I can't believe a few days ago this blog had a birthday. It is amazing how fast time flies and it is even more amazing to me that I am still making weekly entries. I will continue to do this as it has become very enjoyable for me.
For someone that has never kept any type of journal or diary, I must say that I never knew what I was missing. This has been a pretty cool experience and more importantly my interest in investing, passive income, and financial independence has only increased during the past year.
The public record of my investing ideas and monthly results has certainly increased my focus on accountability, but more important following along the journeys of many other like-minded individuals has reassured me that my FI plans are not unrealistic or INSANE!
While I may not have ever kept a journal per se, I have tracked my monthly net worth for over ten years now. This act alone, much like writing and setting goals, dramatically reinforced my commitment to making sound financial decisions (paying off debt, saving, keeping expenses low, etc).
Casting pearls before swine
As I have mentioned before, I have a pretty f*cked up work/life balance so I literally spend more time with my "work friends" than I do with my family and friends. While there is a relatively high overall turnover rate at work, there are about six people that I have worked with for over fifteen years and around another ten or so that I have worked with over ten years. I have been trying to get them to see the benefits of long term wealth management for years with no results.
Many of these individuals make a lot of money ($150k+) and yet have little or no net worth. Boom and Bust cycles are just a normal part of life to them and nothing ever changes. The funny thing is many of them come to me looking for investing advice, but what they really are looking for is a Lotto Ticket. When I try to explain to them how real wealth is created, they typically lose interest and go back to searching for deals on the internet. A few days later I see them looking for an advance on their commissions. It can be crazy sometimes.
Here is an just one example of my frustration. In May of 2009 I hired a young college grad who wanted to start a career in sales. Obviously things were slow and I explained to him that I really didn't need any extra help, but he practically begged me for the job, so I thought "What the hell...why not give him a shot."
For the first six months he constantly screwed up simple tasks, pissed off customers, and was on the chopping block every month. He reminded me of Tommy Boy trying to make sales. I kept thinking I cannot believe a college grad is this incompetent and is working essentially for minimum wage. Finally I told him that he needed to get his shit together and to start competing with the other salespeople otherwise he could take his sorry ass and his resume to Taco Bell. I know that is a bit harsh, but I needed for the kid to get better for his sake and mine. I really do hate wasted potential.
Anyway, he took the conversation to heart and took drastic action. This meant outworking others, using his "spare time" developing his skills, making sacrifices that many refuse to make even during the hardest of times. Little by little he started improving and evenually he became one of my top salespeople. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 he finished number two in the company in total sales. This year he was Salesmen of the Year. I couldn't be more proud of his professional development and he will no doubt have a bright future.................BUT
I said this was just one example of my frustration. In early 2012 after he had made $80k....again in 2009 he was making just above minimum wage. Since I personally took an interest in this kid and felt responsible for his continued development I thought I would give him the advice I ignored when I was his age. He was 25 at the time.
I took the time to create an Excel spreadsheet which showed him how investing 3k a month for around 5 years could make him financially independent by the time he hit his mid 40s. He paid me lip service and proceeded to buy a $35k Cadillac. I asked him about the Excel spreadsheet that I had given him earlier in the month. He mumbled something about the Cadillac being the nicest car his family had ever seen. He will learn that life's lessons can be hard.
I congratulated him on a fine looking car and then explained to him the same $35k invested conservatively would become $70k in ten years. The Cadillac's value, on the other hand, mostly likely would dimish to $3k. Then I explained that if he makes too many other "investments" like the Caddy he will have a very difficult time trying to recover later on.
He then proceeded to explain to me that he wouldn't keep the car that long and besides he didn't pay $35k cash, he kept his money and financed it. I raised the white flag of surrender at this point and decided I would not let the impulsive, foolish decisions of others ruin my mood anymore. I also decided that some my plans for the future would remain in stealth mode.
After a while my passion for investing and FI only increased, only I really didn't have anyone to share my ideas with since I was on an island so to speak. Around 2013 I started doing some investment research on the internet and eventually stumbled upon many FI and investing blogs that were amazing. I never dreamed people blogged about this stuff. The stories I was reading were so amazing and different than anything else out there.
Yahoo and MSN broadcasted 10% saving rates and work extra years so you can get the higher SS rates when you retire. I was already living in a paid off house and saving 60% of my take home pay and thought the "expert advice" was more suitable for the working zombies.
Anyway as I started reading more and more blogs, I thought "These are my People!!!"
I can't remember whose blog it was that I was reading, but the author encouraged his readers to do something bold and start your own blog. My original thought was "Well that is some of the stupidest shit I have ever read. What kind of loser would do something like that?"
Jan 4, 2014.....Blog entry #1
After creating my blogger account, I was ready to go. As I have mentioned on a few occasion, my IT skills suck so I decided to keep things simple....I mean Really simple.
I am always telling my sales staff to constantly be filling their pipelines with prospects to ensure success, so that is where I came up with the name "My Dividend Pipeline"
Next I found the most desolate looking, Mad Max, post apocalyptic, landscape I could find and then Voila we have ourselves a blog!
After a couple of weeks I noticed many other blogs had their posts enclosed with a pretty border. I watched numerous Youtube videos and made several google searches in order to enclose my posts. For some reason the first code created squared borders that would turn red whenever I hovered over the posts with a mouse. This looked ridiculous and besides I wanted rounded borders like many of you have.
A few days later I randomly found another string of code that created rounded borders and didn't change colors like a Christmas tree. This worked very well until a month ago.
Eventually I decided to enable the Adsense feature. That was back on December 20 and after a painful amount of tinkering, I actually got it working. Most days I earn between $.40 and $.60, but I also have earned as little as $.02 and as much as $3.00 in one day. That was so cool.
I must apologize for the ads being weird shapes and sizes and in some cases not fitting properly. I will not make any more adjustments simply because it is working and I don't want to screw it up.
Successfully activating Adsense gave me new found confidence that unfortunately would fade quickly.
Next, I decided to add a "Continue Reading" to my posts and somehow managed to wipe out all of my borders. On top of that, I still do not have a "Continue Reading" command. After hours of trying to restore my borders, my blog remains borderless. I can't begin to explain how frustrating this sort of stuff continues to be.
While I stated that one of my 2015 goals is to improve my blog, the HTML button is not my friend and never will be. In fact I hate that f*cking button. I feel like a 7 year old who is sitting inside the cockpit of a 747 trying to land smoothly. It is never going to happen, and I have accepted it.
Now that I have manage to successfully drift all over the place with this post, I feel better now and should stop while I am behind . This has been a great experience and I have no regrets. I really am looking for to Year #2 and beyond!