Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stop Going Through the Motions

Hi Everyone,

I hope this post finds you all doing well and living life to the fullest while aggressively pursuing financial independence.  But, let me tell you a little bit about the past few days.

About a week ago, I was reading this post  by Retire29 regarding the quote "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." by John Lennon.  The post first struck me as incredibly well written but after the jealousy wore off, I found myself questioning my life.

Am I embracing my life?  Am I living my life to the fullest right now?  Am I taking the time out of each day to appreciate the little things?  Or, am I taking my life and luxuries for granted?

I have reread that post quite a few times and I think everyone should read it.  And reread it about once a month.  Then ask yourselves the same questions I posted above. Follow that up by looking around, taking a deep breath when in a stressful situation, step outside for a break, take a new way to work, change up your routine...  just do anything to open you senses and appreciate the life you are living.  I have done that this past week and I can only hope all the following weeks will be the same.

Now for the details...

I work an incredible amount of hours as it stands right now.  On any given day, 10 hours is usually a minimum on the weekdays.  A few hours on the weekends, and it starts all over the next week.  I get home from a long day of work and the rest of the night is spent relaxing on the couch, spending just a few short hours with my wife catching up on the day, before falling asleep.

This is the part where most people say...  "But this week was different"  ...  however if I said that, I'd be lying to you.  After you read someone say those words, the next sentence begins...   "I took off 2 days, or I left work early a few days" or something of the sort.  My thought is that you can only do that so many times before your boss or your income or your job security takes a hit.  You cannot continue to take time off unless you are at the point of retiring so instead, I still worked 10 hours a day, but my eyes were "open" each hour of each day.  I looked at every hour with appreciation for the life I was living.  By doing this, I was able to slow time down and enjoy an incredibly relaxing and gratifying week.

The week started just like any other.  I woke up, worked out for about 15-20 minutes and left for work around 7:15am every day.  Instead of taking the usual way to work, I decided to go a different direction every day.  There are only 3 different ways to really get to my work but each day I went a different route.  Mixing it up allowed me to truly enjoy the sunrise every day.  The different angle of the sun, the way it shines through the trees or the openness while driving down the highway all opened my eyes to the beauty of the world around me.  Traffic lights were no longer viewed as torture when I just missed a green light.  Instead, I was tuned into my surroundings, watching people sing in their cars to the morning radio was a true delight.  The smell of fresh cut grass as I was stopped at those lights or the smell of rain after it had stormed the night before was incredibly soothing.

Once at work, I usually get a cup of coffee before starting the day.  The coffee is free, so why go to a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts before hand right?  My company has a Keurig type coffee maker and I love the french vanilla flavor.  But this week, I tried a different flavor every morning.  This is something that I will definitely continue into the future.  Caffeine is supposed to make you more awake and alert.  However, I think that if you drink the same flavor coffee with caffeine every day that your body becomes immune to the stimulating affect of the caffeine.  Some mornings I would have a cup of coffee only to be just as tired as before drinking it.  This week was different.  My body was more alert because the flavor I was tasting was constantly different.  My taste buds were on full alert and every cup I savored to the last drop. It was delightful.

The rest of the week was much of the same.  I tried to eat something for different for lunch every day instead of the usual lunch meat sandwich.  I mixed up the meat, the bread, the chips, everything.  I went for a slow walk around the building, going down hallways where I've never been.  Said hello to employees that I've never seen before.  But to top it all off...

On Friday, I took the long way to work, I pulled up in the parking lot 15 min late and there it was...  A baby deer chilling in the middle of the parking lot.  I have been parking in the same lot every day for 5 years and never have I seen a deer in the parking lot.  It might not be all that big a deal to many of you out there, but had I not slept in or taken the long way to work, this moment would have been missed.  It was like a sign from above that I need to be living my life like this every day.  It was an amazing ending to the week.

And this is why we are striving for financial independence.  Little changes to a daily routine and your week slows down.  The past week felt longer than the past month before when I was just going through the motions.  The idea that every day can be different once retirement hits is a driving force within me now.  I will strive to continue to mix things up and enjoy the beauty around me.  You only get one life so why not enjoy every minute of it!

