Dividend Mantra On The Today Show!

Well, the secret is already out. 

I was featured as part of a story on retiring before 40 years old this morning on Today.

If you haven’t already seen the feature, please check it out below:

My story on Today!

Pretty awesome! I’m so excited that the fact that it’s quite possible for a middle class earner here in the U.S. to become financially independent/retire at a young age is actually getting attention in the mainstream media. And I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to spread that wonderful message. 

I simply live a normal life, but on a much smaller scale than most in my income bracket. I value time above all else, and so instead of spending my money frivolously and without thought, I actively monitor my expenses so that I can leverage the savings into high quality investments and further leverage the effects of compounding over the long-term. This will, in effect, allow me to buy time one day as I’ll no longer have to trade my valuable and dwindling time away to someone else in order to pay my bills. My time will be my own, and what more could you want to own than your time?

Hopefully you enjoyed the feature.

Thanks Today for allowing me to take part in such a wonderful opportunity to spread inspiration to millions of people!

Please continue to follow my journey as we mutually inspire each other to our individual aspirations!

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: Today Show

Comments

  1. scott says

    DM
    I am seriously worried that you are going to go all “Hollywood” on us and that your going to fall off the frugal lifestyle wagon. Next thing you know we will see you on TMZ livin’ it up, spending more than you make, investing in penny stocks and ending up in rehab!

    • says

      DM,

      You are going to be a celebrity before we all know it. You should seriously think about writing a book.

      I hate how these shows however do not mention the name of your blog or link to it. Not for the traffic, but for the fact that without knowing about your dividend strategy, people cannot understand what you are doing.

    • says

      scott,

      Haha! That’s hilarious. I’m already planning a secret shopping trip down Rodeo Drive. Shhh….don’t tell anyone!

      Thanks for stopping by! I’ve already got all the palm trees I need here in Southwest Florida, so no need for me to go all “Hollywood” on you guys!

      Best wishes.

    • says

      DGI,

      A celebrity, huh? Well, I can definitely say that I’m glad I’m able to get the message out to such a large audience. Millions of people watch that show, so it’s wonderful to know I’ve impacted some lives for the better.

      I’d love to write a book, and that’s in the plans. However, I haven’t accomplished enough yet. When/if I do reach early retirement/FI before 40, I do plan to document that with a book to show everyone that not only is it possible, but lay out a road map for anyone else who wants to follow.

      The blog was actually mentioned. In the text version of the interview as you can see above in the link, the blog is directly linked in the body of the article. That was really nice, as this blog received the most traffic in one day ever. Also, the blog is shown for a quick second in the video.

      Glad to see you stopping by! Appreciate your support, as always.

      Best regards!

    • says

      Oh I just watched the video, and did not read the article. I am glad the linked to you. You should definitely write a book after you accomplish it. Derek Foster did it, as he retired at 34 and has been writing a lot of books. However, he used excessive leverage to accomplish his goal, which you are not.

    • says

      DGI and Ninja,

      Thanks so much guys!

      I would LOVE to write a book, but I’d definitely have to wait until I reach the mountaintop (early retirement/FI). If I wrote a book now, it would be like writing from base camp telling everyone on how they can reach the summit. I believe most of all in being genuine and putting my money where my mouth is.

      A book would be a dream come true.

      Something like what Derek Foster did would be great. He definitely did things differently from how I’m doing it in terms of investing (using high amounts of leverage), but his overall thesis (live frugally and invest savings into dividend paying stocks) is aligned with that I’m trying to do.

      Thanks again for the vote of confidence, guys! Much, much appreciated.

      Best wishes!

    • says

      MFIJ,

      Thanks so much!

      Yeah, not surprised to see that side of things get more screen time. She’s a mainstream financial advisor for a mainstream audience. I’m the outsider. The fact that I got a spot on national TV at all is something to be really proud of coming from where I’ve come from.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Best wishes.

    • says

      Pursuit,

      Haha! I’m “Mr. Hollywood” now! Kind of ironic since I’m one of the most frugal people around, and that’s about as opposite of Hollywood as you can get. :)

      Let me know what you think when you check out the video. They compressed about three hours of interview footage into 3 minutes, but I think it came out okay!

      Hope all is well.

      Take care!

    • says

      That’s surprising to me that they’d take 3 hours of footage and condense it to 3 minutes, of course I have no clue how any kind of television production especially news segments such as this work. It would have been nice for them to have included something about what your investment plan is in the segment because that’s just as important as keeping your expenses low. Also more than the one sentence about how you’re buying time would have been nice. But it’s hard when it’s a short segment. Overall it was great to see you get mentioned and spread the word about early retirement. I hope that at least some people saw it and will start incorporating some aspects into their life. As they mentioned, this isn’t for everyone and is definitely a personal choice.

      I didn’t like the personal finance expert making a blanket assumption about how that’s not going to be enough money. If she’s going to comment on your finances she should at least try and get an idea of what your plan is. Of course you couldn’t live on the interest from $400k in a savings account, that’s only $4,000 a year at 1%. Although you could make it almost 3 months.

      Congrats Mr. Hollywood! Where/when can we see you popping up next?

