I feel like I’m overwhelmed with optimism lately, and it just kind of oozes out of every pore of my body. The sunshine has never been brighter or felt warmer on my skin, the sky never bluer, dreams never sweeter.
And time has never been longer, as I recently wrote about.
This is the embodiment of “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles. I’ve exited a long winter of far too many years of far too much work and entered into a great summer of my life. Which is kind of ironic since I moved from Florida to Michigan. But such is life.
Moderation is wonderful. Though I’m working harder and longer than I might let on, the work is fully enjoyable. I kind of liken my life right now to someone who plays video games for 40-50 hours per week. Many wouldn’t call gaming “work”, and I enjoy my work much in the same way as that gamer would his games. This is what those seeking early retirement have to look forward to. Working or not working, whatever you “work” at will be by choice, and therefore likely very enjoyable. Too many people have this narrow definition of work where any effort that’s paid is work, and thus must suck. Pay is just a way to put value on your time, but you can still love how you spend your time even when money is involved.
I’ve been busy besides writing, though. Spending a ton of time with loved ones is chief among my concerns right now, and last weekend involved quite a bit of that. On Friday, I had lunch with my best friend in Ann Arbor before exploring the city for an upcoming article. For Saturday, I took my aunt out lunch, then went to a birthday party for my best friend’s oldest son, followed up by meeting some family at a Detroit Lion’s game. My aunt scored some free tickets from work; her employer pays for a suite at Ford Field and nobody wanted to attend the first preseason game. Count us freeloaders in!
This weekend is going to be a bit slower. The weather is beautiful today, so I’ll probably just go for a nice jog later this afternoon before settling in with a movie or two for the night.
Anyway, I’ve got some really great articles coming up. On Sunday, I’ll publish my July income/expense report. I haven’t had a chance yet to get the budget published because I’ve just been busy with so much content here lately, but I’m excited to finally get that out. It wasn’t nearly as great as June, but it was definitely another step in the right direction.
In the meanwhile, I’m including a compilation of articles I recently read that I think you all might enjoy as well. Have a great weekend everyone!
Buffett’s Latest Trades: Buys 13 Stocks, Sells 8 Stocks
I was actually up until 3 a.m. this morning putting this article together for Daily Trade Alert. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s (BRK.B) 13F just came out yesterday, and so the deadline to put together an article is pretty tight. But I think it came out pretty good. It’s a long read for those on a time crunch (more than 4,500 words), but I wrote a few notes about every single transaction that Buffett/Berkshire recorded this past quarter. The most interesting might be the initiation of a new position in Charter Communications, Inc. (CHTR), with what appears to be pretty unfavorable metrics. However, it appears that Buffett is making some big bets on media content delivery with his recent trades. Some of you might not know this, but DTA actually tracks Buffett via their Buffett Tracker, which publicizes both his portfolio as well as historical trades going back four years. Cool stuff!
Not so golden: Wealth gap lasting into retirement
Yahoo Finance published this stark piece on how many people are entering into retirement with either no savings at all, or far too little to provide for any meaningful income. Such a shame when we live in a country that offers among the most opportunities of any country in the world, as well as during a time of peak human civilization where even the poorest Americans live far better than the greatest of our ancestors. Though, I think the article misses the mark a little bit. It’s less about an income gap, and more about a gap between wants and needs. Needs are cheap; wants are not. Unfortunately, people spend too much time and money chasing the latter.
Our New House in Chiang Mai
I love to see how people are actually living on the other side of the world, and I’ve always had an interest in Thailand due to warm weather, great food, cheap living, and kind people. As such, Chris and Angela’s story is pretty interesting. They just recently shared the details on their new $450/month home they’re renting in Chiang Mai. $450 goes a lot further over there then it does here in the US, though there are some areas here in Michigan that could probably come pretty close. But it would be comparing apples to oranges, as they’re living a life of relative luxury over there. I’ve got to see Chiang Mai for myself one day!
Dividend Investing for Financial Independence
Dividend Growth Investor shows us how putting away $1,000 per month in stocks with a 4% yield and 6% growth could generate $7,200 per year in dividend income after just a decade. His advice is essentially what I’m living out, month after month. I’m putting away more than $1,000, but my timeline is less than 10 years and I need more than $7,200 per year in dividend income. But DGI’s example was just for illustration purposes. The whole point is to find a plan that works for you and stick with it. It’s easy to reverse engineer your plan by figuring out how much dividend income you need by a particular date and work backward from there. That’s essentially what I did back in early 2010, and I’ve been working toward that goal ever since.
Passive Income Pursuit shares some recent buys. I’m a shareholder in both of these companies, and I find one of them to be particularly cheap. Always nice to be able to put some capital to work and march closer to financial independence.
