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 allows me FI/RE (financial independence/retired early).
The Fund is a portfolio built 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. And because shareholders are ultimately the collective owners of any publicly-traded company, growing dividends are our rightful share of that growing profit.
Well, the growing dividends that are sent my way by the businesses I own a slice of are enough to cover my basic personal 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 have one again.
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 real 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|
|Visa Inc. (V)||$4.20|
|Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC)||$38.70|
|WEC Energy Group Inc. (WEC)||$13.81|
|Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI)||$9.75|
|Unilever PLC (ADR) (UL)||$45.31|
|United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS)||$22.75|
|Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM)||$15.08|
|Discover Financial Services (DFS)||$6.00|
|Southern Co. (SO)||$51.00|
|Southside Bancshares, Inc. (SBSI)||$24.00|
|TJX Companies Inc. (TJX)||$1.95|
|Amgen, Inc. (AMGN)||$13.20|
|Chevron Corporation (CVX)||$22.40|
|Emerson Electric Co. (EMR)||$41.23|
|Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM)||$16.40|
|International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)||$31.40|
|Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC)||$44.00|
|United Technologies Corporation (UTX)||$28.00|
|Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)||$90.00|
|3M Co. (MMM)||$13.60|
|CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (CNP)||$24.98|
|Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)||$10.50|
|Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. (CFR)||$13.40|
|Flowers Foods, Inc. (FLO)||$48.60|
|Hershey Co. (HSY)||$18.05|
|Main Street Capital Corporation (MAIN)||$22.80|
|Realty Income Corp. (O)||$20.90|
|Duke Energy Corp. (DUK)||$27.82|
|EPR Properties (EPR)||$14.40|
|Polaris Industries Inc. (PII)||$12.00|
|Royal Dutch Shell PLC (ADR) (RDS.B)||$47.00|
|Stag Industrial Inc. (STAG)||$13.02|
|McDonald's Corporation (MCD)||$55.55|
|Dominion Resources, Inc. (D)||$20.88|
|VF Corp. (VFC)||$25.30|
|BP PLC (ADR) (BP)||$67.65|
|Harris Corporation (HRS)||$27.40|
|Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM)||$37.20|
|Brinker International, Inc. (EAT)||$28.50|
|Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD)||$11.40|
|Public Storage (PSA)||$10.00|
|Broadcom Inc. (AVGO)||$1.75|
|Chatham Lodging Trust (CLDT)||$15.95|
|C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (CHRW)||$11.50|
|Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI)||$15.75|
|Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (DLR)||$45.45|
|NorthWestern Corp. (NWE)||$13.75|
|PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP)||$71.42|
|Service Corporation International (SCI)||$3.40|
|Travelers Companies Inc. (TRV)||$7.70|
|Union Pacific Corporation (UNP)||$48.00|
Just for reference, a great resource for tracking your portfolio and everything related to it is Personal Capital.
I still sometimes can’t believe I’m in this position.
Even though I’ve been collecting significant dividend income for a few years now, it continues to feel pretty surreal to me.
This would be quite a bit of passive income in the States, but it’s supercharged over here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. For perspective on that, this would be the equivalent of earning ~$4,500 in dividends in a nice US city (based on the difference in local purchasing power).
I’ve done well as an investor, but the choice to become an expat has blown away anything I’ve done on the investing side thus far.
I’m inching closer to my first $1,500 month of dividend income. That’s really exciting!
Although I’ve long since surpassed that number in terms of total passive income in a single month, seeing that amount of pure dividend income roll around in only one month will be an incredible achievement.
It was as recent as 2011 that my annual goal for dividend income was $1,200. To blow that away in a single month is astounding to me.
But that’s the nature of rolling a dividend growth snowball. Sticking to this strategy has allowed me to turn monthly dividend income into daily dividend income.
Should be hitting that $1,500 milestone pretty soon.
If my portfolio were just the companies listed above, I’d be pretty happy. The fact that this is only the companies that paid out in September kind of amazes me. I’m super proud of this collection of businesses. The portfolio is something straight out of my dreams. And it continues to become larger and stronger over time.
This month’s dividend income is 8.9% higher than the $1,348.88 I earned in September 2017. The total amount of dividend income I’ve collected in 2018 is now up to $9,513.77. That’s 12.8% YOY growth compared to the $8,431.31 in dividend income I earned through September 2017.
That’s fantastic YOY dividend growth here, especially considering that organic dividend growth (the dividend increases that come from the companies I’m invested in) did the heavy lifting here – I’m no longer aggressively buying stocks. The portfolio is basically in “maintenance mode” from here on out.
And since moving abroad has more or less eliminated inflation from my life, dividend growth isn’t even the concern it once was for me.
Still, large annual increases in purchasing power goes a long way toward improving my quality of life through the additional flexibility/options that comes along with that.
It was another fantastic month, and I hope all of you also had a fantastic September!
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: bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
P.S. If you’d also like to collect five-figure dividend income and reach FIRE, check out some phenomenal resources that personally helped me become financially independent in my early 30s!