I’m in my early 30’s and want to be able to retire or semi-retire at 40 by using dividends and real estate as a great portion of my income.
There’s an urban myth that Einstein said the most powerful force in the universe is compounding [interest]. A college class on theory of interest and an actuarial science concentration set the stage for my investment interests. I started dividend growth investing in 2012.
The main purpose of this blog will be to track my progress on the way to financial independence (FI). I will be keeping track of one of my dividend growth portfolios as well as all real estate transactions and options trades. My portfolio’s main goal will be to grow dividends over time allowing me to live off dividend income and not having to sell any shares.
My Strategy – Dividend Growth Investing & Real Estate
Dividend Growth Investing is an income strategy of investing in companies that have a barrier to entry (large moat) and consistent history of increasing dividends by a rate higher than inflation.
I grew up in a rural area in a town with a population smaller than my first college dormitory! I was in a middle-class family with hard-working parents. My parents pushed me to excel in whatever I did. It typically didn’t take a big push as I always had a high drive to succeed at anything I attempted. Whether it was beating a friend at a video game (Street Fighter 2 on SNES comes to mind), playing sports (my favorite sport was basketball although I was always better at running track) or academic competitions (yes, I was a bit of a math nerd).
I ended up 4th in a class of over 120 in high school (several towns combined for one school). I received two scholarships to attend Texas A&M University and was accepted into the Electrical Engineering program. I attended my first year there and transferred due to a personal relationship at the time. I ended up at UT, THE University of Texas, where I finished college. I decided engineering wasn’t for me after about two years so I switched majors. I received both an economics and mathematics degree with a concentration in actuarial science.
After college, I decided I didn’t want to stare at actuarial formulas and work on complex mathematical algorithms for the rest of my life. I decided to take a different route, into sales (think Boiler Room pounding the phones in a loud room). Man, was this a change!
I realized I was actually really good at phone sales and you could make a lot of money. Basically, I was in charge of my own destiny since it was primarily commission based. I finally peaked out my earnings where it was hard to make much more plus my bosses at the time decided to drastically lower our commission structure to finance their expensive houses. Needless to say I left and started my own consulting firm.
The year was 2008. What came next was the largest hurdle I have ever had to face, the Great Recession. I was hit with a ton of bricks. Every manager and company I called had fear in their voice about closing down or losing their jobs. Here I was trying to staff these companies with additional employees who were busy laying people off left and right.
The next couple of years would define my career path and get me to where I am today. These were very tough times. Instead of giving up I decided to trim the fat and get my livings costs down as low as possible.
I was living in my current rental house now and decided it was cheaper for me to downsize and buy a condo and lease out my house. You can actually read a post with more details about this entitled, How I Bought a House to Save Money. My total mortgage costs at the time was $1800/month. I leased the house for $1600/month ($200 loss) and bought a condo (my other current rental) which had a monthly cost of $1000/month ($800 cheaper). The net gain was $600/month and my utility bills were also much lower in a smaller space now.
I also dropped DirecTV and bought an HD antennae to get free HD local channels. I negotiated a lower price for cable internet. I started eating at home more often. I basically cut out all of my unneeded expenses in order to save more money and focus on my business.
Fast forward a few years and my business is growing well. We came out of the Great Recession and I came out as a new person. I had grown more as a person in those few years than I probably have my entire life. I realized my financial destiny was in my own hands. This is when I found dividend growth investing.
Today I manage and am still trying to grow my business. I am spending as much of my extra income as possible to plow back into my DG portfolio and into real estate. My ultimate goal is to be able to retire or semi-retire and do what I want by age 40. I have about 6 more years to go.
Wish me luck!
My original article about this with most of the comments can be found here in my post titled All About All About Interest.