Building A Financial Safety Net: My Real World Experience

Recently I was asked to share my personal experiences regarding my opinion on achieving financial success. While being a very broad question that has different meanings and answers for specific individuals, I can summarize the answer to this question in one word, ‘time.’

 

There’s little debate that time is the ally of anyone seeking financial independence or ‘success.’ Time gives you the opportunity to take chances, make mistakes, save and invest for a longer duration and can enable the ultimate in long term capital appreciation, the magic of compounding.

 

 

It’s often said that the best time to start planning for retirement is today. Of course, ‘today’ has different meanings for individuals as we are all at different stages of our lives. For many in their 20s, the notion of retirement might seem like a distant dream but the reality is that starting out on an investing regimen at that age can set yourself up for a very bright financial future. As mentioned earlier, time is the ally of anyone seeking financial independence, especially the young.

 

Drawing on my personal experience to achieve financial success I set out to start my own business right out of college. Being in my early 20s watching the first wave of Internet startups seemingly sprout up daily, I decided to ‘jump into the mix’ and stake my own dot com claim. Your 20s are probably the best time to take chances and make mistakes and fail but most of all invest in yourself. It was this key reason I decided to take a chance with a new business as to not have any regret in the future for not starting at all. After all, I was young, single and still living at home without any college debt. Why not take advantage of that situation to the fullest and take a chance on myself? That was back in 1998. Fast forward seventeen years later and I’m still happily self-employed and ever grateful that my past self took a risk and ventured to start a business. As mentioned earlier, being in your 20s is probably one of the best times to invest in yourself. Of course there are other ways to invest in yourself besides starting a business.

 

If I could go back in time there is one thing that I would do differently to ensure a better financial future for myself and that would be to start investing in dividend growth stocks in my 20s. There’s no denying that starting my own business has been a blessing. It has provided an income for myself and now family for almost two decades. I never once felt the pangs and sorrow of Monday mornings, office politics nor seemingly endless and pointless ‘team meetings’ that I read so much about. It has enabled me to manage time on my own terms as well as provide the means to travel and explore various parts of the world and visit more countries by the time I was 40 than most people see in a lifetime. That being said, I still feel I missed out on one the greatest benefits of long term dividend investing, compounding.

 

I think everyone is familiar with the ‘should have, could have’ mantra as we inevitably look back at our lives and realize that perhaps we should have started that business, bought that piece of real estate or invested in that stock that has grown for multiple decades. Now that I’m in my early 40s I definitely wish that I had the foresight to buy shares of Pepsico, Inc. (PEP), The Coca-Cola Company (KO), The Procter & Gamble Company (PG), 3M Company (MMM) and the like while still in my 20s. Of course, it can be argued that I was busy starting my own business at the time and my focus was certainly elsewhere. That being said, my single best piece of advice for anyone in their 20s would be save as much money as you can and put those dollars to work in some of the best run dividend paying companies in the world. Simply collect those dividends, reinvest, add fresh capital when you can, wash rinse repeat and watch your dividend snowball grow and create an ever increasing diversified passive income stream. My business, after almost two decades, might not be around forever, but my diversified portfolio of dividend stocks certainly could be.

 

And these days there are literally no excuses for not starting an investment portfolio of your own. With new trading platforms such a Robinhood and Loyal3, to name a few, investing in stocks has never been easier nor cheaper. After all, these zero commission investing platforms enable even the smallest budgets to start building a dividend growth portfolio which can create an ever increasing passive income stream indefinitely. In fact, other online tools like net worth calculators or a budget calculator make it even easier to track your progress. Investing in dividend growth stocks is one of the easiest and measurable methods to ensure a better financial future. Sure, stock prices can swoon and portfolio values can rise and decline in various market environments but dividend income can continually grow even during the worst economic times.

