Category Archives: Blueprint

What To Do When One Is Financially Independent

As I continue to save & invest, I often picture what the wife & I will be doing when we are financially free. Let’s take a look at 5 amazing things you can do when you’re financially independent (but are hard to do when you’re employed full-time).

1. Just Say No To The Alarm Clock

Want to go to sleep and wake up whenever you want? Me too. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate waking up at 6 or 7 a.m. Nobody likes going to work when it’s dark outside and coming home when it’s still dark outside. It’s nice to know that one day we can choose to wake up at 10 a.m. or later if we want. I also enjoy the thought of staying up late on a work night browsing the internet or watching a good movie.

2. Be Your Own Boss

I think a lot of people have a fantasy of being their own boss. Catering to someone in an  office with every interest other than your own at heart is frustrating and can be emotionally draining. When you’re financially independent, however, you can do whatever you want. Once you no longer have to earn a paycheck to pay basic expenses, you can cater to yourself instead. Take opportunities that seem interesting, or don’t do anything at all. The only one giving you any orders will be you.

3. Long-term Travel

When you have to show up to a fixed location 5 days a week it makes it difficult to just up and travel the world. But, when you’re financially independent you could literally go on a long-term travel spree. You could stay in different cities throughout your own country, getting to know different geographical areas and filling your brain with wonderful memories of experiences that most people can only dream of. Or, you can travel to different countries. There are many ways to travel cheaply, and many countries out there that are likely cheaper than the one you currently live in.

4. Spend More Time With Family and/or Friends

With 40-hour+ workweeks filling your time, and filling the time of your loved ones, it’s hard for everyone to get together and catch up on what everyone has been doing in their individual lives. It can be difficult to maintain relationships with the people you care most about, or form new relationships with interesting people, when the large majority of your free time is filled earning a paycheck to keep the lights on or keep a roof over your head. When you no longer have to fill your time working paycheck to paycheck, you are much more free to explore some of the relationships that may have been slightly stressed as life gets in the way.

5. Cultivate Yourself Through Hobbies.

What do you like to do in your free time? Maybe you enjoy painting or photography. Or, perhaps, you love nothing more than playing video games. Maybe writing is your true passion in life. It’s difficult to fully explore, and enjoy, the hobbies that fill your heart with joy when you don’t have enough time. Unless you just happen to be the lucky 1% and work at a job where your paycheck and hobby are one and the same, you’re likely exchanging vast amounts of your time for money and not for the love it, but for the ability to have shelter, food and life’s necessities.

Limited Only By Your Imagination

These are just five awesome things I thought of off the top of my head. The list can be as long as you want it, and limited only by your imagination. The main necessity for many of the things I listed above, and likely the things you’d like to do when financially independent, is not money. Rather, they require lots of time. Time is the most expensive commodity, as there is a limited amount of it and you have less of it every second that goes by. Would you rather keep exchanging it away for a fancy car, house and furniture? Or, would you rather save the money and invest it for the future so that you can let your imagination run wild and explore the relationships you always wanted to have, visit the places you have always wanted to see and do the things you have always wanted to do?

Work Hard or Work Smart?

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My Strategy

My strategy involves buying companies which have a history of consistently increasing their dividend payments going back over as many years as possible. The S&P has several lists which are worth focusing on- Dividend Aristocrats and Dividend Kings. The encouraging thing about the lists is that they show you stocks that have raised their dividends consistently over the past 25+ years. Remember I do not just focus on high-yielding stocks, but Skyy does have some speculative plays(3-4) in her portfolio. A stock which shows you a 10% dividend yield when the average yield out there is 2% is most likely a stock, for which the market is telling you that there is a very high chance that the dividend payment could be cut and your yield would decrease. I would rather buy more of the type of stock that pays me around 2-3% currently, but will increase its dividend payments in the future.

My personal goal is to achieve a significant amount of dividend income to cover the famiy expenses.

Another set of stocks worth focusing on is the Dividend Achievers.  This list gives you companies which have raised their dividends over the past 10 years. There are at least 250+ companies in the US currently, so for an investor like me and possibly you, this is a pretty big list of stocks to pick from. However the Dividend Aristocrats(52 stocks) and the Dividend Kings(17 stocks) on the other hand contain stocks that are much more manageable to follow to me at least.

I will try to diversify across sectors, without being too overweight in a certain sector like financials or utilities. I will also look for an average dividend growth of at least 3% (which is the average long-term inflation rate). However, I might consider buying any stock that shows a growing dividend, provided that the company spots an above average yield. Even though the passive dividend income will rise much slower, your money will compound at a higher rate for a long period of time.

I would also consider selling a stock once it starts decreasing dividends; I won’t sell simply because a company whose stock I already own does not raise its dividend, but I might not add any more money into that particular position.

Also my goal is to achieve an above average yield on cost in the future. For example if me or anyone who was born before 1989 had invested $1000 on Altria(MO) you would have bought 24 shares and had a dividend income in 1990 of $35, and achieved a dividend yield of around 3.5%. If you held your stock until 2006, you would have had a dividend income for 2006 of $239 on 72 shares. That would be close to a 24% annual yield. Your 24 shares would have turned into 72 shares worth $6,179 at the end of 2006. If you had reinvested your dividends the $1000 investment in 1989 would have turned into $18,167.

