About

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).

(2) I don’t remember my salary – though starting at $20 per Saturday seems to ring a bell. But I shall forever have fond memories of Boots.

(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.


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27 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi HappyHealthy&Wealthy,
    Thanks again for your comment – it’s nice of you to drop by! 🙂
    Writing things down in a blog is an interesting exercise for me; I’m introspective as a person but my thoughts are kind of random most of the time. I’d never really considered the benefits of simply writing things down before.

  2. DL,

    Interesting story on how you ended up pursuing what you are now. You seem like you have travelled and experienced some different areas with where you work.

    I also live in the Metro Detroit area.

    Wishing you much success on your journey!

    1. Hi Dividend SWAN,

      Thanks for the nice feedback. Yes I’ve lived in several different countries and it’s been very educational as to how different societies and people are. I wouldn’t say one is better than another, but for me personally, I prefer the opportunities and freedom here in the US so I was glad to get my green card after a seven yet application process!

      Moving back to Detroit (Troy) last year after 9 years in Alabama has certainly been an adjustment, but I’m enjoying it!

      Thanks for stopping by and all the best for your own journey!

    1. Hi AstuteFinances,

      Thanks for stopping by – it certainly is a small world since I work in Warren too! 🙂

      That makes 3 of us in the metro area now I think.

      Best wishes!
      -DL

    1. Hi LongTermMindset,

      Thanks for stopping by – it’s always great to meet another in the FI community! As you already know, Dividend Mantra is a great site (and person) and remains the inspiration behind this blog.

      Your blog looks great – health, wealth and financial freedom – I’m looking forward to reading about your journey!

      Best wishes,
      -DL

  3. Hello Dividendlife!

    I like your story, it goes to one’s heart. Our family lives in Germany. Do you have any idea, why cost of living are that high in Germany? High taxes and other payments are certainly one reason. But, also living costs as a whole? Do you have any particular advice therefore?

    Thank you very much for your insights, the published portfolio and your story one more time.

    All the best on your path to the dividend live,
    EternalYield

  4. Hallo EternalYield,

    Thanks for the kind words and also for including my blog in your blogroll!

    I’ve not been to Germany for a few years now, but I have just come back from the UK which I also find expensive in cost of living relative to local income compared to the US. When comparing cost of living, I tend to consider what a typical salary could buy, e.g. a starting US Graduate salary is perhaps $43,000 which might buy 21,000 small cups of coffee at Starbucks; compared to an exceptional starting UK salary of 24,000 which might buy only 9,000 cups. So a US person has potentially twice the buying power of a UK person. These numbers are mainly illustrative – I’ve not researched them fully but it’s a better comparison method than directly comparing a US salary to a UK or German one.

    So there’s more than income taxes at work as you mention – higher consumer prices are likely also increased by additional overhead due to transportation costs, government regulation costs, labor costs and even costs due to having a large demand in a small geographic area (e.g. land is much more expensive in Europe compared to the US). At the end of the day, a German company selling a product is going to want to make a profit on its sales so every small cost in getting the produce to the store adds directly to the consumer price.

    As far as trying to reduce costs to allow an early retirement, one option I’m definitely considering is to move to a cheaper region when I retire. For example the southern US states are cheaper because they don’t have many of the costs associated with cold winters and dealing with snow (road repairs, snow clearing, salt trucks etc.). If you’re unable to save a sufficiently large retirement amount, you can perhaps make it go further by moving, either within Germany or further afield when it’s time to retire.

    Best wishes on your journey to Financial Independence!
    -DL

  5. Nice to meet you DL, it was really interesting reading through your about. I bet you can speak pretty good German, do you still use it much?

    Looking forward to following your journey. Are you an American citizen yet?

    Tristan

    1. Hi Tristan,
      It’s nice to meet you too – thanks for stopping by 🙂
      I’ve forgotten a lot now since it’s been almost 15 years when I left Germany and I don’t get to speak it here. But I can get by with simple conversation, especially if there’s alcohol involved! 😉 Funny you should mention the citizenship – there’s a post I need to write with an update on that, so stay tuned!
      It’s great that you’ve started your FI journey. The journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step 🙂 I’ve learned so much from mine so far, especially from having to write things down.
      Best wishes,
      -DL

    1. Hi Antonio, I’ve updated the links – sorry for the delay. Let me know any other changes you want.
      Best wishes,
      -DL

  6. Hi,

    I’m a big fan of your articles, really like your style and though process.
    I’ve created a site with 13 years of fundamental data for U.S. stocks including forecasts, if you have time to check it out it’s called Stockrow. I’d really love to hear your feedback. Thanks!

    Best,
    Matus

  7. Hi,
    I’m a big fan of your articles, really like your style and though process.
    I’ve created a site with 13 years of fundamental data for U.S. stocks including forecasts, if you have time to check it out it’s called Stockrow. I’d really love to hear your feedback. Thanks!

    Best,
    Matus

  8. Hi DL
    I love your ideas and want to start investing this way. But as a new user I’m a little confused by some aspects of the site. For example:-

    1) On the ‘About’ tab you start a personal story, but your name? is not easily available.

    2) your monthly updates appear to fall off in Dec 2018

    3) Year on year Div Yield (%) records are the most important thing to me. But I cannot easily see this on your data or the spreadsheets. Perhaps a short explanation of the data fields would help.

    4) Your published portfolio shows:
    2018 wet worth 340k to 380k ~12%
    2017 ” ” 180k – 300k ~67%

    2017 Wet Worth
    2017 190k – 300k ~ 60%
    2016 90k – 180k ~100%
    The % is my guestimate of the annual increase. These are huge increases and if real what proportions were the dividends?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    P.S. I’m an American who’s lived all his life in the U.K. so UK based investments are a prime consideration.

    1. Hi Mark,
      I may need to make a separate post to fully answer your questions, but here’s a first reply.

      1) I don’t publicize my real name on the site. I typically just provide it in response to emails.
      2) Yes I stopped posting for a while last year as I was busy and I’m trying to catch up.
      3) Could you explain what you mean by year-on-year dividend yields? Would that be the percentage increase of last year’s percentage vs this year’s percentage? To be honest that’s not a useful metric to me, so I am curious how you use that information.
      4) Wet Worth isn’t the best metric when comparing to dividend yield, since wet worth includes e.g. my mortgage balance. For 2017, my wet worth increased from $180k to $303k. However, the investments that produced Dividends went from $284k to $420k in 2017. So e.g. at the end of Dec 2016 I had a wet worth of $180k which came from investments of $284k, a mortgage of minus $232k and the remainder in savings / cash accounts.
      In terms of investments and dividends (numbers are rounded down to nearest 1k):
      Year Start End Contributions Capital Growth Dividends
      2017 $260k $349k $89k $71k $12k
      2018 $349k $401k $52k $26k $13k

      Start / End numbers are the investment cost basis, so at the end of 2018 my portfolio value was:
      349k (cost basis) + $52k (new capital including dividends) + $26k (capital growth) = $428k

      The bottom line is that dividend income is still a small fraction of my net salary, and that since I changed to more tax-efficient investments, my dividend yield has decreased.
      I hope this helps. Feel free to email if you have detailed questions.
      Best wishes,
      -DL

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