February has been an interesting month. The market has cooled off a little bit. Which means there is a little more value to be found. But from a dividend perspective there was a lot to be excited about. Eight companies paid me a total of $23.07. I have never had a non quarter month over $20. In fact last August was the only time I was in double figures on an off month. T's payment of $10 was the first time I earned double digits from a single company. Last February, I earned $5.73 in dividends. It was nice to more than quadruple last February's total. Below are a list of dividends. Hope everyone else had a fantastic month as well.
Monday, February 19, 2018
I've done the rounds of reading financial blogs as well as books and expert articles. From everything I read achieving FIRE is not some complicated thing. Invest early and often, live below your means, stay disciplined and continue to increase your investments.
I'm lucky to have a partner that in many ways fits that mold. She does like to "shop". We aren't foodies, we haven't truly vacationed since our honeymoon 6 years ago, our nicest car is a 2010 Corolla. That said we do have our indulgences -- big ones. Certain things we won't compromise on. Ours kids. We spend well over $2,300 a month on Daycare related expenses. We aren't in a position to receive family help and we both work long hours. This gives us peace of mind. Our experience with this daycare is it's worth the cost. I'm sure we could probably get equivalent daycare cheaper. But not without some risk. This choice is safe. The other big cost is the townhouse we rent. We spend close to $2,600 here. As you can see it adds up fast. She also has student loans.
A casual conversation with my wife about her retirement account and the degree it has been underfunded, followed by a mild dispute as to when to replace a 2009 Yaris hatchback with 90,000 miles on it, led me to call our first personal finance summit. My wife is totally on board and actually excited for it. Prior to this year, when I got my job promotion, my wife had been paying majority of rent and the majority of daycare. Now our payments are more evenly split. We make the same salary. However, I see less because health insurance comes out of my paycheck as does my pension payments. So I was surprised to find out she is unable to save when I can find 600-700 a month to save. Am I not contributing enough? It's a real possibility there is a bill she has that I'm not considering, this is why we need to have these conversations regular -- with two kids and soon to be a house transparency is important. Some explanations of the difference in contributions is I do things to create money like putting everything on rewards cards, paying it off immediately and investing the cash each month. I don't go out for lunch often and sometimes skip lunch all together. I currently have a much shorter commute, so gas may be a factor as well. I do get a tiny income stream from dividend growth investing and from a lending club account that I'm slowly transferring over to my Robinhood account. My wife also is pretty dependent on coffee.
But we've made big plans and currently don't have a common vision. This year we plan on purchasing our first home. I want to make sure we are on the same page in terms of what we want and what we can afford. However, most of all I think we need to come up with family goals. Not just savings goals but a mission. What are we willing to spend money on and what won't we spend on. While there is a part of me that strongly envys the 65 percenters. I don't know if we will ever invest that percentage of our income. Not if it means never taking our kids to Disney World or sending them to subpar schools. But I do want to improve our discipline and build towards financial independence. We aren't wealthy by any standard. But we make more than most. We should be putting away more money.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
I try not to be too reactionary. I spent the same $200 I was planning to spend. I didn't expect to go to the REIT well again. But with the market doing what it was doing I saw an opportunity and took it. I grabbed 4 shares of O for 198.04 or 49.51 per share. This brings my overall cost basis for O down to $53.99. Not bad for a 5.25% yielder with 22 years of dividend growth. The 91% payout ratio and the potential for rising interest rates is a little concerning. But the business model is still solid. Long-term leases, stable companies, built in rent increases.
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