Even just hearing that word conjures up all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings for me.
I remember playing the board game Monopoly as a kid. My favorite Chance card was the one where Mr. Monopoly (or Rich Uncle Pennybags) collected his bank dividend of $50.
I thought that was so neat. Collecting money for nothing. Growing up as poor as I did, it seemed like a pipe dream as a child.
Well, it’s no pipe dream.
But it is a dream; it’s a dream of a lifestyle that almost anyone can live, as I’ve proven out over the years.
Mr. Monopoly sits on my shelf at home, reminding me every day of just how far I’ve come…
And I did so with no particular advantage(s) over anyone else. I grew up in a crack house in Detroit. My parents abandoned me. I have no college degree. I worked at a car dealership making ~$50,000 per year – until I didn’t.
Those six years of my life I set aside to aggressively save and intelligently invest my capital resulted in financial freedom at 33 years old – which is how I became Mr. Free At 33.
That financial freedom is underpinned by the five-figure and growing passive dividend income my FIRE Fund generates on my behalf.
I aptly named my portfolio the FIRE Fund because it allowed me to become financially independent and retire early (FIRE).
I built this portfolio on the tenets of dividend growth investing, whereby I allocate my capital almost exclusively toward high-quality stocks that have lengthy track records of paying rising dividends year after year.
These are world-class businesses. Because of that, they tend to rake in more profit year in and year out.
Well, shareholders are ultimately the collective owners of any publicly-traded company, and growing dividends are our rightful share of that growing profit.
The growing dividends that are sent my way by the businesses I own a slice of are enough to cover my essential expenses in life, meaning I don’t need to ever have a job again. Haven’t had one since turning 32 years old. And I have no plans to ever go back.
If you’re interested in using dividend growth investing to achieve FIRE for yourself, check out my two best-selling books on this: The Dividend Mantra Way and 5 Steps To Retire In 5 Years (also available in paperback).
What you’ll soon see is the tangible manifestation of all of these concepts I write about.
The table below lists every dividend I received (as well as each respective company that paid it) from the preceding month.
This is cash money, folks. Every time a dividend comes in, that’s real-life money I can use to do whatever I want with. Now we all know why Mr. Monopoly loved to kick back with a cigar, like a boss.
When you’re collecting a dividend a day, you are a boss!
Without further ado…
|Aflac Incorporated (AFL)||$46.80|
|Enbridge Inc. (ENB)||$43.21|
|JM Smucker Co. (SJM)||$12.75|
|Pfizer Inc. (PFE)||$20.40|
|Phillips 66 (PSX)||$21.60|
|Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC)||$38.70|
|WEC Energy Group Inc. (WEC)||$13.81|
|Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI)||$9.75|
|Visa Inc. (V)||$5.00|
|Unilever PLC (ADR) (UL)||$44.87|
|United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS)||$22.75|
|Discover Financial Services (DFS)||$6.00|
|Southern Co. (SO)||$51.00|
|Southside Bancshares, Inc. (SBSI)||$25.60|
|TJX Companies Inc. (TJX)||$1.95|
|Amgen, Inc. (AMGN)||$13.20|
|Harris Corporation (HRS)||$27.40|
|Chevron Corporation (CVX)||$22.40|
|Emerson Electric Co. (EMR)||$41.65|
|Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM)||$16.40|
|Int'l Business Machines Corp. (IBM)||$31.40|
|Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC)||$44.00|
|United Technologies Corporation (UTX)||$29.41|
|Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)||$90.00|
|3M Co. (MMM)||$13.60|
|Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)||$11.50|
|CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (CNP)||$24.98|
|Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM)||$15.08|
|The Coca-Cola Co. (KO)||$54.60|
|Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. (CFR)||$13.40|
|Flowers Foods, Inc. (FLO)||$48.60|
|Hershey Co. (HSY)||$18.05|
|The Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC)||$6.25|
|Main Street Capital Corporation (MAIN)||$56.40|
|Realty Income Corp. (O)||$20.95|
