Dividend and Expense Updates

Dividend and Expense Review – September 2019 – REIT Dividends Fall

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REIT dividends were down this month. I invest entirely in REIT mutual funds and ETFs so payments can be erratic. That was the case this year as REIT dividends this quarter were a good deal below last year despite owning more shares.

That doesn’t mean anything really as REIT dividends were up quite a bit in the first two quarters and may be up the next quarter as well. However, it does speak to my ability to depend on exact dollar dividends from index funds or ETFs as those may vary quarter to quarter depending on the underlying holdings. In the end, it doesn’t matter much as it’s all about annual dividends and those will be more predictable.

Despite that, September is a great dividend month for me. Last year’s September saw some payments get pushed off into October and that didn’t happen this year. As such, I was expecting big growth year over year. However, I had to taper my expectations when I saw the actual REIT payout this year. I still expect growth but at a lower rate than the months before.

On the expense side, I’m comparing against the worst savings month I ever had in last September. That was entirely due to my wedding costs which were quite high. Many of those were pre-paid in earlier months but September was the wedding month and the big ones hit. In general, I’m feeling pretty good about this September. It certainly can’t be worse than last year!

Back on the dividend side, my M1 Finance account’s continued growth meant some improvement on that end. I’m actually seeing monthly dividends in the $20+ range there now. It’s still small but growing every month. However, the majority of the dividends still come from my ETFs and mutual funds as those pay in these quarter ending months.

Last year, I ended up at $2,136.45 so let’s see where I am now.

September Dividends

REIT dividends fall in September

September clocks in at $2379.39! That’s a 11.4% bump over last year.

That’s much smaller than the 35.5% growth I’ve seen so far this year but it’s still pretty good. I did see my REIT dividends fall but September last year also had some ETF payouts fall off into October so the lack of growth is a bit surprising.

Still, I guess I can’t complain about dividends going up with such a high month. I’m thinking that the slowdown in growth is due to the tax rate and increased dividends being reflected in the prior period for the first time. After all, last year’s growth rate was 25% and that was exclusive of all those dividends flowing into October. Now that the lower corporate tax rate is baked in via higher dividend increases, I expect growth rates going forward to normalize.

However, even if it does, I’m loving all these increasing months every year. It’s a testament to continued saving and the power of compound growth.

I love these big months because all that money gets reinvested right back into securities that will pay out more dividends in the future.

That $2379.39 means an extra $54.73 going forward annually or $4.56 per month.

September brings my total income for the year to $8317.13. That’s a 27.59% growth rate year over year.

Steve, my dividend employee, rocked a solid $14.28/hr this month. That brings his hourly wage for the year to $5.54/hr. That’s not too bad. It’s not quite a livable wage but I’ve still got my biggest month ahead.

As you can see in the illustration below, the growth this year has been clear.

The blue is growing every month although I think that might stop in October. October last year had some stragglers from September, something that didn’t happen again this year. That means October is likely to shrink.

I’m excited to see how December looks this year as that’s my biggest month of the year! I do expect the growth rates to start slowing down now but it’s still going to be a great year even if they do.

September Total : $2,379.39
2019 Total : $8,317.13
Portfolio monthly hourly wage : $14.28/hr
Portfolio annual hourly wage : $5.54/hr

Savings Rate

September last year came in at -48.63%! You read that right, it was a highly negative month as a lot of my wedding expenses came due.

This year, I’m naturally not getting married. I did just get back from a trip in early October but I bought my tickets last month so things in September should be decent.

Let’s see where I ended up this month.

My savings rate came in at 57.81%. Adding in employer contributions brings that up to 64.27%.

I will caveat this month with the fact that I received a small gift from a foreign relative this month. It wasn’t huge but it did shift my savings rate up a bit. I was still above 50% for the month w/o it but since I saved it all, I figured I’d account for it here.

On a gross income basis, I saved 44.2% of my income. That becomes 49.14% after employer contributions.

I’m pretty excited about this result. It’s the 7th 50%+ month this year and I’m pretty pumped about that. After an expensive year in 2018, 2019 is looking great.

That’s mainly because we don’t live a crazy lifestyle and 2018 had some expensive things going on like a wedding and a honeymoon. It was easy to deflate our expenses after that. On top of that, I finished up my car loan in 2018 which ditched a monthly payment from the expense side.

I do plan for an expensive October as that includes a week long vacation but other than that, the rest of the year shouldn’t be too bad. I think I also have a three paycheck month coming up soon too.

Rent was #1 this month followed by health insurance. It’s still crazy how much health insurance costs for just my wife and myself.

Restaurants were #3. We didn’t even go out that much but one of the places we’re eating at in Atlanta requires you to buy tickets and it’s pretty pricey. I expected the October restaurant expenses to spike up quite a bit too.

Beyond that, nothing crazy happened. I did get Borderlands 3 this month and have been playing that quite a bit. YAY, video games, the #1 value per hour in entertainment!

It was also our anniversary so we got each other small gifts. Here’s what I got from the wife.

Scratch map

It’s beautiful. We scratch off the states and countries where we’ve traveled together. There aren’t that many so far but we’re adding California and Spain next year.

I really love Etsy for all the quirky stuff you can get on there. My gift to her was a Nancy Drew book safe. She loved it but I think she won the gift game a little bit.

Overall, this was a great month and the year so far is awesome as well as evidenced below.

You can see that this year has been absolutely solid. The purple is ridiculously high in most months and far above 2018. Hell, my worst month this year has been 32.8% and that’s pretty damn amazing.

It helps not to have a ton of one time expenses like a wedding or a honeymoon. It also helps to not have a car loan anymore. Side hustle income helped a bit this year too. It wasn’t a lot but every little bit helps.

And all that means great things for my dividends. This year’s growth continues to be a testament to consistent saving. I’m glad to be pumping more and more money into the market and can’t wait to see what next year brings.

As always, thanks for reading and hope your month was great as well.


  • JC


    It looks like September was a killer month for you. Y’all crushed it. And I love seeing Steve making $5.54 per hour. I’ve started calculating our employee’s hourly wage too. It’s not up to your level but I’ll take what I can get. BTW, love the gift your wife gave you. I might be having to get something like that for my wife. All the best.

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