Thursday, June 25, 2015

Free cake for everybody!

Today, we celebrate my very first blogiversary!

Picture and cake by Animated Cupcakes at Flickr
Right from the start, I felt a very warm welcome from the entire community. This helped me a lot. Not only because of the solid advices you all provide, but also through the content so many of you create.

Please take a piece of this beautiful cake. Some of you might recognize a logo in that. This is not a coincidence. Looking back, Target (TGT) has been my best holding, by far.

Before we get into that, let's see what the relative new blog has brought me, in the past 12 months.

Blog stats
31 posts were published, roughly 3 per month.
These posts were complemented by 160 comments! That's much more than I would have anticipated. Thank you all very much for the participation. It's much appreciated. The blog has been visited 11.476 times. Wow!
The vast majority of visitors is an American. Not uncommon for an English blog about US Dividend Aristocrats I would say.

I couldn't thank all of you personally, but I do like to mention Dividend Yield, because of his continued support through Twitter, as well as Captain Dividend for adding me to the blogroll of his very succesful blog.

Investing stats
This adventure started by purchasing 4 major Dividend Aristocrats for a total of $6.666.
After these purchases I added money to my brokerage account on a monthly basis. This resulted in a portfolio, which has 10 holdings, with a cost basis of $13.214. Today, the value of this portfolio is at $13.844. This is a 4.76% increase. Dividends are excluded from this.
Should we add the $264.80 net dividends received (June 2014 to June 2015), the total return is a decent 6.77%.

Snapshot of portfolio at 6/25/15

Overall, I'm very pleased with the results. The price fluctuation don't worry me at all. It might provide me with a chance to average down in the future.

Main reason for starting this adventure is because of disappointing interest rates banks give us nowadays. Most major banks in The Netherlands decreased the interest rate to approxiamately 0.9%. At least for the last 12 months, this DGI strategy has paid me 7.5 times as much!
Even if we would ignore growth, just the dividends paid me more than the bank would have paid me in interest. Isn't that amazing?

Looking forward

Focus on growth

To start the snowball effect as soon as possible, I tried to buy some high yielding, blue chip stocks. Most high yielding companies, don't have very strong growth numbers. This is indicated by the table below. From this point forward I will shift my focus to growth. Of course, yield remains important as well, but I feel like my average growth should be a double digit number.

Getting into p2p lending
I'm exploring the posibilities to get into p2p lending. This should be a nice addition to the passive income stream. At this point, I'm not sure if I would have enough funds to do this efficiently, because I don't want to cut the amount I put in my brokerage account each months. The snowball has to grow!

After all this good news, I'd like to share some concerns as well.

Euro vs Dollar
First, there is this Euro vs Dollar issue.

Amount of dollars we'd get for €1
Looking at the chart, I pulled off these numbers:
June 25, 2014: €1 = $1.36
June 24, 2015: €1 = $1.11
That's a 19% decline and despite the recent upswing, I don't think all troubles are over.

As with price fluctuation I think I shouldn't worry too much about this and let Mr. Market do his job. If you look at it from an optimistic view you could say it's good I'm invested in US companies instead of EU companies with this strong dollar, right? What are your thoughts on this?

Multiple broker accounts to decrease risk?
Next, theres some concern about my broker. I'm with the cheapest broker in The Netherlands. It has been operational for about 3 years now. The fees are really low. Probably around $1 for a $1000 purchase. Explaining their entire earnings model would be something we could discuss in a seperate post, but for now I'm starting to feel a little bit anxious adding more than the current $15k to the account.
Do you trust your broker with all your (investing) money?

English not primary language
Although I do want to write more than 31 posts during this next year, it takes a lot of effort to write posts like these. And even then, I'm pretty sure these posts are full with textual errors. Please ignore them or write me a message to correct me, especially if you see multiple occurrences of the same error. I won't be offended.

Hopefully you all keep joining me on my journey to FI! :-)

Thanks for reading this wall of text.


  1. Congrats DS! (and thanks for the cake :))

    Inspiring post since I just started my journey a month or so ago! You are dead on with the awesome community. The amount of feedback and support is really impressive from everyone. Certainly makes the journey easier.

    As for your posts and textual errors... don't worry at all about it. There are a couple errors but they dont detract from your main point by any means. I see errors in my posts as well as in bloggers that have been doing this for years. No worries!

    Congrats and keep up the good work. I look forward to what the next year brings you!


    1. Hey Adam,

      Thanks for commenting!
      With your steady amount of fresh capital you should be ahead of me in no time :)

      Thank you for the compliments. Hope to keep you as a reader and an active commentator!

      Best wishes, DfS

  2. Nice post, you've made some big progress already and starting out with many of the great pillars of dividend investing like JNJ, KO, and PG. Like you mentioned, I wouldn't worry about the short term paper losses as those always give you a chance to average down anyway. I wish I could do that with CVX but that's already a huge position for me already).

    As far as brokers are concerned I'm not worried too much at the moment since my accounts are insured up to $500,000 by SIPC. You go to and check the list of members for your broker.

    Thanks for the mention!

    1. Hey CD,

      Thanks for your suggestion. Unfortunately, SIPC is a domestic fund. As I'm from Europe, this does not help me. Perhaps I could open an account through credit card at one of the listed brokers, but most brokers need domestic bank account details, which I obviously don't have.

      No problem and thanks for your continued support!

      Best wishes, DfS

  3. Congratulations and thanks for the cake DfS! Well, compared to me you are a true veteran already:-)
    English is not my native language either, and writing surely takes some effort. But my (and probably yours too) potential readers are at least 90% English speaking, so it makes a lot of sense. And there is a chance even to learn something new here, that can't be a bad thing:)
    Those currency fluctuations are annoying. I see strong dollar as a double-edged sword, to say the least. Surely my net worth in euros looks good, but then building net worth is not my main target. And strong dollar means that my euros have less buying power in the North American stock markets.
    Well, anyways, I'm not going to change my strategy. And I guess you are not going to change it either, which is great!
    So, I wish you success with your investments and second year with your blog!

    1. Hi Dividend Lord,

      Thanks for your nice words! Your portfolio is a whole lot bigger than mine, so you'll win the race for now. :p

      I'm not going to change the strategy either. In the 10 year graph it's probably just a little swing. We're in for the long run right. :)

      Thanks for your visit!
      Best wishes, DfS

  4. Congratulations DfS,

    Great post and great achievement! Fluctuations do not worry me as well, exchange rate is bound to "change" (it's in the name after all), and that it can be a bit of a trap for a portfolio like mine and yours... There are more elements to keep track of, but nothing so hard that a google doc sheet cannot do!

    Keep up the good work!


    1. Hey Stalflar,

      Thanks man. In the end, I don't think it matters much.
      Price is just a number, value is what we get!

      Best wishes, DfS

  5. Congrats! Keep the blog going!

    Dear Dividend

  6. Happy anniversary! Hopefully the first one of many.



  7. Congrats on your first year anniversary. Here's to more to come.

    1. Thanks Tawcan!

      I surely hope so. Glad you made it to the party!

      Best wishes, DfS

  8. Congrats on anniversary and first great year! Your growing portfolio looks very nice! Good luck on future growth!

    1. Hi HHWG,

      The column 'bargain' is actually added after reading your blog.
      Although certainly not the most important parameter, it does feel good to buy a very high quality stock, at a fair price.

      Thanks for your support!
      Best wishes, DfS