Dividend Income

Here you’ll see all of my dividend income since the very beginning. I have hyperlinked every corresponding monthly dividend income update. I wasn’t blogging in 2010 – my first year of dividend growth investing – so I don’t have any relevant articles for that year. However, I have included what I earned for the entire year for the sake of showing just how powerful this strategy can be.

2010 Dividend Income

2010 Total: $269.33

2011 Dividend Income

January 2011 – $33.35
February 2011 – $34.90
March 2011 – $88.76
April 2011 – $66.40
May 2011 – $95.24
June 2011 – $179.96
July 2011 – $59.10
August 2011 – $60.86
September 2011 – $153.76
October 2011 – $81.56
November 2011 – $166.27
December 2011 – $181.90

2011 Total: $1,202.06

2012 Dividend Income 

January 2012 – $165.69
Febuary 2012 – $146.49
March 2012 – $251.35
April 2012 – $161.26
May 2012 – $97.07
June 2012 – $315.70
July 2012 – $145.69
August 2012 – $208.65
September 2012 – $357.82
October 2012 – $154.92
November 2012 – $145.47
December 2012 – $452.47

2012 Total: $2,602.58

2013 Dividend Income

January 2013 – $157.39
February 2013 – $215.20
March 2013 – $413.72
April 2013 – $233.07 
May 2013 – $150.64 
June 2013 – $553.38
July 2013 – 181.72
August 2013 – $341.33
September 2013 – $640.87
October 2013 – $247.95
November 2013- $186.12
December 2013 – $604.73

2013 Total: $3,926.12

2014 Dividend Income

January 2014 – $347.97
February 2014 – $336.59
March 2014 – $708.83
April 2014 – $311.78
May 2014 – $307.92
June 2014 – $699.43
July 2014 – $315.11

2014 Total: $3,117.63

Comments

    • says

      Daniel,

      Glad to hear the love of dividends is alive and well down in Brazil! :)

      After all, how could you not love collecting passive income from high quality companies. Who doesn’t like receiving a check for doing nothing? :)

      Cheers.

    • says

      RichUncleEL,

      Indeed!

      I include all the numbers from the start of the blog until current because I think it’s really cool to see the income rise. It’s the “proof in the pudding” as I like to call it. It’s hard to argue with progress when the money’s coming in. :)

      Thanks for the well wishes. I really appreciate it. I’ve still got a long road in front of me, but it’s a lot easier to travel with the support of this great community!

      I wish you the best of luck in your journey as well.

      Best regards.

      • says

        I told some of my friends about dividend compounding and so on and pointed them to your site, i’m amazed how many people don’t do it still, were completely unaware of ‘investing’ or still just stayed with expensive mutual funds because they didn’t know much beyond that. It’s that 10 year minimum horizon that is critical for the compounding to really take hold…people rarely look that far unless it is with a mortgage from what i can tell, i’ve had to make a ton of sacrifice for the last 3 years like yourself but once you get into the habit, every month just gets better and better. It’s just like getting fit again, the first few months are painful then you kinda don’t think about it so much and finally the pressure starts to lift and you start to see the fruits of your labour.

        Keep up the good work!

        • says

          talesfromthetape,

          Thanks for trying to open some minds up and point some new readers this way. Hopefully they see the light some day. :)

          And dividends are definitely the gifts that keep on giving. You make just one great decision in your life like forgoing a new television and investing that $1,200 or so into a high quality business and that one decision will pay you for the rest of your life. When you start to compound these decisions over and over again over the course of years…well, that’s when the fun really begins!

          Thanks for the support.

          Best wishes.

  1. says

    Love the blog. I’m a twentysomething lawyer in a public service job, about a year into my career. So — not a high salary, and haven’t been in the workforce for very long. But now that I’ve had a year of settling into my new city (all the while contributing to retirement funds) I’ve just started my brokerage account and am following a strategy somewhat like yours, though I’m certainly not as well-versed in the details of what to look for as you. I’m mostly buying companies that I know, are large, and can see expanding/continuing to do well for the next half-century. Of course, I’m susceptible to “hope” purchases — just got one share of GOOG because I wanted in before the split, partially because I’m a Google fanboy, and also because I can see them being a real disruptive force in new sectors over the next few decades. So, even though it doesn’t produce dividend income, I’m fine with being along for the ride on that.

    • says

      Dave,

      Thanks for writing. And congratulations to you for starting your own journey!

      Not every journey looks the same, as we’re all individuals with independent aspirations. Furthermore, I’d be willing to bet that I’m in a rather small subset of investors who invest in dividend growth stocks exclusively. So don’t worry about your GOOG investment. As long as it fits your goals and it’s performing as you would expect then go for it.

