One Year Older, One Year Closer

I turned 31 over the past week! Yikes. I’m now closer to 40 than I am 20. Sigh…

I’m getting older. But I’m also getting wiser, and as such I’m getting better in almost all facets of being a human being. I find that with age comes the wisdom and patience necessary to face many of life’s problem’s rationally and thoughtfully. I find myself more relaxed than ever, shedding much of the angst that I had in my 20’s.

But most importantly, I’m one year closer to my dream of retiring by my 40th birthday. And what a year it’s been! When I published my post on turning 30 last year, my Freedom Fund was worth about $68,000. It’s now worth almost twice that it’s current market value of ~$114k. My dividend income has been steadily rising in kind and I am now seeing triple-digit dividend tallies every single month. What a wonderful life I’m living! I’m steadily on pace to become financially independent by 40 years old. It seems the 5-step plan I devised a couple years ago is working.

2013 has gotten off to a bang for me. It’s really been amazing, and I still can’t believe I was featured in national media like The Today Show and USA Today. It’s been an incredible ride. I’m incredibly lucky, and so thankful of all the wonderful gifts I have in my life. Not only am I on track to become financially independent at a young age, but I also have a fantastic support network of friends and family. I live in a tropical climate and have almost no stress in my life as I don’t own much (no house, car or many material possessions).

Finally, I wanted to say thank you for all the loyal readers and fans of Dividend Mantra. This blog would be nothing without you readers. My journey would also be significantly less enjoyable and meaningful without the joy I get in inspiring others to reach for their biggest financial dreams. Many of you are aiming to achieve financial independence at a young age like me, but some of you are also just looking to build up a sizable investment portfolio that offers freedom and choices, and that is equally admirable.

Please continue to follow along as we mutually inspire each other to our individual aspirations. 

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: digitalart/


  1. says

    Happy belated birthday DM!! I just turned 38 a few weeks ago. 40 seems right around the corner. You are having a heck of a year so far, I hope more of the same continues.

    • says

      The Stoic,

      Thanks! I appreciate it. :)

      Happy belated birthday to you as well!

      It looks like we’re both having a heck of a year. You’ve definitely made some progress with saving money and that’s what it’s all about! Keep up the great work.

      Best wishes!

    • says

      Second Half,

      Thanks for dropping that link. Great list of habits that happy/successful people have. I would definitely agree with most of them.

      “As you get older, time goes faster.” – Exactly why I’m trying to become FI at a young age. I look forward to slowing time down quite a bit. I notice that some days at work I’m so busy that the day just goes by in a blur. I hate that. I really do. Few things depress me like knowing I’ve got one less day to live, and I spent that valuable day running my ass off at work.

      I can imagine my days being much more relaxed once I am financially independent! Slow is good. :)

      Best regards.

  2. Paige says

    Happy, happy belated birthday DM! Remember that with age comes wisdom. If I knew now what I knew then…. I turn 32 in July and look back at my twenties and think “What the hell was I doing?!?” But, I am so grateful to have stumbled onto your blog. It is nice to know there are others who are trying to achieve FI. I talk to my friends about FI/DGI and they look at me as if I’m crazy. Congratulations on reaching your goals and thank you again for your updates. Happy birthday!

    • says


      Thanks! I appreciate the warm wishes.

      I also wish I could go back in time and slap my younger self. I wasted an inheritance and spent most of my 20’s wondering around in a confused stupor. It was a bit of a wasted decade, but all that frustration with my lack of forward momentum is what led me to where I’m at now. So I guess it all comes full circle. In the end, our mistakes give us a lot of the wisdom that, as you so eloquently put it, comes with age.

      Glad you find the blog a great place to connect with like-minded investors/individuals. I agree that it’s tough to talk investing, frugal living or financial independence with friends and family for the most part. I am lucky in the regard that I have a very supportive partner and a great family. Although they don’t totally understand what I’m talking about sometimes, they support me 100%.

      Thanks again for following the journey and I hope I can keep you interested! Hopefully we can reach FI together. :)

      Best wishes.

  3. says

    Happy B-day DM. Everybody gets old one day or the other, so use your years as much as possible. It’s nice to see your account(s) and your age next to each other and comparing it to mine. Compared to you I am horribly behind the schedule :(

    • says


      Thanks! I appreciate it.

      Don’t worry about being behind my schedule, or anyone else other than your own. It’s hard to compare oneself to others in many financial regards because we’re all different, with different income levels, different goals and aspirations, different responsibilities and different ways to go about it all.

      The most important thing is that you set up realistic and actionable goals for yourself and keep on target with those goals. :)

      Best wishes.

    • says


      I appreciate it. Thanks so much.

      I’m looking forward to seeing the progress as well, but more importantly I’m looking forward to sharing that progress with you readers and (hopefully) inspiring others out there!

      Take care.

