Saving, Investing, and Building a Dividend Empire. This blog is about building a passive income stream for life through dividend investing. The goal is achieving financial Independence and building a Dividend Dynasty!
My first dividend earnings for 2018! I think I am going to stop calling this my “off” month. I say this because in truth it was a very active and exciting month for my financial world. In the first two weeks of the year I made three purchases and one sale. I sold UHT (for a profit of $3,565.16) which added $12,000 to my purchasing power in addition to my normal savings. I bought 188 shares of O, 58 shares of ED, and 21 shares of SO. All that activity gave me a net dividend gain of $201.20 in forward annual dividend income. For this month I received $380.90 in dividends from 3 companies.
Medical Properties Trust (MPW) – $216.00
Starwood Property Trust (STWD) – $103.20
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – $61.70
January 2018 Dividend Income Total: $380.90
For the first time ever, I am happy to be able to post my year over year percentage increase! The month of January 2018 saw a 4.34% increase from the same month last year ($365.05). I am happy to see an increase. This is the month set where I receive the least amount of dividend income from the least amount of stocks. These are the same three stocks that I owned last year. The dividend growth is just from companies increasing their dividends over the last 12 months.
This month includes GSK’s fluctuating dividend that differs each quarter, so the numbers could go higher or lower depending on what GSK does this year. This was especially true since I only had three dividend paying stocks this month set. But since I have purchased 188 share of O in early January, this fourth stock will add to my dividends for this month set. Having O would also better shield against GSK’s variable dividend should it decrease. I will start receiving dividends from O starting the month of February.
Another great aspect of this month can be summed up in two words: Dividend Increases! OHI raise their dividend to $0.66 per share which bumped up my dividend income from $904.80 to $918.72. That is a $13.92 gain in dividends. SRLP has now become the top dividend producer in my portfolio. SRLP has raised its dividend for the 15th consecutive quarter to $0.6375 per share (an increase of 10% from last year). This increased my dividends from $1,431.75 to $1,466.25 representing gain of $34.50 in dividend income. Thank you SRLP!
Next there was my new stock ED, which raise its dividend to $0.715 per share. This increased my dividend income from $160.08 to $165.88 for a gain of $5.80. And finally, my other newly purchased stock O also raised its dividend to $0.219 per share. This increased my dividends from $479.40 to $494.06 giving me a gain of $14.66 in dividends. Yes, I would call this a great month!
Altogether, the aggregate amount of dividend increases from those 4 companies added a total of $68.88 to my forward annual dividend income! My portfolio now stands to generate $8,548.33 in dividend income over the next 12 months. From restructuring my portfolio a bit to dividend increases, this has been quite an exciting month. So how was the first month of 2018 for the rest of you?
I was cleaning out some papers in my closet and came across something interesting. It was my old check book from last year. On my old check book I took notice of each month’s cell phone bill. Looking back in time it was a pretty high bill compared to what I am paying now. It was actually around this time last year that I decided to change service providers. Now that I am thinking about it, changing cellular providers was one of the very first things I did last year to reduce expenses. This was before I even before I moved to my new place and I started to apply a more serious budget.
One of the major expenses nearly everyone endures each month is the cell phone bill. Charges for cell phone service differ between providers with different plans for individuals and families. According to this article, the average American household spent $1074 for cellular service in 2016. According to other surveys conducted that asked individuals what they are paying monthly revealed it was well over $100 depending on providers (ranging from $120 per month to $148 per month). But of course, so much depends on your individual circumstances and/or family needs.
In that case, to each his or her own. But sometimes, it is just excess. My phone bill was $114.82 per month for the year 2016. Rounding that up to $115 multiplied by twelve meant $1380 was spent per year on cellular service. My provider at the time was T-Mobile, just because it always had been since my mother purchased a family plan for all of us. When my mother passed away, it was just my brother and I on the plan and we would split the bill almost in half. I say “almost in half” because for some reason I had insurance on my cell phone that added an extra $15 to the bill that I was paying for myself.
So I end up paying about $65 per month for my cellular service while my brother put in the other $50. At $65 per month I was spending $780 per year for cellular service. Below what at average American spends, but as time passed I still wanted to go lower. First I cut out the insurance. I have had the same cell phone (Samsung Galaxy S4) since 2014 and to this day (*knocks on wood*) have never dropped, damaged, or lost my cell phone. I am very careful with my phone. So insurance was first on the chopping block, but I started to look for better plans.
