Spring is finally here and although the weather isn’t quite beautiful yet, I’m glad to have those freezing cold days out of the way.
March is always an exciting month for me as it’s the first big dividend payment month of the year and I’m eager to see how it compares to last year.
My portfolio has grown quite a bit since the March update last year so I’m expecting to see some significant growth in dividend payments as well.
My dividend employee Steve has taken it easy the first two months but there’s often a lot of work right before spring begins so let’s take a look at how he did in March.
March dividend income comes in at $1250.80! That’s a 26.7% increase over last year’s total of $986.94 so I’m pretty excited about that.
I had hopes that March could beat out September of last year but I was just about $14 short of that goal. The size of ETF/mutual fund payments often differs between quarters so it’s hard to compare March to September since payments in September might have been much higher which offsets the higher number of shares I have now in March.
My taxable account dividends were up by 38% and my tax-advantaged accounts were up by 22%. UNH(United HealthGroup) is the only individual holding I own that paid dividends in March and they bumped up their dividend 25% last June which helped grow that number. I’m hopeful that happens again this year as their annual dividend review is coming up this June and they certainly have the cash generation to support a larger dividend.
I’ve also added a larger amount of contributions towards my taxable accounts this year than in past years due to the ability to max out my 401k and HSA for the first time.
It’s pretty awesome to see my dividend totals grow so much over last year and pretty exciting to see the dividends be above $1000 for four straight quarter ending months now.
The beautiful thing about these bigger months is the compounding effect of reinvesting everything. March’s total reinvested will bump up my projected annual income by $27.52!
Let’s see how Steve, my dividend employee did this month.
Steve earned $5.92/hr in March 2016 and he got himself a pretty big raise for that month this year.
Steve’s hourly wage for March 2017 shot up to $7.50/hr!
The March numbers bring the 2017 total to $1385.90 or an annual hourly wage of $2.77/hr for Steve. It’s still far from enough to live in but it’s nice to see those numbers grow steadily.
Here’s a look at how the data looks since I started tracking everything near the end of 2015.
It’s nice to have the long term look and see how prominent the increase is this month on a graph like this.
My portfolio design features ETFs and mutual funds rather heavily so the quarter ending months will always be the highest and those are the ones I’ll look at most closely when analyzing my data. I am also aware that ETF and mutual fund payments are less predictable so I can’t always bank on y/y increases every quarter although I can certainly strive for it.
Since my portfolio is so concentrated in a few months, I also like taking a look at how the quarterly payouts compare since it dilutes some of the noise from the smaller months.
It’s clear from this graph that I saw a pretty big bump from Q1 2016 to Q2 2016 and I was pretty close to Q3 2016 as well. The q/q increase of 17.8% is driven by the big increase in March but also by a reduction in January since I sold off some individual securities last year(Disney) that paid in that month.
Let’s take a look at the same data for Steve’s hourly wage.
This is essentially the same data as above presented in a different format. I like looking at a dividend hourly wage(Steve) just to see whether or not I’m truly financially independent. Once these quarterly months show a number that I can essentially subsist on(just covering the basics) then in theory I’m financially independent even if it wouldn’t be a lavish lifestyle.
I’m not targeting dividends right now choosing to go for a more total return strategy but that may change as I move into my later years. Dividends aren’t all I would depend on if I were to retire early as I’d also likely sell some stocks every year to make it work but it’d certainly be a lot easier to just have dividends cover all the bills.
It’s great to see the numbers grow but I’m certainly nowhere close to being able to retire as I’m not even making minimum wage with my portfolio right now! Steve has a lot of hard work ahead of him to make that grow and I’m eager to help him along. I’m excited to see what June and the next quarter brings and then see what medal I can get in the dividend goal I set for myself earlier this year.
I’m still far away from my overall financial independence/early retirement goals and probably at least a decade away from being able to seriously considering quitting my career but it’s nice to see progress towards that end with every single one of these quarterly updates.
That’s it for today. Great to see another good March from my portfolio and I hope you had a good quarter on your end as well.
How was your March and/or Q1 2017?
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all in a week for a portfolio update.
March Total : $1250.80
2017 Total : $1385.96
Portfolio monthly hourly wage : $7.50/hr
Portfolio annual hourly wage : $2.77/hr