    • says

      Pursuit,

      Yeah, I wish they would have included even 30 seconds or so about the investment plan, because otherwise people assume I’m just stuffing it away in a savings account like you mention. That’s unfortunate, but hopefully those interested found their way here to discover the truth behind it all.

      It’s in the “expert’s” best interest to keep people in the dark and fearful. That’s how many of those advisors make their money. Otherwise, their services would be much less useful.

      Best wishes!

  2. Spoonman says

    Congratulations DM! This is a great development, hopefully your story will inspire people to pursue financial independence and wake up from a life of mindless consumerism.

    There are doubtless many naysayers, but I think there will be an even greater number of people who will get the message.

    Cheers!

    • says

      Spoonman,

      Thanks so much!

      Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m hoping for. To inspire a whole new audience of people that deep down inside want something more. There is more out there if you really want it.

      I don’t really worry about the naysayers. I haven’t actually seen any of the comments on the article, but my sister called me and told me she’s over there defending me. Quite funny!

      People who don’t want to see the light will remain in Plato’s cave, chained to the wall. That’s okay. This isn’t for everyone, and I never claimed it to be.

      Best wishes!

  3. Steve says

    DM,

    Congrats on the exposure. I read some of the comments on the story and I was surprised how negative and ignorant most commenters were. It’s sad that so many people are so pessimistic that they never really ever accomplish anything in life.

    Be prepared for the exposure to bring some heat from people you don’t even know telling you how stupid you are for what you’re doing. That’s one of the consequences of opening yourself up to the public on a blog like this. Just remember that those of us who have followed your posts for a while understand what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it.

    You’re doing great! Keep it up!

    Steve

    • says

      Steve,

      Yeah, those types of comments are to be expected. Apparently, my sister is over there fighting the good fight for me. I don’t have the energy. I’m busy keeping this blog up and doing my best to make the world a better place. :)

      Thanks for the support and I appreciate you following along and understanding what this is all about. Some get it, and some don’t. That’s just the way the world is, and I’m quite okay with that.

      Stay in touch, and thanks for the support!

      Best wishes.

    • says

      Sam,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      The blog had a great day today, so I’m really appreciative of the extra traffic. Hopefully I have some new readers! :)

      At this pace, I definitely plan to be over $400k by 40…but life has a way of getting in the way, right? I’m just blessed to have gotten this far. Either way you slice it, I’ll be in great financial shape and much better off than the typical American. So worst case scenario. I’ll be in great financial shape.

      Stay in touch!

      Best regards.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      I’m sorry. The original link was correct, but for some reason it linked at the end of the text article. I re-linked it and now it starts at the top of the page. The video is right at the top. You just have to click the “play” button.

      Hopefully that works. Please let me know if you have any other issues.

      Take care.

  4. says

    Where is there mention of HOW you are accomplishing your goal? You have the $25 million dollar a year man talking about the “average person” and some uninformed person providing “expert analysis” Exposure is good, the actual segment not so much.

    Keep it up.

    Michael

    • says

      Michael,

      Unfortunately, they focused on some of the frugal aspects of my life and only very briefly hinted around the investments. I suppose that’s what happens when you get 3 minutes of time on a national TV show. The funny thing was the advisor they had on acted like I have my money in a savings account. Very strange.

      I take the good with the bad, and getting the message out is worth the shortcomings of the piece.

      Stay in touch!

      Best wishes.

  5. Steve says

    Just came across the interview on Dividend Monk. WOW! You’re really getting some facetime! I’m proud to be able to say that I was reading your blog when you were still a NOBODY! ;-)

    Seriously, congrats on the recognition. You deserve it.

    Steve

    • says

      Steve,

      Haha, I’m still really a nobody. My 15 minutes of fame is likely on its 14th minute. That’s okay though, as I’ll try to get the most out of it and get the word out while I’m on the mountaintop.

      Glad you seen the interview over at Dividend Monk. I think that piece was incredibly well done and very balanced. Matt did a great job with that and I really appreciate it. His questions were wonderfully framed and easy to answer.

      Thanks again for the support and following along way before the exposure. That means a lot! I hope you continue to stay in touch as my 15 minutes expires.

      Best regards!

  6. says

    Keep at it Jason and forget the naysayers. I’m 35 and my wife and I have been doing a similar thing since around 1998 (index funds + rentals). The persistence is paying off and I can tell you I got a lot of strange smirks over the years but as we say in Polish he laughs who is the last one to laugh. Now if I was only motivated enough to write something on my silly experiment blog…I’m just a bit lazy. I fix my own VWs (I noticed you work in an Audi dealer – very cool) and I do most work on our rentals myself so when I have some free time I would rather just goof off. Would love to meet you one day – you are a very cool and positive guy.

    • says

      Rodent,

      He who laughs last…absolutely. I have a feeling you’ll be laughing for many, many years.

      Keep up the great work. I’m not sure if rentals are in my future or not, but I would like to diversify my wealth a bit and fixed income offers very little opportunity right now. We’ll see! It’s great that you’re handy enough to do most of the work on your rentals. I’m not very handy at all, so that’s what makes that strategy a bit less desirable for me.

      I’d love to meet up too. I’m always open for something like that. I would just have to meet up somewhere on the bus line or somewhere I can get to by scooter.

      Hope all is well and keep up the great work. You’ve been at it a while. That’s fantastic! Good luck to you. :)

      Take care.