      I wish you the best of luck! And please stay in touch.

      Cheers.

  2. Juan says

    Did you build an emergency fund before you started your FF? If so how many months of expenses did you build?

    • says

      Juan,

      I wrote about my ideas on an emergency fund a while back here:

      http://www.dividendmantra.com/2011/10/my-thoughts-on-emergency-fund/

      Although that article is old, the basic principles still hold weight for me. I typically carry around $5k or so in cash at any given time, although it may oscillate a bit. I feel comfortable with this level of cash because I don’t have any children, I’m relatively healthy, I rent, and I have a high savings rate. I could easily add $2-$3k to my cash pot in any given month simply by not investing the cash. Furthermore, I have about $10k in untapped credit I could take advantage of if the need arises. Lastly, I have dividend income coming in that acts as a “break in case of emergency” source of cash. Of course, I could always sell positions if I really needed major cash, but that would have to be a life-threatening type of emergency.

      Best regards!

  3. Ray says

    You are me 30 years ago. My goal was to build a big enough retirement portfolio that I need never touch the principle. For the past 30 years I was able to save 26% of my salary plus reinvest all my dividends. It worked, but I had no desire to retire at 40. My goal was and is to enjoy life and never have to worry about college tuition, car, dentist, roof or what ever.

    We always lived simply, clipped coupons and obstained from the $4 cup of coffee. As a result we were able to raise 2 kids and take vacations and enjoy life. Becoming financially indepenent is a great idea but not if you have to 10 years in prison to get there. Finding balance in life is key to staying on any plan..

    good luck in your journey.

    • says

      Ray,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Congrats to you on being able to save such a high amount of your income for so long. You’re a rare bird! :)

      And I agree with not living in a self-imposed prison to get to financial independence. Everyone’s idea of “sacrifice” is different. For some, it’s cutting back on weekend shoe shopping trips. For others, a home-cooked meal is a big upgrade. It’s all about perspective. I’ve personally found a nice balance right now between living for today while still saving for tomorrow. And this balance can change over time. What I’m comfortable with now may change in the future. Life is dynamic, not linear. :)

      It’s definitely all about balance! Stay in touch.

      Take care.

  4. Gefre says

    Hi Jason.

    Good for you for reaching your $100k in 3 years, worth celebrating indeed.

    Just read your blog and subscribed to it because you sounded sincere and curious about dividend as a passive income. Correct me if I’m wrong in my understanding. Basically, in about 3 something years when you started in 2010, you had a total income of about $8k meaning you put up about $92k of your own money thru frugal living with a middle-class earning. comes out to about 9% ROI correct? When you said dividend as passive income, do you actually meant income as cash in your pocket when that time comes when you decide to retire from the regular job and simply live off the dividend payments while for now you are building that nest for a bigger monthly cash out thru DRIP, correct?

    looking forward to reading your blog.

    • says

      Gefre,

      Thanks for the kind words! I’m indeed proud of what I’ve done, but the road ahead is still long. The support I’ve received from the investing community has been truly wonderful, however.

      I’ve contributed about $100k total from the very first day to now. Or at least, that was the number I came up with not long ago for another reader. So that’s in four years from 2010-2014. And my portfolio is around $156k now.

      And I don’t participate in a DRIP, as I wrote about here:

      http://www.dividendmantra.com/2014/03/selective-dividend-reinvestment-vs-drip/

      But the plan is to reinvest dividends for now until I need to live off of the dividend income. Then I’ll simply shift from accumulating assets to living off of my passive income. At least, that’s the plan. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Best regards.

  5. Michael says

    Curious if you have ever looked at selling Covered Calls on your positions to generate additional income from your positions?

    • says

      Michael,

      I don’t use options.

      I don’t want to cap my upside, and I also don’t believe in betting on short-term price movements. I see how they work for some people, but for me it’s just not necessary.

      Best regards!

      • Michael says

        It’s something to look at. Of course you can only do it on your positions that have 100+ shares and depending on your broker, you will want to weigh the cost of commissions versus the return.

        That said, if your goal is strictly dividend income while not cashing out any of the portfolio then the appreciation/value of the portfolio doesn’t matter. If you capped your portfolio value at your cost basis but returned 2x your current dividend income then are you better off?

        • says

          Michael,

          It isn’t just the income to look at; it’s also the capital set aside needed for this strategy, as well as being forced into transactions based on stock price action which typically incurs more transaction costs than the typical buy-and-hold strategy. Again, I see the benefits, but for me and what I’m trying to accomplish it’s unnecessary to utilize this strategy.

