My Dividend Portfolio is Working Full-Time Even When I’m Not

I'm seriously diggin' my new part-time lifestyle.

As many of you know, I quit my job last month and I couldn't be happier with my decision. I snagged a sweet part-time gig after a brief stint of unemployment. And I have spent the rest of my time doing things like watching The Blues Brothers on the treadmill in the middle of the day. Because I can.

I'm well aware working part-time will not last forever, so I'm embracing this time to recharge, take care of my body, and fully prepare myself for what adventures lie ahead.

I had a rare twinge of regret recently when I realized my savings have plummeted to zero percent over the past two months. That's a tough pill to swallow after having saved between 40-50% of my earnings for the past several months.

I felt a sense of panic come over me and I started scouring the internet for potential side hustle ideas. There are unlimited ways to earn extra income and there has to be several that I'm well suited for, right?

Passive Income For the Win

My attitude quickly changed when I noticed Kinder Morgan (KMI) had quietly slipped me a $25 dividend in the middle of last month. That's $25 I earned while sleeping late, taking two-hour lunches, hitting up happy hours, and chilling with my cat. Nice!

In fact, I've earned $283.63 in various dividends over the past two months in 100% passive income. $283.63 is certainly not enough income to cover my expenses, but it's a fantastic reminder of the importance of making your money work for you.

$283.63 is the equivalent of over 14 hours of work at $20 per hour.

Which way would you prefer to earn $283.63?

Earning $283.63 of passive income feels so much sweeter than from hustling for long hours, driving overnight, and attempting to reconcile an artist's money on 2-3 hours of sleep.

Paying Myself First

Several months ago, I slashed my expenses and saved aggressively in order to purchase several quality stocks. Now I'm being rewarded for my discipline.

Where did I begin? The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats. These are U.S. companies that have increased their dividend payouts for the past 25 consecutive years. Rather than timing the market, I've purchased stocks from quality companies.Β These are purchases I plan to keep for the long haul.

Even though I haven't accumulated much, I'm already seeing the dividends trickle in. Making progress on passive income is similar to losing weight. Even the smallest amount of headway can feel incredibly motivating.

Not going to lie, I definitely poured myself a celebratory porch drink when I received my first $7 dividend from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

I can't wait to purchase new assets once I have regular income again. But until then, I'll enjoy my part-time lifestyle while my dividend portfolio does the heavy lifting.

Readers: What have you done to ensure your money is working full-time for you? Have you been successful in generating passive streams of income?

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Discussions — 53 Responses

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach September 26, 2014 on 8:25 am

    I have to admit stuff like this has taken a back seat to other things for quite awhile. I’ve have to roll over an old 401k and I keep procrastinating for what reason I have a no idea. I know, totally irresponsible. πŸ™

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Tonya@Budget and the Beach October 5, 2014 on 11:33 am

      I actually have an old 401k with a small amount of money in it from eight years ago – eek! I wish that I could be investing more right now, but it’s just not financially possible.

      Reply
  • My Dividend Pipeline September 26, 2014 on 9:25 am

    I like receiving income while I am sleeping as well. I receive my passive income from high yield bonds and dividend stocks. Keep adding to KMI and JNJ and you will be pleased with the results over time!

    MDP

    Reply
    • Kate Dore My Dividend Pipeline October 5, 2014 on 11:34 am

      Thanks for the encouragement, MDP! I’m looking forward to adding more KMI and JNJ to my portfolio once I have some more free cash.

      Reply
  • AldoR@MDN September 26, 2014 on 9:38 am

    We also started investing in divided paying stock – aside from our 401k and Roth-IRA. We don’t have much invested, but little by little we’ll grow it and someday sit back and relax while the money pours in… or trickles in.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore AldoR@MDN October 5, 2014 on 11:35 am

      That’s awesome, Aldo! Even small trickles are incredibly motivating to me!

      Reply
  • Roadmap2Retire September 26, 2014 on 9:51 am

    I know the feeling – I get more excited about the $300 I make without working more than active income πŸ™‚
    To second MDPs comment above, keep at it and you will reach financial independence with time.

    cheers
    R2R

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Roadmap2Retire October 5, 2014 on 11:37 am

      Isn’t that funny? It’s incredibly satisfying to free up time like that. I see passive streams of income as a way to buy myself future time. Looking forward to reaching financial independence someday!

