This weekend, Dividend Mantra hit 1,000,000 pageviews! Simply amazing. I started this blog back in March, 2011 never anticipating any kind of readership at all. I thought I would put my information out there and hopefully a couple people would find some inspiration and I could start some kind of dialogue with like-minded investors. I'm extremely proud of what this blog has accomplished thus far, and I hope to continue reaching new people in an exponential manner as time goes on.
I've always wanted to put an article together explaining exactly why I write this blog and what I'm really looking to accomplish from it. With the 1 million pageview milestone now achieved, I can think of no better time than now.
This blog exists for two reasons:
- Inspiration through action.
There's countless books/videos/products out there that promise to show you how to become wealthy or achieve financial independence. These are usually based around the premise that the author has achieved wealth or financial independence using the tools and strategies described within the product. I have never particularly cared for products like these because they are based in the past. The author gives you a rundown of what they supposedly did to get to where they're at and then you, as a reader, are supposed to extrapolate that out into your own life. What they did years ago may work now, or it may not. But mostly the problem is that they selectively pick parts of their strategy and give you the best parts of it. Who wants to buy a book if it's filled with mistakes and errors and doesn't promise anything at all? People want to be sold on something, even if it's not realistic or actionable. Glossy magazines and books promising million dollar accounts is where it's at. I'm not selling anything here, and I'm certainly not pushing anything that I don't believe in personally or act on myself. I walk the walk rather than talk the talk.
This blog is a live, organic and evolving look at one man's journey to build wealth and achieve financial independence via frugal living and investing in high quality companies that pay rising dividends. You can see everything I'm doing: what I'm earning, how much I'm spending, where the money comes from and where it goes, what I'm investing in and why, the mistakes I've made and the victories I've accomplished. There is no product here, no vague parables that leave you scratching your head and nothing based in the 80's. This blog is in the now. This blog is filled with actionable advice because it's based around real-world decisions I'm making and then sharing with you, the reader, as I go. I want to inspire others through my own action.
There's many people out there that don't believe you can achieve financial independence on a middle class salary while investing in a conservative manner. They think you have to make big money or take big risks. I don't believe this to be true. Every 50% loss you take requires a 100% gain to just break even. The journey to true wealth is a much less bumpy ride when you're investing for consistent 8-10% long-term returns than trying to swing for home-runs and get instant 10-baggers while absorbing the large losses as they come. Reaching financial independence, to me, is about planning and executing. You need to have patience, persistence and perseverance. It's about living on much less and investing the surplus into wonderful companies that share their profits with you. I put a plan together when I first started this blog detailing exactly how I was going to retire at such an early age while making a modest income. I've executed the plan to the best of my ability over the last couple years and built my portfolio from $5,000 into six-figures in the meantime. This isn't a book on how I did this, but rather a look into how I'm doing it right now, in real-time! This blog is about action, not theory.
- A chronicle documenting the realistic possibilities of frugal living and investing intelligently.
I believe the power of living below your means is much greater than people give it credit for. I think I've done a decent job proving that you don't need a six-figure income to build fairly substantial wealth in a short period of time. Looking at my gross income, I've averaged about $53,000/year over the last three years. While on a worldwide scale this puts me near the top echelon, this is the median income for a 25+ year-old male with a bachelor's degree here in the U.S. I'm certainly blessed to earn what I do, and I'm grateful for it.
What I'm trying to accomplish by chronicling my journey is to inspire others through proof of concept. You can read about someone's journey after they already accomplished it and they can tell you until you're blue in the face about how they did what they did. But if you don't believe it's possible, you'll never be inspired. I'm trying to inspire through proof. This blog is proof that it's not necessary to earn six-figures, because I don't. I earn a rather achievable income for many readers, so it's not like anything I'm doing is unrealistic or "out of reach".
While I believe living below your means and your savings rate trumps your ability to earn an outsized return in the stock market, investing as intelligently as I possibly can is a cornerstone of this blog and the strategy I'm using (dividend growth investing). Saving money is extremely important, but stuffing it all under your mattress, or in a savings account earning 0.001%, will not get you anywhere near financial independence. I'm chronicling my investments by peeling back the curtain. I publish my stock purchases and sales as well as my portfolio live for the entire world to see. I've made mistakes, and I'll continue to make them. Knowing that you can make mistakes too and still achieve all your dreams is inspiration in itself. I believe that investing in high quality companies that pay out rising dividends is a superior way to build wealth over time and I also believe that using these dividends to pay expenses in retirement, rather than selling off assets, is a wonderful way to avoid the pricing of individual securities at any given time. Who wants to build a huge nest egg of assets only to need to sell of 4-5% of them in a year when the broader market is down 10% or more? I believe that collecting dividends passively and then using them to pay expenses in retirement is much easier than trying to time the sales of underlying assets and I'll show you exactly how I do it once I am financially independent. This blog won't end when I reach FI, but rather continue on to show exactly what financial independence looks like and the possibilities therein!
These are the reasons why this blog exists. But this blog wouldn't exist, no matter how great the ideals behind it and no matter how much drive I had to share them, if it weren't for you readers. So please continue to follow the journey as we mutually inspire each other to reach our individual aspirations. I hope to reach 2,000,000 pageviews next, but what I'm really hoping for is to continue showing through my own actions in real-time how possible it really is to achieve your dreams. Belief must come first, and action second. I only prey that you believe in this because I'm doing my best to show how realistic all of this is. It's then up to you to take action!
Thanks for reading.
Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net