          Best regards!

  6. Rohit says

    I wan tto invest in dividend stocks however, find the current pricing daunting as quite a lot of these companies are trading at 5 year high pricing. The thought of earning is attractive however, what is keeping me on the fence is potential devaluation of dividend stocks once the interest rate starts ticking up. What are your thoughts on it? I used to make same kind of money on CDs alone just a few years ago.

    • says

      Rohit,

      I don’t worry about interest rates climbing, or Ukraine border tensions, or any other macroeconomic factors that are completely out of my control. It’s just a waste of time.

      I’d rather focus on where the value is in this market. Instead of looking at companies that are indeed expensive, I’d rather spend my time analyzing companies that are trading at attractive valuations and put my capital to work there. For instance, the energy sector has value right now, in my opinion.

      Try not to look at the market. Rather, investigate and value individual companies, because as a dividend growth investor that’s exactly what you’re investing in.

      Best of luck!

      Take care.

  7. Rob says

    What is your opinion of simply buying shares of VIG or DVY? It seems much easier than managing all of your own stocks and the transactions costs are less. I havent run the numbers but I’d assume your way is more profitable.

  8. Burmalainen says

    Hello,

    Just wondering about the taxation in the U.S. Is it similar than in Finland that you must pay 30% tax from dividends? I have had some thoughs that in Finland might be better to invest in Index funds that doesn’t pay out the dividends. So you can save pretty much money in the long term i guess. Any thoughs?

    • says

      Burmanlainen,

      It’s tough to say what I would do in Finland as I don’t live there, but I’d try to take advantage of whatever I could.

      Taxation is a complicated subject, and I’m overly simplifying it here:

      Our taxation on dividends here in the U.S. is rather favorable right now. It’s 15% for most people. There’s a 20% tax on earners in the top income bracket (39.6%). However, the great thing is that you’re taxed at 0% on qualified dividends if you’re in the bottom two brackets – 10% and 15%. That’s what I’m aiming for in early retirement – to be in a low income bracket and pay little or no taxes on my dividends. We’ll see how I do, and I’ll make sure to keep everyone updated on that as I go.

      Best regards.

  9. Mathew Walker says

    Way to go DM!,

    Q1 2014 has already surpassed your entire annual Dividends for 2011.

    Q1-4 2011 Total: $1,202.06
    2014 Dividend Income

    Q1 2014 Total: $1,393.39
    Making more in one Quarter, than you had in an entire year previously – has got to be a great feeling!
    Keep up the commitment and pursue the dream ;your doing great.
    MW

    • says

      Matthew,

      Thanks so much! I appreciate you pointing that out.

      The tangible nature of dividends makes it very easy to track the progress and motivate one to keep going. And that’s just one thing I really love about dividends. Of course, the fact that they’re cash money doesn’t hurt either. :)

      I hope you’re doing just as well or even better than I am on your way to financial independence. To our success!

      Best wishes.

  10. david says

    Wow this is all so truly inspiring… im 23 y/o and trying to find my path to financial freedom. I currently max my match contribution in 401k as well as just started a roth ira growth fun… but my bank (usaa) tells me i shouldn’t put any money into anything other than my roth but I feel growing passive income now would be smart… I currently have a brokerage account with td ameritrade for their learning tools. I own 10 shares of at&t but am scared to invest more into other blue chip divs because of what my investor advisor is telling me about roth importance. Plus the commission fee from trading would eat me up he says… any thoughtsI really need some sort of clarity for someone with new low capital.

    • says

      david,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Congratulations for getting such an early start. You’re only 23, so you definitely have time on your side! Compounding is especially powerful when you have a long ramp from which to start your snowball.

      As far as your question goes, it is indeed possible to invest with very little money. I don’t know your goals, so I’m not sure how much money you’re going to want to invest in a taxable account. But for most people I recommend maxing out a Roth IRA. It’s a fantastic investment vehicle. I avoid it only because I’m trying to attain financial independence so early in life.

      If you can max out your Roth as well as your 401(k) then I would recommend Computershare for direct stock purchases and then you can set up a dividend reinvestment plan with your corresponding stock investments:

      http://www.computershare.com/us/Pages/default.aspx

      You can start with as little as $50 in most cases with much less costs than you’d see in traditional brokerage accounts. However, if you do eventually decide to go with a discount brokerage I recommend Scottrade. I personally use their services and I’ve been very happy!

      I hope this helps. :)

      Best wishes.