      Reply
  • Kurt @ Money Counselor September 26, 2014 on 9:55 am

    I’ve been fascinated by the concept of passive income since my parents opened my first passbook savings account for me when I was a little kid. Someone’s going to give me cash just for keeping my money here?? Really? Still kind of amazes me. Like you say–it’s a sweet deal–and a great incentive to save more!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Kurt @ Money Counselor October 5, 2014 on 11:40 am

      Definitely, Kurt! I remember having the same feeling as a kid. Especially since the interest rates were a lot higher then! Remember earning 5%?

      Reply
  • Nicola September 26, 2014 on 10:56 am

    What a great feeling that must be πŸ™‚ I can’t wait til I have money working full time for me so that I can feel less pressured about money.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Nicola October 5, 2014 on 11:43 am

      I’m looking forward to generating a steady stream of passive income over the next few years. I can’t wait until I’m actually able to cover my expenses!

      Reply
  • writing2reality September 26, 2014 on 11:17 am

    Building a passive income stream from dividends, or anything else, is so rewarding. The fact that it is something you can build, like legos, is just plain cool. I know for me, growing my dividend income stream is a top priority over the next several years, with the hopes to hit the five-digit mark sooner rather than later. That should give me the flexibility to change my work schedule or lifestyle to one that fits my needs.

    Keep on investing when you can and those dividends will keep on growing!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore writing2reality October 5, 2014 on 11:44 am

      Absolutely! I’m looking forward to the amount of freedom it will provide. That’s what makes it so motivating for me!

      Reply
  • Erin @ Journey to Saving September 26, 2014 on 11:45 am

    A celebratory porch drink sounds awesome. I am definitely interested in dividend income once I pay off my student loans. Who doesn’t want to be making money while they sleep?

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Erin @ Journey to Saving October 5, 2014 on 11:45 am

      Mmmm…porch drinks. I’m all for any amount of passive income, no matter how small.

      Reply
  • Bridget September 26, 2014 on 2:23 pm

    Amen. I choose a majority of dividend payers for exactly this reason. I haven’t been able to aggressively save for retirement since I went back to school for my MBA but companies like Pepsi and Kraft have been diligently adding money to my RRSP even when I’m not. It’s a great feeling to see those balances grow without any work on my end.

    When I started my portfolio, my goal was to get a dividend every month (this was before monthly paying ETFs were all over the place and most holdings were quarterly payers), then I got it to every 2 weeks. A biweekly paycheque I don’t have to clock in & out for? Can’t complain about that.

    JNJ is a gooder too. Added that to my portfolio late 2013, really happy with its performance this year.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Bridget October 5, 2014 on 11:48 am

      That’s awesome, Bridget! Dividend investing is still pretty new for me, but I’m looking forward to seeing my progress in a few years.

      Reply
  • JC September 26, 2014 on 4:34 pm

    Amen! Just a quick checkup around the quarterly updates and things normally are good to go for another quarter. Your money can work harder than you ever could. It never has to sleep, eat, go to the bathroom, have a coffee break, BS with co-workers, browse the internet on company dime…

    Reply
    • Kate Dore JC October 5, 2014 on 11:49 am

      Great point, JC! Your money doesn’t waste time playing with your cat instead of working. Hahaha.

      Reply
  • Dividend Mantra September 27, 2014 on 12:49 am

    Kate,

    Good stuff! That KMI dividend is pretty sweet. πŸ™‚

    I’m with you all the way. I’m on track to make more than $700 in dividend income this month, which is more than I used to make in a month working part-time back in college. Keep it up and you’ll be able to live the rest of your life without financial concerns while excellent businesses continue to send you checks.

    Best wishes!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Dividend Mantra October 5, 2014 on 11:51 am

      Wow, Jason. $700 in dividend income really is amazing. That’s a solid part-time job! I’m looking forward to reaching that point in the future.

      Reply
  • Myles Money September 27, 2014 on 7:21 am

    “Because I can…”

    Isn’t that the best reason for becoming self-employed?

    And as for making money while you’re sleeping… dare I say, “it’s a dream”?

    High five? Anybody? Anybody…?

