Bert’s Journey

If you all have not figured this out yet, Lanny is quite the talker. I figured I would set the record straight from the beginning and say that my story will not be as long as his. All jokes aside I must say that I would not be at the point I am without him. My journey to financial independence began when I was young but did not take off until I began learning from him. I cannot thank him enough for taking me under his wings for the last two years.

To provide a little background about myself, I am a 28 year-old investor born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. I graduated from THE Ohio State University in 2011 with a Bachelors degree and graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2012 with a Masters of Accountancy Degree. Currently, I work for a public accounting firm as an auditor. Thanks to my mom, I have always understood the importance of saving for retirement. When I was younger, I worked as a camp counselor earning less than minimum wage (Shockingly low, in fact, for the amount of hours I spent at the camp). Each paycheck she would take half of the paycheck and deposit it into an IRA account for my future retirement. At the time, I was furious because what young teenager wouldn’t be? But now as an adult, I cannot thank her enough for teaching me the importance of saving for my future.

My investing career began with a gift of 5 shares of Bank of America from my grandmother. After one stock split, one financial crisis and one suspended dividend, I am now the proud owner of 11.03233 shares of Bank of America! No matter how far in the red I am, how low the dividend yield (.002% at the inception of the blog) and how small of a percentage BAC accounts for in my total portfolio, I will always hold and cherish these shares.

For the past two years, Lanny and I have spent many hours researching dividend stocks to grow our passive income. I have seen my projected annual dividend increase from a two figure dollar amount to four figures. Through investing in strong dividend paying companies, I believe I have built a solid foundation for my future. However, I still have a long way to go to achieve the financial independence that Lanny and I preach. I am looking forward to joining this amazing community of investors that are passionate about the same common goal. While this is my first time blogging, I cannot wait to share my thoughts, strategies with other investors. My investing career is just in the beginning stages and I still have a lot to learn; however, through reading your comments and reviews, your blog posts, and monitoring your investing blogs, I know I can one day achieve my goal of financial independence and enjoy my time on this earth.

Enjoy the ride!

-Bert, One of the Dividend Diplomats

9 thoughts on “Bert’s Journey

  1. I’m very inspired by the two of you and also the late Dividend Mantra blog, which I loved as well. I really enjoy your insights. I started this journey about two years ago myself and I anticipate this December will be my very first $ 400.00 month.

    • Wow. Thank you so much Mike. Means a lot. That’s what we love about this community, everyone encourages and motivates each other. I can draw inspiration from all the other bloggers out there along with many of our readers and commentators.

      I’m excited to see where you decide to allocate that capital. That’s going to be such a huge and exciting purchase.


  2. Bert – A native Clevelander – you have had quite the recent ride, first with Lebron, and then the Tribe almost pulling it off. Even though they lost, still beats watching Mike (“The Human Rain Delay”) Hargrove playing at the Mistake by the Lake (both likely before your time, but neither one pretty!).

    I see you went to “THE Ohio State University” – nothing better than watching the boys emphasize that during NFL intros on Monday Night Football.

    On a more serious not, I am very sorry to hear about the recent shooting at your alma mater, Senseless and sickening, but perhaps most sad, the increasing prevalence of these types events ceases to be shocking.

    Here is hoping for better days ahead.

    • Dining,

      In terms of sports, this year has been amazing. I’ll never forget where I was when the Cavs won the championship (Wedged into a corner at Harry Buffalo) and the roar of the streets. People were dancing, hugging, high fiving, and were so kind to each other. I do not think I will ever experience that again. Well I thought I was going to in October. While I love all Cleveland teams, I would be lying if I didn’t say that my favorite team is the Indians. I was born in 1989 and I have been told that I went to games at Municipal Stadium, but I cannot remember them. My memories began at the Jake. When I was younger, I used to have the 1995 Indians lineup memorized along with all of the stats of each player. I threw right handed and batted left handed, so naturally I compared myself to Jim Thome. I used to imitate his batting stance and the point before every pitch. If only that actually translated to results on the field (I was TERRIBLE at hitting). Hargrove was the manager at the time, so I remember him walking to the pitchers mound plenty of times in the 1990s. This year, I was at Game 7 of the World Series and I still have a difficult time talking about it. Couldn’t be more proud of the players. They played their tails off, giving it their all and they fought until the last possible second. I’ve gone crazy at sports games before, but I have never jumped as high or screamed as loud as I did hen Rajai Davis tied the game in the 8th. I thought they had one more piece of magic up their sleeve before the rain delay, but the momentum stalled in extras and the Cubs came out swinging.. But my team, the underdog, injury riddled team, pushed the Cubs to extra innings in Game 7. I never thought I would see that day in my life. It will be one I always tell my kids and grandkids about.

      I love that Ohio State players emphasize the “THE” on the TV. That is actually in the school’s name, no matter what anyone says. All the other people that imitate it are posers haha.

      Couldn’t agree more and I couldn’t think of a better way to say it. Somehow, someway, we will figure out a way to bring an end to this kind of violence. There is no place for it in Columbus, Orlando, or any other place in the US/World that experience these tragedies. There are better ways and better solutions, and I sadly find myself wondering how many more of these events will need to occur before we find the answers.

      If you ever find yourself back in your hometown, please reach out to us. We both live in Cleveland (Lanny is from Akron) and would love to grab a coffee, lunch, or a drink somewhere.


      • Bert – To clarify, I am not from Cleveland. I was referencing your roots!
        There was a time in my life when baseball was by far my favorite sport. I religiously followed Reggie Jackson from team to team, and at one time I had a cat (now deceased) named Mr. October.
        No doubt the Series was crazy. I felt like I should be rooting for the Cubs given their historic drought, but for whatever reason I found myself rooting for the Tribe. I think it was a combination of my American League bias, and because I viewed them as the underdogs, in particular with their depleted pitching staff.
        Despite not being from Cleveland, if I ever do find myself visiting, I will definitely give you shout. Take care.

        • haha sorry about the confusion. I got excited when you brought up the roots and just jumped to the conclusion you were from Cleveland. Love that you named your cat after Reggie. Its always more fun to root for the underdog. Going into Game 7, I knew I was seeing history unfold one way or the other. Either I would see the greatest event or I would witness the longest championship drought end. Unfortunately, I saw the latter but now I am hungry for next. Pitchers and catchers report in two and a half months after all!


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