A Movie Review, kinda…

Movie Night

Normally I wouldn’t review a movie on here because movies are just supposed to be simple entertainment and nothing more. But this past weekend I watched one that I have thought about a few times since finishing. Usually if a movie is in my thoughts a few days later I would have to say it was pretty good. This one has stuck around because of the message that it sends to the viewer.

The movie I watched is called “The Company Men” and it came out in 2010. I don’t remember ever seeing anything about this when it came out. It stars a few well known actors and deals with a fictional corporation in America during “The Great Recession”

This movie sticks out to me because it shows just why living within your means is important. Not only that but why it is important that you have a plan that involves not being 100% dependent on your job and current income level to survive. Its great to be able to spend money on some luxuries in life if you can afford it, but caution must always be used. Since so many people are just a few paychecks away from ending up bankrupt you must realize just how much that new house, car, furniture, etc etc is really going to cost you if you suddenly lose your main source of income.

I didn’t realize over the past few years just how important the changes I was making in our financial life were going to be in the very near future. I thought I was setting up something that was going to be put to use a decade or more down the road, not just a couple of years later. I knew I was happier at work because I didn’t have that fear of losing my source of income but when something happened at work that I just couldn’t agree or deal with I had no problem walking away.

This really didn’t end up being a movie review but I will say “The Company Men” is a good way to burn a couple hours time. It’s really not the best movie in the world but it just fits into what so many blogs that I follow are always talking about. So if you have an interest in living a life within your means and want to see what happens when you don’t then its worth the watch.

Has anyone seen this movie before? What did you think of it?

 

Image Credit: Ginny

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ginnerobot/

 

 

Passive Income From Dividends – March 2014

passive income from dividends

I know its already the 10th of April and here I am writing a post about dividends that were received in the month of March. I’ve been neglecting the blogging world recently and for that I am sorry. I have just been so busy since leaving my job, I wonder how I ever had time to actually go to work! The biggest thing keeping me busy lately is the ongoing renovation to our house. We have decided that this time off of work will be a good opportunity to complete the work around here. It sure will be nice to no longer be living in  a construction zone.

This recent month has been our largest month yet for dividends received! Can’t complain about that. We had 3 companies provide us with passive income to the tune of $85.27. In the month of March 2013 we received $42.48, that means our passive income for March increased 100.8% compared to last year. Even though we are still dealing with small amounts of money coming in every month it just goes to show that over time you can actually start to earn income that will allow you to be financially independent. All this requires is spending less then you make, and actually being wise enough to invest that money.

I have to admit I have not been paying much attention to the stock market the past couple of weeks, but even though I didn’t do any work the following 3 stocks decided to send me some cash. The money received was automatically used to purchase additional shares of these stocks. Its nice to know that even though I wasn’t paying attention our number of shares increased pushing us ever so slightly closer to our goals.

1. McDonalds (MCD) $21.24 

2. Target(TGT) $21.50

3. Ford (F) $42.53

I will say it is interesting that the companies that we have decided to invest in are companies that we like to purchase things from. I guess that is why it is important to invest in things you know about. I recently got suckered in to trying one of McDonalds new bacon clubhouse burgers that they keep advertising and I will admit it was pretty good. And this past weekend we needed some stuff for around the house and decided to go to Target. I don’t really enjoy going shopping but if our local Target is any indication of the broader market for this company I don’t think they have anything to worry about going forward. Our local store was absolutely packed! People must have already forgotten about the credit card hacking problems Target experienced over the holiday shopping season.

If your reading this thanks for sticking around while I have been away from the blog, I hope to start posting regularly very soon.

I will also be updating the Dividend Income History and Portfolio pages shortly to show our increased share count.

 

Image credit: SalFalko

 

 

Life is unpredictable.

So I haven’t written recently because life has decided to throw me a curve ball. It seems like just when you have your plan all figured out and are starting to put it in place a wrench gets thrown in the works.

The wrench I am talking about here involves my job. I have enjoyed the company that I have worked for over the past few years but last week some things happened that forced me to reevaluate my decision to be employed by this place. I felt like some boundaries were crossed in the employee / employer relationship and I couldn’t forgive the people I work for. I ended up quitting this past Friday. It was not an easy decision to make but I’m glad we are in a position that I am able to have this option.