This is when I noticed I had excess of what I needed. I rarely go above the 1GB data mark so did I really need to pay the price for 4GB? It did not make sense to me and my brother agreed. So in December of 2016 I decided to change providers and go with a less expensive plan. I was a single individual and did not need anything extravagant. I switched to Cricket Wireless and got the $30 per month 1GB plan with unlimited talk and text. That was really all I need, anything else would be excess.
Sure, I could afford some 5GB Plan, 10GB Plan, or Unlimited for anywhere between $60 to $90 per month depending on the provider, but that would all be excess of what I use and need. Funny thing is the salesperson even tried to talk me into a higher plan. Obviously it didn’t work. I had become much more frugal with my money over the years, learning to avoid excess expenses that are unneeded. For example, I could afford the best Cable package with hundreds of channels and other great add-ons. But do I need (or want) all that for over $100 per month? No, Hulu and Netflix do it for me. I don’t need the excess.
Sometimes it is living within your means and sometimes below your means. Knowing what you need and don’t need is essential in saving money. The more money I save, the more money I can invest in quality dividend paying stocks and build up my portfolio. The more money I save, the more I can build up my wealth for the long-term. This can work for you too. I can happily live with my cellular service at $30 per month with 1GB data. Actually, last month Cricket Wireless has raised the amount from 1GB to 2GB for the same price plan ($30). So I guess there is a plus: some excess without increased cost. In this case, I’ll take it!
So, since I have switched I have spent $30 per month on cellular service adding up to $360 per year as opposed to last year where I spend $65 per month adding up to $780 per year. That switch is saving me $420 this year! Sounds good to me! How about the rest of you guys? Do you think you are over paying for cellular service? Got any other ways of saving on your cell phone bill?
This is turning out to be an exceptionally exciting month. First, I made a purchase of 70 Shares of TGT adding $173.00 to my yearly dividend income. This is my first purchase since July. Secondly, for the first time ever, I crossed the $250,000 mark in net worth! That is a quarter million dollars! Net worth is defined as the amount by which assets exceed liabilities. I have no liabilities. No mortgages, no student loans, and I don’t even own a credit card (never have). So my liabilities are $0. Everything saved up is gain!
At age 30, my net worth is slightly over $250,000. This is the first time I ever cracked the 250K threshold. As of this blog post, the value of my portfolio was over $141,000, my bank accounts (checking and savings) stood at a little over $9,400, and the value of my co-op apartment stood at $99,904 (according to Zestimate). All added up to slightly over $250K in net worth. This is the financial power of saving money, dividend investing, and experiencing the snowball growing bigger over time!
I am currently using Personal Capital to monitor my net worth, track income and expenses, and keep track of my portfolio. It is fascinating to see how my wealth increases over time. First floating in the $230k’s, then eventually cracking the $240k mark, and finally moving upwards to crack the $250k mark over the past year. Of course, the stock market fluctuates and it is certainly possible for a stock I own to decline pushing me under the $250k again. But overall, I would say my finances are moving in the right general direction: upward. Slowly but surely, and steadily.
This is a financial journey that began in the worst possible way… But I am hoping to turn tragedy into triumph. I am working to take the lemons life gave me and turn it into lemonade. I am happy to have crossed this milestone and look forward to the future. The snowball is very real. Saving and investing works! Thanks for reading.
Woohoo! This is my first stock purchase since July when I bought GIS. I tend not make purchases of stock until I build up my cash reserves. Normally, I wait until I have $2000-$4000 saved up before I make a purchase. It usually takes me three months to reach a full $4000 in cash reserves for purchasing stock. I get a little over $2000 each quarter from dividend investing income and the other $2000 I save up from my working income.
Last Friday I made a purchase of Target Corp (TGT). I bought 70 shares of Target at $56.98. My initial plan was to purchase a stock in the industrials sector, but as the stocks on my watch list pulled up from their lows I decided to look elsewhere. TGT was another stock on my watch list that was getting pummeled the past year reaching all-time lows. So I took advantage of that instead.
I find it hard to “plan” a specific purchase weeks in advance. The stock market is unpredictable and you never know where the price of a stock will go. I guess that’s another reason why it is good to have a watch lists with many possible stocks of interest. If one loses its appeal, there will always be other options. I am happy with my new purchase of TGT and look forward to collecting ever increasing dividends from Target in the coming years (decades I hope).
This purchase of 70 shares of Target Corp (TGT) adds $173.60 to my yearly dividend income (equating to $43.40 each quarter). TGT represents the 15th stock now in my portfolio, the Dividend Empire, which is now set to generate $8,181 in yearly dividend income over the next 12 months! Cha-Ching! So what do you all think? Is TGT on your watch list? Do you already have TGT?