So, I encourage you all to change up your routine over the next week.  Stop going through the motions.  Embrace the subtleties throughout your day.  Appreciate the little things like a different sunrise every morning, a new flavor of coffee, sleep in a few extra minutes and maybe you'll see nature in a different way.  Once you open up all your senses you'll find that the minutes seem like hours and the amount of enjoyment in your life will surely increase.

I can only hope that your stories will be like mine.  Live in the moment and as my younger brother says  "YOLO"!!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recent Buys - W. P. Carey (WPC) & Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI)

Hi Everyone,

I have been a little MIA the past couple of weeks but this summer has been extremely busy.  Wedding season continues to be in full swing, lounging by the pool, playing golf (I know, not very frugal), working my butt off and overall just trying to enjoy life, has taken priority over the blog...  Sorry!

I'm hoping to get back to writing a little bit more frequently but thank you all for being patient.  Now to the good stuff...

On June 24th, we bought 33 shares of WPC at $61.45.  This purchase adds $125.92 to our annual dividends based on a .9540 quarterly dividend.  I went over some of WPC's business more in depth in this post a while back when I made the first purchase.  At the time, the REIT's were still falling so we decided to buy some more of this great company.  Hopefully they continue to grow just as rapidly in the next few years as they have in the past few years.

On July 17th, we bought 56 shares of OHI at $35.74.  This purchase adds $123.20 to our annual dividends based on a .55 quarterly dividend.  I went over OHI in more depth on this post a while back so feel free to check that out if you want more info.  OHI has fallen over 20% from its 52 week high and another 10+% from our last purchase at $40.  OHI could be in a great position in the future with regards to the baby boomers getting older and the need for more skilled nursing facilities.  Hopefully there growth continues to be stellar and they dividend keeps increasing every quarter!

So thats it,  These two purchases have added $249.12 to our annual dividends.  Not too shabby.  Now if we could only pick a stock like AMZN, NFLX to really accelerate our portfolio!  Visa is helping out tonight/tomorrow and UNP keeps falling to more attractive levels.

Overall, I think UNP, MMM, DNKN, DPS could warrant initial purchases after their recent drops due to earnings. We should really just buy UA and let it ride...   It continues to be in exponential growth mode and I would not be surprised if it becomes the next NKE.

Anyways, what do you think of the purchases? What are you all looking to buy next?


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

401K Update - July 2015

Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well.  I continue to embrace the blogging community and I continue to love it.  Just a quick post tonight about my 401K Portfolio.  I said that I would post about the 401K when big changes were made or about twice a year in July and January. Usually in June and December, some of my funds pay some dividends and after 6 months of new capital, there are a decent amount of shares added.  My company's 401K policy is that employees receive 3% company match throughout the year and then a bonus of 2% at the end of the year.  My portfolio now looks like this:

As of 7/5/2015:

At the present time, I view my 401K Portfolio as an added bonus to my path to financial independence.  The overall goal of my investing journey is to retire at an age much younger than most which is why I am mostly invested in a taxable account.  I need to be able to retrieve those funds and more importantly, the dividends that are generated to support our family when the time comes.  I call my 401K an added bonus because from what I have read, I cannot touch that money until at least age 55 (depending on stipulations that I may or may not be able to take part in) but most likely 59.5 without incurring penalties.  Therefore, this money will sit in my account just compounding away for the next 32 Years!

Combining both my 401K and my taxable account, I hold roughly $143,000 in investments!

This is an increase of about $30,000 from my last post in February!!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Dividend Income - June 2015 Update

Hi Everyone,

It's that time again when we get to post about a favorite topic of ours, dividends! We hope this post inspires other families out there to start saving and investing as soon as they can. The power you feel knowing that you are richer than you were yesterday and you didn't have to work for it is a wonderful feeling. Watching the totals pile in from all the various bloggers out there in this community continues to be a driving force to get ourselves to save and invest more and more.

We realize that our situation is different than every other blogger out there but its not how much you make, its how much you save. We make a middle class income but we live well below our means and this gives us the benefit to invest the surplus month after month and subsequently drive our passive income to new heights! The month of June is typically the second highest dividend income month behind December as our 401k funds usually pay out hefty checks twice a year and this month did not disappoint!

We want to thank all of you readers out there who have stopped by and congratulated us thus far.  You are the reason these posts keep coming out and continue to get better and better!

So with that being said, lets get down to the numbers.