I’m in my
early late 30’s and want to be able to retire or semi-retire at 45 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 my dividend growth portfolio 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.
A link to my original business plan can be found here: My Business Plan – All About Interest.
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 but transferred due to a personal relationship at the time.
So the following year I transferred to The University of Texas at Austin, where I finished college.
I decided engineering wasn’t for me after about two years of grinding so I switched majors. I graduated in 2002 and again in 2004 with both an economics and mathematics degree with a concentration in actuarial science.
I suppose I was naive and thought a job would just be waiting for me after college.
Man was I wrong! In fact, I needed to pass some additional examinations post college just to land an actuarial interview.
During this process I was working a couple part-time jobs while studying for these exams when I realized I was really good at sales.
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! But it was exciting!
I was good at phone sales, I mean really good. I was the top employee at a company within two years of starting. I also realized how much money I could make on a commission plan. Basically, I was in charge of my own destiny and for once I was paid for how hard I worked!
I finally peaked out my earnings after about 5 years 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 the company.
I had less than a $50,000 net worth but I believed in myself. I decided to start 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 a house at the time that I decided to turn into a rental. I found out 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. This was amazing! It was also the first time I realized how to make money in real estate and started my second passion of buying rental properties.
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.
I started my blog, All About Interest in March of 2012. It has been a great experience so far and I enjoy networking with like-minded investors.
I enjoy traveling and seeing other cultures. I hope to be able to continue doing so. I’ve found a balance between working and enjoying life. These are just a few pictures I’ve posted over the years on my blog.
Today my travels have slowed down with the addition of Baby AAI.
I’ve set up a portfolio for my son and am contributing $100/mo so that he will have a $200,000 portfolio by the time he graduates highschool. You can find that portfolio and all updates here on Baby AAI.
Today I manage my own path and have since sold my share of the original business I started. But now I have multiple business! I’m investing in around 30 publicly traded stocks that send me dividends every 3 months just for being a loyal shareholder!
Wish me luck and I hope you follow me on my journey!