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 27 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