Watching My Portfolio Cruise Past $100k

This post has been a long time coming.  Part of the reason I have waited so long to publish the fact that my individual portfolio has crossed the $100k mark is that i wanted to make sure that I was past this mark permanently.  Well, I finally reached that point last week and wanted to share with all of you that I had finally crossed $100k and am staring comfortably at a six figure individual stock portfolio.   I wanted to share some thoughts and observations from my journey to $100k with all of you

$100k

First, this is most likely going to be the last update about my individual stock portfolio.  If you recall, a  few months ago I wrote about how my wife and I combined our stock portfolio reporting for 2017.  So any milestone or update going forward will reflect our combined portfolio values and not just my individual.  Currently, our combined portfolio sits at $158k and hopefully I will be writing about crossing $200k before we know it.  But for now, I want to focus on just my inidivdual funds.

Observation #1 –  The First $100k Takes Time – I’ve read this on many different websites and it was definitely true for me.   The first $100k was a slow and steady process that took well over 3 years for me to complete.  My dividend investing journey began in the middle of 2013, over a year before the blog existed, so yeah, I’m not talking about a short time frame here.  Why was this the case?  I’ll elaborate on this point with my next observation, but starting from $0 meant that the majority of my growth at the beginning came from new funds that were transferred in to my account and not from the power of dividend re-investment.  My forward dividend income at the end of 2013 was only $750 and while this amount increased to $1,940 by the end of 2014, the majority of my portfolio growth had to come from outside capital.   When you have just graduated college, are paying off student debt, just buy a new car that is a money pit, and are paying for an over-priced apartment that you should have never lived in in the first place, the funds were not as readily available as I had hoped.  But once I focused on investing, buying as much stock as possible, and shed some of my old habits, the portfolio really began to take off.

Observation #2 – The Power Of Dividend Investing is REAL – We talk about this all the time on the website and see  it every month end when we prepare our dividend income summary of the results of other dividend growth investors.   But once that dividend snowball gets rolling, the results begin to magnify and your portfolio market value/dividend income begin to grow at a lot faster.   In 2015 and 2016, I re-invested $3,331 and $3,478 in dividends into my portfolio.  This means that dividends I received from companies over the last two years accounted for 6.8% of  my portfolio’s $100k market value.  That is a lot of extra cash that I did not have to invest, right?  And guess what?  That amount only gets larger and larger as you continue to receive additional shares and dividend increases from these awesome companies.  Why do you think I was so eager to continue building my PG and TROW shares over the last few months?  Because I want each DRIP from the companies to produce more and more fractional shares so I can let my dividend investing do the work for me.

Observation #3 – Increasing my 401k Contributions Provided a Nice Jolt in 2016 –  Following Lanny’s lead in terms of increasing 401k contributions and maximizing his HSA, I increased the amount per paycheck for each account.   While I wasn’t as extreme as he was (that’s pretty hard to do quite frankly), automatically adding $500 to my portfolio monthly via 401k contributions was a nice treat.  You don’t realize how quickly this adds up until you take a step back and review you portfolio and changes that have occurred over a long period of time.  That really stood out to me.  It magnifies the impact of crazy stock market runs as well, especially since we have been in an extended bull period for quite some time.  This was one of the best changes I made during the year and it took only two or three minutes to do so.  I’ll be looking to increase my allocation once again over the next few months as well.

Observation #4-  I’m Having The Time of My Life Here –  I was trying to think of the best way/least cheesy way to end this article and I don’t really think I was able to achieve that.  I don’t know how to say it other than….dividend investing, interacting with all of you, and documenting this journey with one of your best friends makes this achievement that much better.  I’ve disclosed with all of you way more about my finances than I do with my family members and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Throughout my first $100k, Lanny and all of you were providing me advice along the way, helping me find new ways to save so I can invest more, and motivating me to keep pushing.  I became thirsty and wanted to hit this milestone because of the motivation everyone has provided me.  I’ve loved every minute of this and I have found a passion of mine that I didn’t know existed back in 2013.   This ride has been a blast.

So there I have it, my four observations about reaching the $100k mark.  Now that I have blown past $100k, it is time to keep working and building towards the next milestone.  I’m not stopping here and I’m ready to keep pushing myself, Lanny, and all others out there to crush milestones and watch our portfolio market values rise and push us towards financial freedom.  After all, isn’t that the name of the game here!  Thanks again everyone for your support along the way!

