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…
|Albemarle Corporation (ALB)||$12.86|
|Genuine Parts Company (GPC)||$3.81|
|Iron Mountain Inc. (IRM)||$12.37|
|Nike Inc. (NKE)||$1.23|
|PPL Corp. (PPL)||$16.50|
|Eastman Chemical Company (EMN)||$9.90|
|Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB)||$20.60|
|PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP)||$73.54|
|Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC)||$9.75|
|Chubb Ltd. (CB)||$11.25|
|Altria Group Inc. (MO)||$84.00|
|Philip Morris International Inc. (PM)||$117.00|
|Ventas, Inc. (VTR)||$47.55|
|Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH)||$16.84|
|Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (DLR)||$48.60|
|EPR Properties (EPR)||$15.01|
|Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW)||$37.45|
|Leggett & Platt, Inc. (LEG)||$6.00|
|Main Street Capital Corporation (MAIN)||$24.60|
|National Grid PLC (NGG)||$32.02|
|Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (PEB)||$24.70|
|Realty Income Corp. (O)||$21.61|
|Stag Industrial Inc. (STAG)||$13.11|
|STORE Capital Corp. (STOR)||$15.75|
|W.P. Carey Inc. (WPC)||$83.04|
|Walt Disney Co. (DIS)||$35.20|
|Medtronic PLC (MDT)||$19.98|
|Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO)||$19.60|
|Armanino Foods of Dinstinction Inc. (AMNF)||$33.75|
|Bank OZK (OZK)||$7.80|
|Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS)||$54.51|
|Raytheon Company (RTN)||$23.56|
|Chatham Lodging Trust (CLDT)||$15.95|
|JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)||$6.30|
|Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)||$33.54|
Just for reference, a great resource for tracking your portfolio and everything related to it is Personal Capital.
Let’s talk about progress and the inevitable nature of compounding.
My first public dividend income report was for January 2011. That was nine years ago.
I collected… $33.35 in dividend income that month.
Humble beginnings. No doubt about it. But we all have to start somewhere.
Well, here we are. Nine years later.
I’m now in the four figures for dividend income this January.
And that’s after I stopped aggressively investing almost four years ago.
Keep in mind, too, that I did all of this without a college degree, a high-paying job, or any type of mentor.
However, what I did have was plenty of patience, persistence, and perseverance. I stayed consistent and stuck with it through thick and thin, until I achieved my goal of financial independence.
If that’s not evidence of the fact that so much is possible with so little, I’m not sure what is.
Anyone can do it.
But not everyone will.
It’s up to you to put in the work upfront and later reap the rewards.
Let me tell you something, though. The hard work is well worth the rewards.
Financial freedom is worth whatever it takes.
And before you know it, that work becomes easier and easier. All while the rewards get bigger and bigger.
That’s because compounding starts to take over.
Money is fantastic in the sense that it can work harder than you ever could.
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 8.1% higher than the $933.95 I collected in January 2019. The total amount of dividend income I’ve collected in 2020 is now up to $1,009.28. I’ve realized 8.1% YOY growth compared to the $933.95 in dividend income I collected through January 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 more than three years ago. I achieved 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!