  7. says

    Congratulations on all the recent coverage of your journey to financial independence! Featured in USA Today, interviewed by Dividend Monk, and profiled on the Today show… a lot of exciting things have been happening for you lately.

    I hope the attention attracts people to your blog so they can get the full details of what you’re doing. It was kind of disappointing that the Today segment skipped over your investing strategy; some viewers might have been left with misconceptions. For example, they discussed the retirement “number” and whether $400K would be sufficient, failing to point out that you plan to live off dividends, not by selling off assets. Oh well — what can you expect from mainstream media? :)

    I wish you all the best with these new avenues for sharing your story. Stay grounded, but definitely be proud of yourself for these accomplishments. It’s not everyday that someone gets featured on national television!

    • says

      DGM,

      Thanks so much! Yeah, things have been very exciting for me lately. I’m really blessed.

      I agree that the investment strategy was basically skipped over. It’s unfortunate because I would say I talked about investing for a solid 30-45 minutes. But, it’s not my TV show. I’m just glad they gave me a shot to at least get part of the message out.

      Thanks for the well wishes, and I can only reciprocate. I’m so glad that we’re both part of such a wonderful community of young investors who are focused on living well on less and becoming financially independent. I think choice is the common thread between us all. Whether or not you continue to work once you’re FI or not matters little, because the choice is what really matters. Once you’re FI you’re doing whatever you want to do, not whatever you have to do.

      Keep up the great work on your end too. I’ll continue to follow your journey with avid interest.

      Best wishes!

  8. Paige says

    This is really fantastic, DM! Congratulations! The naysayers in the comments drive me crazy sometimes. Their loss though. I don’t think people realize how far a little sacrifice can go, unfortunately. I am excited to see you hit the 200k mark, though. Congratulations again!

    Paige

    • says

      Paige,

      Thanks so much!!

      Those naysayers tend to be stuck in their ways. I’ve written before on this blog that early retirement/financial independence isn’t for everyone, and neither should it be. Different strokes for different folks, and I always say live and let live. It matters not to me if someone wants to continue down a path like mine. I simply offer inspiration to others who would.

      I’m excited to hit that $200k mark as well! If you told me a few years ago I’d be in national media after hitting $100k I’d laugh hysterically. I’m just really glad that I had the foresight to make a change when I did. I made a lot of mistakes before I started, and I’ve been very public about that because if I can do it, anyone can!!

      Stay in touch! :)

      Best wishes.

  9. says

    Wow, awesome job DM! Really hitting the big time the past 30 days! It was truly unfortunate that they didn’t focus any solid attention on your plan to live on dividends. As a result, reading through the comments on the Today show post was a lesson in insanity. Without understanding the nature of your investments and your ability to manage them, ignorance was rampant.

    At the end of the day, focus on your plan and path to success, and the rest will follow!

    • says

      writing2reality,

      Thanks so much! Appreciate it. :)

      Yeah, it was unfortunate the dividends were mostly glossed over. At least the blog got a mention and interested parties can explore what I’m doing and what it’s all about.

      Ignorance is unfortunate, but again this lifestyle and end game isn’t for everyone. Some people need to be a part of the system, and that’s perfectly okay. What I’m doing is no more right or wrong than anyone else, and I’m fully aware of that. Again, I only offer advice, inspiration, information and real-time results for anyone who is interested in walking a similar path towards financial freedom.

      I think you’re right about that last part. I just try to stay focused on what I’m best at and what I can control. As always, anything I can’t control I really don’t worry about.

      Thanks again for the support! Best of luck as you continue your journey towards your dreams.

      Take care.

  10. Anonymous says

    Reading some of those comments on the video. Most of them think you eat unhealthy big time and that you will have lots of health problems when your 40. I bet you are in a lot better shape than all them. You were a body builder and still work out. No mention of gym in the video.

    Lots of people complained about PB&J sandwiches. The only reason there kids don’t eat it because most schools won’t allow peanut based products in school due to peanut allergies.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Yeah, that’s funny. You can clearly see me and see what kind of shape I’m in. I’m almost tempted to post a shirtless picture somewhere, but that would just be stepping down to a childish level. Not really my gig. I do work out often, although since this media attention has taken hold I’ve been a bit less dedicated to the routine. Just hard to make time for it all, but my 15 minutes of fame is almost up and I’ll be back to doing what I’m used to. And yes, I used to be a bodybuilder. I actually won a teenage competition when I was 14 years old and I used to eat extremely healthy. A point I should mention is that I don’t just eat what I eat out of budgetary limitations, but most of what I eat I enjoy. You could give me a billion dollars and I still wouldn’t eat vegetables and the like on a daily basis. I’m like Warren Buffett at heart – give me a cheeseburger and a Coke and I’ll give you a big, wide smile! :)

      Also, I take multivitamin and fiber supplements in a gummy form almost daily. That’s in my food budget.

      Great point there at the end. I do agree!

      Best regards.

  11. says

    You are turning into quite the financial rockstar, DM! So exciting to see you receiving so much attention of late on USA Today and the Today Show, even if the “expert” viewpoint is biased against your dedication to financial freedom before 40. I really didn’t agree with her description of your lifestyle as “austere”.