 

The reality is that building a financial safety net is best done in your 20s as you have the advantage of time and the ability to compound returns. However, it is never too late to start if you haven’t already. I only became an earnest dividend growth investor in my mid 30s and in just a few short years have seen the real world results from my yearly increasing passive dividend growth income. As most dividend investors know, the saying goes, ‘dividends don’t lie’ as it’s real cash being returned to investors and cannot be faked.

 

The bottom line is to invest in yourself and for yourself in your 20s and accumulate income producing assets rather than just accumulating assets. In this way you’ll always be able to live and spend the interest/dividends without having to touch your asset/principal.

 

Disclosure: Long PEP, KO, PG MMM

Image courtesy of: Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

56 thoughts on “Building A Financial Safety Net: My Real World Experience

  1. Man thats awesome that you have been self employed your whole post college life. Id be curious to find out what youve done. Completely agree that I feel I missed out on time. For those with goals of reaching FI relatively early its more about your contributions rather than compounding since that really starts to take over at the 10 year mark. My goal is to reach it by 40 which leaves me 8.5 more years. Although im looking at a possible career change that would set me back probably at least 5 years but would allow for a semi taste of FI because the work schedule would be so much better. Plus with ny blog and writing chipping in as well I could still cut down that rime more.
    JC recently posted…Weekly Roundup – June 27, 2015My Profile

    • Hi JC,

      Believe me, I feel very, very fortunate that I have been self-employed my entire adult life and have had to answer solely to myself and to my customers. I constantly read about all the dread and politics of a “standard” job and feel truly blessed that I have been able to make a life for myself in this manner. Though I wouldn’t consider myself financially independent, I do have control over my time which I mentioned allows me to be with my family and travel whenever and wherever I want. As I stated in other comments I live a simple lifestyle without owning a home nor a fancy car (2009 Honda Civic) but I still feel rich because I own my time.

      I know many have this magic goal of “retiring” or FI at 40 and I can tell you that age age 42 I feel very independent and feel no desire to retire in the traditional sense. I love what I do. It’s something that has been created from the ground up and not once has it ever felt like a job. I’m sure one day I’ll be sharing exactly what I have started but as I mentioned in the article it is in the dot com space. Keep following your dream and goal of FI and whatever makes you happy and content. As always, I appreciate your comment.

  2. My one word answer would be “save”. After my wife and I made our IRAs and my 401k a priority and saved the most that we possibly could each year, our net worth started to climb. “Time” is a great answer too because you need both, maximum savings and time for the savings to grow.

    My biggest mistake? Selling things like PEP, DIS, and ABT and investing in index funds. Not that index funds are bad per se, but imagine if I had kept my DGI stock for the last 20+ years. HA!

    • Hi KeithX,

      Of course, there is no one single answer as to how to achieve financial independence. Saving is just as important as a time component to enable those savings to work. It’s funny how net worth starts to climb when spending is curbed and savings are increased. Like you, I also have my selling regrets and wish I had held my IP, MMM or CHV (CVX) since 1997. Oh well, I’m not making that mistake again. As long as I am holding a sustainable growing dividend payer, I’m not selling. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • Hi D4s,

      Patience is another key to long term dividend investing and achieving financial success. We live in an instant gratification world that is dominated by media ‘fear’ outlets that often prompt many individuals to cut and run from their investments and not see the long term picture. Believe me, I know about resolve after seeing my entire portfolio deep in the red after the last economic meltdown. My portfolio was anything but pretty in 2009 but I did not sell one single share of any stock I held and kept investing every single month as I always have. With Greece and the Euro in the news these days it will be interesting to see the market impacts and how we respond as dividend growth investors. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  3. Thank you for the article DivHut. It was a nice reminder to for us. From this moment on, let’s keep at it and keep hustling hard bud. We’re on this wonderful path now and we’re gonna crush our goals. I’m glad to have found fellow bloggers to travel with. Cheers my friend.
    Dividend Hustler recently posted…June 2015 Monthly Summary Report.My Profile

    • Hi DH,

      I think it’s important to remind ourselves to look at the big picture even in the midst of the darkest economic times. It’s easy to invest in the stock market when the direction is headed up. Too often people lose focus during a down trend and sell their positions prematurely and jump back in the game when it’s too late. As you always state keep the hustle going and watch that dividend snowball grow. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  4. DivHut,

    Thanks for writing that. It makes me glad I started at least with dividend growth investing before I turned 29. I do feel that compared to most of my peers I have a leg up on them financially, even if they make more money than me in their day jobs.

