Welcome to My Dividend Dynasty! My name is Robert. I seek to build a Dividend Empire that will produce a passive income stream for a lifetime and more! I seek to build a better future for myself by achieving Financial Independence and enjoying all the benefits that come with such freedom! By saving and investing I seek to build a Dividend Dynasty!
A little bit about me. I am 30 years old and was born and raised in Queens NY, where I still reside. I really started investing in dividend paying stocks when I was 27 years old back during late 2014 – early 2015. Prior to that I spent most of my life with very little financial literacy. Although, I was a saver of money by nature, I knew very little about personal finance.
Interestingly, my first experience with the stock market happened when I was 6 years old. My grandfather had the idea to open an investment account for me and purchased shares of IBM and MCD in 1993 (a wise and fantastic move looking back 24 years later). But as a child I didn’t understand those kinds of things even while I blissfully enjoyed my Happy Meals.
Even as a teen and a young adult in my early 20’s I knew I had investments but those where just an after-thought in an account somewhere. If there was ever an emergency I could draw from that account. Otherwise I figured I’ll just let it sit there. I did not know about dividends, other than it was money that appeared in the account and was then reinvested. I didn’t have to do anything. If I knew back then what I know now, I would have placed great emphasis working to build up a great dividend machine much earlier. But alas, we can’t reverse time.
My childhood was fairly normal. My parents got divorced when I was around 10-11 years old. It was for the best, although at the time, my mother was unemployed and had my younger brother and I to take care of in our two bedroom coop apartment. (Looking back, perhaps it was at this point that it was instilled in me to be a saver when it came to money) Luckily, other family members pitched in to help us and my mother pulled herself up, worked at a local gym, got her college degree, and became a school teacher. Both of us were well taken care of.
Overall, I remember my childhood years as a very happy and carefree time. My teens were also a happy time. I stayed local in Queens my whole life always close to my family. I went to a local high school and a local university. My grades were always pretty good in high school and college, but I was uncertain on what career I truly wanted to pursue. I would eventually graduate college earning my BA in History in 2010 (I love history).
The economy was in some turmoil (one year out of the Great Recession), and there was much talk about whether to stay in school and continue your education or look for a job and enter the workforce. Which was better? I chose to further my education, eventually earning my MA in History 3 years later in 2013. If I could do it again, I would have chosen differently and entered the workforce in some capacity. That way I could have build up my wealth and portfolio much earlier in life.
But there are no do-overs in life. One can only press forward or be driven downward. We each have our own life experiences. Sometimes life throws you something unexpected, either positive or negative. Sometimes things turn out very good, sometimes things go horribly wrong. Life can be very random, but perhaps how we handle such things we can influence the outcome in the long term in a positive manner and create something for the better.
My journey into financial literacy, eventually dividend investing, and the hopeful desire for financial independence and freedom, happened abruptly, unexpectedly and in the worst way possible. On New Year’s Eve 2013, my mother was killed by a reckless driver at the age of 56 (six years prior to that my grandmother was also killed by a reckless driver, which was my first devastating blow).
My world was shattered completely. I could not believe it happened twice. The most important and influential person in my life was gone. In a single instant my life would never be the same again. My brother and I, with our broken hearts, took possession of the two-bedroom co-op we lived in since we were born. We pondered how we could afford the monthly maintenance, the mortgage payments (mortgage was a little over $100k), and other bills since we only had part-time jobs at the time.
All at once these financial concerns hit in the weeks that followed the new year of 2014. Where would we live? What was our income versus our expenses? How do we pay off our debts (mortgage, student loan, etc.)? Where to find full-time employment quickly? These were the questions I never had to answer before. But it was sink or swim.
These questions where temporarily halted when my aunt and grandfather invited us to live with them and my mother’s life insurance came in. Turns out my mother had made sure we were well taken care of in the event something should happen to her. We were able to pay off the mortgage quickly and settle other debts. When the smoke finally cleared by 2015 (after the criminal trial, the lawsuits, the insurances settlements, selling our 2-bedroom co-op, etc.) I was left with over $200k in cash.
Now new questions arose. What to do with that? I already knew what I did NOT want to do with my inheritance: I didn’t want to blow it. I did not want to blow my mother’s legacy to me. But what to do? When life gives you lemons, how do you make lemonade?
So I began to learn about finances. What was a money market? (I kept the bulk of my inheritance in one until I decided what to do) What are interest rates? What is inflation? Setting a monthly budget for myself (I was still working part-time, but applying for different jobs). What about investing some of my inheritance in the stock market? I was less then lukewarm about the idea at first. This was mainly because I did not know much about making such investments in the stock market. I did not understand dividends yet.
But a growing interest to learn was there and I quickly realized dividend investing was what I wanted to do. Then one day my brother alerted me to this website called Dividend Mantra, and wow. There was a real life inspirational example of an individual charting his course to financial freedom through the power of dividends. Well, I was hooked.
I started investing and learning about investing. Oops! Perhaps I should have place more emphasis on the latter first before jumping right in. I made some dumb mistakes at first, but also a few good choices as well. Those mistakes, however, turned out to be great learning lessons. The snowball was rolling and rolling at a faster rate now.
By 2016 I had moved passed any mistakes I had made and continued to invest in great stocks as opportunities came about. I crossed the 100k mark in my portfolio in September 2016 (finishing the year with a portfolio value of 125k, earning over $5,600 in dividends that year).
Then in the first month of 2017, I got great new full-time job (career) that pays me a good salary. Over the next six months I began the search for my own place to live with the other half of my inheritance. Buying a house was not option for me (plus I didn’t need that much space) and renting in NYC is often as expensive as a mortgage (often more so). So I set out to find a quality cooperative with a low monthly maintenance.
This I found in June 2017. I made an all cash purchased with a significant amount left over to spare. So now, the very same month as I start documenting this financial journey here I am also living on my own for the first time. Now I am solely managing my own budget, co-op apartment (studio), and all personal finances. After forcing myself through 3 1/2 years of tragedy, pain, tears, and turmoil, the future is looking ever more hopeful. Thank you all for reading!