-Bert

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44 thoughts on “Watching My Portfolio Cruise Past $100k

  1. I am really pleased to hear that you have cracked the 100k mark by yourself, that is a fantastic achievement. You should be very pleased with that. Don’t worry about the cheesiness of what you’re saying, I feel the same way with my small blog, I love to interact with every single person that comments on it and love to give my ideas and thoughts on my stock picks. Thanks for the update, lets hope the next 100k comes even quicker. Cheers

    • Thanks BHL, much appreciated! The interactions and support of everyone is what makes this fun and keeps us motivated. From what I’ve heard and the other comments I’ve read, the speed of growth picks up once compounding really starts kicking in! Hopefully you are right ad it is alot faster.

      Bert

  2. You certainly are on a fantastic journey and I look forward to when you pass the 1 million dollar line. It will happen!

    About 24 years ago my wife and I started depositing $50 a week into our 457 accounts and opened an an account with an oniine broker with $2,000. Today, we have $1.8 million and a house that’s paid for. 3 of my 4 cars are paid for. The 4th one I owe $12,000 and pay no interest.

    I do have some additional debt. I have two kids in college. My daughter is in her 4th year of school and my son is in his first year. I owe approximately $20,000 in student loans. I also owe about $8000. for a roof Home Depot installed in November. I am not paying interest on the loan which started at $9,400. I also owe $6300. To chase Bank. They were kind enough to loan me this money, originally, $7000, in exchange for $140. In fees. I use this money to buy stocks when companies I like dip. I would rather do it this way rather than dip into margin. I pay no interest on this loan.

    I pool all dividends from each of the stocks I own. Everything I own pays dividends. I own 62 different companies, most of which are full positions. I use the these dividends to buy shares in companies that are not full positions and only when these stocks are down. With 62 stocks there is usually something down even when the market is up.

    I no longer pay any fees when I buy stocks. Additionally, I pay just about everything I buy with credit cards from bank America which give me cash back and then I transfer these monies into my Merrill Lynch account to get an additional .75% back. I then buy more stock with the money I earn. I never pay any interest on these credit cards as I pay everything off every month.

    I never spend more than I can afford.

    I would like to add that I don’t live to have money in the bank. My wife, kids, and I buy what we need when we need it. We travel, dine out as often as we want and have everything we need. I have no intention of being the richest man in the cemetery. It good to be thrifty but it should not be at the expense of being happy.

    Lanny and Bert, please never lose sight that happiness comes first.

    • Thank you so much Lou! I cannot wait to cross into seven figure territory soon. My wife and I will keep pushing and pushing until we get there!

      Talk about an amazing story. You live the life that so many of us in this community strive for and the last paragraph of your comment resonates with so many of us. You’ve set yourself up to enjoy the life that you want and to spend as much time with your family. Focus on making those memories with everyone close to you rather than trying to live the life that others want you to live.

      Look what you were able to accomplish in a short period of time? 24 years may seem like a lot, but man, with how fast time flies by, it really isn’t in the grand scheme of things. You were able to accomplish all of this after starting with nothing. Sure you have some debt, but it is all managed. You know what you are doing, have it all under wraps, and know how to leverage low interest rates to continue to build you passive income stream. Your 62 companies have set the tone and are going to continue fueling these experiences that create your happiness.

      Too often, it s easy to lose sight of it all and put happiness second. But your comment has reminded me about to focus on the things that matter and to always make sure me and my wife are happy and loving as much as life as possible. Life is too short.

      Thanks for the amazing/inspirational comment. Have a great Sunday!

      Bert

  3. Hugely nice job Bert. I’ve loved following along with you on this wonderful journey. You’re over a 1/10th of the way to $1m!

    I agree with everything you said – glad I learned a few things from you guys 🙂

    Tristan

    • Thanks Tristan! Much appreciate. I know, 10% down, 90% to go haha $100k is great, but it is just a stop along the journey. Now it is time to buckle up, re-focus, and keep on trucking along this journey.

      Bert

  4. You have probably already considered this, I do not reinvestment my dividends automatically, I let them pool up as cash and reinvest the cash lumps into specific stocks that are good buys. Automatically dripping means that sometimes you are buying more of an overpriced or under performing stock. Targeted strikes are the way to go.
    Nice milestone, keep going right into the stratosphere.

