Third Quarter 2017 Dividend Update

Edinburgh Castle Scotland

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

I can’t believe it’s been nearly two months since my last post!

For the few readers we may have left, all is well in the DTG household.  In early July I had an unexpected opportunity to go on active duty orders almost continuously through the end of September.  On one hand, this kept me extremely busy and left little time for blogging.  On the other hand, it gave us a huge income boost, which I’ll post about soon.

Fortunately, one income stream that is truly passive and doesn’t require any work is our dividends.

We’re currently crushing our 2016 pace, up 42% year over year!  This is partially due to one of our stocks issuing a special dividend in February.  Additionally, last month I added $30K to our Vanguard index funds, which will help our dividend income grow even quicker in the future.

To be clear, though, we do not actually use our dividends as income now.  Nearly all is being reinvested in the issuing stock/fund.  I’m also only including dividends in taxable accounts.

Year to date, we have earned $3,509.40 in dividends, surpassing our 2016 total of $3,434.62.  Our 2017 total should end up just north of $4,600.

The chart below compares our last three years of dividend income.  You can see we’re well ahead of the last two years.

3Q17 Dividend Tracker

This might be a stretch, but by reshuffling our portfolio and adding some more funds, we may even be able to reach our goal of $6K/year in 2018!

A Year of Ditching the Daily Grind

Los Gigantes Tenerife Canary Islands

Los Gigantes, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Tomorrow marks one year of ditching the daily grind.

My last day as a full-time employee in corporate America was August 5, 2016, and I can honestly say without any hesitation that the time since handing in my employee ID badge has easily been the best year of my life.  Even though I’d been looking forward to and planning for the day my creative and productive energies would no longer waste away in cubicle hell, the abrupt finality at the age of 34 happened mostly by chance.

My wife, who is active duty military, was reassigned to a base overseas and I was more or less forced to quit my job.  At least that’s how it appeared from the outside, giving me the perfect cover to implement my new career plan, one in which I’d never work a traditional full-time job ever again.

I had wanted this for years, but didn’t have the courage to give up a borderline six-figure salary, especially with three kids under 10 still under our roof.  Although we’d had a good handle on our money for years and I knew we could easily pull it off financially, it still didn’t seem logical. Continue reading

April Earnings Update and More Traveling

Oxburgh Hall

Oxburgh Hall, England

Guten Tag von Deutschland!

It’s been a couple months since I’ve provided an income update.  For new readers, I quit working full time last August when we moved from the US to the UK and now do a variety of part-time jobs and freelancing.

Lately, though,  freelancing has been on the back burner.  I’ve been spending a fair amount of time on military orders and, as I alluded to above, I’m actually in Germany right now.

Not to mention, I’ve also been busy completing two separate training courses over the past couple weeks.  One of the courses is for the adjunct teaching position I was hired for back in March.  I’m pretty much done with this one and should teach my first class(es) during the fall semester.  The other is a beast and will be ongoing for probably the remainder of the year.

German Beers

Enjoying some German beverages

As expected, March saw a huge spike in earnings, mostly resulting from my reserve job.  Between the two weeks I’m working now and another two weeks in June, we should see a couple more spikes like the one in March over the coming months.

In a way, it’s almost like I’m back on active duty without a lot of the day-to-day BS.  I could go without the daily shaving, though.  My face does not appreciate it.  A scruffy beard is one HUGE perk of semi-retirement!

To be fair, it is nice to be making some extra money.  I do feel bad leaving Mrs. DTG alone with the kids, though I think they’re secretly glad to get rid of me from time to time.

April saw a sprinkling of several income sources.  Because of our Mediterranean cruise and a visit from family, I didn’t work for half the month.  This will impact May’s freelance income.  No more PTO for me 😦

Still, it’s better than dragging myself to work every day.  No complaints here!

One a positive note, I finally got paid for an editing job I did on Upwork the first week of February.  I had nearly written it off as pro bono work to an ungrateful Chinese engineering student.  Thankfully, he pulled through and I got my $80.  Ballin’!

My primary source of freelance income continues to be from technical editing.  I’m not making a ton, but the work is there any time I want it.

Anyway, here it is.  Nothing spectacular, but some extra cash nonetheless.  The next few months should see a nice boost and I’ll hopefully start teaching in the fall.

Regardless, I don’t ever see myself going back to sustained full-time employment, especially after our recent net worth calculation turned out better than I’d expected. 😉

Freelance Earnings 201704

The Real Benefit of Financial Independence

Arizona Sun Behind Clouds

Yesterday, for the first time since I left my full-time job over seven months ago, I didn’t have any work when I actually wanted to work.

That’s not to say there wasn’t any work available.  I’ve found there’s always plenty of work to go around.

Yet, skimming through the list of editing jobs that had been allocated to me (and others) returned few worth the required effort.  Earlier in the day, on two separate occasions, I tried to accept what appeared to be an easy edit of a well-written paper only to have it snatched up by another freelancer seconds before I clicked “Accept.”

Instead of settling on a less than ideal job with either an unrealistic deadline or enough errors to require a complete rewrite, I decided to take the day off.

I kept myself busy by reading and working out.  Must be nice, huh? Continue reading

Taking Advantage of Credit Card Travel Rewards

london-eye-sunset

Have we been missing out all this time?

For years, we’ve been racking up credit cards rewards, usually exchanging points for gift cards or cash, but it wasn’t until recently that we started redeeming these benefits for travel.

On a whim, we decided to go to London this past weekend.  We’ve been in England for six months now and, sadly, it was only our second time going into the city.

We made the short drive and train ride on Saturday morning and stayed overnight just south of the River Thames near Battersea Park.  We spent the weekend touring the Tower of London and the surrounding sights. Continue reading