Dividend and Expense Updates

September dividend update

Hi and welcome to another monthly dividend update. September is one of the big four months where investors like myself who hold a lot of ETFs and/or mutual funds get a good chunk of their dividends.

The last big one was June and that dividend post showed awesome results for my dividend employee Steve. If you’re not familiar with Steve, he’s my portfolio in worker form and I like to see what his annual hourly wage is as I grow my portfolio and dividend payouts.

June’s dividend payout was a bonkers 46% more than the previous June but some of that was driven by an unexpected payout from one of my international funds that normally only pays in December. That means I’m not expecting September to grow quite as much but still expect pretty decent growth from the continual reinvestment and added cash.

September 2016’s dividends came in at a $1265.09 so that’s the baseline from which I’ll be comparing this month.

monthly dividend update

September’s dividend income comes in at $1708.01! That’s a 35% increase over last year’s income for the same month and continues the trend of huge growth year over year. I’m super psyched to see such growth this year and it speaks to the progress I’m making with my portfolio and consistent investing.

This month is slightly higher than June as well and that month had a pretty sizable dividend from an international fund.

This payout total includes mostly dividends from my ETFs and mutual funds but also from one of my key holdings, UNH, which pays out quarterly and raised their dividend 20% in June, a bump that has become an annual staple for the company and one that has helped my dividend growth every quarter.

The best thing about all these dividends is that they get reinvested right back into the portfolio. This month’s haul means an additional $39.28 in annual dividends going forward or $3.27 per month.

That means Steve’s wages are going up every year as more money keeps flowing into the portfolio and dividends get reinvested. After a few slow months post June, Steve was back at it earning $10.24/hr for the month, a big jump from last year’s $7.59/hr. Large months like June and September are where Steve makes most of his cash as seen by the graph above.

September brings the YTD dividends up to $5120.74 or an annual hourly wage of $3.41 for Steve. That’s not great and it’s still far away form a livable wage for me but what’s cool to see is the growth. When I wrote last year’s update, Steve’s annual hourly wage at this point in the year was $2.64 so he’s seen a 30% raise in just one year.

Way to go Steve!

For my big four dividend update months, I like to look at some additional data versus my standard monthly dividend updates.

Here’s how the data looks since I started tracking everything in 2015.

September 2017 annual dividend chart

I like the trend here as 2017 is generally a lot higher than the red which represents to 2016. I’m also looking forward to December which is one of my biggest months as evidenced above and generally comes in a good deal above any other month.

I’m not sure I can continue this massive 30%+ level growth I’ve seen in June and September especially since one of my big payers in December had a small unexpected payment in June which will likely impact the December numbers. Still, any sort of dividend growth over my 2016 December numbers will be awesome to see since that was a big month, coming in just under $3k.

I also like to look at my dividends on a quarterly basis since most of my cash is paid out at the end of the quarter and really makes it hard to visualize the other tiny months.

September 2017 quarterly dividend chart

Q2 saw a 34.9% growth over the previous year and Q3 continues that trend with a 33.9% increase over the previous quarter. These percentage based growth numbers will likely continue to shrink as the starting point increases but I’m glad to be seeing such strong performance this year.

Here’s the same data for Steve’s hourly wages.

September 2017 quarterly dividend worker chart

I’ve mentioned before that Steve’s wage YTD has already increased 30% when compared to the same time last year and that’s driven by the awesome growth in Q2 and Q3.

Q4 is his biggest earning quarter of the year so that $3.41/hr wage is sure to improve once we add the final three months of the year to the calculation. Last year, at this point, Steve’s wage was at $2.64 and he finished the year at $3.51.

If Steve sees a similar bump in his income this year, he’s on track to finish the year in the $4.30/hr range. That’s not enough to live on but the continual improvement is awesome!

It’s still a far cry from a livable wage right now but this is a journey that’s just starting and it’s good to see it’s all heading in the right direction.

One of my annual goals for the year was dividend based and the bronze goal was to hit $8k for the year. That goals looks within reach right now based on my results so far and the December results from last year. I’m over $5k for the year already and Q3 brought in over $3k last year. It’s possible I don’t grow much or at all in Q3 but I’m hoping I’m at least static which would mean I reach my goal. I’ll make sure to keep pumping money into the market to help Steve along!

These monthly dividend updates are a good and fun way to visualize how far away I am from being financially independent. I’m currently not an investor focused on income entirely as I prefer the tax efficient method of focusing on capital gains over dividend payers in my accumulation phase. However, I find that dividends are a great way to smooth out any bumps in the market and do have securities like REITs, Bonds and some dividend growth ETFs and stocks that serve to bump the yield of my portfolio. Most of my individual holdings have been dividend growers in recent times as well which certainly helps these numbers as well.

I expect these numbers to keep growing year over year and will likely start to transition to a higher yield as my portfolio grows in size. I look at these dividend updates in tandem with my portfolio updates as a gauge of the health and success of my investment strategy and to show the power of continued and disciplined investment in the market.

After all, time in the market beats timing the market and I fully believe in that and so far the results have been excellent. I know that I won’t be getting 30%+ growth in dividends every quarter but am hopeful and confident that these numbers will keep going up year over year until Steve is ready to support me and I can take a break from work and focus on other things that I find interesting.

I’m not there yet but with every one of these monthly dividend updates, I can tell I’m getting closer. I’m eager to see what the next month and the next quarter have to bring and am hoping Steve can break the $5/hr barrier soon because it looks like he’s well on his way to breaking the $4/hr barrier this year after being above $3/hr last year.

The October and November updates are sure to be less exciting due to the smaller dollar amounts but any amount above $0 is money that can be reinvested in the market and help my portfolio and dividend income grow!

Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions and let me know how your September went.

September Total : $1708.01
2017 Total : $5120.74
Portfolio monthly hourly wage : $10.24/hr
Portfolio annual hourly wage : $3.41/hr


  • DivHut

    Wow, your portfolio is firing on all cylinders. Deep into the four digits with a serious year over year gain. What’s not to like? Keep up the awesome job and as you said any amount over $0 coming in is a good amount even if October might feel a little flat compared to Sept. Thanks for sharing.

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