Another quarter down, another net worth update. And what an update it turns out to be – the title say it all, I guess! Rarely have I enjoyed putting the numbers together like I have this time, so let’s take quick look at the increase in assets I’ve enjoyed since the end of 2016.
Over the past couple of months I’ve noticed that my enthusiasm for financial independence has been waning in favour of other hobbies and activities. On the one hand, I feel that’s a bummer since I like to keep on top of things in our community, but on the other hand it feels relatively liberating for lack of a better word.
My declining interest stems from the fact that I’m unworried about the fact that I’ll reach my financial freedom goal sometime in the future. I’m certain that there’s a future version of myself out there that’s enjoying life without a financial worry in the world, even more so than is the case now. And of course, I grow even more relaxed and laid-back with every passing month if the numbers stay good.
Did I say good? I meant excellent!
Compared to the end of 2016 my portfolio grew by a staggering 12,132 Euros, almost twice the amount of the previous quarter! As usual, I’ve kept my income high and expenses low to achieve that number, but what many call the “Trump bump” and all-round improving economic prospects definitely helped too.
Q1 growth landed at a whopping 12.14%, which is one of the biggest quartely increases I’ve experienced so far. What’s more impressive in my mind is the fact that it happened right when I was about to cross the magical 100,000 marker that everyone raves about. The often heard phrase “when you reach 100k, it’ll really start to snowball” seems to be true so far!
Dividend growth stocks
As you all know, most of my savings are socked away in dividend growth stocks. Based on historical performance and corporate policies these type of stocks promise increasing cash payments year-after-year with a relatively high amount of certainty. The progressive nature of dividend stocks boost the compounding effect that investors love so much even more.
Indeed, companies that stick to a progressive dividend policy go out of their way to pay you a higher piece of the profits every single year (internal compounding). You can then re-invest those increasing dividends to buy even more shares, thus effectively doubling the compound effect (external compounding).
Of course, dividend re-investment isn’t nearly enough to get a sizeable portfolio off the ground in the beginning. That’s why I continue to add my monthly savings to the pile. This way I was able to purchase even more shares of Belgian brewer AB Inbev (EBR:ABI) and Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever plc (LON:ULVR) than I already owned.
You can find the gains in absolute and relative numbers for each company in the table below. The cost basis for each position includes the price of the shares, a 0.27% stock market tax and brokerage fees.
|Ticker||Company||Shares||Cost basis||Mkt. value||Gain|
|BLT||BHP Billiton plc||110||1,908.56||1,635.78||-14.29%|
|DE||Deere & Company||7||452.61||711.73||+57.25%|
|HOME||Home Invest Belgium||45||4,099.42||4,361.85||+6.40%|
|JNJ||Johnson & Johnson||20||1,769.41||2,353.43||+33.01%|
|NG||National Grid plc||300||3,816.01||3,667.93||-3.88%|
|PG||Procter & Gamble||23||1,594.66||1,949.44||+22.25%|
|RB||Reckitt Benckiser plc||10||630.34||871.28||+38.22%|
|ROG||Roche Holding AG||10||2,2388.60||2,406.21||+0.74%|
|RDSB||Royal Dutch Shell||110||2,956.64||2,880.90||-2.56%|
|S32||South 32 Ltd.||48||20.04||97.33||+385.67%|
|KO||The Coca Cola Company||17||540.05||684.84||+26.81%|
|VZ||Verizon Communications Inc.||20||785.07||915.46||+16.61%|
Besides equities I also have some other investments, one of which is a tax-advantaged pension fund and another one that basically is a savings account. The pension fund continues to receive automtic payments to hit the €940 upper limit for 2017, while any excess cash goes towards the savings account and the emergency fund.
|Name||Cost basis||Current value||Gain|
|Pension fund||3,045.00||3,308.19||+8.64% and 30% tax break|
To be honest, all I can say here is “let’s keep this train rolling”! When I found out about financial independence in 2014 and really started dabbling in it, I couldn’t have imagined things going so smoothly as they have gone for me. I’ve discovered that I can’t have everything I want, but I can have anything I want if I put my back into it.
That feelings offers me endless peace of mind, as I previously said.
Naturally, the future can’t be predicted and stock markets have a mind of their own, but by focussing on the variables within our own locus of control we can achieve great things. I believe this is not just a mindset with regards to financial goals, but one that can benefit us in almost all areas of life.
The grass may look greener on the other side, but don’t let that keep you from kicking your own butt into gear and working towards a better future for yourself and the people around you. Drop the complain game, reach out to the great people in our community and focus on what makes you happy. You’ll become a better person for it.
Thank you for reading and for your support.