Weekend Reading – August 24, 2013

I got home not long ago after putting the finishing touches on my 54th hour of work this week, wrapping it all up on a Saturday afternoon. Six days straight. I don’t know about you, but I could think of much bigger and better things to do with my time than to spend 54 hours of it estimating repair costs, processing paperwork and answering phone calls.

And that’s really the crux of my journey. That’s what all the saving and investing is all about. It’s about a way out; a path to freedom. And I hope that in my transparency and honesty in the way I approach the journey to financial independence you find inspiration to carve out your own path to freedom.

I have some great articles planned and some wonderful ideas in my head, just swirling around waiting for pen to be put to paper. I hope you all stick around and enjoy what I have planned! There’s even a new medium in which I’m going to try to deliver content, and I hope you readers find some value in that. It’s all coming very soon. In the meantime, I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

Here are some excellent articles from fellow dividend growth investors, frugalists and personal finance bloggers from the past week.

Was the City intern who worked until 6am killed by his ambition to match his high flying father?
I’m not trying to compare this tragedy to my own plight, but there is something to be said about a healthy work-life balance. What a shame to see any 21-year old die with a bright future, but especially so when it happens in a dubious environment. His exact cause of death is yet to be determined, but there is speculation that exhaustion after working almost three days straight is at least partially to blame.

Ben’s 7 Phases to Retirement
Joe had a great guest post this week that gave an explanation as to what the seven phases of retirement are and how they may impact your journey. I believe I’m in phase five right now, but I’m very hopeful that phase six isn’t more than a decade away!

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT): A high dividend growth giant
Dividend Growth Investor recently analyzed Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) and concluded that it’s fairly valued with plenty of earnings and dividend growth ahead of it, even with competition both from traditional retailers and e-commerce. I tend to agree!

Five Dividend Stocks Buying Back Their Own Shares
Matt highlighted five companies that have a habit of buying back their own shares in a fairy regular and reliable manner, which works well to reduce the share count and increase the ownership positions of existing shareholders. Many of us are mixed on buybacks, but there is no doubt that they are effective over the long haul. Whether or not they are to be preferred over dividend payments, however, is another story.

An Update from the Post Job Life (The Good Life)
Kraig updated us all on what life looks like without a job. As you may or may not know, Kraig quit his well-paying full-time job not too long ago to focus on passions and entrepreneurship. I’m definitely envious of his spirit and the position he is in now! But, it’s not all fun as he’s busy working on projects that will allow his  new life to be sustainable.

What Are Quality Dividend Stocks, And Why Should You Own Them?
Tim went over what exactly qualifies as a high quality company and why you, as an investor, should take such an active interest in wanting to own a small slice of these companies. I know I share this vision, as I have constructed my Freedom Fund to include what I believe to mostly be high quality companies with fairly strong growth prospects looking forward.

Fear is Just a Chemical
MMM reminded us all that fear is just a chemical within us, and because of that can easily be controlled and then overcome. I’ve talked a lot about this here on Dividend Mantra. Fear and greed are the two primary emotions that drive investors, and if you’re able to overcome these emotions and react to basic reasoning you stand to do well over the long haul. As I’ve always recommended, conquer your fears and you’ll become a much better person for it. 

Get Realistic and Sell Your Stocks
The Dividend Guy talks about overcoming, ahem, fear and greed, and selling your stocks when they are no longer serving the purpose you set out for them when you bought them. Even if this means selling for a loss. He talks about a couple recent sells and how he used the capital from these sales to invest in Wal-Mart (WMT). See how nicely I tie things up? 

Full Disclosure: Long WMT

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: Benoit Mahe


  1. says

    Dividend Mantra,

    Thank you very much for highlighting my analysis of WMT. I like both WMT and TGT currently, and plan on adding to my exposure them in a few days.

    I am looking forward to hearing about the changes on Dividend Mantra site.

    Dividend Growth Investor

    • says


      No problem at all! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the retailer.

      I’m also a fan of WMT at these prices. I have a small position with the company, but wouldn’t mind at all increasing it from here.

      I don’t plan on any big changes to the site, but I do plan on showcasing some different content over the next week or so and I hope people enjoy it. We’ll see how it goes!

      Enjoy your weekend.


    • says


      I’m glad you were able to escape from the rat race even earlier than you planned. I don’t blame you on not missing those 50-hour workweeks! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Best wishes.