    Time is the ultimate factor though. My grandmother was widowed when my father and his siblings were in high school or younger. She invested what she had in the market and was a strongly frugal person. Her investments, their compounding and reinvested dividends allowed her to live without working helping all her kids (6) go to college. It truly shows the power of investing and frugality, and she was from an immigrant family. It can be done, but time is the best ally in the world.

    – Gremlin

    • Hi DG,

      Believe me you are way ahead of most if you started on a dividend growth investing plan before age 29. Your greatest asset may not be current income nor the ability to add lots of fresh capital but even better than that, is time. If you stay consistent with your investments going forward you’ll be in a much better position than most by the time you hit 40 or 50.

      That’s an amazing story you shared about your grandmother and what she has done. You hear these stories all the time about people living a modest lifestyle and investing and reinvesting over decades. It’s truly amazing what time and compounding can achieve. Do you know what your grandmother invested in all those years? Thank you for sharing that great story. You should write a detailed blog post highlighting her achievement.

      • DH,
        I wish I knew exactly what she bought and the statistics – sadly I don’t. I do know it was big companies well valued that paid dividends. She had a broker who did most of the ground work for her, and I do believe I heard somewhere along the like she got involved with Prudential in the early 1960s. I think they were small and the rumor I heard was she either invested in Prudential or large companies (your JNJs, ABTs, UNPs, etc.). The only key I heard is what we all repeat in the DGI community – well valued, decent dividend, excellent growth, and good history.

        I might look into making it a blog post, I would have to get records from family members, so it might take a while.

        Thanks for the question,
        Gremlin

        • Hi DG,

          I appreciate you looking into this. If you can somehow piece together a blog post from whatever information you gather I’m sure it will be well received as this would be a real world example you could share from someone you know. As you stated, it’s really all about what we each preach on our blogs… find value and good dividend growth and just hold on for decades. Thank you again for your reply.

  5. Great post DH. I’m glad you shared your experience about starting a business and investing in dividend stocks. I recently reflected on the value of buying real estate at a young age. I think the secret to building great wealth is to start young. I hope this post will encourage more young people to take control of their finances and start investing.
    My Road to Wealth and Freedom recently posted…Building Wealth with Real EstateMy Profile

    • Hi MRtWaF,

      I fully agree with your comment in that the best time to do anything is when you are young. As you know we are all different people at different stages of our lives and have the greatest energy and ability earlier in life. Of course, being young also affords us the chance to make mistakes and start over without those mistakes being financially devastating. Whether it’s buying real estate, starting a business or investing in dividend growth stocks there’s little doubt that starting young is best. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  6. DH,

    The advice to “accumulate income producing assets rather than just accumulating assets” resonates deeply with me. I just got home from a trip to Belize and after reading your post I’m inspired to get back to work.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    David
    David Cunningham recently posted…Under ConstructionMy Profile

    • Hi DC,

      Wow! Happy to have inspired you to get back to work. I always believed in the notion of “income producing assets” rather than simply acquiring assets. Life always comes down to income more so than assets accumulated because income is how we live day to day and month to month. Would you rather have $2 million in cash, comic books, a home, gold, cars, etc. or an asset than can provide you with $5000, $10,000 or $15,000 a month in income? An asset that produces income is much more valuable than an asset that just has a tangible value. The only way to realize any benefit from assets that do not produce income is to sell it. Assets that continually produce income “never” have to be sold. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  7. Thanks for the motivation, as I am currently in my 20s and trying to do just that. There are a lot of things in life that you can’t control, so why not invest in yourself? It gives you the best tools to control what you are able to control. And your own example of a “late” start also shows everyone that it really is never to late to start investing. Compounding interest can work for everyone if you start now.
    Debt Hater recently posted…Student Loan Progress – June 2015My Profile

