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Camille Van Vyve

Camille Van Vyve

20 Apr 2024
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What to invest in to generate stable long-term income?

The ultimate goal of an investor is typically to one day reap the rewards of their efforts by earning a steady income from patiently accumulated assets. But how can one build this income stream sustainably, meaning without excessive costs and without depleting their capital too quickly?

What's the best investment to generate a long-lasting income? Real estate, stocks or ETFs?

1. Investing in real estate

Many Belgians have the fixed idea of buying real estate early enough so that once it's paid off, it can generate a comfortable rental income. It's certainly an interesting idea—especially considering that rents are currently not taxed in Belgium—as long as one can afford it. However, the registration fees and notary fees (15% of the purchase price), the down payment required by banks (20% of the total price + fees), the interest burden of the loan (close to 4% per year over 20 years currently), and the ongoing expenses associated with any type of real estate require deep pockets... and weigh on the return. Additionally, the capital is then completely tied up and cannot be easily divided. To precisely evaluate the return on a real estate investment, Easyvest has built a simple and downloadable model: do the calculation, you might be surprised!

2. Investing in a few stocks and bonds with good returns

When receiving a group insurance payout, an inheritance, or when deciding to invest accumulated savings over time, some people decide—with or without professional help—to invest in a few flagship stocks, expected to provide stable and comfortable returns. Typically, a handful of stocks considered "blue-chip" and bonds with a reasonable coupon rate. This is the case of Mr. Dupont, who has a nice capital of €400.000. This capital is invested entirely in 4 (!) Belgian stocks, spread across three sectors of activity. These companies have a good history in terms of dividend distribution, which allows Mr. Dupont to receive until now a comfortable dividend of around €9.000 per year. Very satisfied with his investment, Mr. Dupont nevertheless opted for a risky and expensive strategy, because:

Furthermore, it is extremely difficult – if not impossible! – to bet on long-term “champions”. As shown in the infographic below, over the last 20 years, only Microsoft has remained in the top 5 best stocks globally.

3. Building a diversified portfolio with ETFs

Easyvest recommends investing capital as early as possible in a portfolio of ETFs that are maximally diversified, including stocks from around the world and eurozone government bonds. Such a strategy is:


€200.000 = €1.000 per month for 20 years

"Savings for retirement are like exercising to stay fit": it's obvious but often too easy to put off. In investing, like in other areas, setting a goal is key to success. That's why Easyvest has developed a simulator that not only allows you to project potential income but also helps you set a financial goal and define the effort required to achieve it starting today. Using our simulator, you'll discover that €200.000 accumulated can generate a monthly income of €1.000 for 20 years, considering a 2% inflation rate, a median scenario with a 50% chance of success, and an evolving risk profile (becoming increasingly defensive over time).

A simple rule of three

Are you aiming for a monthly income of €3.000? Through a simple rule of three, you now know that it will be necessary to accumulate a capital of €600.000 for that purpose. While the amount may seem high, it's achievable for those who start investing early. In a previous blog, we calculated how long it takes and with what monthly effort it's possible to accumulate a capital of €1 million—without winning the lottery or inheriting from a wealthy uncle!

Easyvest's simple and effective income portfolio

Do you want to make the most of the capital you've diligently and patiently accumulated during your working life? Avoid paying excessive fees and build an income portfolio based on ETFs that will allow you to preserve your capital for as long as possible. Try our simulation now on our website and schedule an appointment with one of our managers to get answers to all your questions!

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Easyvest is a brand of EASYVEST NV/SA, with company number 0631.809.696, authorized and regulated by the Belgian Authority for Financial Services and Markets (FSMA) as a portfolio management company and as a broker in insurances, with registered office at Rue de Praetere 2/4, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. Copyright 2024 EASYVEST NV/SA. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any historical returns, expected returns, or probability projections may not reflect actual future performance. All securities involve risk and may result in loss.