Today is the 8th edition of our periodic guest post series called 10 Questions and a Pizza Place. (The 1500′s are pizza fanatics.) We have a list of 17 questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all 17. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions.
Today’s edition features Dividend Ladder. Dividends are of great interest to me as I move my portfolio from growth to income. Also, how can you not like a guy who grills pizza and quotes Warren Buffett?
Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
I enjoy researching investment opportunities and I enjoy it even more when I get to share it with others. Blogging allows me to share what I learn and it also helps me to focus my thoughts. I started dividendladder.com to document my investments and keep me focused on growing my net worth over the next 10 years.
I’ve also developed a rating system to rank dividend stocks based on historical performance. This is where my dividend stock lists come from. They are a good place to start researching from but they aren’t recommendation lists to buy or sell in any way. I also created a couple of free tools to help investors. The dividend history tool and dividend calculator are especially helpful for my own planning.
What is the worst financial mistake you made?
I was lazy in college and took on 20k in student loan debt instead of working while I was in school. It took me 10 years to pay off my student loans. I didn’t have a good understanding of finances back then and thought it was normal to take on debt even if it wasn’t necessary. I thought it was ok to avoid working while I was in college and I had no one to tell me differently.
What would you do if you inherited $1,000,000 (after taxes) today?
I know exactly what I would do. I would invest 750k in dividend growth stocks. I’d take the other 250k and buy a rental property which I would manage myself. I’d expect to earn around $25k in dividends each year and $18k in rental income. 10 years down the road those investments would grow and I’d expect at least double the annual income without much effort along the way.
What kind of car do you drive?
I’m proud to say I drive a 2003 Honda Civic with 92k miles. It gets me where I need to go. I try to limit the amount of money I have invested in depreciating assets.
Who inspires you?
Seth Godin (I read his blog daily), Gary Vaynerchuk (I watch his famous keynote often), and my wife who is many wonderful things – Gracious, frugal, creative and hard working to name a few.
What is your favorite place to vacation?
I love going to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Its about a 5 hour drive from my house. I love the beach and I’ve found that if you time it right (usually late May) you can wait until about a week out from your trip and negotiate a low rental price from homeowners that haven’t rented their place out yet.
What’s your favorite tip for saving money?
Track your spending. At the end of each month my wife and I sit down and review our spending to see if it’s in line with our budget. It keeps us accountable. I can see how this type of exercise might be painful for some families because one person has a spending problem. For us it keeps the discussion going about saving and staying frugal.
What is your favorite pizza place (I am a pizza nut)?
The best pizza I’ve ever had is right at home. We’ve perfected the art of grilling pizza using some of Alton Brown’s pizza recipes.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be (don’t say ‘buy Microsoft,’ everyone says that)?
Before I was 25 I was under the illusion that if I showed up to work on time, worked hard and did what I was told I’d move up the corporate ladder and live the American Dream. It took me a while to realize the new American Dream requires creativity, managing your own career like it’s a business and never relying on a company to take care of you. For many of us (including myself) it will also require multiple streams of income.
What advice would you give to a 24 year old, just out of college?
Get on the job training. Take a job that will give you experience, not just provide you with a paycheck. If you aren’t being challenged and getting to do creative work or work that you are learning from then change jobs. People usually learn best from hands on work. It’s how you become an expert. Experts go on to be highly paid investors, consultants, leaders and business owners.
Mac or PC?
PC all the way
What are your favorite personal finance websites?
Some traditional sites like CNBC and Yahoo Finance but also non PF sites like Mashable or techcrunch that give great insight to the heartbeat of many tech companies.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Lean into the DIP – Seth Godin
If you have children, how do you raise them to be financially responsible and frugal?
Kids learn from what we do not what we say so my goal is to be who I want my kids to be. If I am responsible and frugal my children will hopefully want to be also. I plan to give my children opportunities to earn money at a young age and guide them through the experience of managing it properly. I don’t want to teach my kids that their goal in life is to get a job and work there until they retire. I’ve been trying to think of opportunities to stimulate as much creativity as possible in their thinking about how to earn money.
What is the worst personal finance mistake you see people making?
Overspending is obvious so I’ll be more specific and say overspending on food. Eating more than we need to is just part of the problem. Eating luxury food items has become cool, almost trendy. I blame The Food Network and other similar shows. I’m all for having fun and cooking new recipes but on your average weekday night you just don’t need something fancy or gourmet for dinner.
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