[Dukes: we have a new honored guest joining us in the Kingdom this week! Mr. Dividend Daze. He’s an avid dividend investor who shares his portfolio updates each month. Currently working on his masters and blogging for over a year, we asked to share some of his story and lessons learned with us. Let us begin!]
Tell us your story – how did you get to where you are today?
My story begins just like many others. After graduating college, I was in debt from student loans. Most expensive piece of paper I have received in my life. However, education is important to me so it was worth it as it lead to my first adult job. I knew I didn’t want to be in debt forever like other individuals I knew. So I basically started throwing all my extra money into that never ending hole that is student loan debt to try to pay it off sooner than later. By some miracle, I was able to pay it off in about 2 or 3 years.
Once those loans were paid off, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. After grinding it out for so long that once my one goal was complete, there was nothing left to work towards. I am not the type of person so sit around and do nothing.
My savings account started building up I knew there had to be a way to put that money to better use. A way to put myself into a better financial place for the future. So I started researching the stock market, and it quickly became a passion of mine. I learned about dividend investing and have been at it ever since.
From Chris -> Awesome that you were able to get debt out of the way in 2-3 years!
When did you have an epiphany moment to get in gear towards building a financial kingdom?
After paying off debt, I started to become stagnant. With my main goal completed and nothing else to work for, I fell into a routine. Wake up, go to work, come home and sleep, then wake up and do it all over again.
I don’t like wasting my time. I always try to find something productive to do with my spare time. I knew I didn’t want to work for the rest of my life. So I started really focusing on investing. Getting into the FIRE movement and making new and challenging goals for myself to achieve as I hit each new milestone.
Why did you decide on dividend investing as your strategy?
When I first learned about dividend investing, I knew it was for me. There are so many reasons, it truly deserves its own post.
The thought behind the strategy is simple to understand for anyone. Build a diversified portfolio of quality dividend paying companies with a track record of increasing their dividends. Reinvest these dividends to buy more stock. More stock equals more dividends. Repeat and grow your portfolio up. This is the closest to passive income you can come. Then this passive income can be used to fund your retirement without having to touch the principle value.
There is nothing like seeing the dividend snowball in action and grow itself passively.
From Chris -> Could definitely see that, especially with your portfolio leading to increases year over year!
How did Dividend Daze come to be?
I was investing for a few years at this point. During my research, I stumbled upon a few dividend blogs. I loved looking at other people’s portfolios and following along with their progress. I probably was a silent viewer/ reader for about a year. I wanted to join the community and network with like-minded individuals. Share my thoughts and experiences as well as better to track my progress. So I learned how to make a website and Dividend Daze was born. Recently had my 1 year blogiversary already as well.
From Chris -> Congrats!!
What are your big motivators for building a financial kingdom and achieving FIRE?
I know I don’t want to work forever. I also only want to work because I want to or because I like to, not because I have to.
It would be nice to have a choice and more available options. We only have so much time. FIRE gives that luxury of time back to me to do what I want with it. Working it away just seems like a waste. So I think Time is the biggest motivator. Also comfort from a financial standpoint. Having enough stored away to not have to worry about something breaking or happening that I can’t handle or afford.
When looking at the kingdom roadmap which milestone are you currently working towards?
I am currently working on two simultaneously.
Icome: First being, continued education. Going for my MBA now in hopes after it is done, it will increase my income in order to have more money to invest. That should make FIRE happen sooner.
Fortifying: That ties into the second and main place I am on the roadmap, building wealth. Actively building up my portfolio to generate more wealth to provide future passive income. The more that I am able to invest now, the more time it has to grow in the market.
Have you faced any challenges while working towards financial stability and how did you adapt to them?
Absolutely. I believe everyone faces challenges at some point with their finances. Luckily, I have always been decently good with my money so the foundation was already there. Something I still even fight with today is what to do with my capital. When a stock hits my buy point, I want to jump at it, but I don’t always have the free cash to do so. A lot of time, I am purposely saving all available capital for something else important, like a coming tuition payment. So I have to discipline myself and be smart about where my limited capital goes. Tuition first is a necessity, then tax advantage accounts.
Once those accounts are maxed out, I put what is left over into my taxable account. I also have to force myself to never draw capital from my emergency accounts to pay for stock purchases. Before I started investing, I told myself,
“Don’t buy stock if you don’t have available capital for it. And never draw that capital from the savings account.” So far so good, I have never broken my rule. Although I have also missed a lot of opportunities because of it.
From Chris -> I had a teacher in college that gave us a quote for one of his rules for living below your means: “Don’t end the month with less money in your checking accounts than you started with.”
If you met someone who was just starting out on their journey towards building their kingdom and achieving financial freedom – what would be your advice to them?
Start out with a plan.
Do you research first and build a market strategy. I have a whole post dedicated to this topic somewhere on my site. Invest for the long term and don’t let emotions or other people deviate you from that strategy. I know tons of people who give “advice” on investing, but wouldn’t put a dime of their own money into it. That is not advice and they probably know less than you do.
As long as you keep to your game plan and be smart about how and why you are doing things, then you should be fine in the long run.
Do you have any long-term goals for yourself 10-years from now?
A lot can happen in 10 years. I am always making goals for myself.
For one, I want to be done with school and have my master’s degree. Salary should be increased because of it. Currently, my portfolio should bring in around 1k in a year. In 10 years from now, I hope it at least generates 1k per month. That is probably even shooting low but need to start somewhere. I also wish to keep blogging and reaching more people. Provide value and education to anyone who comes to my site.
Blogging / Writing Questions
What motivated you to begin writing about personal finance and starting a blog to share with the world?
The main reason was to try to give back to others. If someone is just starting out in the personal finance game, I have been there. I have probably made the same mistakes early on as they have or will do. Learned tons of lessons that I wanted to share with others. Become a source for knowledge and education people can go to see that the strategy can work and is working for others. Also, being able to network with other blogs in the community is amazing. Tons of ideas to share and new ones to come up with to provide value to others.
What are one or two top lessons or some advice you could share on building a great blog like yours?
Just like investing, make a strategy before diving in. What are the reasons you are doing it and what do you expect to get out of it? If you are just after quick money, there is a good chance you will get frustrated and quit before making any. If you focus on the content and enjoy writing about something you love, the rest will fall into place over time. Also, just be sincere and transparent in your writing.
Have you thought about publishing an eBook?
I actually have a few ideas for a few different eBooks.
Although they are geared more toward blogging and building traffic. I have done a lot of research, probably more than most. Have tried just about anything you can think of, so I see what works and what doesn’t. Time is valuable so I have a good idea of what to spend time on during different stages of blogging. I have also tried various products and services and tracked my progress and results. Some are better than others and the success could easily be duplicated by others.
Just hard to get the time to put all that knowledge together. Not sure who would even be interested in reading or purchasing something like that. Would be a fun study to run. Readers, let me know if you have any interest or if there is any other topics you would like me to consolidate my knowledge and research on for you in the form of an eBook.
From Chris -> We’re interested in doing an e-book too, and time is a big consideration. Time vs. impact.
Have any other ideas, thoughts, or advice you would like to share with our readers? The floor is yours!
I think you guys covered most of it during the interview. Just wanted to say thanks to the Dukes for this exclusive interview. This is a first for me so I was excited for the opportunity. Best of luck building your kingdoms and reaching financial independence!
And there you go folks! Dividend Daze – thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We’re looking forward to learning more about you and dividend investing in the future. We appreciate you.