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.
Congrats on the nice increase! Looks like you added loads of Unilever shares right before the big Kraft-Heinz pop.
I’m keeping a close eye on you as we started out around the same time. It’s fun comparing and seeing what you come up with to reach your goals.
Unilever did indeed pop a week after I bought some extra shares. Pure luck, but I’m not going to complain, especially now that management announced it’s looking to boost earnings and the dividend more the following years. Let’s hope they can achieve their goal!
Comparing can indeed be fun. Although I have to admit I’ve somewhat shifted towards a more total return based approach over the last year due to the high level of taxation. Previously I would not have considered some companies due to a too low dividend yield but these days it bothers me less, I may even add some non-dividend paying stocks.
Woop woop!! It’s awesome that you’ve crossed over the 100k line, especially in Euros. To quote Charlie Munger, “The First $100,000 Is A B**ch”. The hardest part is over dude – now you just need to keep the snowball rolling for a little longer before you can let it roll fully on its own.
Keep it up! 🙂
Ricard Torres – Escaping to Freedom
Doesn’t sound very likely that Charlie Munger actually said that, but kudos to him if he did! I’m really looking forward to see that number grow with less and less input from myself.
Great overview, and congrats on reaching the ‘magic’ 100k threshold. Keep up the good work!
Good job you can eat a lot of waffles. Can’t wait till I get over 100,000 in my trading account then I can see how long it takes to double.
Dividends and Hobbies,
No waffles for me! Too expensive and my bathroom scales wouldn’t like it, ha.
Best of luck to getting to 100,000 yourself! You’ll be there before you know it. And from then it’ll start going faster and faster.
Very nicely done. That is a massive increase. I have also had a massive increase for March. Hoping I can continue to keep this growing for many months and years to come.
Congrats on your big increase too! Seems like the rising tide raises all boats. Let’s hope we continue to see such great growth.
Solidly in the 6 figure territory! Nicely done Mr. Waffles. A very good quarter indeed. Best of luck for the remainder of the year, albeit I hope we will see some buying opportunities.
Guess you were happy to be an UNA shareholder too 🙂
Thanks! This quarter has been incredible – I wish I could enjoy this growth level until financial independence, ha!
It’s tough finding good buying opportunities at the moment. Most stocks are overvalued in my opinion, but maybe I’m just unlucky finding good deals. Although I must say that the Unilever situation brought a little smile to my face. Pure luck, but I’ll take it!
Very strong quarter. And might turn out to be a very strong year too. I see you added an average 20 k in 2015 YOY, this grew to 30 k on average YOY, and you’re starting of 2017 with a 40k YOY growth. Let’s keep the fingers crossed.
Savings are around 25,000 Euros every year, so the additional growth in the last years comes from more and more capital gains and dividend income. Let’s hope I can make 40k a reality in 2017!
Some great growth there, NMW, with very little effort on your part except to continue investing. Keep it going. Good to see that you are enjoying your life too.
Quick question from a beginner here. Given that De Giro allows me to buy into ETF without transaction fees, and given that I want to save about 500-800 a month, my assumption would be that it were best for me to go the ETF route and not the stock route? The transaction costs in buying stocks seem quite large to me… Especially when investing less than 1000 each month.
Alternatively, I could sell the ETF after 3 months, and buy 2000 worth of stocks, this would offset the transaction costs a bit. Does this seem more viable/better to you in the long run, after I have some ETF to have a diversified portfolio??
Great update! The effects of compound interest over a long time are evident in your net worth graph above.
Steam train! Glad to read another post. Keep hitting it and maybe we can celebrate FIRE around the same time 😀
Wow as always impressive that you are able to save so much and enjoy life to the fullest.
Awesome progress, keep it up!
First, congratulation for your maturity and increasing net worth. I wish I was like you at your age but at that time I prefered going out, spend more than I earned and get into debts 🙁
I have a question for you, If your ultimate goal is to be finacially independant, does it mean stop working as employee of a company and solely living from your investments? Have you considered investing in properties?
Great to see another update from you! You were one of the first blogs I found when I started out.
Great results as well, keep it up!
Is there a new version of the Euro Dividend champions coming anytime soon?
I am a bit disappointed by your 1 year results ! In 1 year the Total grew about the same amount as the Bel 20 index. But the Bel index grew about 24 % without reinvesting dividends … so if you had invested in the stocks of the Bel 20 and added the dividends the result would be much better! On top of that you invested a percentage of your income every month ….so the Bel 20 did as wel as your total of last July without dividends and without future addition of your monthly income. If you also would have invested those savings in Bel 20 stocks your grand Total would be much bigger.
So although the results are much nicer then a savings account they are worse then an investment in the Bel 20 over the same period without the dividends. So were you conservative hoping for a crash on the Stock Market ?
Hi No More Waffles,
Congratulations on the progress! I’ve been quietly following your blog for a while now, but recently I’ve been feeling really inspired to start investing as well. I’m still reading up on information, but your blog has already helped me a lot. It’s not easy finding Belgian bloggers; I’ve noticed most bloggers out here a very USA-centred (which is still interesting but less relatable). Even though you’re probably very busy working and saving, I do hope you find the time to post here more often!
Keep up the good work! 😀 I’m curious to what your second quarter will look like.
@Nomorewaffles: are you done with this blog or can we expect a new post sometime soon?
I miss the regular updates, this was one of the more interesting FI blogs out there.
Excited about the coming securities account tax yet? /s
I can’t wait to see what they’re doing about that currently tax-free 500K€ bottom slice, after these complaints of tax discrimination. Of course, that stuff shows up in the news the same week I started putting money into ETFs. 😐
Really like your blog. Are you still maintaining it? Or are you keeping it slowly?
Hi NMW! Will you blog again? Hope all is going g well!
maybe broke 🙁
still loving the dividend spreadsheet though
Mr Waffle, still alive? Any blog updates planned?
Hoping to see an update soon.
Oy! I’m going to second Diego and paraphrase him: “Hi NMW! Will you blog again? Hope all is going g well!”
same here! hopeing for an update!
Missing your updates, you still alive bro?
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I hope you are doing well. Could you let us know how is going? You are quite an inspiration to me and your spreedsheet is great which I am still using. Thanks 😉