  4. says

    Happy Birthday man! Outstanding job on your progress this past year. You’re on an incredible role. I know it’s hard to imagine the uphill climb that still ahead, but it will eventually come to fruition. You’ll look up here soon at your 40th birthday, or before, and say, “Wow, I did it.” That’s what I’m going for as well.

    • says


      Thanks buddy.

      You’re on a roll too! You’re doing fantastic. Keep up the great, great work.

      I’m still at base camp, looking up at the mountain. But I know that one day I’ll be at the summit looking down on the mountainous journey screaming “I did it!!” while my arms are straight up in the air, jumping up and down. :)

      And I also know that you’ll be at the mountain top too! Keep climbing, my friend.

      Best wishes!

    • says


      Well, I’d prefer to stay in the 30 club but I have no choice! :)

      Great to be in a group of forthright and thoughtful young investors like yourself. Makes me proud to be doing what I’m doing.

      Best regards.

    • says


      Hat tip to you as well! You’re doing great yourself.

      The payoff is starting to really come now that the compounding snowball is starting to pick up steam as it rolls downhill. I’m just hoping to hang on and let it do its thing.

      Thanks for the kind words. I hope we can continue to grow our wealth together!

      Take care.

  5. Spoonman says

    Happy Birthday, DM!! Indeed, you’re on a role this year and I think that you are gathering a tremendous amount of momentum. You are doing the community a great service by documenting your journey in such honest and accurate detail. I look forward to many more DM birthdays!

    Don’t worry too much about being closer to 40 than 20. When you reach FI (which I think will happen before you are 40) you might be chilling out so hard you might actually lose count of your age!


    • says



      The year has been tremendous. I have made a lot of progress and I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.

      I hope you’re right about chilling so hard that I lose track of time. One thing I greatly look forward to in FI is slowing time down. It moves way too fast for my liking right now. The days blend into weeks, weeks blend into months and so on. Not fun and definitely something I look forward to changing. Time is a blur right now.

      I look forward to seeing your financial independence come to fruition and seeing how well it treats you. I know you’ve got some big ideas so it’ll be fun to live vicariously through you for a few years while I catch up. Have fun with it!

      Best wishes.

  6. Onassis says


    It´s really amazing, how big your portfolio now is!

    You deliver a great and wonderful story!
    Keep going!

    Best regards


    • says


      Thanks so much! I appreciate your ongoing support. Very kind of you!

      The portfolio is bigger than I thought it would be at this stage simply because the market is higher than I thought it would be. But that’s why I’m not a market timer or forecaster. I simply stick to buying high quality companies and mostly disassociating myself with the market.

      I’m glad you enjoy the story. I’m doing my best to remain as transparent as possible so that others can see that this is possible for middle class earners that put their minds to it. I just hope I inspire others!

      Take care.

  7. says

    Happy Belated Birthday! Sounds like the last year has been awesome. Keep up the good work, it’s amazing what a lot of hard work can do in a year’s time.

    • says



      The last year has been really amazing. I still can’t believe how wonderful it’s been. I’m really blessed.

      I’ve definitely been working hard to put myself in a great position. I can see how the hard work pays off already, so I can only imagine how hard work looks after a decade. I look forward to finding out for myself!

      I hope you continue to find inspiration here. May your next year be as good as my past year was!

      Best regards.

  8. EB says

    Happy Birthday! I am 35, and it seems like a lot of your readers are also in their 30s. It’s funny how our values start to change and we wisen up after our 20s. A lot of us were broke and in debt in our 20s, and looked for a better way out.

    I also wish that I had learned more about financial responsibility and dividend investing when I was younger. Almost anyone can do what we are doing, they just have to educate themselves about it and be disciplined. The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.

    • says


      “The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.” – Absolutely. I wish I would have started a few years earlier, but it is what it is. The fact that I completely wasted my 20’s and spent the entirety of a modest inheritance shows how possible it is to overcome setbacks and self-imposed difficulties. I shook myself out of that stupor and woke up. If it’s possible for me, it’s possible for anyone. Truly.

      Best wishes!

  9. says

    Happy birthday DM!

    I admire what you’ve achieved so far, but I also think that it’s not just the luck and gifts which you’ve been describing. 95% of your achievements are due to the consistent hard work you put toward reaching your goal.

    I wish I’d be able to save 50% of my income but we can only manage to put away about 39% right now (unfortunately not all the 39% go toward our retirement portfolios).

    Carry on and take care of yourself! CDB

    • says


      Absolutely. I am blessed with many things in life, but certainly none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the hard work I put into this journey every single day. It’s tough to wake up at 6:15 and ride a scooter into work while I’m still tired. Working for 9-10 hours per day and then coming home and making a quick dinner, changing, jogging down to the gym, working out for an hour or so, jogging back home, blogging, managing my portfolio/researching new ideas, showering, going to sleep. The weeks are tough. But I can see how hard work pays off already. I greatly look forward to seeing this hard work compound itself over a decade. Then it’ll be easy street! :)

      Great job saving 39% of your income! That’s fantastic, and well above the average. That is something to be proud of. Keep up the great work!

