It’s June 10th, so I’m way behind in providing an update. That’s not exactly by accident, as I’m not particularly excited about May’s update.
The Path to Financial Independence
The ultimate graph of financial independence shows that my forward passive income plus side hustles covered 10.1% of our expenses in May.
That, my friends, is just about terrible. It’s not my first decline, but I certainly didn’t expect declines of that magnitude at any point. I already know that the uptrend will resume in June, as May contained a large number of one-time and unusual expenses (see below).
See Investment Portfolio for Full List of Holdings and Details
Paid In May: $823.83
Previous Forward Dividend Income: $714.43
New Forward Dividend Income: $724.48 (+1.4%)
May was quietly my highest paying month ever for dividends. The only purchase I made in the month was about $1k worth of STAG, an industrial REIT, and my 401(k) contribution. Couple that with PEP’s and AXP’s dividend increase and some small reinvestment in my bond ETFs, and May’s increase in forward dividends was just 1.4%–up to $724.48.
1.4% increases would put me at about $800/mo in average monthly dividends by the end of the year. That won’t quite cut it. June will be a slow increase once again, with only O (Realty Income) projected to increase this month. My only other increases will be the result of some portfolio reorganization (selling some NFLX and AVAV to buy HAS and TXRH), dividend reinvestment, and 401(k) investment. We’ll probably see about a 2% (~$740) increase in forward dividends by the end of June.
I’ll have my 401(k) maxed out next month, so the second half of the year will be much more geared toward DGI capital contributions.
Paid In May: $0.00
Previous Forward Interest: $41.37
New Forward Interest: $42.04
My annual interest payment for my annuity occurs in April. I’ll continue contributing a little bit each month to this account.
No change from last month. Our consumer debt situation from our vehicles needs to get squared away first. The pending tax refund and a withdrawal from our annuity will pay off one vehicle, which we’ll be able to sell once we receive the title. Those dollars will be used to purchase a family-friendly vehicle, and the excess will go to paying off our other vehicle (and subsequently selling) and paying down our no-interest CC debt. After that, we’ll look into the rental game. I hope to have this all done by Thanksgiving.
I wrote two blog posts in April that were syndicated by SA. One was a portfolio update and a recommendation for SolarCity, the other was an article on planting a dividend growth tree. While these were not paid, I did get a boost in followers from 94 to 130. My hope is that I keep building a base of folks who enjoy my writing, so that each future article I write will get that much more traffic.
Retire29 garnered a little over 100 views per day, which was almost no change from April. That’s tough not to see much reader growth, but I have to account for the fact that I made zero posts for the last 12 days of May. June is poised to be much more active, as I have 14 draft articles that I will look to finish this month. I also made $11! Retire29 costs $5.95/mo to operate ($4.95 for BlueHost Hosting and $12/yr for domain registration). What does that mean? Retire29 just had it’s first profitable month! Hold on a second, I think that’s the IRS at my front door…
May was pretty tough on the expense front–albeit all self-inflicted. We pulled permits on our basement finish, which was over $600. We had some significant costs (~$300) associated with changing over tenants at our sublet, and graduation gifts and a homeless outreach event meant some high gift/charity costs this month. And we paid our semi-annual car insurance premium. We basically kitchen-sinked the whole month. I also pulled $220 in cash while in the Bahamas. We wanted to get some seafood on the beach, and I pulled out the lowest suggested denomination on the ATM, which was $200. Little did I know at the time, the exchange rate is 1 to 1, so I still have almost all of that in my wallet (please don’t rob me). However, I treat all cash withdrawals as though I spent them immediately.
One silver lining was we had our lowest ever total food costs. This was likely in part due to my 8-day fast, but we’re also doing a lot more home cooking. I will shamefully admit, though, that we’ve been taking advantage of some ridiculous coupons at McDonalds, where we could conceivably eat a whole meal for less than a dollar per person (thank you, McD App). We are trying to cut back on that, though.
We’ve already resumed the downward trend in June, so next month’s report will hopefully bear that out.
As always, Net Worth is a rather poor indicator of one’s financial independence, however, people like using it for comparative purposes, so I oblige. My net worth rose 0.9% this month to $339,797. That ~$3k increase was due almost entirely to increases in investments (look at NFLX), and the usual mortgage and consumer debt paydowns.
I have no specific net worth goals, per se. I reckon my Net Worth will be somewhere around $700k by the time I retire, however, that is just an approximation. Far more important is that little line chart at the very top.
Thanks for reading and following along, as always!
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