    • Hi DH,

      Glad to have given you some extra motivation to stay on your wealth and passive income journey. The reality is that many in their 20s don’t even give a second thought to investing nor creating a passive income stream. Again, I used my 20s to start a business and have been very fortunate that it has worked out for me all these years. Of course, starting and failing in my 20s would be better than starting and failing in my 40s or later in life. The bottom line is that it’s never too late to start investing in yourself or for yourself. Even being a dividend growth investor for a relatively short amount of time I have already seen great progress in my passive income generation. The key for any of these methods is to simply start. Too often people don’t even get off the ground for fear of failing. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  8. Great post about an important subject. I am fond of saying “it’s never too late to change”. So while starting out as soon as you can is always the best way, it’s never too late to turn it all around if need be. Like you I only started down the dedicated dividend investing path in my early/mid thirties. The dividends add up quick! Thanks for sharing.

    – HMB
    HMB recently posted…Round 3 – Recent BuyMy Profile

    • Hi HMB,

      It’s so true that it’s never too late to start anything. The key is to simply start. Too often people fail to take that very important first step which almost always leads to regret at some point in the future. Starting out as a dividend investor when you are young and letting those returns compound can be one of the greatest ways to achieve long term financial success. That’s one of the key reasons I started baby DivHut on his dividend growth journey at birth. As always I appreciate your comment.

  9. Great post, DH.

    I have been lucky in that I came to dividend investing in my mid-20s. I am only just starting to feel the benefits of getting started early. But just running the basic numbers shows the incredible benefits of starting early–even if small–and sticking to it through thick and thin. Easier said than done at some points. But very much worth it. As you say, helps you to build that safety net everyone wants.
    Dividend Drive recently posted…My Weekly Worthies: On Here, Over There (and Over To You)–27 June 2015My Profile

    • Hi DD,

      Any time you can create a secondary income stream, especially one that is passive, you are weaving a larger financial safety net in case your job or business you run unexpectedly terminate. Congrats on getting an early start in the dividend growth game. No doubt you’ll reap some amazing returns in the next decade or two. Starting early is one of the reasons I opened an account for baby DivHut and started his dividend growth journey at birth. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  10. Hello DH –
    Congrats on starting your business right after college and making it work for you for so many years, that is very cool.
    I agree with you that accumulating producing assets is the way to go and the earlier the accumulation starts the better.

    And I would be tempted to give the same advice.
    However at the same time I would give the advice to travel and learn about the world while people are young.

    In reality, I wish I had been able to travel AND invest.
    If I had to start over, I think I would pick travel again 🙂

    Nick
    TheMoneyMine recently posted…The Greek Crisis : What you need to know (Part 2)My Profile

    • Hi TMM,

      Thank you for your kind words. I feel very blessed to have been able to start and run my own business right out of college for all these years. I can honestly say that if you would have asked me back in 1998 what I’d be doing in 2015 I would not have answered “the same online business.”

      Keep accumulating income producing assets and enlarge your financial safety net. I also fully agree with you regarding travel and exploring the world while you are young. I am very happy that I have done a lot of travelling before I turned 40 and have seen more places than most do in a lifetime. I never once thought about saving and investing first and travel later. Time is fleeting and the future is not guaranteed. Work hard and plan for tomorrow but don’t forget to enjoy today. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • Hi R2R,

      Glad you enjoyed the post. The way I see it life is a risk. Nothing is guaranteed except the present so why not take a chance, especially when you are young, and reach for something great. As dividend growth investors we are planning for a brighter financial future but at the same time we cannot forsake the present and enjoy the current moment. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  11. Good piece DivHut! I don’t think we’ll repeat enough to the younger ones out there! I started investing in my 20s but discovered the real power of dividend only a few years ago. I wish I knew before what I know now. But hey! At least we got there! Compounding is the most powerful thing out there to enjoy an early retirement at its best.