    Did your blog traffic skyrocket following the feature today? Keep up the great work, sir.

    • says

      Net Worth Snowball,

      I love being a financial rockstar! :)

      You’re doing really great as well. Your last month of savings was fantastic and your spending level is very similar to mine. Keep it up. You already have a hell of a net worth, so that snowball is getting pretty big!

      Yeah, the traffic definitely picked up. It was a welcome perk to being featured on the show.

      Keep up the great work on your end too!

      Take care.

    • says

      RO,

      Thanks man!! Appreciate the continued support.

      I wish the interview would have been a minute or two longer and included some of my quotes on investing and dividends, but that’s okay. I’ll take what I can get.

      Hope all is well on the west side!

      Best wishes.

  12. says

    Great exposure DM! Very glad i’ve had the opportunity to follow your journey these past two years or so until the present.

    The clip, unfortunately, made it seem as though you are hiding your $100K under your mattress or a low-interest savings account. Completely not true.

    I leave you with a quote that i hope will apply to you in the next 7-10 years time:

    “Rome has grown since its humble beginnings that it is now overwhelmed by its own greatness.”

    • says

      $25,000 Dividends,

      I’m glad that I have readers like you that provide me support and mutual inspiration. I get just as much as I give!

      Yeah, unfortunately The Today Show decided to edit out the entire 30-45 minutes I spent talking about investing, dividends and the like. It is what it is. Again, I’ll take what I can get when it comes to national TV exposure like that.

      Thanks for the wonderful quote! I do hope we both turn into Romes of the personal finance world!

      Best regards.

  13. Craig says

    Congratulations DM. Is the Wall Street Journal next?

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and find it interesting that Today focused on the goal and the cost savings (which apparently is not for everyone) and almost completely ignored the investment philosophy that makes the goal real. I can’t say I’m surprised since the media is fixated on “the number” and the financial “experts” they parade in are usually not.

    • says

      Craig,

      Wall Street Journal? Wouldn’t that be fantastic? I am currently discussing some other opportunities, so we’ll see!

      Yeah, I think the show purposely focused on just one side of the equation. I view the frugality and expense control as being just as important as the investing side of the equation. You can’t have one without the other.

      The “number” is usually based on income levels, not expense levels. That completely distorts reality and gives people incorrect numbers to look for, unfortunately. But, I do hope that more people find their way here and become inspired for much, much more.

      Take care!

  14. says

    Hey DM,

    Congrats on all the media attention lately! Hopefully you will have some new readers. I watched the interview. It’s too bad they didn’t really focus on what your investment strategy was. They should have given you move time than the “expert analyst” that probably hadn’t even looked at your blog.

    Anyways keep up the good work. You are certainly motivating a lot of people.

    • says

      AAI,

      Thanks for the continued support!

      Yeah, I wish the interview would have been just a tad bit longer with more focus on the investing side of things…but it is what it is. I was just so stoked to be featured on national television that the flaws of it all escaped me until I watched it a few times.

      You keep up the great work too. You’re also inspiring many people, including me! I’m doing my best to keep up with you. You’re an investing machine. :)

      Best wishes.

    • says

      Headed Home,

      Thanks so much! They say all press is good press and I’ll take what I can get. I do hope new readers found their way here and may have found a place with the inspiration they were always looking for.

      Take care!

  15. says

    Wow!! What can I say? I knew big things were in store for you. I wouldn’t expect a show that popular to understand or go into detail about dividend growth investing, you did a great job! Congratulations!

    • says

      Compounding Income,

      Thanks, man. I do appreciate it. I never knew that I would be featured on national television, but I had always believed in my heart that what I was doing was something to be extremely proud of and sharing that journey with others would lead to good things.

      Keep up the good work on your end too.

      Best wishes!

  16. Anonymous says

    I just read the Today article. It’s kind of humorous how most of the comment section is negative and doubts you. I’m glad the comments on here have been positive because ER can clearly be done.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      I haven’t read any of the comments. I might get around to it some day just for the humor of it all. My youngest sister is apparently over there drumming up support for me. Too funny!

      ER most certainly is possible, and I’m making it one of my biggest goals in life to not only accomplish it, but show others how easy it is if it’s something you really want.

      Best regards.

    • says

      The Executioner,

      I’d love to do that. I do hope to reach the goal quicker than that, in which case the whole thing would still be pretty relevant. We’ll see!

      Best of luck to you as you continue down the path as well.

      Take care.

  17. Adam says

    DM, Keep doing your thing. Don’t listen to anyone that tries to cut you down. The world is full of negative, scared people who just do what they see everyone else doing. When they see someone going on a different path they go into attack mode. I agree with the others here though, I wish you could have talked about the dividend growth strategy, this is not about PB&J sandwiches.

    • says

      Adam,

      Well, I did talk at length about the dividend growth strategy and actually spent a good 30-45 minutes on it. Unfortunately, they edited down the 3-hour interview into 3 minutes of what they felt was most relevant to the point/image they were trying to convey. The fact that they mentioned my blog at all was wonderful.

      I’ll definitely keep doing my thing. I’m more motivated than ever right now! :)

      Best wishes.

  18. Anonymous says

    Great story, Jason!

    First I congratulate for the plan to retire with 40.
    The target is really obtainable!