    • Thanks OthalaFehu,

      I have considered it. However, my income is split between a brokerage account, Roth IRA, and 401k. In my opinion, none of the portfolios produce a significant amount of income individually that would allow me to turn off DRIP and invest in a new position. Once my income from one account is higher though, I will definitely use this strategy.

      Bert

  5. Great stuff! Now it’s all about making sure it stays positive!

    We’ve had such a good run over these past 8 years that it’s easy to forget stocks do go down sometimes.

    When did you start investing?

    Sam

    • Sam,

      Thank you so much! You aren’t kidding, the run post-financial crisis has been crazy. I seriously began dividend investing 3+ years ago, so about halfway through this run. Its nuts, in three short years, I feel like I have read stories, predictions, and other noise about how the market is overheated and ready to tumble; only to watch it continue to soar to new heights. Through all of this, I’ve tried to drown out the noise and keep on sticking to my fundamentals and purchasing strong companies.
      Focusing on increasing and growing my income is the goal, so I’m definitely trying to make sure it stays positive in the long run.

      In the end, its all apart of this fund journey towards financial freedom, right? I’ve hit one milestone, but now it is time to focus and keep on pushing! Thank you so much for the comment. Happy Sunday!

      Bert

  6. Awesome job Bert! You inspire the younger guys like me who just got out of college and want to follow in a similar path. Amassing 100k in just over 3 years is no easy feat but man you crushed it! The next 100k will only get easier and before you know it you will be a millionaire.

    • Thank you Stefan! It means a lotto hear that, especially because we are inspired by so many others in the community. Man that is one of the best part about this community. We all work together and push each other! Hopefully you are right about the next $100k. You’ll be just as successful as all of us out here in the community because you have the fire to keep going and make it happen. If you want FIRE, you need to have the fire to get there.

      Bert

  7. Congrats on hitting the century mark. Agreed, the first $100k takes a long time. It does get easier from there. I crossed $200k early last year, and it took half the time as the first $100k. I hope the same is true for you.

  8. Congratulations! It is always reassuring to hear from people, especially those who can write and be personable, that the first $100k is difficult to achieve.

    • Thanks 5-0! I’ve heard it from so many out there. I sometimes felt down because it seemed like it was taking forever and I wanted to get there as quickly as possible; however, once the ball got moving and the impact of compounding/investing began to swing in my favor, things really began to take off and get moving. How close are you to the century mark?

      Bert

  9. Congrats on having a secure 100k. Can’t wait to get there one day. Will take me a bit longer bit it’s exciting to see the results of your dedication. Getting to that number in just a few years is incredible.

    • Thanks Seedling!! You’ll be there before you know it. Once you get the investing itch, you will be shocked how fast things begin to move. Hopefully we will be reading your article soon 🙂

      Bert

  10. Congrats on the $100k Milestone. It is a coveted journey that I look up to that will symbolize a big step towards financial Freedom. Something about adding that extra zero onto the balance is an amazing thing to look at. Thanks for sharing your journey and experience with us as it just makes me even more excited to hit it! I’m setting a personal goal to beat how long it took you to amass your wealth! I have 2 more years to go!

    • Thanks Diligent, that is really kind of you. The best part of this community is that there is always someone to look up to, whether they have a fou, five, six, or seven digit stock portfolio. We each inspire each other to keep pushing and keep on moving the ball forward.

      You know what, I hope you kick my a$$ and I look forward to seeing you beat me to the $100k mark. GAME ON….LETS GO!

      Bert

  11. Dude that is awesome!!! Congrats on hitting $100k+ I’m hoping to make that mark in the future Only have like $91,500 to go. ha ha ha

    I’m so excited for you! At this rate, you’ll hit $200,000 in no time!

    • Thank you so much Wallet! much appreciated! Hey, having $91,500 to go is a heck of a lot better than having $100k left to go, right? You’ll get there. Keep pushing, keep scraping, and make it happen! You’ll get there before you know it.

      Bert

  12. I think #4 is the salient point here. While investing for the future is important, you have to find ways of doing it that are comfortable and even enjoyable. Otherwise (if and) when you arrive at that future, you may regret that you burned an awful lot of energy and life to achieve it.