As of right now I will not be getting a new job immediately, my wife and I have decided that it would be best if I took this opportunity to finish the remodeling of our home. What this also means is that I will not be able to proceed with our goal of buying our financial independence for at least the next few months.

While this is unfortunate, I look to it as an opportunity to reevaluate what our goals in life really are. Maybe I can find a career path that doesn’t involve me wanting to get out in my 40′s just to finally start to follow my passions.

I do still plan on posting regularly on this site, I’m just not as sure about what anymore. Everything is still so up in the air.

Thank you for stopping by!

BJ

Success Is Coming For You

success

Over the past year of digging deeper into many personal finance, investing, and frugality blogs I have begun to notice some common traits among the writers and their readers. And if someone wants to emulate the success that this group has achieved I think its important to incorporate these traits into your own life.

They track their spending religiously.  This is probably the number one thing that has made a difference in our lifestyle and it seems that almost everyone involved in finance blogging tracks their spending. Some people even like to publicly post for all to see just where their money goes. If you are consistently keeping track of where your money is going you will start to find ways to spend less. It just seems to happen organically that tracking your money leads to saving your money. It will even turn into a game at times to see just how low you can get a recurring expense. I know with our grocery bill before we started actually paying attention it would vary by quite a bit from week to week. Once we established that we only want to spend $100 on groceries per week it just seemed to be that our shopping habits subconsciously shifted to meet that number. There is some more planning that happens now around what we want to buy that week but its not an inconvenience.

They save a large portion of their income. The common number seems to be to save a minimum of 50% of your income. If you have gotten really good at tracking your spending and finding ways to cut that number down, saving more becomes really easy. As you watch your savings grow you get the added benefit of having less stress in almost all areas of your life. I know that because we have saved up a large emergency fund I no longer have to worry about keeping my job. Sure I’m not going to go and quit tomorrow but if I wanted to I could, and if I got fired it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I have a better attitude about work because of that and I’m sure it makes me a better employee. Once you have enough savings you will start to look for ways to invest in order to buy your freedom.

They have a plan. Goals are important but a plan is different than goals. Because you might be working towards a goal of financial independence you need to come up with a plan to get there. Our plan involves regularly investing in dividend stocks to get income to help us be independent. Someone else might have a plan that involves index funds, mutual funds, real estate, or even private lending. Once you know how much you are spending and saving you can start to develop your plan. You need the numbers in order to do the calculations. You also need a plan on how you are going to use those investments once you reach your goal.

Their aspirations involve more than money Its easy to think that because people write about money all the time all they care about is having more of it. Too a certain extent this is true, but it goes back to the plan part above. Of the writers I follow once they have achieved their goal their plan doesn’t involve actively pursuing more wealth. Instead it involves pursuing things that enrich their lives. Happiness is paramount, net worth comes second.

Optimism abounds  A pursuit of financial independence is not an easy path to set out on. You must have lots of optimism if you are to succeed. Everywhere around you people will question your motives and tell you that you are depriving yourself and that you only live once. If you don’t have an optimistic attitude it will be easy to be swayed by the naysayers. I personally feel stuck in a rut right now and hope its just the long winter wearing me down. I have optimism that the renewal that spring is about to bring is going to help break that rut.

So there you have it, the traits that I feel are universal among people wishing to choose a pursuit of financial independence. If you can identify with these traits then I’m sure you are already ahead of the pack and will find the success you chase after.

Image Credit: Alter1fo

 

New Portfolio Tracker

happy as a pig in the mud

Recently a new reader around here (WRITING2REALITY) made the suggestion that I include a portfolio page to publicly track our dividend portfolio. He has a great finance blog and I suggest you check it out if you haven’t already found it.

Well now I have an awesome portfolio tracker and I wanted to share it with you. I’m as happy as a pig in the mud! :)

The portfolio page was something that I have been planning on doing but I’m not a very sophisticated computer user so building spreadsheets is kind of hard for me. If you have noticed my Dividend Income History page at the top, that took quite a few hours for me to figure out. I was having the hardest time getting the links in the spreadsheet to be clickable. I’m using google docs for these mainly because they are free, but also because Continue reading