Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! As 2012 fast approaches, I thought I would give thanks to all of those that supported me over the last year and made Dividend Mantra such a success. I have two reasons for keeping up on this blog. First, I think it’s great to document my journey to financial independence/retirement early in life and prove that it’s possible on a middle class income. Second, I hope to inspire and learn from others! I think it’s important in life to find inspiration for the things that matter to you, and I hope that this blog provides a small dose of financial fresh air as well as a platform to share ideas.

2011 has been wildly successful for me. I didn’t anticipate finishing the year with more than $50,000 in my Freedom Fund, but here we are ending the year and I have done just that. I’ve worked hard at it. I’ve also been aggressive at work, doing my best to show myself as a valuable employee. Due to such, I very recently (this week) received a promotion! This could have significant upside to my bottom line and the pay raise that comes with this promotion is extremely welcome and appreciated. All told, it could be as much as 40% more income. However, my excitement is tempered as I’m a realist and being new to the position I expect my income to (hopefully) stay relatively similar in 2012 to what I earned this past year. I learn fast, so we’ll see! This  new position also comes with additional responsibilities, and I’m keenly aware of that. I’m ready.

I’m going to be reviewing my goals very soon, as I set out at the beginning of 2011 with a small list of accomplishments I had hoped to achieve and I worked hard to achieve all four. I’ll also be setting forth a small list of goals for 2012. Stay tuned.

Over the course of 2011 I purchased at least one attractively valued dividend growth stock every single month. Purchasing monthly, and averaging my capital into the market, is just one part of my overall mantra of trying to build a sustainable dividend growth portfolio on my journey to financial independence. I’ve learned to become more frugal than I ever thought I would. This year I sold my car, canceled cable television, moved to a cheaper/smaller apartment located along a major bus line, bought a bicycle for local transportation, took a free vacation and cut my food expenditures.

Now, on to the love! I just wanted to thank a few people who have continued to support Dividend Mantra and make the blog successful.

The Dividend Guy Blog
The Dividend Guy has continued to support the blog, and it’s very much appreciated. He actually initiated a little project, called the Dividend Growth Index and included yours truly! Thanks TDG!

The Dividend Ninja
Ninja has been a huge support of this blog and I just wanted to say thank you. One of our neighbor bloggers from the Great White North (Canada!), he mainly blogs about dividend paying stocks but also gives indexers something to read about too. Check him out!

Dividend Monk
The Monk posts some of the finest stock analysis articles that you’ll see anywhere on the internet. His attention to detail is amazing and unique and he also espouses minimalism in some of his articles (hence the Monk moniker). He has a fantastic value-oriented portfolio and his site is really educational.

My Own Advisor
MOA is another blogger from Canada and has a great site that is focused on investing, finance, life and how all three are interconnected. He has some great posts about living well while being financially aware. He has been an incredible supporter of this blog and I truly appreciate it.

Mr. Money Mustache
MMM is all about putting more cash in your ‘stash! He retired extremely young and is empowering others to live frugally and be financially aware of the fact that small everyday decisions impact the big picture. He was kind enough to offer me a Guest Posting opportunity and I took it gladly. Thanks MMM and we all appreciate your unique perspective on financial independence and life in general.

Dividend-Growth-Stocks
Dividends4Life has been instrumental in the success of this blog and he added me as a core member to the Div-Net, something that I’ve been appreciative of and have been contributing weekly articles to ever since. D4L’s blog is extremely motivating and inspiring as his huge dividend numbers give all of us a moving target to aim for.

I also wanted to say thank you to all my regular visitors who comment and share information. It’s through sharing information that we all learn and grow as individuals and investors! I am also glad to see that a few regular readers have started their own blogs to document their individual journeys. Best of luck guys!

Please, have a safe celebration tonight. I’m going to ring in the New Year with my significant other with a nice, quiet dinner out. We’ll come home early and relax as 2012 begins.

I hope everyone has a prosperous 2012 and may it bring your much joy and success!!!!

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: Idea go

Comments

  1. Alex says

    Happy New Year!

    I stumbled on your blog today as I was thinking about my New Year’s Resolution of actively managing my money. I think you have a great approach! You’ve inspired me to set a goal of retiring early through passive income. I wanted to get your input on my current situation. I feel somewhat behind for my age in terms of my portfolio size, and I’m trying to correct that.

    I’m 32 years old and have 33K sitting in retirement accounts – traditional IRA and 401K. All my money is sitting in mutual funds, and the markets have not been good to me. I don’t invest outside of retirement accounts. Over the course of 2011 I have been putting my savings into building an emergency fund (my goal is at least 6 months of expenses or 18K), and aggressively paying down my school loan (paying 1K/mo and the balance is now 26K).

    I’ve just reduced my 401K contribution from 20% to 6% (employer match), and am thinking of putting the extra income into either a Roth IRA or non-retirement investments. This extra cash doesn’t amount to much. Currently, most of my extra cash is now going towards debt reduction and building the emergency fund. My question is, would my extra money be better used to build a portfolio or to pay down debts? Also should I open a Roth IRA, or invest my extra income outside of retirement accounts? Should I just invest my emergency funds into stocks instead of just sitting as cash? Thanks so much…any insight would be greatly appreciated!

  2. says

    Alex,

    Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you stumbled upon my little spot!

    Your question is loaded with a lot of information, and some of it is qualitative to your individual circumstances. For instance, the student loans. It depends a little on if they’re public or private. My student loans currently carry an interest rate below 3%. At that rate, I figure I can do better in the market and just pay the minimum. Plus, some of the interest is tax-deductible.

    An emergency fund is also something that has to be individually tailored. I wrote a lengthy post on my thoughts regarding that, and you can find it by clicking the Emergency Fund tab to the right. I tend to keep $4k or so in cash, as my large discrepancy between income and expenses leaves me a large buffer, plus the fact that I feel my employment is relatively stable means I feel comfortable with little cash on hand. I also rent and do not have children. Again, that’s all dependent on your situation.

    It sounds like you’re not doing bad there, though. You’re aggressively paying down debt and you are building a very large emergency fund. That’s a conservative way to go, but certainly not “wrong”. I find that in personal finance the personal part of it is very important.

    Best wishes and I hope you stay in touch!

  3. says

    Mantra,

    Thanx very much for the mention! Of course you’ve been great support as well for the Ninja – and it’s much appreciated :)

    Mantra your blog is one of my favourites, and your journey into a 100% portfolio of dividend stocks is inspiring! I’m delighted to share your journey with my readers as well.

    Happy New Year man!

    Cheers
    The Dividend Ninja

  4. Alex says

    Thanks! I definitely will be in touch. I have lots to think about on how to find the right balance/approach for me.

    *My student loans are public, at 3.75% by the way.

Join The Discussion!