  11. says

    Hi there, thanks for the nice job! i am Brazilian and i have ben investing in Brazilian stock market since 2001! I realy like investiment focused on dividends, and here in Brazil we have good companies, with consistent profit, paying dividend higher than 10% per year! A doubt, in U.S, how much you guys consider a good dividend yeld? thanks, congratulations and good look with your project!

    • says

      edgar,

      Thanks for stopping by from Brazil! Glad to have you.

      We have stocks here in the U.S. that feature yields that high (10% or so), but usually this is because there’s additional risk involved. You pretty much never see blue chip stocks yielding so much unless we’re in a major economic crisis. And even then it’s quite rare. I would never want to form my portfolio around stocks that yield this much – which are mostly mREITs and BDCs – but I’m a bit conservative like that. However, I’m not totally conservative since almost 100% of my worldly wealth is in stocks right now.

      Thanks for the well wishes. I can only extend the same to you!

      Take care.

  12. NewInvestor says

    Newbie question: you are showing income each month…it was my understanding that dividends are paid quarterly…so shouldn’t your income be coming only every few months?

    • says

      NewInvestor,

      That’s a great question!

      Dividends aren’t always paid quarterly, but most U.S. stocks do indeed paid quarterly. However, they don’t all pay in the same quarter. For instance, Coca-Cola pays in April, July, October, and December. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson pays in March, June, September, and December. So you can see that after accumulating a handful of stocks you’ll have different stocks paying in different quarters, thereby allowing you income through all of the months. Furthermore, some stocks (like O and ARCP in my portfolio) pay monthly. And then there are many stocks (usually foreign stocks) pay semi-annually.

      But this is all really ignoring the main point: Don’t focus on the monthly schedules of stocks. Focus foremost on the individual businesses and the quality, valuation, diversification, and financials. I NEVER paid any attention to the payout dates of stocks. I only accumulated when the valuation and quality made sense within my own portfolio. The payouts will eventually smooth themselves out. And even if they don’t, budgeting skills will more than make up for this (which you should already possess if you’re saving and investing).

      Best wishes!

  13. Lisa says

    I just found your blog and love it. I have also been working on building my portfolio. A question I have is what do you plan to do about the monthly fluctuations. Some months very high then some months low income for retirement? I have the same problem now and wonder if I should try to even it out somehow. I think in retirement it would be easier to count on a certain amount of monthly income. Thanks!

    • says

      Lisa,

      So glad you found the blog and enjoy it thus far. I hope you continue to stop by! :)

      As far as smoother dividend payouts and less fluctuations, it actually doesn’t make a difference to me. I think anyone who’s able to achieve financial independence at a relatively young age via dividend growth investing is naturally going to be a wonderful saver and good with budgeting. As such, one would be expected to simply save the excess dividends during months with higher payouts to compensate for the months with lower payouts.

      However, I still plan/hope to smooth things out over time if just to make the budgeting easier on myself later down the road. I think this will happen naturally, and it doesn’t need to be forced. I would never recommend investing in a stock based on the month they pay dividends!

      I hope this helps. :)

      Best wishes.

  14. says

    Hi! Great site, love it. Let’s assume tomorrow you met your goal. I’m curious, with 50+ stocks each paying their own dividend, how would you pay yourself? Would you sell a piece of all 50 .. 30 .. 10..? I mean the commissions after multiple sales begins to add up quickly and eat into your investments, right? What’s best way/most efficient way to pay yourself?

    • says

      Matthew,

      Thanks for the support and readership!

      I’m not sure I understand your question correctly. If I met my goal tomorrow I’d be living off of my dividend income solely. I wouldn’t be selling any stocks at all. The most efficient way to pay yourself is to just collect the dividends in your brokerage account, withdraw them, and pay for expenses with that cash flow. That’s one of the big reasons I invest this way, so I don’t need to worry about selling a share here and there to pay for my bills. Dividends are commission-free.

      I hope that helps?

      Best wishes!

      • says

        Thanks for taking time to responsd. It’s my understanding if you purchase a stock say WMT at 75.00 and it pays a dividend of 3% annually ($2.25). If you owned just one WMT stock then after 12 months it’s value becomes $77.25 (75.00 + 2.25). You were paid the dividend of $2.25 but, it’s just added into the value of WMT, right? I don’t think they just take the $2.25 and mail you a seperate check? Maybe that might clarify my question. Thanks for being patient.

        • says

          Matthew,

          Well, the dividend is paid from a company’s cash flow. The stock price is based on a lot of factors that aren’t totally within a company’s control.