    Sorry.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Myles Money October 5, 2014 on 11:51 am

      Hahaha, Myles. I’m not exactly self-employed, but I do have a super flexible work schedule. I know it’s not going to last forever, so I’m trying to enjoy it while I can!

      Reply
  • Dividend Diplomats September 27, 2014 on 9:43 am

    Cashville,

    Great job on receiving such a nice amount of dividends. What is funny – is that you’ve done a lot of work this year for your portfolio – and you are starting to receive the fruit to your labor. Try not to dwell on the past with your savings goals – that won’t help you. You need to continue to be optimistic with your life and, in a way, take the emotion from saving and set up a system that forces/automatically does it for you. That’s what we do here as a diplomat, and it’s worked out decent for us. I can see your portfolio getting bigger if you do it! Also – Have you established a forward looking/12 month out dividend income goal? Thought I’d ask as I was reading your goals page! Cashville – you’re doing great and we are all enjoying your journey. Keep it up!

    -Lanny

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Dividend Diplomats October 5, 2014 on 11:53 am

      Great suggestions, Lanny! Once I’m earning full-time income again, I will absolutely be making some dividend income goals. I really appreciate the continued encouragement!

      Reply
  • Melanie @ My Alternate Life September 27, 2014 on 3:22 pm

    That is so awesome! I need to get on this dividend business. As Erin said, my main focus is on my student loans, but getting some extra money wouldn’t hurt. Nice work!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Melanie @ My Alternate Life October 5, 2014 on 11:53 am

      Thanks for the encouragement, Melanie! I’m looking forward to saving again once my income increases.

      Reply
  • Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver September 27, 2014 on 4:40 pm

    $283 in 2 months?! Girrrrrrl, who do you invest with and how can I do that?! Did I miss that post? That is AMAZING – way better than the 2 cents I get paid monthly from my bank… yes, 2 CENTS. I’d much rather invest like you do!

    Also, super jazzed for your self-employment. Definitely keep us posted!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver October 5, 2014 on 11:55 am

      This includes the dividends from my Roth IRA. I still have a long way to go in order to reach financial independence, but I’m encouraged by my progress so far!

      Reply
  • Kate@GoodnightDebt September 27, 2014 on 8:52 pm

    It seems everyone is focusing in your dividend income. I would like to send an internet high five for excessively watching Blues Brothers. That movie is the best!

    As for dividends- awesome job!! It’s nice that even though you can’t save now, your investments are doing it for you!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Kate@GoodnightDebt October 5, 2014 on 11:55 am

      Blues Brothers is amazing, right? I’m surprised that you’re the only one who has commented on that! Thanks for the encouragement, Kate.

      Reply
  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life September 28, 2014 on 10:10 am

    My investment income often is more than anything else I’m earning. Sad but true, haha.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life October 5, 2014 on 11:56 am

      That’s awesome Stefanie! It’s great to have multiple streams of revenue like that.

      Reply
  • debs @ debtdebs September 29, 2014 on 6:17 am

    Kate (BTW, it may take me a while to get used to not calling you Addison!), are these dividend stocks all part of your retirement portfolio, or do you have investments outside of that for which you could use the dividend income if needed? Definitely nice to see the amounts come in that you can reinvest. I’m currently not tracking my dividends (but could look them up) but do plan to do so one of these days. πŸ™

    Reply
    • Kate Dore debs @ debtdebs October 5, 2014 on 11:57 am

      I know, totally weird, right? These dividends are part of my Roth IRA. Unfortunately, I haven’t had access to a 401K over the past several years, but I’m looking to take advantage of that soon!

      Reply
  • DivHut September 29, 2014 on 8:21 pm

    Your dividend income will surely cover if not supplement your lifestyle in the decades to come. It is a great feeling knowing that dollars are coming your way without any additional effort on your part. Though almost $300 is not a large sum by any measure you drive the point home big time with this line, “$283.63 is the equivalent of over 14 hours of work at $20 per hour.” In that respect, $283 is a huge number. You always have to look at things within a certain perspective. Thanks for sharing this inspiring article.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore DivHut October 5, 2014 on 11:58 am

      Thanks for the kind words, DivHut! No amount of passive income is too small, especially when it’s immediately reinvested!