    Second it´s very important to spent 60-70% from the net income.
    Most people think 5 or 10% (50,100 oder 200 USD (or EUR)) are enough!
    NO!
    You have to put the money with full power into the Dividend-Account and buy shares!
    Every month: More, more and again more!

    Best regards form Germany!

    Onassis from Germany

    PS: I like the new A4 – german quality ;-)

    • says

      Anonymous,

      I like the new A4 as well! Amazing car. :)

      Thanks for the support. I also believe the goal to retire by 40 to be obtainable as well. This blog will document it from start to finish. We’ll see exactly how well or not well I’ll do at it.

      I agree. The savings rate is key. Once you have that mastered, investing the savings into high quality assets is the other side of the equation. Rinse and repeat while you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

      Thanks for stopping by from Germany! Keep in touch.

      Best wishes!

  19. says

    Great work Mantra! You are a celebrity now. :)

    Too bad they just skimmed on the dividend investing strategy, which is really the remarkable story IMO. But that’s the way the media works – they put their own spin on it. Nonetheless that’s big time my friend.;)

    Looks like you are on the way up, you won’t have to be working for long! Now you just need to ride the wave and enjoy. Maybe some opportunities via writing and more media.

    Cheers,
    Avrom, The Dividend Ninja

    • says

      Ninja,

      Thanks so much for your continued support! It’s greatly appreciated. You’re doing a fantastic job over there yourself!

      Yeah, unfortunate they really glossed over the investing and dividends. I talked at great length about Warren Buffett, economic moats, dividends, analyzing fundamentals, the importance of valuation, sustainable payouts..I mean the whole nine yards. Oh, well.

      I don’t know about the whole not working for long thing. I wish you were right about that, and maybe (I hope) you’ll prove me wrong. It would be amazing to speed things along. Maybe I have to write that book sooner rather than later? :)

      Again, thanks a ton for the support! Keep up the great work.

      Best regards!

  20. says

    Jason,

    Outstanding job! Like others mentioned above, you really are becoming a star! It’s very exciting. Too bad the story wasn’t portrayed more as it really is though. This stuff is much more feasible and possible than they made it look like, which kind of stinks. Either way, you’re on an awesome path. Congrats!

    Kraig

    • says

      Kraig,

      Thanks, buddy. I do appreciate it. We’re BOTH on awesome paths. You’re doing pretty great over there as well. Keep it up!

      I do agree that they made it look more like a struggle where all I do is work, ride the bus, eat cheap food and blog. My life is a bit more than that, at least I hope it is! That sounds kinda crappy!

      Congrats to you too for finding the path and engaging your plan so aggressively!

      Best wishes.

  21. Anonymous says

    Loved your story on the Today Show! Hope someone makes you a book offer, you deserve it! I too retired early by flipping R/E during the housing boom and my own corporate job (I never invested in the stock market). However, my high stress living coupled with a high sugar diet led me to have some health issues, which were minor (thank God) but very, very costly to resolve. And now I’m forced to spend a lot more on an uber healthy diet.

    I tell you my story b/c you have the same diet that I had, which directly increases bad cholesterol, contributes to heart disease and/ or diabetes. Breads and pastas turn to sugar! I encourage you to take small steps to improve your diet (while keeping your budget), here are some baby-steps suggestions with cheap power house ingredients:

    1) Trade the PB&J for a WHOLE WHEAT, ALMOND butter and ripe BANANA sandwich (no jelly!). Almonds help prevent heart disease and bananas are a power house. Tip: the riper the banana the sweeter it’ll be and you won’t miss the jelly.

    2) Sweet potatoes fries (BAKED in the oven). Learn to roast them like the French do: heat oven to 380 degrees, cut sweet potatoes in wedges or rounds, add 1 tablespoon or canola and salt & pepper. Bake them for 20 min, turning them once, until your desired crispiness. They taste fried! And you can have them w/your sandwiches. Tip: YouTube has many instructional videos on how to make baked sweet fries.

    3) Baby spinach. Add 1 handful to your pasta sauce until wilted, add them raw to your sandwiches or make scrambled eggs w/ spinach.

    Publix (I live in FL also) usually has all these 4 items on BOGO rotation (buy 1 get one free). I hope my health care inspires you to make serious changes to your diet. The old saying is very true: good health has no price.

    Keep up the good work!

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Glad you found the blog and I appreciate your story and recommendations.

      I agree with you. My diet isn’t the healthiest. This comes from someone who has a background in this. Like I said earlier, my diet isn’t completely about budgetary concerns as it is about what I enjoy. I simply am just not the kind of guy to cook up some tofu and broccoli. Just not me. I could be a billionaire and I’d still have a relatively similar diet.

      That being said, I agree there’s room for improvement. It should be noted that I do take multivitamins and fiber gummies almost every day.

      I’ll try your first recommendation for sure. That actually sounds pretty good. I used to be a banana-eating machine. They are high in potassium and increase vascularity, so they were particularly popular before bodybuilding shows so that the veins would pop out. There would literally be boxes backstage.

      I’m sorry to hear about your health issues. That’s unfortunate, but I’m glad you’ve moved past them and become a better/stronger/smarter person!

