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)||$48.60|
|Pfizer Inc. (PFE)||$21.60|
|Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC)||$40.50|
|WEC Energy Group Inc. (WEC)||$14.75|
|JM Smucker Co. (SJM)||$12.75|
|Phillips 66 (PSX)||$21.60|
|Enbridge Inc. (ENB)||$47.13|
|Visa Inc. (V)||$5.00|
|Southern Co. (SO)||$51.00|
|Discover Financial Services (DFS)||$6.00|
|TJX Companies Inc. (TJX)||$1.95|
|Southside Bancshares, Inc. (SBSI)||$24.00|
|Amgen, Inc. (AMGN)||$14.50|
|Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM)||$16.40|
|Chevron Corporation (CVX)||$23.80|
|Emerson Electric Co. (EMR)||$41.65|
|Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC)||$47.30|
|Int'l Business Machines Corp. (IBM)||$31.40|
|United Technologies Corporation (UTX)||$29.41|
|Target Corporation (TGT)||$3.20|
|Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM)||$15.75|
|Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI)||$10.50|
|Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)||$90.00|
|3M Co. (MMM)||$14.40|
|United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS)||$24.00|
|CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (CNP)||$25.88|
|Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)||$11.50|
|EPR Properties (EPR)||$15.01|
|Flowers Foods, Inc. (FLO)||$48.60|
|Hershey Co. (HSY)||$18.05|
|Main Street Capital Corporation (MAIN)||$23.40|
|McDonald's Corporation (MCD)||$63.80|
|Stag Industrial Inc. (STAG)||$13.11|
|Polaris Industries Inc. (PII)||$12.20|
|Realty Income Corp. (O)||$21.42|
|Duke Energy Corp. (DUK)||$27.82|
|VF Corp. (VFC)||$28.05|
|Dominion Resources, Inc. (D)||$27.53|
|Unilever PLC (UL)||$44.22|
|The Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC)||$8.00|
|Linde PLC (LIN)||$8.75|
|Harris Corporation (HRS)||$27.40|
|Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.B)||$47.00|
|Public Storage (PSA)||$10.00|
|Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM)||$37.20|
|Brinker International, Inc. (EAT)||$28.50|
|Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD)||$12.60|
|Chatham Lodging Trust (CLDT)||$15.95|
|C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (CHRW)||$12.50|
|Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI)||$16.88|
|Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (DLR)||$48.60|
|Broadcom Inc. (AVGO)||$10.60|
|NorthWestern Corp. (NWE)||$14.38|
|Union Pacific Corporation (UNP)||$52.80|
|Travelers Companies Inc. (TRV)||$7.70|
|PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP)||$71.42|
|Service Corporation International (SCI)||$3.60|
|BP PLC (BP)||$67.65|
Just for reference, a great resource for tracking your portfolio and everything related to it is Personal Capital.
A new record. This is the first time I’ve ever earned this much dividend income in a single month.
Truly amazing stuff. I couldn’t be happier with or more proud of what’s become of the Fund.
More importantly, I couldn’t be happier with or more proud of what I’ve been doing with this incredible opportunity. I’m taking maximum advantage of this freedom, every single day. I don’t ever want to look back and feel like I let all of this slip by me. I’d be so disappointed in myself if I let this time and autonomy go to waste. I truly am out here making my dreams come true. It’s something I’m very grateful for.
This is only the second month ever in which I collected over $1,500 in dividend income in a single month. I’m looking forward to many more!
Sleep comes easy to me these days. There’s no reason to toss and turn when I know I’ve got so many wonderful businesses out there going to bat for me. Thousands of employees are working hard, ensuring that growing profit rolls in, and I end up collecting increasing dividends as a result of all of this. Meanwhile, I do practically nothing for it. It’s the easiest work I’ve ever done.
Of course, that’s slightly tongue-in-cheek. I had to work extremely hard in order to go from below broke to financially independent in six years. That required otherworldly effort.
But collecting this ongoing and increasing dividend income doesn’t require ongoing and increasing effort. I’m on easy street these days.
The compounding dividend snowball I started to roll back in 2010 has an unstoppable momentum behind it now. I just have to stay out of the way, more or less.
I’ll give you some perspective on this snowball.
This month’s dividend income is 5.9% higher than the $1,454.07 I earned in March 2018. The total amount of dividend income I’ve collected in 2019 is now up to $3,416.08. I’ve realized 11.1% YOY growth compared to the $3,073.40 in dividend income I earned through March 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 achieved my primary financial goal 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!