I’ve certainly been busy over the last few days, which is why this is coming out late.
I met my best friend for lunch on Friday at a wonderful sub shop called DiBella’s in Ann Arbor. One of my favorite spots, and not expensive at all. After lunch I spent around four hours at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, which is just massive. It was just a great time and almost completely free, minus the costs for a shuttle. Who says you can’t have fun when you’re living frugally? And I’ve already decided that A2 (as localites refer to Ann Arbor) is going to be where I finish my run to financial independence, with a move to the city likely occurring later this year or more likely early next year.
Then I spent all day Saturday at my parents’ house for a cookout and a picture party. They just got back from an Alaskan cruise and wanted to share some memories. Good stuff.
Today, I’ll be meeting my parents out at Lake Fenton for a day on their pontoon boat. Another awesome day of pretty much free activity, and on the water no less. It’ll be six of us out there for some fun in the sun.
Anyway, I’ve got a couple of really great articles coming out over the course of the week. I’m super excited to share my perspective on some issues and I hope you guys really enjoy those posts.
I hope you’re all out there making the most of the summer. I’m personally having one of the best summers of my life. I guess I took things for granted down in Florida because the weather is pretty nice all year long. Up here in Michigan, however, there’s this sense of urgency. You want to enjoy outdoor activities as much as possible while the weather is beautiful.
In the meanwhile, I’ll leave you all with some weekend reading! I’ve recently read and enjoyed all of the below articles. I hope you also find some enjoyment in them.
Is Mr. Money Mustache Ruining Your Marriage?
MMM posted this great article which was basically an email exchange with a rather unhappy spouse to a budding Mustachian. I found it really interesting to read the perspective on someone that isn’t quite as gung-ho about frugality and delayed gratification. Although, I think MMM summed it up best with this quote: “Successful frugality must come from an alignment of philosophies, not an ever-stricter regime of bean-counting.”
Seven Dividend Stocks I purchased for the long-term
Dividend Growth Investor names seven great companies he recently invested in, and I just so happen to have recently purchased shares in one of these companies myself. Proud to be a Deere & Company (DE) shareholder with DGI!
Visiting Home After Long Term Travel
Chris and Angela shared their experiences with a recent trip back to the States to visit family and have a little fun. They concluded, interestingly enough, that they missed Thailand and plan to move back for at least another year. I’m personally excited to visit Thailand at some point and investigate the country as a potential spot to live in for a while. However, this is still far off in the future for me, especially with a little niece coming into my life here very soon. But I’m looking forward to living vicariously through Chris and Angela in the meanwhile, reading about their adventures.
Recent Buy: July 2014
Ryan recently bought shares in a company that just so happens to my largest investment. Glad to have you on board, bud! Ryan’s making some great progress with his portfolio, and his dividend income is increasing at a rather rapid pace.
Make every day a Mandela Day
Richard Branson reminded us that every day is an opportunity to make the world a better place. Couldn’t agree more!
What is Normal?
Zee reminded us to question normalcy, and the value of it. What is normal? Is normal good or bad for you? I think normal, for the most part, sucks. Just because society deems something normal doesn’t make it right or good. We can see that all around us, with the old 9-5 till 65 being one of the best examples.
Canadian Century Club Dividend Stocks
DivHut runs down some Canadian companies that have been paying out dividends for over 100 years. I’m a very happy shareholder in two of them!
How Exciting is Your City?
This article was pretty timely, as I spent time down in Ann Arbor on Friday for their massive Art Fair. But I was also secretly scoping out the scene to decide if I wanted to eventually settle down there and adopt the city as my new (permanent?) home. I lived near downtown many years ago, but it’s changed quite a bit since. I totally fell in love with the city. I don’t live in an exciting city (or even a city at all) right now, but I will after I move. Ann Arbor is vibrant with museums, live music, fantastic restaurants galore, some of the best public transportation in the state (goodbye, Corolla?), a highly walkable and bike-friendly downtown, a comedy club, a ton of culture and young population due to the presence of the University if Michigan, a great sports scene, and close proximity to an airport.
Why Job Burnout No Longer Scares Me
This was a good reminder on how freeing living below your means and building up some capital can be. I had the same experience about two years into my journey once the dividend income started to become fairly serious and the portfolio’s value had climbed to a fairly respectable level. I felt almost invincible. The worries of what would happen if I were to be fired melted away, and so did the burnout. I knew I was working there because I wanted to be there (to keep building the portfolio) not because I had to be there (because I couldn’t pay rent otherwise). Of course, the burnout eventually did happen anyway, but simply because I found activities in life (namely, this blog) that I wanted to work on instead, not because of worry.
