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 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. 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. Better yet, these dividends are growing faster than inflation.
That means I don’t need a job. Haven’t had one since turning 32 years old. And I have no plans to get one.
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. 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)||$104.00|
|CVS Health Corp. (CVS)||$15.00|
|General Mills, Inc. (GIS)||$36.75|
|Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)||$46.13|
|Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (CBRL)||$3.90|
|General Dynamics Corporation (GD)||$20.40|
|Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (APD)||$23.20|
|American Express Company (AXP)||$8.60|
|Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN)||$4.50|
|British Am Tobacco PLC (BTI)||$32.86|
|Apple Inc. (AAPL)||$15.40|
|Abbott Laboratories (ABT)||$12.60|
|AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)||$53.10|
|Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL)||$21.50|
|The Clorox Co. (CLX)||$31.80|
|Main Street Capital Corporation (MAIN)||$24.60|
|National Retail Properties, Inc. (NNN)||$74.68|
|ONEOK, Inc. (OKE)||$93.50|
|Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. (OHI)||$107.20|
|Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. (SKT)||$17.75|
|Realty Income Corp. (O)||$22.09|
|EPR Properties (EPR)||$15.01|
|Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL)||$4.65|
|Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI)||$18.75|
|Procter & Gamble Co. (PG)||$38.04|
|Stag Industrial Inc. (STAG)||$13.20|
|The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO)||$33.60|
|Starbucks Corporation (SBUX)||$20.50|
|WestRock Company (WRK)||$13.95|
|Chatham Lodging Trust (CLDT)||$15.95|
|Healthpeak Properties, Inc. (PEAK)||$29.60|
|Simon Property Group Inc. (SPG)||$10.50|
|Fastenal Company (FAST)||$25.00|
|Welltower Inc. (WELL)||$39.15|
|Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM)||$12.00|
Just for reference, a great resource for tracking your portfolio and everything related to it is Personal Capital.
Another four-figure month. What a fantastic start to 2020.
You know, it’s interesting.
This amount of money is right in line with what Andrew Yang (who was running for president) proposed as a form of basic income. He campaigned on the idea that automation is killing regular jobs, and he wanted to provide an income floor of sorts. He promised every American adult $1,000 per month for life, which he called his “Freedom Dividend”.
Except my basic income doesn’t rely on a dysfunctional government.
My basic income instead relies on world-class enterprises to sell the products and/or services the world demands, making ever-more profit in the process. And a chunk of that ever-growing profit comes my way, in the form of increasing dividends.
It’s simply a much more dependable and time-tested way to go about ensuring that you have your basic expenses in life covered, no matter what. I have more of a “Freedom Dividend” than anything Yang cooked up, as my dividends are true dividends that are free of government bureaucracy. They’re also highly diversified rather than being extremely centralized.
Best of all, this completely passive income is growing much faster than my expenses.
The compounding dividend income snowball I started rolling years ago is now rolling down the hill all by itself – at an ever-larger size and ever-faster speed.
Let’s see this snowball in action.
This month’s dividend income is 12.4% higher than the $942.82 I collected in February 2019. The total amount of dividend income I’ve collected in 2020 is now up to $2,068.74. I’ve realized 10.2% YOY growth compared to the $1,876.77 in dividend income I collected through February 2019.
I couldn’t be more proud of or pleased with the Fund and the life situation I find myself in.
Indeed, they’re inextricably linked.
I’m only able to live my dream early retirement life abroad because of the Fund and the growing passive dividend income it generates for me. I’m incredibly grateful for this.
The crazy thing is, I stopped aggressively investing four years ago. I attained FIRE in March 2016 at the age of 33, which meant I achieved my primary financial goal in life.
Since then, I’ve decided to allocate the majority of my resources toward other areas of my life. This dividend income growth is mostly the result of the snowball rolling all by itself. 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 getting started is critical. 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!