    Cheers,

    Mike

    • Hi DG,

      I’m right with you regarding my investing experience. I have been investing for a long, long time but the concept of dividend growth investing is relatively new for me. I bought my first stock back in 1988 and it happened to pay a dividend too. I just didn’t understand what it really meant. But in fairness, in the late 80s checking accounts, CDs and savings accounts were all paying around 8% or more which meant that as an investor we were all less hungry for yield. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  12. I rather unknowingly got into investing at 21, and have been lucky to land upon the financial independence blogosphere more recently. I look at the $2,500 or so in monthly dividend income I’ll have when I retire in four years (at age 34) and am amazed and the potential that would have if I decided to keep working to 40 or 45. Through just contributions, reinvestment, and meager dividend growth, I could be looking at a $200k income by 45 just through dividends if I decided to keep working. Thankfully, I’ll never work that long, and even more thankfully I won’t need nearly that much.

    Thanks for posting.

    Eric

    • Hi R29,

      Your comment highlights the amazing power of compounding over time. I think it’s great that you have a clear goal with a time line to achieve that goal and before you know it you’ll arrive at your destination. Your comment also highlights what I like to call the trifecta of dividend investing, fresh capital, reinvestment and dividend growth. Get one, two or all three and watch that dividend snowball grow. Congrats on starting out young to build out your financial safety net. Just think, with your diversified portfolio you’ll always have an income to provide for yourself and family. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Wow, congrats on the business. I guess you’ve had it for a longtime, and you still manage to put money on the side for dividend investing. Putting the money to work is the best way to go, right? Do you have a projected date where you can call it quit?
    Vivianne recently posted…June DividendMy Profile

    • Hi Vivianne,

      Thank you for your well wishes. Believe me, I did not think that my business, which I started in 1998, would still be around today, especially since it’s an Internet business. But here we are in 2015 and it’s still around. I never really had a projected “call it quits” date. Maybe that’s because I always worked for myself and enjoyed building and creating. Perhaps if I had a standard job I’d feel different. I’m already 42, past the magic age when many in the blogging world want to “retire” and feel happy where I am. I work from home, I have travelled and visited more countries than most people see in a lifetime, I have control over my time and can take off whenever I want so the “call it quits” date never entered my mind. I could see myself doing what I am doing for another 10 or even 20 years as my income comes from a source that doesn’t feel like a job to me which is why I feel no compelling reason to quit or retire. We’ll see. As long as I can have control over my time I’m quite content. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • Hi Adam,

      Thank you for your kind words. As I mentioned in the post the best time to take a chance and ‘go for the gold’ is when you are young. Little to no responsibilities coupled with tons of energy and excitement. I do wish I had invested in dividend growth stocks a little earlier in my life but I guess I can’t complain as I carved out my own path instead and was spared the dread of a ‘traditional job’ which I read so much about. It’s never to late to invest, start a business or learn a new skill but the reality is that it’s best done while young. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • Hi BSR,

      The key to being a dividend growth investor sometimes is simply starting. You have taken that great first step and will show awesome results if you stick to your plan over the coming decades. Your comment highlights the point that it’s never too late to start. As always I appreciate your comment.

  14. DH,

    Great advice for anyone coming up in the game. People too often squander those precious years in their 20s when they have the opportunity to get the “most bang for their buck” with the compounding. Someone who starts at 20 may have the chance to double their money one to three times already by the time someone begins in their late 30s; it makes a huge difference.

    I have a lot of respect for anyone who goes the self-employment route. You need to be made of the right stuff to make it work and I don’t just mean “guts”. It takes a huge amount of self-discipline to actually put the work in when there’s no boss over your shoulder telling you what to do. Avoiding complacency is no easy task, but you’ve obviously got that part figured out.