4 lessons from Warren Buffett’s biggest quarter ever
I thought this article had a great conclusion on Buffett’s recipe for success. Much like I laid out at the beginning of the article, optimism is powerful and infectious. And Buffett has displayed overwhelming optimism about the US, stocks, and great companies.
These 19 Dividend Growth Stocks Go Ex-Dividend Next Week
I published this list of 19 stocks for DTA, and also took a look at a stock with 60 consecutive years of dividend raises. I also took a look at 15 stocks that recently increased dividends, and another stock with 60 years of dividend growth under its belt. Six decades for two companies. Gotta love it!
Net Worth Update – July
Kipp updated his net worth for the month, and he showed a small uptick. Small steps lead to big results. It’s all about staying consistent and moving forward!
Why I am aiming to save 60% each month
Lanny is reaching high. I love it! Saving 60% of your net income is incredibly difficult. I’ve been able to hit that mark on an annual basis only once, though I came really close last year. I doubt I’ll be anywhere near that mark this year with all the recent changes in my life, but if I can nail the 50% mark for the fourth year in a row even while moving to self-employment I’ll be very happy. I hope Lanny nails his goal!
No Value In An Empty Room
The Minimalists point out something very valuable: emptiness offers no value. Furthermore, minimalism isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” proposition. The key is to be aware of your surroundings and value your time. Be conscientious about your purchases and how much stuff clouds your life. You don’t have to live with nothing, but having everything likely won’t get you far either. You have to find your own balance.
Why it’s difficult to retire with passive income
Joe pointed out how difficult it is to generate enough passive income to actually retire off of, especially for those looking to retire early. I have a more optimistic attitude on it, especially if you’re starting young. Obviously, starting out at 39 means you won’t be retiring at 40. But being aggressive and valuing your time over money can make immediate and lasting impacts on the rest of your life. Joe followed this post up with some moves that are necessary to make for those that find the trek to passive income difficult.
OK. One Quote from Robin Williams
James Altucher wrote this piece on not just the talents of Williams, but also what we can take away from people with high energy and a great talent for connecting to audiences. Williams’s passing is a tragedy, and there’s no way I can speak as to what he was going through. But James did include one great quote from Robin that I find particularly apt.
What is a Liebster Award?
Ferdi was recently nominated for a Liebster, which is a sort of chain letter that allows smaller bloggers to spread the word about themselves via sharing a little more about their personal life, and then nominating other blogs to do the same. It’s a great way to share, have fun, and spread some love. Ferdi was kind enough to nominate me as well, but I felt my blog was a little too large to participate, so I simply answered his questions in the comment form. I did the same when Wallet Engineers nominated me after their own nomination.
2014 Financial Goals – August Update
Mark updated us on his 2014 financial goals, and it appears that he’s completely on track on then some. In fact, he even added a goal since he’s doing so well with everything else this year.
Holding Myself Accountable: the (Belated) July Review
Addison released the update on her July budget. Though she exceeded her budget by a fairly healthy amount, it seems she’s having a great time during her recent transition in life as she figures out what’s next. I find it’s during times of transition that we find out who we really are and what we want, readying ourselves for another 5-10 years before possibly re-evaluating.
Failure is the most useful lesson of all
Richard Branson reminded us of how valuable failure is as a learning tool. Failure allows us to grow. I often get asked if there are any mistakes in my life I regret, and I have to answer that I truly don’t. Sure, I’d love to see what would happen if I could go back in time and slap the 21 year-old version of myself upside the head before he goes and spends away a $60,000 inheritance. But that mistake was a life lesson for me. It made me realize how quickly money can disappear, and how money doesn’t buy happiness at all. A valuable lesson for the rest of my life.
My Net Worth Exposed!
No More Waffles exposed his net worth for the world. Though he admits it’s not as high as other personal finance bloggers out there, I think it’s important to qualify it with his age. He’s only 25 years old right now, so I personally think he’s doing fantastic. I was 27 with a negative net worth, so having a positive net worth well into the thousands of euros at a younger age is particularly impressive. I’m confident by the time he’s my age he will have far exceeded where I’m currently at.
Dividend Growth Investing Right Now In 2014
Tim put together a great article to remind us all of the true power of dividend growth investing. It’s not about capital gains and portfolio values, but rather stable, growing income year after year. It’s about funding freedom 20 or 30 years from now, or a trip to Asia that the you of 15 years from now is going to take, or thousands of dollars in monthly income you can pass on to loved ones. It’s about creating a future, not a number on a screen. Remember that.
Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases
My Dividend Pipeline is living up to his name. He’s chasing after a goal of adding $100 in dividend income to his portfolio every week. What a goal, but he’s firing on all cylinders. He added to some high-quality companies here, three of which I’m a fellow shareholder in.
Thanks for reading.
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