|Duke Energy Corp. (DUK)||$27.82|
|EPR Properties (EPR)||$14.40|
|McDonald's Corporation (MCD)||$63.80|
|Polaris Industries Inc. (PII)||$12.00|
|Stag Industrial Inc. (STAG)||$13.02|
|Royal Dutch Shell PLC (ADR) (RDS.B)||$47.00|
|Dominion Resources, Inc. (D)||$25.05|
|Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM)||$37.20|
|VF Corp. (VFC)||$28.05|
|BP PLC (ADR) (BP)||$67.65|
|Brinker International, Inc. (EAT)||$28.50|
|Linde PLC (LIN)||$8.25|
|South Jersey Industries Inc. (SJI)||$14.38|
|Public Storage (PSA)||$10.00|
|Broadcom Inc. (AVGO)||$10.60|
|Chatham Lodging Trust (CLDT)||$15.95|
|Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD)||$11.40|
|Union Pacific Corporation (UNP)||$48.00|
|C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (CHRW)||$12.50|
|Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI)||$16.88|
|NorthWestern Corp. (NWE)||$13.75|
|Service Corporation International (SCI)||$3.40|
|Travelers Companies Inc. (TRV)||$7.70|
Just for reference, a great resource for tracking your portfolio and everything related to it is Personal Capital.
A new milestone here.
One I’m particularly proud of.
This represents the first time ever in which my dividend income exceeded $1,500 in one month.
I almost can’t believe it. Even though I know this is inevitable, because a compounding dividend growth snowball makes it so, it’s still an incredible feeling when it actually materializes.
I still remember my first year of blogging. It was 2011. And I had a pretty aggressive dividend income goal for that year.
I wanted to collect $1,200 in dividend income for the entire year of 2011.
You know what?
I achieved that goal – just barely. I think I hit $1,202 in dividend income for that year.
Now I’m able to smash that number – in only one month. Wow. I’m incredibly fortunate.
I guess Mr. Monopoly had a big impact on me as a kid. Hell, I’m even bald like him!
The above collection of companies are a fine, fine group of businesses. These are among the world’s best enterprises.
The fact that they represent only a portion of my entire portfolio is pretty amazing. And I’m not even done painting my masterpiece.
I’ve slowed down a tad – on purpose – but I’m only 36 years old. It’s fun to think about what the Fund will eventually look like. There are still so many high-quality companies that I don’t yet own a slice of. And I’m excited about the idea of changing that, in time.
This month’s dividend income is 10.6% higher than the $1,357.48 I earned in December 2017. The total amount of dividend income I collected in 2018 is $12,788.52. I realized 13.0% YOY growth compared to the $11,316.00 in dividend income I earned in 2017.
Realizing 13% YOY growth in 2019 (and beyond) will be more difficult due to the larger numbers. But what I’ll lack in percentage gains, I should more than make up for in absolute dividend income growth. My dividend income increased by $1,472 in 2018. I’ll probably do even better in 2019.
I’m a college dropout who grew up on welfare in a crack house in Detroit. If I can do this, anyone can do this.
Yes. That includes you!
I can’t even tell you how grateful I feel. I’m floating on a cloud these days. I worked so hard, for so long, to achieve what I’ve achieved. Feels great to sit back and enjoy it.
I finished 2018 really strong with an awesome new milestone.
I’m excited to work hard throughout 2019, while also maintaining a healthy balance across all aspects of my life. I’ve truly never been happier. The fulfillment, passion, and purpose I feel in my life is at an all-time high.
I owe a lot of that to the dividend income. It underpins my entire life. It allows me the ability to freely live my life on my terms.
But I owe a lot of it to you readers as well for supporting me, following me, and sharing your journeys and progresses with me.
So let’s continue to forge ahead together!
Full disclosure: I’m long all aforementioned stocks.
How was your month? How much dividend income did you collect? Is your dividend income (and the growth of it) living up to expectations?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: imgflip and WarnerMedia.
P.S. If you’d also like to collect five-figure dividend income and reach FIRE, check out some phenomenal tools and services that personally helped me become financially independent in my early 30s!