Hello and welcome to Dividend Life!
This is the story of my ongoing journey in the world of Investing, Personal Finance and Financial Freedom. My goal is to invest and hold onto dividend stocks that pay for my living expenses, allowing me to live a Dividend Life.
My goal in telling this story is to learn and grow as a person, set visible goals for myself and encourage / inspire others.
My story starts in 1971, in a small hospital in the United Kingdom where I was born. Which means I’m 43 years old. I didn’t save money while growing up although to supplement my pocket money I worked as a paperboy (1) when I was 14. Then, when I was old enough at 16 I started a Saturday job working in a pharmacy (2) until I went to University in 1989.
I didn’t really have much of a career plan; I was interested in electronics and computing though, having received a home computer in 1982 which had all of 48 Kb of RAM (3). I graduated from University in 1993 with a shiny new degree in Electronic Engineering, having spent a sandwich year in the third year working at an engineering company (4).
I then spent the next year unemployed while looking for my first job. Not the best time of my life, although I did learn the basics of juggling (5). I also invested in a 2400 baud modem and it was through this device, and not the 70 job application letters I mailed, that I found my first full-time job in 1994 from a posting on an internet newsgroup
My job was great and I was able to travel as a kind of training / consultant in a proprietary programming language that the company was selling. So I spent a couple of weeks in France and Holland and Germany. Then in 1995, a 2-week project in Germany became 4 weeks, then 2 months, then 4 months until I finally hired in full-time with the company and officially moved to Germany.
I lived in Germany for 4 years or so; it was great experience but in 1999 I was looking for a change and I took advantage of an inter-company transfer to move to the United States. I arrived in Detroit, Michigan in January 1, 2000 with a bag of clothes, and thanks to the high cost of living in Germany, very little money in the German bank account. The few possessions I had from Germany went back to my parents’ house where they remain today.
My new US job paid much better than my German one and costs of living were a lot lower here. I lived comfortably but not particularly wisely, and initially I didn’t pay into my company’s 401K since I wasn’t a permanent US resident.
My outlook changed in 2011 after reading I Will Teach You To Be Rich. This book opened my eyes to retirement planning and investment options that I hadn’t considered before. Until that point, most of my money was in checking or savings accounts earning perhaps 0.1% interest.
So for the last couple of years I’ve been investing what I can, and adjusting my plans as I learn from my mistakes. More recently I’ve been focused on achieving freedom from my paycheck via dividend income for financial security. Describing my journey in this blog will challenge me to both define and critique my goals and plans to achieve financial freedom.
I hope you will find my journey both interesting and useful and that you’ll accompany me on my goal to live a Dividend Life.
(1) I earned a princely 50 pence a day or 3 pounds a week for a 30 minute round, which in today’s money would be worth about 6 pounds or $10 per week ($3.30 an hour).
(3) To match the memory of the computer I’m writing on now, I would need 350,000 of them; which if stacked on top of each other would form a pile over 2000 feet tall and compete with the world’s tallest buildings.
(4) OK, so if you haven’t guessed already, I’m a geek *and* an engineer.
(5) It’s like riding a bike – you never forget once you’ve learned. Like most things in life, the hardest part is letting go of the ball and trusting yourself. It’s a good stress reliever too.