          But a dividend isn’t “added” to a stock price. The stock price is what buyers are willing to pay for equity in a company, based on factors way too complex for me to go over in a comment. The dividend is a portion of profits being sent your way as a part-owner. A stock price and a dividend is technically independent of one another, although stock exchanges will manually adjust a stock price downward to compensate for the dividend. But these manual adjustments are typically lost in the daily noise of the buying and selling within the market. One could argue that a company would be “worth more” had they never sent dividends to owners, but this is really impossible to say. It would depend on whether the company in question was able to reinvest that capital at a more advantageous rate. But this is all coulda, shoulda, wouldas to me. I pay my bills in cash, from cash. And dividends provide me the steady and rising cash to do so.

          I hope that helps!

          Best regards.

    • says

      I know this question isn’t addressed to me but, I thought this was such an interesting question. I think if the markets dropped 70-90% obviously the values of stocks would be doomsday-levels-low. I think we would have much bigger problems closely resembling apoloclyptic times and it’d be better to grab a gun then another stock.

      But, what if the markets dropped 50% and bottomed out here? If you look at WMT between Jan 2008 to Jan 2011 they actually slightly increased their dividend payouts and remained consistent during ths Great Recession. So I guess if you were living off dividends (like DM) these companies still had a incentive to keep investors but had to give them a reason to stay.All in all, companies like WMT aren’t really going anywhere anytime soon and I think DMs model is pretty solid.

      I’m not a financial expert but, this is just my two cents for what it may be worth.

    • says

      Gary Jones,

      I don’t plan on exiting if the market crashes. If we see a 30% or 40% drop in stock prices I’ll probably go out and get the highest paying job I can possibly find to load up on equities. :)

      Cheers!

  15. says

    Mantra,

    I love your progression in your monthly dividends increases. One day I hope I get to where you are. Just got to focus on slow and steady. I’ve enjoyed your blog and learnt a lot. So thank you for writing.

    - Dividend Eclipse

    • says

      Dividend Eclipse,

      It simply takes consistency and persistence, my friend. Every single month is another step toward eventual freedom. :)

      Glad you find some value in the blog. Hope to keep on writing for many years!

      Take care.

  16. Charles says

    Hi Jason,

    Love the blog.

    A *long* time ago, I had dividend income similar to what you have now. If I had not then tried so hard for so long to get rich quick, I would have been rich a long time ago.

    Now I am officially abandoning all get rich quick strategies and going with dividend growth investing. Perhaps I’ll be rich by 30 years from now, on my 99th birthday.

    :-)

    • says

      Charles,

      Sorry to hear about that, but sometimes experience is necessary. I’ve certainly made my fair share of costly mistakes. But I’ve learned and grown, and I’m the person I am today because of them. So I don’t regret it.

      The good news is that you’re on the right track now! Keep going. :)

      Best regards.

  17. Sasha says

    DM,
    Do you do some kind of calculations to see what kind of performance your div. portfolio has experienced?
    I just did a one silly calculation and even though the calculation is not correct logically, but it does perhaps shed a bit of the light in a broad brush, IMO. Your take on the below calculation?

    Over the years, I’ve invested bi-weekly/monthly into a total stock Idx fund. No withdrawals yet. So, over the 8 years I invested a total of $50K. Its value in mid-May’14 was $74k which makes 48% gain (total or if it has any name since as I said it’s not really correct).

    Another mutual fund is actively managed (0.54% exp.ratio) and again I’ve invested weekly/bi-weekly/monthly over the last 10 years in the sum of $30k. Its value mid-May’14 was $51k. That gives me 70% gain.

    Now, DGI… Various stocks, various start dates, various purchase amounts in bi-weekly/monthly investing. $147K invested over 10 years and the portfolio, its value mid-May’14 was 177K, giving only 20% gain.

    No withdrawals, all divvies and cap gains (in the case of funds) have been reinvested. As I said, the calculation is most likely wrong, but the more accurate computation would show even more dismal picture of DGI ‘success’ vs. funds. Shouldn’t I switch to the idx fund and get a life?

    • says

      Sasha,

      You’ve got a lot of numbers you’re throwing around over there.

      I don’t look at capital gains as a primary performance measure, and perhaps you don’t quite understand this strategy or what a dividend growth investor is trying to achieve. I say that because not once in your comment did you reference income and/or growth in your income.

      That being said, if you only registered a 20% total return over the last 10 years in your DGI portfolio I’m guessing you just aren’t very good at picking great businesses and sticking with them, or you got really unlucky. You would probably do much better with a low-cost index fund.

      Best of luck!

      Cheers.

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