Many are without a pension plan, and we need to create our income-generating wealth and be the best dividend investor we can be.
Let me start by saying that I am just a regular guy from the greater Vancouver area in Canada. I have a passion for personal finance and investing.
I was long aware of dividends but never thought I could invest in stocks without having more money. How can I invest small amounts regularly with a transaction fee of $30 at the time? Now, it’s generally $10 with some cheaper options.
All I requested from my financial advisor was to be invested in dividend-paying mutual funds. I knew that regardless of the stock movement, I was still earning money.
In late 2008, the market crashed, as many of you know, and my investments with mutual funds did not do much better than others.
It was time to change my strategy and double down my learnings from The Lazy Investor by Derek Foster. This book showed me I could invest in stocks and contribute small amounts regularly at no cost.
Can you believe that? NO FEES! None whatsoever. I was on a mission to understand how transfer agents work and how I could benefit from this service.
The First 4 Years (2009-2012)
In early 2009, I decided it was time to supercharge my passion and take control of my portfolio. I ‘FIRED’ my financial advisor and moved all my money to a discount broker.
I have always been pretty good at managing my money, saving it and investing it. Unfortunately, my investments were in mutual funds with high management expense ratios (MER) for many years.
I had very little to invest and found Computershare. I got set up with a few stocks and put it on auto-pilot with $50 per month early on.
Within a year, I was set up with 13 Canadian stocks through Computershare and Can Stock Transfer Agent. Over a few years, I invested over $20,000 in small amounts benefiting from fractional shares. My kids are also benefiting from the same setup.
The Pivotal Moment (2012-2019)
After four years of focusing on dividend investing with high-yield stocks, I noticed the stock price was not moving as much over time. Other dividend stocks with lower yields were more profitable.
It was made clear when I was introduced to the dividend growth rate. Rather than look for a dividend aristocrat or a company with a long history of dividend increases, I found the 10-10 method.
- 10 years of consecutive dividend increases minimum
- 10% dividend growth on average minimum
I switched my portfolio towards dividend growth stocks and kept the banks as a foundation. At the same time, I converted a lot of my money to US dollars and bought more strong dividend growth stocks on the US market.
Don’t fear the currency exchange, the US market is bigger, and with more growth potential in general. The US conglomerates operate worldwide, and I use that as my exposure to world economies.
After Reaching $1M (2019-Now)
Once I reached my initial goal of $1M in portfolio value, I had a good process to find the stocks I needed.
However, I was following a sector diversification approach where I was limiting my holdings to a max of 5%, and I was trying to cover all sectors for diversification.
Diversification and ratios turned out to be an investment mistake. I left too much money on the table. Since then, I let my winners run, and I have focused on industry diversification.
As I approach my retirement portfolio number, I have also decided to make my taxable account a retirement account. What it means is that I moving away from high-dividend growth stocks, and focusing on high-dividend income stocks to generate over 4% in income from that account.
The Savings Mindset
At first, I was with Scotia iTrade, and then I moved to RBC Direct Investing. Switching is easy and the receiving institution often covers the costs. Don’t hesitate if your needs are not met.
How much you get paid from your employer is not as important as creating cash flow machines. Learning to put money at work with compounding will have a profound impact on how you approach building wealth that can last forever.
The Wealthy Barber is the first book I read that played a significant role in planning to save money. It’s not a book about investing, but it is a book about financial freedom. Pay yourself first is the name of the game, and you do that regardless of your income.
David Chilton can reach all readers, even high school students, with how to approach money management and ratios that make sense. The Wealthy Barber instilled in me the 10% rule of saving and paying myself first.
Take a moment to read Grace Groner’s story on how she turned 3 shares in Abbott Laboratories purchased in 1935 into a $7M fortune. What you should take away is that time is the biggest factor in building wealth outside of being lucky.
The best time to start investing is now. There are no reasons not to get started. Nearly all of the top Canadian blue chip stocks have transfer agents where you can get started. See the Lazy Investor for details on how to start with Computershare.
Time is the biggest factor in investing. The more time you have, the more your money compounds. Compounding is what makes your money grow at an accelerated pace over time.
Along with starting early with Computershare, you can start small. My children are investing $30 at a time by using the rules learned in the Wealthy Barber.
As much as you want to use the money for something, always remind yourself of the cost of time to take the money out. Is your investment performance beating the interest rate on a loan? My return is over 10% annually, and I avoid pulling money away from my portfolio as it’s time I can never use to work on my portfolio.
Time is the biggest factor in your investment returns. I want my money to work for me and generate value. If I keep it on the sideline, it won’t do anything. To that end, I invest as little as $1,000 with a discount broker, and the goal is to put my money to work in the best opportunity at the time. With Computershare, I invested monthly and quarterly at times.
No Price Hunting
Rather than focusing on the price of your favourite stock to drop, focus on the opportunities when you have money to invest. Your portfolio is not about loving the stocks you own but seeing the value in your purchases. Being confident that the company will perform to your expectations.
I don’t believe the stock market is ever too high as there is always an opportunity. The stock market is today’s weighting average of the investors’ sentiments rather than the value itself. Find the opportunity and keep your money at work.
I have found that even within 30 stocks, there is always one that can be added to based on growth potential.
Why a Dividend Investing Blog?
I decided to start a blog for the following reasons, and I continue to make those a priority.
- Sharing financial information is something I do regularly with family, friends, and co-workers. The more I shared the same information, the more I realized I could write and document the topics at the same time for the benefit of everyone.
- Set up a regular schedule to review my goals and follow through with them. My monthly dividend income update requires me to catalogue everything. I now have a dividend and portfolio tracker that provides detailed performance data on my portfolio.
- Share my experiences on dividend income since it is one of my primary goals for retirement. Retirement is not about depleting a nest egg and stressing about the money to live, and it’s about financial freedom and being paid handsomely from my accumulated wealth.
If you are new here, have a look at why I am a dividend investor and subscribe to my newsletter for great topics and content. If you are a new reader, I strongly suggest you sign up for my newsletter as it will help you catch up on many of my topics and you’ll know when I make a purchase (or a sale which is not often).
If you have not done so yet, have a look at my Dividend Income report as you can see the progression of my journey. Slowly and steadily, my dividend income is growing.
Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you on the blog again. All the best in your investing journey!