    • Mr SLM,

      Agree completely. Life is too short. You need to enjoy the moment and enjoy what is in front of you rather than only focusing on the future. The last thing I want is to reach financial freedom and reflect on all the opportunities that I missed, that could have happened if I would have embraced the moment when I was younger. That’s a big goal for my wife and I this summer. Have fun and enjoy the time as DINKs before we begin our family and we enter a different stage in our life.

      Thanks for the great comment!

      Bert

  13. Well said and thanks for sharing. I think observation #1 is the most important for anyone going on this journey. Investing, DGI investing all takes time and patience. I think many do not have the patience to wait years before seeing real results of their dividend income nor waiting for their portfolio to grow. With time and patience anything can be achieved. The key is to keep your ‘eyes on the long term prize’ and realize that real compounding effects/portfolio growth does not happen overnight. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Divhut! Couldn’t have said it better myself. If you are expecting immediate results and instant gratification, the slow and steady approach of dividend investing may not be for you. If it could happen overnight, our small community wouldn’t be so “small” haha

      Bert

  14. Congrats on hitting the $100k mark. That’s a huge milestone to reach and one of the points where compounding really starts to play a bigger role. A 7% return each year means an additional $7k the first year, almost $15k after 2 years…That really is the power of compounding and when you combine that with continuing to invest extra savings things start moving even quicker.

    • Thanks JC! Very true. That’s a lot of freaking money when you put it that way, right?? We call it a snowball for a reason, because once it starts rolling and gaining momentum, it freaking grows quickly!

      Bert

  15. Congrats! the first $100K is the hardest. it took me a good 12 years after high school graduation to get there, then after that it double in 4 years, then 3, then 2 and 1, and even less now LOL 🙂

  16. Hi Bert,
    Congrats on exceeding $100K – that’s an awesome milestone on your path to FI! I hope you’re finding a way to celebrate it! Looking forward to reading about the next milestone you crush on your journey!
    Best wishes,
    DL

  17. Hey Bert, glad to have been able to witness you cross this milestone, really cool! Congrats.
    Now onward to that $1M portfolio (and beyond of course)

  18. Thanks for sharing, and very well said. It is a process and takes time but very rewarding in the end. Nice being able to interact and converse with so many like minded individuals along the way as well. Now that you have combined your portfolio, you are already half way to the $200k mark. Looking forward to reading that post very soon!

  19. Awesome job! I do my div growth investing in my Roth IRA, but I max out my 401(k) to the highest percentage of salary my employer will match. Unfortunately, I cannot own individual stocks in it, not even ETFs!

    And btw, I think the DGI community is overlooking some great ones. PDI, AMLP, REM, BIZD, SEA. Stable dividend producers, calm in hectic markets (though rate sensitive).

  20. Congrats man! Certainly is true that the beginning is the toughest, you’ll soon be looking back at these days and laugh at how much $1,000 bucks meant to you! Keep on truckin’!

  21. Congrats! Love you guys and the site and it is great to see things like this!

    Compounding is so sexy isn’t it?! I have finally cut all of my expenses that were eating into my investing fund and am so happy that my account is rising like this. I can’t wait to see the new digit when I cross that line as well!

    -Cameron

  22. Congrats! One more voice from a frequent reader/infrequent commentator that the snowball really picks up speed. In addition to compound interest you may find that, salary/bonus increases can be rapid at your stage of life, so you’re adding in new capital faster as well. It’s hard to believe, but you really do start planning and tracking in tens then hundreds of thousands before you know it.

  23. The first 100k is the hardest! Congratulations on breaking that milestone and here’s looking forward to 200k sometime soon as well.

    I’ve been enjoying my portfolio grow like a weed these past few years but I’m sort of bracing myself for the good times to end sometime soon although I’ve felt that way for like a year now so maybe it’s time to just let it go and enjoy the ride!

  24. Bert,
    I could likewise echo your remarks about the first $100k. I’ve considered writing a similar article as well as I hit (and then soared past $100k) not too long ago. I suspect the next $100k should come a bit easier (notwithstanding huge market volatility given that capital gains are truly fickle) given that I now have a portfolio on which to compound which takes the weight off of contributions of my own. Dividend reinvestment should add quite a boon as well.
    As you said, the important thing is to be having the time of your life while you’re at it.
    Take care!
    – Ryan

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