10 Stocks on My Watch List
Bert shared some stocks on his watch list, and I’m personally invested in quite a few of them. So I’m obviously a fan! I think some are more attractively valued than others, and perhaps some are better opportunities. But they all look fairly solid.
$2,111,481 My Net Worth Update July 2014
Yes, that number is correct. Asset Grinder has apparently been living up to his name, grinding away for some time! Color me green, as I’ll likely not see a net worth like this until I’m an old man. Luckily, I won’t need one to be financially independent. But these numbers are impressive!
Top 5 investing songs of all time
DFW posted this funny tongue-in-cheek post about great songs that remind you to make great investment decisions. I’ll go ahead and add my favorite: “Counting Stars” by One Republic. Not specifically about investing, but rather about living a great life without the worry of money.
Weekly Purchase – DE
Another vote for DE, this time from Compounding Income. I’m glad to be in good company!
Dividend Growth vs Dividend Yield
Brent put together this really cool spreadsheet comparing a few different companies, some with higher yield and lower growth and others with lower yield and higher growth. I really prefer to play it safe and invest on all sides of the aisle, as I discussed when comparing these different types of stocks to stages of a rocket. And I think one has to consider their time horizon as well, as an investor who needs to start living off of their dividend income within the next five years is probably going to much prefer a stock with a healthy yield to provide current income over, say, a stock with a yield of 1.5% or so. I don’t think it’s growth vs. income, but rather considering your unique risk profile, time horizon, and overall needs. I personally like both. I’m greedy, and want a bird in the hand and at least two in the bush.
Is dividend growth better than yield?
Dividend Life posted a great article along the same lines: dividend yield vs. dividend growth. The math is pretty amazing here, as are the spreadsheets and graphs. It’s difficult to quantify growth vs. current yield as you don’t know future growth rates, which is why I like the bulk of my portfolio invested in “Stage 2” stocks, because you get the best of both worlds with healthy current yield and pretty decent growth rates. However, I also believe some exposure to sustainable high yield and companies that exhibit excellent prospects for very strong growth makes a lot of sense as well. Again, one’s preference for one over the other will really depend on a lot of factors. I’m in a bit of a unique situation where I’m both a young investor, and someone who’s retiring in eight years. So I like to broaden my horizons as much as possible.
The Inherent Irony Of Minimalism
The Minimalists posted this great article reminding us that minimalism means different things to different people. The key is to find a level of minimalism that works for you and your needs, and gets you to where you want to be. There’s no sense living a minimalist lifestyle if you end up miserable. Likewise, owning a car or going out to restaurants multiple times per month doesn’t disqualify you as a minimalist. I’ve personally varied my level of minimalism and frugality over the years, and I think it’s a constant tweaking and learning process. And that’s probably at least half the fun.
You Will Read These Money Jokes AND LIKE THEM!
J. Money put together an awesome list of money-related jokes. I think my favorite is probably the BMW driver with the arm that’s been ripped off. Poor guy lost a Rolex!
July Stock Purchases
Kipp shared some of his most recent stock purchases, and there’s some really great names here. Looks like I have another fellow shareholder in DE. Nice!
Goals For 2014 Checkup
Henry reviewed the progress he’s making on his goals for 2014, and thus far he’s two-for-five. Not too bad considering that some of his goals were rather personal in nature, and his financial goals were quite aggressive. Plus, he has the back half of the year to go. His net worth advancement is particularly impressive, in my opinion.
My Watch List for July 2014
Another watch list, Passive Income Mavericks shared some excellent stocks for consideration. It looks like DE showed up again here. I think I need to add to my position already. The popularity might end up raising the stock price before I get a chance to buy some more!
Are You Living The Life You Want?
A great post here by Joe. This reminds me that life is short. I’m so glad that I decided to leave behind a career that wasn’t fulfilling me for something that I enjoy a whole lot more. I’m not making anywhere near the money I was making before, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in the last four years it’s that money definitely does not buy happiness. It can buy time and freedom, however. Which is why I’m still so aggressively pursuing financial independence.
Investment Income Update – July 15th 2014
Retire Before Dad updates us on his progress, and it looks like he’s doing great. His forward-looking dividend income is now up to $372.77 per month. That covers a good chunk of my bills right now. Awesome work.
Full Disclosure: Long DE.
Thanks for reading.
Photo Credit: gubgib/FreeDigitalPhotos.net