      I agree that I need to improve. I have tried whole wheat bread in the past and I need to permanently switch over to that. It should also be noted that my diet changes on the weekends as I eat fairly normally. The week is when I’m super-frugal, but I lighten up a bit on the weekends to reward myself after 5 brutal days of working for 50+ hours, working out 3 times, blogging and keeping up a personal life.

      Thanks again for the suggestions. I’ll take them to heart!

      Keep in touch.

      Best regards.

  22. says

    DM…. Awesome job on all the exposure you have been getting. It’s well deserved. I believe your story will at least get a few people to stop and consider what they are doing and how living a more frugal lifestyle would greatly improve the quality of their lives.

    Quick question: Has the increased exposure given you fuel to recommit to your cause? You mentioned earlier in the year that you were considering getting a car again. I know sometimes our motivation begins to wane from time to time. You’ve done bodybuilding before, you know what I mean, but when you get that big win/accomplsihment the intensity from the early days comes back full force. Just curious where you are these days.

    Wish you the best man, you’re doing a wonderful job and a motivation to many, myself included :-)

    The Stoic

    • says

      The Stoic,

      Thanks! I really appreciate it. :)

      I do hope my story resonates with people out there. If even one person was really touched by what I’m doing and decides to radically change their life, then it was all worth it!

      As far as your question goes, my fire has never burned brighter. I’m definitely more committed than ever. I think that sometimes our journeys towards FI lack a sort of “validation” because the immediate gratification that comes with the norm is lacking, as the real spoils don’t come until much later. The gratification is much greater, but just not immediate. So, the validation isn’t really there because society in general doesn’t really “get” what we’re doing. It’s great to get that validation every once in a while and re-commits me to the purpose.

      Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad that my journey motivates you! I get just as much inspiration as I give. :)

      Best wishes!

  23. says

    Congratulations Jason,

    “It gets people thinking” is the best comment from the video. It’s a challenging concept to a lot of people and their first reaction may be toxic and hateful, but a small percentage of them will remember it and come back to it when they are ready.

    That talking head financial planner they had was the worst though.

    • says

      Jeremy,

      Thanks!

      Yeah, I hope it does get people thinking. I mean if I can do this on a middle class salary with no formal financial education, why can’t anyone else? It just takes patience, persistence and perseverance.

      Yeah, the financial expert was unfortunate in her commentary. The usual negativity that makes people think it’s impossible when it’s really not.

      Best wishes!

  24. says

    DM,

    Nice work. I think a second career as a financial guru in the media beckons once you have achieved your dividend goals! Who knew Dividend Growth Investing could lead to such national fame. I think I need to hunt down some Australian media :)

    • says

      Integrator,

      Haha! Hey, that would be something, huh? I wouldn’t mind that as I think I could add a breath of fresh air to it, as I’m just a regular, retail investor.

      I hope you get some media attention as well! It would be great to continue spreading the dividend growth investing message. :)

      Best regards.

  25. says

    DM, grats on being on TODAY. I watched the video and want to say that Carmen is one of those who don’t understand investments and does not believe early retirement is possible. Thanks for everything you do, and its doubters like her that push me to continue on my journey to early retirement!

    • says

      Investing Early,

      I do hope that there are some people out there that realized what I’m doing is a real, robust, effective and replicable strategy. It’s easy on paper, but hard to execute in real life. You have to really want it.

      I hope that our journeys continue to prove fruitful and we continue to make great strides towards financial independence and early retirement.

      Take care!

  26. says

    Congratulations on getting your message out on TODAY! I read some of the posted comments, many of which are from people who just don’t get what you’re doing: living frugally, investing wisely, reinvesting dividends, built-in inflation protection, etc. Underlying these things are discipline, determination, a strong will, a positive attitude, and, I believe, an appreciation that the journey is as much of a reward as the end goal.

    In some ways, I’m directly opposite of you. I’m already over 40, married with 3 children, love my work (and would want to keep doing it until they kick me out!). But I find your story fascinating and inspirational, and I’ve learned a lot from following your blog.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Anonymous says

      FerdiS
      It is great you love what you do and that is an absolute key to personal happiness….however, when you say you want to keep working in your chosen field until “they kick you out” I am sure you recognize that there are a lot of dynamics in many companies and industries that might make that happen earlier than you wish. Hopefully you are in a profession and industry that has a long and bright future. Today’s economy and most jobs bear very little resemblance to the world of thirty years ago. In mature industries, there are armies of people dedicated to reducing costs (code for cutting jobs and wages) and it is challenging for individuals to avoid getting caught up in the harvest of those relentless efforts has they age. Many people evolve and develop are able to successfully navigate those waters throughout their work lives but it requires constant vigilance and effort to do so.

    • says

      FerdiS,

      Glad you have found education and inspiration here at the blog. That’s why it’s here. I’m not trying to convert anyone to an early retirement lifestyle, but rather provide the inspiration, tools and results for anyone who wants it for themselves.

      The fact that you’re living a much different life than I, being married with three children, and still find value here is incredible. There’s a lot of people that seem to think that you can’t aspire for early retirement if you want a marriage and children, which is just ridiculous. It’s all about lifestyle management and making decisions that better your finances.

      Best of luck to you moving forward!

      Take care.

