Dividend and Expense Review – October 2019 – an Atlanta Trip

October was the month of our Atlanta trip. We generally try to take a vacation or two every year. It’s always nice to experience new places. I’m not a huge traveler so one or maybe two trips are enough for me. Last year, we had our honeymoon in Hawaii and this year we had…Atlanta. Almost as good!

In all seriousness, the trip last year was so big that we were looking forward to taking it easy on this one. It was also an easy 2.5hr direct flight as well. Much shorter than Hawaii!

And actually, Atlanta was quite cool. Nothing will compare to Hawaii but we had a lot of good food in Atlanta, went to a bunch of escape rooms and had a lot of fun exploring the city. Naturally, that’ll mean an expensive month but such is life. You gotta enjoy life while you have your best years. It’s not all about saving. On top of the Atlanta trip, a few other expenses cropped up as well.

That’ll mean the savings rate this month will likely be a bit of a flop compared to prior months.

On the dividend side, I was expecting a decrease against last year for the first time in a while. That’s because last October had some ETF payouts that normally hit in September. That didn’t happen this year and that’ll mean a big hit to the dividends for the month.

On top of that, as interest rates drop so do bond and money market rates. That’ll mean smaller payouts from those funds and lower off months.

I’m just coming off a record September so whatever I get here will just be an extra topping.

As a reminder, last October came in at $516.12, far above most of these off-months.

October Dividends

October clocks in at $230.36. That’s a 55.3% drop from last month. It’s a bit of a bummer to see a drop but it’s still a great month so I can’t complain.

I was sitting at a 27.6% growth rate for the year before this month. However, this month’s drop brings that number down to 21.5%. I was expecting this so it’s no surprise.

The extra $230.36 means that my forward annual income will go up by about $5.30 which isn’t a lot but every little bit counts. You have to remember that compound growth is the power that drives investing. That means re-investing income and investing more. It’s awesome to see these dividend totals even if they decrease because that means I’m just able to invest more each month. Even with this decrease, I’m still 21.5% above the dividends from last year and that’s awesome to see.

October brings my total income for the year $8547.49 which is quite good. One of my goals this year was to hit at least $12.75k in dividends for the year. I’m still on pace for that(growth rate has to be above 19.6%) but I’m certainly slowing down in the past few months.

I’ll have to really keep investing and hope my December growth rate is decent to hit that number now. Now that my Atlanta trip is paid for, I should be able to save a lot more in November and December which should help those numbers.

Steve, my dividend employee, had a low $1.38/hr wage this month. That’s well below the $14.28/hr he earned in September but such is the nature of his seasonal work(dividends). They mostly happen the end of the quarters. That takes his hourly wage down to $5.13/hr which isn’t great but certainly growing. Way to go Steve!

December is still ahead and that’s Steve’s best month so we’ll see that wage rise before the year is over.

You can see the impact December will have in the graph below.

It’s by far my biggest month and should go a long way in helping me hit that $12,750 dividend goal. Hopefully I see some decent growth in November as well because getting 20%+ growth in December, an already big month is going to be hard.

Still, even if I don’t meet that goal, it’ll just drive me to save more next year and keep it going. I think the recent cuts in interest rate will mean my bond payouts will shrink which isn’t great. On top of that, it might send stock prices up as people search for yield which means it’ll make it harder to find good value and good yields on the open market as well.

However, I’m not certain of any of that so I’ll just keep investing as I normally do with regular purchases every two weeks.

October Total : $230.36
2019 Total : $8,547.49
Portfolio monthly hourly wage : $1.38/hr
Portfolio annual hourly wage : $5.13/hr

Savings Rate

Our Atlanta trip is clearly going to impact the savings rate this month.

Last year’s October came in at a solid 54.96%. It was the month after my wedding and the one before my honeymoon so I went all in on savings there.

I think I’ll have a hard time reaching anywhere close to that this year but let’s take a look at where my money went in October.

Atlanta Trip

My savings rate came in at 29.49%. That’s a bit off last year but still pretty good given the expenses I had this month.

Adding in employer contributions brings that number to 36.67%.

On a gross income basis, I saved 21.93% which jumps to 27.27% after employer contributions.

I’m pretty pleased with these results. I was expecting it to be much lower. It’s a far cry from the last few months and the lowest month so far this year but it’s still pretty good.

Hell, any time I can say that a 29.5% savings rate is my lowest month is a good time. Last year I had 3 months below this number so things are going well this year.

On the expense side, rent was #1 as usual. My rent actually went up a bit this month so it’ll make up a higher % of my expenses going forward. It was a small increase but the usual 2% can add up when it’s a high starting point already. That’s the problem with living in an expensive area.

Restaurants were #2 for the first time in a while. That’s mainly due to all the expensive meals we had on our Atlanta trip. They were quite delicious!

The car shows up here for the first time in a while. I’ve gotten my standard maintenance but now that the car has hit the 55k mark I expect the expenses to start going up. This time, I had to change my rear breaks and resurface my rotors on top of the usual oil change and tire rotation. Soon, I’ll have to change my tires as well.

Health insurance came in next and then the travel expenses. These were related to the car rental and the various travel expenses we had. I counted the various times we got a wheels scooter to ride around Atlanta in here as well. Those things are fun!

Pet expenses cropped up here too. I forgot about these but I had to get more heart worm and tick pills for Teddy. On top of that, we had a vet visit to get a 2nd shot of some vaccine.

After that, it’s all the regular stuff. I did buy some neat red Pumas in Atlanta too. They were on sale!

Now that the trip is over and done with, we enter a few months of hibernation. It’s getting colder here and darker too. Hell, today as I write this, post DST, it got dark at 5 P.M. which just sucks. It’s also been in the low 30s in the morning and at night. On top of that, it might also snow this Friday!

I’m not a huge fan of cold weather so we’ll be staying in more often. That means all the money we spent on vacation will likely be recouped in the next month or two as we stay in and save more. On top of that, we’re not really a big Christmas family either. That means we won’t spend a ton there. However, the wife does want a Switch. I’ll pick that up if a sale occurs in the next month or two.

Overall, this was a pretty good month. The year has been fantastic so far and the Atlanta trip was a good way to usher in the cold. It was 95 there the whole we were there and that somehow makes these colder temperatures easier to stomach.

On the savings rate front, it’s been great as well as evidenced below.

It’s hard to argue with the purple above. Most months are ahead of the year before and 7 out of 10 months hit a 50%+ savings rate.

That ain’t bad. November is a three paycheck months too so it’s possible we get an 8th. On the dividend side, I’m still ahead of my goal but the growth has slowed in the past few months as months start to overlap post tax-cut months. That means dividend growth has stalled a bit and post-cat cut dividend raises are already baked in the prior year. However, I plan to continue investing and re-investing and hopefully that means great things for the months ahead and 2020.

It’s crazy that we’re already nearing the end of the year but I’m eager to see how December turns out and excited to usher in a new year.

As always, thanks for reading and stay warm!

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One thought on “Dividend and Expense Review – October 2019 – an Atlanta Trip

  1. Time –

    Nice job – what would your growth rate be, when you take out the wrong-timed dividends last year? Up this year vs. last year when that was considered?

    I challenge you to stay above 50% for last 2 months, you’ve got this! Save and save away.

    -Lanny

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