Investing is All About Staying Invested

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Net Worth Update (January 2022)

January was a rough month for the stock market. However, far more disturbing than the market gyrations, was all the panic selling. The sellers were not only my amateur friends (aka retail investors) who popped up in my DMs suggesting I also sell everything. Even, wealthy, seasoned investors like Meet Kevin sold out of their million-dollar portfolios, only to have the market rebound…the same day.

I still can’t wrap my mind around why all the cardinal rules of investing went up in smoke so quickly. How many times do we have to learn the same lessons?: 1. When you sell, you lock in losses. 2. Don’t invest money that you will need within the next two-to-five years and 3. It is not about timing the market, it’s about time in the market. These rules seem indelible when things are going well but are somehow instantly forgotten at the first sign of economic stress.

A Rudyard Kipling Approach to Investing

If you can keep your head when those around you are losing theirs, you stand to make a profit. Not a quick profit because we don’t do quick. Around here, we prefer slow and steady when it comes to building wealth. Analysts have done the research: “the S&P 500 has NEVER suffered a loss over a 20-year period. The same can’t be said for those investors who hold stocks for a year or two.”

To capture all the gains and none of the losses that the market has to offer, you have to stay in the market. Especially, when there is “blood on the streets.” The stock market is not a great “1-to-5-year” plan. It’s for people that plan to build serious, long-term legacy level wealth. Did you hear that even Warren Buffet sold out of all his stock holdings? No! No you didn’t. And you never will.

Nothing New Under the Sun

There is nothing new under the sun. The stock market has seen it all before we came along. War and inflation might be something that we are adulting through for the first time depending on when and where you were born, of course. But it’s certainly not new to the stock market. Take a look at this chart to see how the market performed when the United States was at war:

Large- and small-cap stocks somehow managed a positive return during every war (except small caps were down -1.2% during the Gulf War). So, if we go to war, things will certainly be unnerving but emotions should not be a part of your financial decision making. And if inflation is your other concern, have no fear. The stock market has seen this too.

Headline: “The easy-money policies of the American central bank—designed to generate full employment by the early 1970s—also resulted in high inflation.” Sound familiar? Back then President Ford and Fed Chair Arthur Burns were the meme’s cranking out cheap money and being blamed for an inflationary period that would last 10 long years. Today, we blame Pres. Joe Biden and Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who is forever memorialized as a meme cranking out money:

‘Printing money ain’t a thing’

Your response to all the market madness is to continue on your journey to building wealth. And while you’re on the journey you should expect bumpy roads, deep valleys and long, dry stretches knowing that eventually you will reach your FIRE destination.

Automation is the key to success. I would be lying if I told you I weren’t tired of watching my account go down week after week as I pour money in. At this point, I have given up on reaching any of the milestones that I hoped to have reached by now. Instead, I’ve found bright spots outside of net worth increases.

The first, is share count. With prices trending downward, I’ve been able to add to positions that I hadn’t purchased in few years, like Starbucks (SBUX). Second, because of the extra shares I’ve been able to purchase my dividend income should take a serious leap this year. So, I’ve decided to refocus my energy on reaching a new dividend milestone of $3,000-plus by 12/31/22. Essentially, my net worth is not something I can control as most of my net worth is a direct reflection of the stock market.

Okay, time for the January 2022 net worth update:

The chart above shows a net worth increase of $842 dollars over last month (Dec. 2021). While the increase is a lot less than what I’m used to, I’m elated that I have any increase at all because it means I took another small step toward FIRE. In case you were wondering, I’m exactly $12,534.52 from my next net worth milestone of  $250K.

Truly Passive Income

As I said earlier, 2022 is all about the dividends. When it comes to passive income there is no truer form than dividends. You buy shares with the push of a button and watch your money roll-in monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually.

Real estate is another so-called form of passive income that many swear by. While real estate has moments or stretches of passivity it’s not really, passive. Between tenants, collecting rent, repairs and normal upkeep, real estate is anything but passive most of the time. Royalties are another form of passive income. Generated from books, blogs, audio/video and invention. Royalties are an excellent form of passive income once the upfront hard work is complete. Personally, I’m interested in the Principle of Least Effort and dividend investing fits the bill.

This update and all future dividend updates represent one account and will not include dividends from my retirement accounts or any other brokerage accounts in which I hold equities.

I earned $140 of dividend income in the month of January. This is nearly double what I earned last January and marks the first time that I crossed $100 in January. With most companies paying dividends in March, June, September and December, you’ll see that it’s hard to find quality companies and build a strong dividend income in the off months. I continue to work on building income in the off months which are: Jan, Feb, Apr, May, Jul, Aug, Oct and Nov.

Dividend Portfolio Account Balance: $47,220.16 (as of 1/31/22) and I had a total of eight companies that paid me dividends in January:

What did your January dividend income look like? I would love to read about it in the comments.

Remember, it is a fight to build wealth no matter where you are in the process. Everything around us conspires to take money out of our hands. But you must fight the good fight. Continue to save, invest, and grow your net worth even when it seems impossible. Save your pennies (copper) until they become dollars (cotton).

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