      Best regards.

    • says


      Hey, thanks for stopping by. Don’t think I’ve seen you here before. Thanks for making it by.

      I appreciate the warm wishes! Much appreciated.

      Hope all is well!

      Best wishes.

  10. Anonymous says

    Won’t you be bored retiring at 40? If the point is to not work, what are you going to do with all of your free time? Are you planning on having enough money to travel and do your hobbies full time?

    • says


      Bored? Life is too big and too special to be bored. I’ve discussed many times about what I plan on doing with my life post-work.

      I simply do not identify myself by a job. See:

      That’s just an example of my philosophy on life and my identity. I have so many interests now that I almost can’t keep up with them with a full-time job getting in the way.

      Bored? Definitely not.

      Take care.

  11. says

    Happy birthday DM,

    You have made great progress in just one year. Thank you for all of the informative and motivational posts. I am a couple years older than you but aggressively trying to play catch-up.

    Take care and keep up the good work!

    • says



      Hey, you’ve made absolutely tremendous progress. It’s stunning. It’s like go-go gadget portfolio! I don’t think you’re the one catching up, as I think you have that backwards! :)

      Keep up the great work on your end.

      Best wishes!

    • says


      Thanks man. Always have appreciated your support since the beginning.

      The great thing is that our portfolios will provide us income for (theoretically) the rest of our lives. Even if we were to stop investing now and spend 100% of our incomes, we’d still be looking at an income stream of hundreds of dollars per month that would grow organically at a rate that outpaces inflation. Wonderful! The gift that keeps on giving, right?

      Take care!

  12. Anonymous says


    Nice work on your portfolio and Happy Birthday. You’ve found like minds that set goals and work hard to achieve them. Self actualization is the ultimate goal, not work, large incomes and materialistic things that the system around you keeps wispering in everyones ears.

    Take Care

    • says


      Thanks for the kind words.

      Self-actualization is my life’s pursuit. To always seek more knowledge, to improve myself, to improve the world around me. The investing just allows me the time to actually pursue this interest, rather than pursue interests that an employer would choose for me.

      May we both excel in our quests!

      Best regards.

  13. says

    Happy belated birthday DM!

    Wow, helluva year. Freedom Fund was worth about $68,000, now worth double.

    The Today Show. USA Today.

    Onwards and upwards for you :)

    I wish you the best on your passive dividend income retirement plan. If you keep investing in blue-chip stocks, established companies that have a history of paying dividends, you KNOW you’re going to get there. :)

    I hope to live off my dividends in another 15 years. I’ve got $23,000 more in dividends per year to make (goal = $30,000 per year). Hopefully, slow and steady will win the race!

    Continued success and stay in touch,

    • says


      Thanks so much. I appreciate it. You’ve had an outstanding year as well. I’m just trying to keep up with you guys. :)

      You’re already up to $7k in dividend income. That’s fantastic. I’m still a few years off from that kind of success. Enjoy the fruits of your hard work!

      Thanks for the support. Keep up the great work.

      Best wishes!

    • says


      Thanks for your readership and kind support. It’s readers like you that make this blog what it is. So I thank you.

      Hope you’re having a great weekend!

      Take care.

  14. says

    Mantra, not much else I can add or say here. You’ve done a fantastic job, keep up the good work! Wish I started investing like this when I was 30. You’ll be a millionaire when you are my age. :)

    You’re an inspiration to many…

    The Dividend Ninja

    • says


      Thanks so much. You’re too kind!

      You’re doing an amazing job over there as well, educating fellow investors on how to manage their own money and avoid the hefty fees that come with mutual funds.

      You’re an inspiration to many as well. I hope we can both keep it up for many years to come!

      Best wishes.

  15. says

    Congratulations on a terrific year DM. Your progress and philosophy is of inspiration to us all. Keep it up, you will hit your FI dividend mark before you know it. I used to think attaining a sizeable dividend income was more of a dream. Today, I’m fortunate to see the reality!


    • says


      Thanks!! Very much appreciated.

      I’m truly humbled that so many people out there find inspiration here and really enjoy my writing. Although achieving financial independence is my life’s aspiration, I’m living a dream every single day by writing for this blog and inspiring others in such a dramatic and real way. It’s a real pleasure.

      I’m glad that you’ve seen your dream come true. Getting to the point where your dividend income is a lower middle class income is truly wonderful. That’s an extra earner in the house that gives you all their income. Gotta love it!

      Keep up the great work.

      Best wishes!

    • says

      FI Fighter,

      Thanks so much! I certainly hope you’re right. I’m anxious to own all my time!

      You’re killing it too with the real estate. You’re going to be a real estate baron at this rate. Keep it up!

      Best regards.

Join The Discussion!