  2. says

    The 54 hours work weeks will be all worth it in the end as it will allow your to reach financial freedom early hopefully. The downside to working hours like that, you tend to eat out more, often fast food as it is quick, as you are too tired to cook for yourself.

    I know people who work tonnes of hours just to blow it on partying, trips, and many other doodads. They don’t save a cent and say “You only live once and can’t take it with you”.

    I will continue to save and invest my money as I want piece of mind and to escape the rat race.

    • says

      Investing Pursuits,

      Thanks for that! I can appreciate what you’re saying. I do try to keep perspective. I’m optimistic about what I’m doing to be sure, but at times the workload does drain me. However, it’s the work that will buy my way to freedom so it’s necessary pain for gain.

      You know, I hear that a lot: “You can’t take it with you”. And I don’t look down on people that say that. I can understand where they’re coming from. I don’t think early retirement is for everyone. Some people like working and playing hard, and that’s cool. I get that. And I’m not saying I will always eschew having certain things like a nice place to call home or a nice car. But, I think the key is to build the wealth first if that’s your end goal. If you’re really looking to maximize your ability to spend money and end up bouncing the check to the funeral parlor, then you’re best served by building the wealth foundation first so that you can really maximize your ability to gratify yourself. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck it’s tough to be happy with your stuff because you’re always stressed out about how to pay for it. Conversely, if you have a nice house and a nice car and aren’t worried about how the mortgage is going to get paid or how you’re going to put gas in your car because you have hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets throwing off the income paying those bills, well, then you’re not too stressed out anymore.

      Best regards.

  3. says

    Good morning DM,
    Thanks for the recommended reading from your favorite blogs. I definitely enjoyed Ben’s 7 Phases to Retirement. Did you ever notice that many of the people who make the “you can’t take it with you” argument almost use it as a rationalization or excuse for their lack of financial planning and organization. Very few of them, that I know anyway, actually made a conscience decision to spend every nickel they make. For people like me and you saving/investing money is a means to attain flexibility in our schedules and free time with loved ones…..not to become a billionaire.

    A quick comment on Walmart. Some say it’s best days are behind it and it is already a behemoth. So it’s unlikely it will grow as quickly as it once did. Still, it makes a fairly compelling investment given it’s low dividend payout ratio, enormous scale, reasonable debt levels, and consistent 20%+ return on equity rate. There should be years of growing income to come.


    • says


      I hear you on how people try to rationalize poor financial planning. For the most part, I couldn’t agree more. However, I know a guy at work who actually used this same exact phrase yesterday while I was finishing up my Saturday shift. He’s the cashier at my job. He’s an older guy (in his 70’s?) and although he works as our cashier I’m quite confident he has some substantial assets put away. Why does he still work? I suppose he likes getting out of the house, but ultimately only he could answer that question.

      Anyhow, I consider this guy a friend. He’s very smart and he’s a cool guy. He recently bought a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle. Now, I’m a big car guy. For me, it does suck sometimes not having a car because at heart I love my fast cars, and muscle cars are right up my alley. So, he brought this car to work on Saturday (he doesn’t work Saturday’s). He pulled up to my office door and was smiling ear to ear. This car is beautiful. Now, this car probably represented a very small purchase for him and I asked him if he was glad that he bought it. He smiled ear-to-ear and said “absolutely, you can’t take it with you”! I’m happy for the guy. He drove muscle cars when he was younger and he hasn’t had one in a while, so this is him getting back in touch with his youth.

      However, he’s a rare case.

      As far as WMT goes, I’m fresh from some research on the company for an article I’m going to publish later today. I wouldn’t count the growth out just yet. They have 10,000 stores throughout the world, but most of them are in North America. They have less than 400 stores in China and they have only 20 in India. These are the two biggest countries in the world, and so you have some untapped potential there in a big way. While they’ve mostly saturated the U.S. market, they’re just getting started in international operations.

      Best wishes!

    • says

      Haha, I’m a car guy too…..and that is entirely different. The redneck in me would like a late 60s Ford Bronco, while the rest of me would like an Austin Healey 3000. Someone following their passions, especially someone in their 70s, is just a smart thing to do. The people I was referring to are people our age who fritter the money away on eating out and high cable tv bills. It is entirely their right, I just don’t understand. Have a good week.


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