    • says

      Anonymous, of course there are no guarantees that I’ll be able to work in my field at my own terms. In fact, our industry (VFX) is currently in turmoil, with layoffs at most of our competitors. So far, we’ve been spared. But this is exactly why I’m not only maximizing 401(k) and IRA contributions, but also developing a self-managed dividend growth portfolio to produce a secondary and growing income stream.

      I guess my main point is this: while Dividend Mantra (and others) have an early retirement goal, which drives (some of) their choices, the principles of living frugally, investing wisely, etc. can (and should) be applied even if you have a family, love your work, and want to continue working until they kick you out!

    • says

      FerdiS,

      Great point there. Living frugally, investing wisely and being in great financial shape doesn’t mean you have to quit your job. It just means you have one less worry (money) in life. You have the type of flexibility, freedom and control that very few people have. That’s priceless. From there, if you want to keep working, at least it’s on your terms. You don’t HAVE to keep working if you don’t want to, but if you so choose to then that’s an active choice you’re making. Having to go into work everyday, and wanting to go into work everyday are two totally different concepts.

      Best regards.

  27. Anonymous says

    DM, you are to be congratulated on embracing a lifestyle where you purposely live well below your means and are working towards YOUR personal goal to retire early. I retired several years ago in my early 50s and was able to do so by wife and I purposely living well below our income and saving a lot of money every year. We did have two children and were able to pay for their college education also.

    I have looked the overwhelmingly negative comments made towards you on the NBC website and I amazed that people do not recognize the value of setting a financial goal and being able to live with the necessary self discipline to make their dreams a reality. I see so many people today who choose to spend enormous sums of money in restaurants and stores, on their electronic gadgets and entertainment, and buying the latest cars and then I shake my head when I see all the hand wringing stories in the media about how few people are saving enough money for THEIR futures. It is even worse when you see how much stress that people are under when they have a lot of debt. I personally believe that most debt damages people to the core of their being (damages their souls) and makes daily life difficult and unbearable. There is nothing wrong with reserving restaurants for truly special occasions, driving old cars or not having a car like yourself, and minimizing what you spend on paid entertainment. While you are a little bit extreme, you are to be commended for having the self discipline to work so hard towards your goal.

    A piece of advice I will offer you is that when your medical coverage is in the form of individual health insurance, the cost of your medical care is probably going to go up at a faster pace than most of the stocks that you own increase their dividends. As we approach 60, our medical care (Insurance + all the bills) is costing us in excess of $40k a year and it has been going up at about 15% a year. My wife and I are normal weight, non-smokers, very light drinkers who are reasonably active and rarely go out to eat, so it is not a lifestyle issue in our case. Unfortunately when most people get older, they need more care and health insurance premiums are tied to age and will be so under the affordable health care act.

    You are a great example and I applaud you!

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Congratulations to you for retiring at an early age. Being fiscally responsible and having enough foresight to retire in your early 50′s is really amazing, especially when there are a great many Americans who don’t have enough saved for even the traditional retirement in the mid-60′s. That’s great!

      I agree with you on the stress, especially such induced by mounds of debt. I do think that my health will actually be better than most as I won’t be working incredibly hard for the rest of my life, but rather enjoying “easy street” as I pursue true passions at a relatively early age. We’ll see how it goes though, as the blog will (hopefully) document it all.

      I hear you on the health care. I actually have to get a health care policy very soon, as the Affordable Care Act will penalize me via a an extra tax next year if I don’t get a policy this year. I’ll be writing about this very soon to finally vanquish all the whiny naysayers who say that early FI/ER is impossible because you need a job for health care. In fact, the Affordable Care Act would somewhat subsidize an early retiree with a lower income, so it’s now easier than ever (that may be a benefit or drawback depending on your political affiliation).

      I wish you the best as you continue to enjoy your early retirement!!

      Take care.

    • Spoonman says

      I look forward to hearing about your thoughts on health care. It’s a very complicated and touchy subject, but it’s something that we’ll all have to inevitably deal with in FI. Right now I am planning on continuing to use a high deductible plan with a health savings account. I’m maxing out the health savings account right now.

      Some people think that high deductible plans will go away somehow, I’m hoping that’s not the case. If those plans are no longer viable then I guess I won’t have any qualms using Obamacare.

    • says

      Spoonman,

      I’m currently pursuing the tried and true HDHP route myself. I’m currently inspecting a few different plans and will select one in the next few weeks and write about it.

      Health care, and the costs of it, are an interesting catch-22. People continue to work at jobs they may not fully enjoy for the “golden handcuffs” of “cheap” employer subsidized health care, while seeing their health decline in the process, rather than go off on their own and seek out a HDHP as part of an early retirement plan (you’ll have the capital for a high deductible at this point) and have better health due to significantly less stress. Whether people want to believe it or not, stress is a silent killer. People complain about my diet, not realizing the massive amounts of stress in their lives. What an interesting and rather humorous situation!

      I’ll post it soon!

      Best wishes.

  28. says

    Keep it on DM. You, like us DIY investors, are a sign of these “wicked” times, where the financial entities tries to control our life and block our accounts.
    Financial freedom isn’t an option anymore for us all, continue to spread the message.

    Take care and cheers.

    • says

      Accumulating Assets,

      Thanks! I appreciate it.