    Good work,
    – Ryan from GRB
    Get Rich Brothers recently posted…GreeceMy Profile

    • Hi GRB,

      Your comment and my blog post highlights one of the key ingredients for achieving financial success, time. Those that have more of it are truly in a special place to be able to grow their nest egg. Unfortunately, most people in their 20s have retirement, saving and investing as an afterthought at best. I sure wish I had the Internet at my disposal back in my 20s as it exists today with such a vast wealth of information and real people to offer guidance and support as we have within our dividend investing community.

      Thank you for your kind words regarding my self-employment. It took a good five years to build up the business and was certainly no overnight success. I can tell you that it was easy staying motivated as I felt very excited and ‘alive’ building something from scratch and watching it grow. Never once, in 17 years, did I ever not feel excited or tired or sick of doing what I was doing. In that respect I feel very blessed to have found something that excites me and affords me an income as well. I guess it’s similar to this blog. I just started it because I liked reading and learning from others in the dividend investing community and wanted to be a part of it. Today, watching DivHut grow and gain readership is just as fun. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    • Hi R2R,

      Wow…. $15K in fresh capital is an insane amount for one month. Congrats. You’ll see the next quarter of dividends really start to come in after that investment size. It’s all about consistent investment and not getting discouraged during those inevitable market downturns. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  15. I wish I started dividend investing at a much younger age than I did. Even a few years could make a world of difference with the power of compounding. I’ve only been investing for a year and a half and can only wonder when I’ll be able to escape the 9-5 world.

    Unfortunately, people in their younger 20s just don’t think with that mindset. Everyone is saving up for a new car, not for early retirement. My advice to these people would be to not squander your greatest asset, which is time. Most people will be employees of one business or another for 40-50 years, and most young people won’t realize how exhausting, frustration, and awful it is until it is too late and “early retirement” becomes a fantasy as they fight to keep ahead of their debt and expenses by working at a job that they have no choice but to work at. Young people, don’t underestimate how miserable a “regular” job can be. By building your nest egg early, you can spend your life focusing on your passions and interests, doing a job that pays less but you enjoy, starting a business, volunteering, or whatever you want.

    That was a lot more morbid than I meant it to be, but my point still stands. You only get one life. Would you rather spend if doing something you love, or making money for someone else and amassing a growing collection of “things”? The choice is yours.

    Sincerely,
    ARB–Angry Retail Banker
    ARB recently posted…Don’t Argue Other Banks’ Policies With Me!My Profile

    • Hi ARB,

      Well said. The sad reality is that most people in their 20s and 30s and beyond still work to spend their money on things whether it’s a new car or some other “stuff.” Time is the single greatest ally for anyone but more so for the young. Your comment also highlights the power of compounding as you wonder how much further along you’d be in your passive income quest had you just started a few years sooner. Your comment is not morbid but rather showcases the sad reality that awaits most people. As always, I appreciate your comment.

  16. Great post DivHut. Read the other day on my phone but forgot to comment. I,too, wish I could have started dividend investing when I was younger but what’s done is done. What we can do is move forward and invest now. Realizing the power of time and compound interest is the reason that I started a dividend portfolio for Baby T. The idea is to have everything compounding for years.
    Tawcan recently posted…Random Personal Finance ThoughtsMy Profile

    • Hi Tawcan,

      Glad you enjoyed the post. I find it interesting that the concept of time and compounding is often lost in the young, myself included. At least we can take comfort in the fact that a) we started on our own dividend growth journey and b) that we have started our young ones on the same path much earlier in life. I have a feeling that will pay off dividends in more ways than one. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  17. The good news is I’m starting relatively early (mid twenties), but I’m still paying off student loans so my savings are somewhat limited.

    I think being self-employed can create freedom in itself. I’ve been trying to diversify my income streams both from dividends and side hustles in order to eventually increase my level of independence.

