If there’s a word that comes immediately to mind when thinking of American culture, it’s “consumerism”.
Now, I’m not anti-consumerism by nature. If someone wants to go out there and spend a ton of money, more power to them. It keeps the profit machines I’m invested in well oiled. It’s just that a lot of research shows that more stuff doesn’t necessarily correlate all that well with more happiness.
That said, I love to go down to my local store and spend money.
For years now, it’s been one of my favorite activities. I’m probably even more of a “consumer” than most Americans.
However, my “store” isn’t like the one down at your local strip mall. And I “consume” very different merchandise.
My Favorite Store
The stock market is my favorite store of all. It is, after all, a “market”. It’s right in the name.
It’s a place where dreams come true… literally.
By routinely shopping at the stock market, I’ve been able to build the passive income necessary to quit my job, pursue meaningful passions, and build a customized life.
This certainly wouldn’t happen if I were spending all that time and money instead shopping down at my local Walmart.
There’s a popular saying about a “kid in a candy store”. I don’t know about that. Candy tastes good, I suppose. But it can give you diabetes. And make you fat. So there’s that. The stock market makes me neither. In fact, it offers me the opportunity to become a healthier version of myself. Indeed, at 35 years old, I’m in the best shape of my life.
What’s also funny to me is that e-commerce is a somewhat new concept. It’s been steadily growing for years, but it’s particularly relevant today. You go online, buy things, and they’re automagically delivered to your home. This has become a topic of much conversation in investing circles due to the disruption that’s occurring in numerous industries. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard as much about e-commerce as I have over the last 12-18 months.
But the stock market has had this e-commerce thing locked down for many years now.
It was way back in the mid-90s, prospective investors could then go online and buy stocks. And even before that, one could call up their broker, buy stock, and be done with it. You could do it in your pajamas.
It’s now easier and cheaper than ever to go online and buy stocks. In fact, I buy and sell stocks for free (meaning no commission charges). And guess what? No shipping charges or minimums to worry about.
While other people are busy buying up… whatever they’re buying… I’m focusing my time and capital on my favorite merchandise of all.
My Favorite Merchandise
What’s in most stores?
Food? Household goods? Clothes?
All fine and dandy. But I don’t eat much. A very small apartment requires few furnishings. And I only wear a few outfits.
The merchandise that most people tend to focus on means very little to me.
Instead, my favorite merchandise can be found in the stock market.
High-quality dividend growth stocks are my favorite merchandise.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). Stock in PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP). A slice of Union Pacific Corporation (UNP).
My heart skips a beat just thinking about seeing quality merchandise like this on sale. Perhaps that’s the same feeling someone else gets when they see a pair of high-end shoes on sale? I wouldn’t know.
See, while most other merchandise drains you of your capital and time, my merchandise adds capital and time to my life.
This merchandise adds capital to my life via the growing dividend income these stocks generate for me, as these are real-life businesses selling real-life products and/or services that produce real-life profit. More products and/or services means more profit. And more profit translates into more dividends for me. That’s on top of the appreciation of the merchandise’s value, as these companies naturally become worth more over time as they sell more and increase their profit.
This merchandise adds time to my life via the freedom that dividend income offers. When one’s passive income exceeds their expenses, they’re financially free. Free not just of financial concerns, but free to essentially do what they want with their time.
And that’s really the point for me.
There’s nothing I’d rather own than my own time.
I don’t know what could be worth owning more than my time. And so when I buy stocks, I’m basically buying time. That’s what it is for me. That’s what all of this is for me.
Most merchandise depreciates and costs you money, while high-quality dividend growth stocks often appreciate while paying you money.
And while a lot of stuff eventually becomes “so last year”, growing dividend income never goes out of style.
It’s not hard to see why this is my favorite merchandise.
There are plenty of stores out there. Take your pick. Or just take a cruise around your city. You’ll run into them.
But I can think of no better store than the stock market. It’s a market where my favorite merchandise can be found. This is merchandise that adds time, capital, and value to my life. Instead of becoming less free every time I buy this merchandise, I become more free.
Whereas many people love walking the mall or window shopping, I enjoy perusing the market for sales on great merchandise. I don’t even have any money a lot of times. I just look around and see what’s out there, knowing that I’ll probably be buying myself a nice little “gift” at some point in the near future.
Forget a fancy watch, though. I’d rather have merchandise that pays me to own it.
Because dividends are the gifts that keep on giving.
Full disclosure: I’m long JNJ, PEP, UNP.
What do you think? Is the stock market your favorite store? Are high-quality dividend growth stocks your favorite merchandise?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.