      Yeah, I’m not sure about more mainstream media. I think my 15 minutes is about up, but it was fun while it lasted. :)

      Keep up the great work on your end too. You’re an accumulation machine!

      Best regards.

    • says

      Dividend Freedom,

      I agree! The world needs to hear the message, even if the majority disregard it. There are many out there that are completely unaware it’s possible, and those the the people I try to target.

      Take care!

  29. says

    Read through all the comments, so I won’t repeat what was already said about what the Today show didn’t cover.

    Just wanted to say congrats and keep up the good work!

    I did participate in the ‘online poll’ that the Today Show page had, it seems that the majority of people are hoping to retire at the 60-65 age ;) Go figure.

    • says

      me myself and I,

      Thanks so much! It was an amazing feat to get featured in mainstream media. I’m blessed. :)

      Those numbers, and that poll, is unfortunate. I guess some are just bound to old-fashioned ideas. I’ll keep plugging away.

      Best wishes!

  30. Anonymous says

    Enjoyed the article about retiring before 40. I learned from my parents to save save save and definitely live below my means (but that doesn’t have to mean living totally frugally!). My spouse and I did not have children so it is a lot easier to retire earlier and also to save towards that. I have things all spread around — invested, savings accounts, and so forth. I don’t like having all my eggs in one basket. I like your attitude and determination. There are always some naysayers, claiming you have to live like a monk and that you are not “enjoying life” since you aren’t spending all your disposable income on $400/mo cel phone bills and $4,000 TVs !! Oh well. What do they know ?? When they are 64 and broke, and living on their $1200 a month social security check (if they are even lucky!) and then find out they have a huge medical situation on top of that .. maybe they will be wishing they had lived below their means a bit when they were younger ? :)

    I find it interesting that people think you cannot enjoy life if you save (or invest) and don’t spend all your money. I guess they think you sit at home and watch it rain and be miserable! But spending time with family, doing fun stuff, even getting in some travelling, a few hobbies and life can be infinitely enjoyable. If you can get past the mindset of “accumulating stuff” it is truely a more content and happier way to live. Just my opinion and I know I am preaching to the choir.

    The only thing in your scenario I would be concerned about, retiring so early, is health coverage costs and medical situations that could come up later. But I am sure you have that all mapped out ! I watched my mother go thru several unexpected medical scenarios, luckily she was 70 and covered by Medicare (what I call “the golden years of Medicare – in the 1990′s and early 2000′s when it paid for almost everything) and her secondary insurance. But that all costs — even though a lot was covered – two major surgeries, rehabs, chemo’s, medicines – she still had to pay out of pocket – over 6 years, probably about $15K. Which may not sound like much and she was a good saver (thank goodness) but it was a hit.
    Then, she had to go to assisted living because of dementia, and that was $5K a month — not covered by Medicaid. People assume you go right from living healthy into a nursing home where it is covered by Medicaid. Not so. There could be many years of “gray area” where you do not qualify for skilled nursing — just need assistance with “living” — dressing, eating, reminders, taking meds. And this is not covered (currently). So it is out of pocket. Just something to keep in mind.
    I am making sure I have enough in savings above and beyond living expenses (with inflation calculated in) to pay for at least a year of assisted living. And by then it will probably be $20K per month, not $5K per month!!
    Just something to consider. Have an amount handy that you do not touch and does not have to be invested or re-invested.
    Best wishes :)
    — anonymous

  31. says

    Anonymous,

    Thanks for stopping by! I do appreciate the comment and all the ideas.

    Living below one’s means does not necessarily correlate with ‘not enjoying life’. I don’t understand why people think living frugally automatically means living miserably. I don’t find that to be true at all. I enjoy my lifestyle currently, and I’m just making the most of it. Money is a tool, and how you use that tool will determine the amount of financial success you’ll see over the course of your life.

    Health care is something that I’ll be discussing very soon. It’s well overdue. I’m actually researching some policies right now and have found some rather affordable HDHP’s that fit my risk profile quite nicely. I believe the best health care policy one can have is a regular exercise routine. Good genetics also help, as cancer or some other horrific disease can wreak havoc on even the best laid plans. However, most of the healthcare spending in this country is by a small minority of people. Generally this minority is people near the end of their life, and this is where healthcare can be very expensive. The odds are good that for most of your life you’re not going to spend big dollars on healthcare related expenses in any given year. I’ll discuss more soon.

    Best regards!

  32. says

    Just caught your feature on Today. I had no idea you were originally a fellow Michigander. You had a great message and a valid strategy. It was really sad to see that it got somewhat lost in the “peanut butter and jelly sandwich” theme. Oh well – I’m sure that won’t take away from your goal … Good luck!

    • says

      MMD,

      Born and raised in Michigan! Detroit, specifically. An unfortunate city with a lot of urban blight. I hope the plans to tear down abandoned homes and make room for farmland and urban park space comes to fruition.

      Yeah, I agree that it’s sad that my message got lost a bit. I’ll take the exposure on national TV for sure, but I do wish the 3+ hours of interview footage would have been put to better use. I think there was way too much focus on eating cheaply and riding the bus (which is important to be sure) and not enough on the overall scope of the plan or the importance of investing money so that money can work for you.

      Thanks for the well wishes. Much appreciated! Good luck to you as well!!

      Best wishes.

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