Once again from my previous post and this one, my strategy involves investing in the Dividend Achievers, Aristocrats, and Kings that provide high yields that show consistent increases in dividends over time and the ability to cover those dividends in the future. I hope that this blog will inspire others and to allow them to build their wealth over time with the right mix of great companies.

-Live Long & Prosper

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Warren Buffett’s Best Quotes Analyzed

Warren Buffett is arguably the greatest investor of all time. (Floyd Mayweather of boxing)

This post examines Warren Buffett’s best quotes. Each quote details a different concept of Warren Buffett’s core investment philosophy. To follow his ideas you can begin to form your own strategies of what you think is best for you and your family.

“If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes”

You must be happy holding for long periods of time; at least five to ten years. It’s very simple just look for high quality businesses you can hold for a long period of time.

“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

There are very few businesses that have competitive advantages sustainable that they can grow profitably for over 100 years.  A few that have accomplished this are Coca-Cola (a Warren Buffett holding) and ExxonMobil (also a Warren Buffett holding) through its various parent companies dating back to Standard Oil. (John D. Rockefeller)

Hopefully the companies in the Skyy Fund will have as much success in the years to come.

“Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre.”

High quality businesses tend to continue growing through time.  This compounds your wealth in the business over many years.  Mediocre businesses without a sustainable advantage will fall to the competitive forces of capitalism and die over time.

“Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: don’t forget rule No. 1”

At first, this quote seems rather obvious.  By preventing losses, your investments are protected on the downside and only have room to increase in value.  By focusing on not losing money, you will skip risky investments to focus on only your highest investments.

I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them because sooner or later, one will.”

The long term investor cannot focus only on the management of a business today.  Companies with truly sustainable competitive advantages will have “idiot proof” business models that can withstand the impact of a poor CEO and continue to grow.

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.”

This quote is about taking advantage of human psychology.  We tend to overreact to bad news and unnecessarily discount the price of a high quality stock due to short term underperformance or a steep and temporary market decline. Buy the dip and when there is blood in the streets!

“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price”

Warren Buffett makes the claim that deep value stocks are not as good an investment as high quality businesses trading at fair prices.  The reasoning is that a deeply undervalued fair business can reward you only when it returns to fair value.  A fairly valued company will provide returns year after year and decade after decade as it pays growing dividends and reinvests additional profits back into the business to fund future growth.

“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

If one of your investments begins to lose its competitive advantage, do not hold on in hopes that it will somehow improve.  Instead, cut your losses and move on. Personally I have to do better with this myself and watch my emotions.

“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.”

Investing in high quality businesses does not have to be overly difficult.  We are all familiar with companies that have long-term competitive advantages (who hasn’t had a Coca-Cola?).  Fight the urge to make things more difficult for yourself in hopes of outsmarting the market. Don’t take unnecessary risks on businesses you don’t understand when simple to comprehend businesses are available.

“The best thing that happens to us is when a great company gets into temporary trouble…We want to buy them when they’re on the operating table.

Warren Buffett is an opportunist.  You can generate decent returns from investing in high quality businesses at fair prices.  Even better returns come to investors who identify high quality businesses in temporary trouble.  Short term trouble can result in depressed stock prices which allow you to add positions to your portfolio. Buy the dip.

Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.

The advice here is simple.  Wait to buy your socks when they are on sale. When looking for high quality businesses to invest in, do not pay full price.  Wait until the price falls due to market fluctuations or a short term loss. Honestly I have to do better with this myself, sometimes I tend to jump the gun.

“I am a better investor because I am a businessman, and a better businessman because I am no investor.”

It is important to draw the distinction between purchasing a stock and purchasing fractional shares of a business.  A businessman sees his stock ownership as a fractional share of a company’s business.  A regular speculator in the stock market sees his shares as lottery tickets that go up and down based on the whims of the market.

Being a business man, Warren Buffett analyzes the fundamental value of a business and its competitive position in the market.  As an investor, one analyzes the sentiment surrounding a stock.  If sentiment is negative while the long-term forecasts of the business are favorable due to a strong competitive advantage, an investment is wise!

“Our approach is very much profiting from lack of change rather than from change. With Wrigley chewing gum, it’s the lack of change that appeals to me.”

Eventually, all businesses fail as the competitive landscape changes.  Some businesses have longer life spans than others due to the nature of their products. Wrigley gum is an example of a business in a slow changing industry.  Consumer taste for gum may change, but the gum industry is unlikely to experience a radical shift other than changing flavors and ingredients. I hope the companies that Skyy owns will be around for the next 50 years while continuing to pay their dividends.

Final Thoughts

Warren Buffett is able to make complex financial topics into easy to understand quotes that investors like you and I can learn from. I want Skyy to be a mini Warren Buffett and take his advice along with what she will learn, and make it her own.

In the end this is basically what Warren Buffett is trying to get across whether you plan on using this to your advantage or having it going in one ear and out the other.

Buy high quality businesses with a strong competitive advantage below their fair value and hold them until they lose their competitive advantage (which is hopefully never).

Live Long & Prosper

Full Disclosure: Skyy is long KO



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