    It’s truly an impressive accomplishment for being 100% self-employed for so long. Congrats!
    Red to Riches recently posted…June 2015 Net Worth UpdateMy Profile

    • Hi RtR,

      It doesn’t matter that your savings are limited at this point. You are starting at a young age and are working to eliminate your student debt. In my book you are way ahead of many others that are much older than you. Thank you for your kind words about my self-employment. As I mentioned in other comments, had you asked me in 1998 if I’d still be doing my own thing in 2015 I would have said ‘No.’ But here we are 17 years later and I cannot complain about how I have earned my livelihood. Of course, I wish I would have been an earnest dividend growth investor 17 years ago too, but at least I started several years ago and have not had to deal with any of the office politics or dread of Monday mornings as others have. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  18. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t feel the same way about starting earlier with investing. Really says something about the power of time for every single individual.

    Awesome that you started a business right out of school, and have been self employed your whole career! Congrats on your success so far, and hope life and your investments continue to treat you well!

    Cheers,

    Jason
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…Freedom is so much bigger than just financial independenceMy Profile

    • Hi IoI,

      Time is probably the biggest ally of any investor. It’s not about investing huge sums nor picking that one great stock. It’s about having the time and consistency of investing that allows adequate compounding to take hold and deliver stellar returns. It’s interesting that you wrote a piece titled, “Freedom is so much bigger than just financial independence,” because that’s exactly how I feel being in the same boat. I am by no means financially independent but I am time independent. That time independence gives me the freedom to travel when I want and where I want, to be with my new baby boy or simply take off with my wife and kid and spend time together as a family. As always, I appreciate your comment.

  19. Great post Keith,
    I shouldn’t have given up on my online micro business that I had started between 1998-2002… but I was busy with university and starting a career in the field I studied in. I shutted down all my sites, spent all my savings on university and on my social life and that until I was 32… those years… I will neved get them back… but such is life.

    I’m now stuck in a career I don’t enjoy, attending stupid meeting I don’t want to attend, stuck with stupid office politics I can’t stand anymore (they make us draw and complete sentences like if we were kids… I even had to film myself to tell the world why I love my job so much recently – it was mandatory) is it a freaking job or a kindergarden? They are cutting our salary, destroying our pension plan, cutting down on our social advantages… ahh whatever…

    I’m slowly digging my way out, building dividend income and online income. Sooner or later all of this will be over and I’ll be free. But I really wish I would have started saving and investing earlier in my life.

    Take care
    Allan recently posted…June 2015 : passive income update. Another solid month!My Profile

    • Hi Allan,

      Keep looking forward and learn from your past mistakes. While your present might not be that great dealing with the typical office politics and potential salary cuts, etc. at least you have a much brighter future building out a passive income source via dividends. Just think that every investment you make, no matter the size, buys you that much future freedom. We all wish we could have taken certain financial steps earlier in life, myself included, but there’s not much we can do about it now except move in the right direction from today on. Your future self will definitely be thanking your past self in time. As always, thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  20. A great read DH!

    Having squandered most of my 20s and all of my 30s in debt, I’ve pretty much missed out on compounding altogether! I guess not getting into so much debt would be the thing I would change if I could go back in time!

    I’m fortunate that I’m in a job I like, working with colleagues who are also my friends, for a company I respect, which I guess means I can still enjoy life at the same time as trying to save/invest hard (and perhaps make up a little for lost time!).

    However, the work situation is likely to change in the next few months and I’ll be facing some uncertainty. Oh well, when I know for sure, I’ll have to work out Plan B!
    weenie recently posted…Weenie’s Monkey Stocks League Challenge!My Profile

    • Hi weenie,

      Glad you enjoyed this post. Unfortunately, your situation is more common than not as most of us look back at our 20s and 30s and wonder where all that time went as well as all our money/savings. I know I am in the same boat as I wish I could have been a serious dividend growth investor a decade or two ago. At least you enjoy your work and colleagues. Many don’t even have that. You know the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” All we can do is look forward and take action in the present. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    • Hi DC,

      Time favors the young. Whether it’s for health, finances or other life endeavors. Looks like you used your time wisely in your 30s and got your financial house in order. I know people well into their 40s still paying off student loans from college let alone a secondary school. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your personal experience.

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