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…
|AT&T Inc. (T)||$102.00|
|General Mills, Inc. (GIS)||$36.75|
|Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)||$45.19|
|CVS Health Corp. (CVS)||$10.00|
|American Express Company (AXP)||$7.80|
|The Clorox Co. (CLX)||$28.80|
|General Dynamics Corporation (GD)||$18.60|
|Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (APD)||$22.00|
|Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN)||$3.85|
|British Am Tobacco PLC (BTI)||$28.46|
|Apple Inc. (AAPL)||$14.60|
|ONEOK, Inc. (OKE)||$86.00|
|Abbott Laboratories (ABT)||$11.20|
|AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)||$42.80|
|Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL)||$21.00|
|EPR Properties (EPR)||$15.01|
|Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL)||$4.20|
|Main Street Capital Corporation (MAIN)||$23.40|
|Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI)||$15.00|
|National Retail Properties, Inc. (NNN)||$72.50|
|Procter & Gamble Co. (PG)||$36.58|
|Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. (OHI)||$105.60|
|Stag Industrial Inc. (STAG)||$13.11|
|Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. (SKT)||$14.00|
|Realty Income Corp. (O)||$21.42|
|Chatham Lodging Trust (CLDT)||$15.95|
|Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM)||$10.75|
|Starbucks Corporation (SBUX)||$18.00|
|Fastenal Company (FAST)||$29.50|
|HCP, Inc. (HCP)||$29.60|
|Welltower Inc. (WELL)||$39.15|
Just for reference, a great resource for tracking your portfolio and everything related to it is Personal Capital.
I just want to express my gratitude for the position I’m in, the support I’ve received over the years, and the people at all of these companies working hard.
There are thousands of hard-working folks out there putting in a huge amount of effort, day in and day out, which is what ultimately results in these growing dividends coming my way. I owe them thanks.
It’s an amazing position for me to be in.
Dozens of world-class companies paid me this month. Not one. Not two or three. Dozens.
Some investors prefer to be highly concentrated. Good for them.
But I can only say that I sleep incredibly well at night knowing that I’ve got so many high-quality businesses out there going to bat for me, every single day. One or two massive companies could, for example, totally disappear tomorrow, yet I’d still be OK. That peace of mind is truly priceless.
And my mind’s peace continues to increase every single month, in part because the dividend income continues to increase every single month.
The compounding snowball that I started to roll years ago has developed an unstoppable momentum. That has created an unstoppable momentum behind my lifestyle options. My flexibility continues to grow. New opportunities sprout up every day.
I’ll give you some perspective on this snowball.
This month’s dividend income is 18.9% higher than the $792.98 I earned in February 2018. The total amount of dividend income I’ve collected in 2019 is now up to $1,876.77. I’ve realized 15.9% YOY growth compared to the $1,619.33 in dividend income I earned through February 2018.
These might seem like big numbers, but I started my journey to FIRE back in early 2010 while still in debt. I took one step at a time, just like everyone else. Each and every dollar saved and invested adds up. And it adds up quickly. Before you know it, compounding starts providing you a little tailwind. It eventually becomes a hurricane force tailwind. Once that starts gusting, you can’t be stopped.
The craziest thing about it is, I stopped aggressively investing three years ago. I achieved FIRE in March 2016 at the age of 33, which meant I basically achieved my major financial goals in life.
Ever since then, I’ve decided to allocate a good chunk of my resources toward other areas of my life. This income growth is mostly the result of the snowball just rolling at this point. If that’s not proof of the power of dividend growth investing, I don’t know what is.
Living off of dividends is the dream. And it’s a dream that can easily be a reality.
But the key, as always, is to get started. Life is too short to let these early retirement dreams pass you by.
I can certainly say I feel like I’m living inside of a dream. I wake up every day, overwhelmed with excitement to live exactly as I wish to. For a college dropout who grew up in a crack house in Detroit, it almost seems to good to be true at times.
This year is off to a phenomenal start for me. I hope all of you are having a great year thus far, too!
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!