      Reply
  • Mrs. Frugalwoods September 30, 2014 on 5:56 am

    I like the porch selfie! Very fancy use of a window :). It’s awesome that you’re enjoying this part-time part of your life–I must say I’m a bit jealous.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Mrs. Frugalwoods October 5, 2014 on 11:59 am

      It’s definitely not a long-term lifestyle change, so I’m trying to savor it while I can! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Allan October 5, 2014 on 4:58 pm

    Hi Cahsvilleskyline,

    I didn’t know you had quit your day job. Too many blogs to follow I guess … I like your blog though so I will add you to my blogroll right away that way I won’t make the same mistake again. πŸ™‚

    I like the way you put it when you talk about your investment income :”283$ is the equivalent of 14 hours…”

    I have reached a milestone in september, 1000$ in forward dividend income and while people around me don’t seem to care because they think it’s not a lot well maybe that way of puting things out will convince them… 1000$ is 50 hours of work at 20$/hour this year but also every year for the rest of my life. Since I’m 33 this means that if I live until I’m 80, it is roughly one year of salary or 47,000$ that I will receive from these investments (and I don’t even count the dividend raises and dividend reinvestments)!!!

    Thanks for sharing! It’s inspiring!

    Reply
  • My Third Net Worth Overshare - Cashville Skyline December 20, 2015 on 10:46 am

    […] Despite my lack of saving, I’ve been pleased to see that my portfolio is continuing to work for me. It’s an important reminder about why saving and investing […]

    Reply
  • My Ninth Net Worth Overshare - Cashville Skyline May 2, 2016 on 5:03 am

    […] maxed out my Roth IRA for 2016 ($5,500) with a few different index funds. And the slow trickle of passive dividend incomeΒ in my brokerage account is still pretty […]

    Reply
  • Amanda June 19, 2016 on 10:11 am

    I seriously need to up my game! Lol. I’ve been focusing on cash savings, my IRA and some money I have in index funds. Next step is dividend investing. Do you have any suggestions on how to get started?

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Amanda June 19, 2016 on 2:27 pm

      I learned a lot from Jason Fieber (formerly of Dividend Mantra). I can’t wait until he starts a new website later this year! A few people recommended checking out Dripinvesting.org when I got started. I’ve stuck with purchasing stocks from the U.S. Dividend Champions list — companies who have increased their dividend payouts for 20 years or more. Good luck, Amanda! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • ZJ Thorne July 22, 2016 on 7:42 pm

    I am really getting interested in dividends (I do index funds currently), but have no idea how much money I would need to invest to anticipate any sort of appreciable return. It’s intimidating.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore ZJ Thorne July 24, 2016 on 9:48 am

      I get that, ZJ. I’ve learned a lot from following Jason Fieber (formerly of Dividend Mantra). I love how he’s been able to build a sizeable dividend portfolio on an average income at such a young age.

      Reply
  • Doug August 25, 2016 on 11:51 pm

    Got that snowball rolling and it will keep rolling.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Doug August 30, 2016 on 12:09 pm

      Woot! I love passive income πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Designing A Frugal Life August 27, 2016 on 8:44 am

    Thanks for sharing Kate! Am bookmarking that S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats link. Ive been in the pay down debt/buy a house mode lately (which you know if crazy in Nashville’s market right now- am jelly of the plot of land you mentioned in a comment on Financial Samurai) and plan to switch focus to more investing next year once I kiss that last student loan goodbye. Glad to have found your blog and look forward to digging into all your posts!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Designing A Frugal Life August 30, 2016 on 12:06 pm

      You can do it! You will feel so much better once your debt it paid off and have extra cash to invest.

      Reply
      • Designing A Frugal Life Kate Dore August 30, 2016 on 5:36 pm

        Thanks for the encouragement Kate! I’m really enjoying your blog : )

        Reply
  • Richard Buse November 6, 2016 on 8:56 am

    I started investing in dividend-paying stocks in the mid 1990s and signed up for the related dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs) so the dividends were automatically used to purchase more stock. I still have to pay tax each year on the dividends, but the size of my portfolio has grown automatically during the past 20 years without any effort on my part.

    I’m 57 years old now, and plan to start taking the dividends in cash next year. The dividend portfolio will essentially function as an annuity then. Dividend stocks are great for generating passive income that can be used in the near future, but they’re also great for building early retirement income streams.

    Reply