mitigated thanks to pound cost averaging. Meanwhile, even if the share price suffers, dividends will likely keep flowing if cash flows remain intact. And these can be automatically reinvested at lower prices to amplify the effects of compounding even further.

Building a passive income with £250

The UK stock market has historically offered an average dividend yield of around 4% when looking at the FTSE 100 index. But by being more selective and picking individual stocks, boosting this yield to 5% or even 6% is firmly within the realm of possibility without taking on excessive additional risk.

This additional 2% may not seem like much. But in the long run, it can profoundly impact future passive income generation. Even if an investor can only replicate the average single-digit capital gains of the British stock market, the added yield is sufficient to boost the total return to around 10% annually. Drip-feeding £250 a month over a period of 30 years at this rate of return will lead to an investment portfolio worth £565,121.

At this stage, an investor can decide to start reaping the rewards. By taking the dividends as cash rather than reinvesting them, a 6% yielding portfolio would generate a passive income of £33,907 a year. And by using a Stocks and Shares ISA, this income would be 100% tax-free!

The bottom line

Unfortunately, nothing in the world of investing is without risk. As 2022 perfectly demonstrated, the stock market can be volatile. Corrections and even crashes occasionally throw a spanner in the works. And three decades is more than enough time for multiple periods of volatility to emerge.

Depending on the timing of these events, the expected passive income stream could be significantly less than expected. Not to mention, some top-notch businesses today may not stay that way in the future, potentially compromising dividend income.

Nevertheless, prudent investing and staying vigilant can partially offset these risks. And given the potential rewards, it’s a pursuit worth taking, in my opinion.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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