Our First Steps of Investing in the Real Estate Market

houses

 

We have taken it a bit slow the past few months, as it comes to dividend investing. Our last stock buy was way back in January, which is already 5 months ago. Like, I notice I get triggered with everything that has to do with DGI, and can’t wait to buy some new stock again.  Normally we invest money in stocks every 2 months or so and set aside a vast amount of money every month for this goal only.

However, we made a little change to our investment strategy.
Since a few months, another project has actively been part of our investment plan: rental properties.

We made this step because we wanted to have an additional income stream beside dividend growth investing. And ah yes, diversifying our portfolio is also one of the reasons.

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What’s The Deal With FIRE in Europe?

EU-FIRE

When I started this blog in September last year, I did so with the thought there weren’t much Dutch or even European finance bloggers out there. Little did I know.

I’ve connected with the world of #FIRE through 2 top-notch bloggers out there, Jason Fieber (formerly known as Dividend Mantra) and MMM. When Dividend Mantra was no more, I quickly ended up looking for other blogs and found sites like Dividend Diplomats and later on some others as well. But it wasn’t for after I started Divnomics when I learned how big this community really was.

Still, it looks like the growing flow of FIRE and personal finance blogs has much more ground in the US than in Europe. How could that be, and is it really the case?

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Opinion: The Difference Between Value vs. Price

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Some of the grandmasters in investing have always taught us that the price and value of an asset are 2 fundamentally different things. Value is something that can be calculated, for example with the Discounted Cashflow Model (DCM), and the price is based on supply and demand.

This is also what we use to determine our investments. Whether a stock is undervalued or not, and is fundamentally sound. And moreover, if the value would be higher than the price being paid for it.

But there are also other theories, which state that the value is equal to price. Like when the value of an asset is based on the price that others are willing to pay. Or as Oskar Morgenstern says it:

“A thing is only worth what someone else will pay for it.”

What’s the deal on this?

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Monthly Dividend & Portfolio Update – April 2017

Monthly dividend update

Well, it happened, for the first time ever our dividend hasn’t grown year over year. And to put it blankly, it actually decreased a lot. But, we haven’t lost anything. The biggest chunk of our ‘normal’ April payments will now be paid in May. Therefore our results for this month a quite a bit skewered.

I promise, that this hole will be filled though. Big Time. Because on the other part, we managed to get an amazing additional income for this month. Our savings have been flooded by something we had been waiting for, for over 6 months now….

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King’s Day: Orange, Festivals, and Flea Markets

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The Netherlands is a rather small country. And also one of the 43 sovereign monarchies that we have in this world.

Every year on this day, we celebrate the birthday of our King. It’s a national holiday, where nobody has to work (yes!) and goes out on the streets. The festive holiday is well known in foreign countries and lot’s of tourists know how to find this little country when it’s the 27th of April. In the big cities, there are all kinds of paid and free music festivals, food stands on the streets and usually, a lot of beer is also involved. For the ones that don’t know it that well, it’s quite a unique happening.

What does this have to do with money? Well, besides some people complaining that having a king is expensive, this day is also the day you can earn some cash on flea markets.

The royal celebrations were first held on 31 August 1885, in honor of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina. Throughout the years it’s been celebrated ever since. Today is in the honor of Willem-Alexander, who is actually the first male monarch in 123 years.

It’s a busy day of the year for some. In Amsterdam, the crowd can go up to 600.000 or sometimes a million people who decide to go out on the streets and canals. Some others, like myself nowadays, are avoiding the big city and take it a bit calmer and closer to home. But it’s a happening like no others, and if you just go with the flow and care to enjoy, it can be a celebration of a lifetime.

Orange is the new black

There is one thing on this day that is perfectly normal to us (well kinda) but not for so many others. Orange is our national color, and a lot of people literally turn orange for this day as a show of pride for the Dutch royal family. Yes, it looks crazy, but so does the rest of the people. There are even all kinds of special merchandising products to fill in on the festivities, like orange beer, hats, wigs, orange pastries and even chocolates in the shape of the king’s head (no joke).

To get an image of how it can look like, I’ve found a rather good video that illustrates a King’s Day in Amsterdam.

Why the orange?

The origins of our national color go back to the 1550’s or just before the start of the 80-year war. Willem of Nassau inherited the French princedom Orange, which was later added to his name as Prince of Orange. During the 80 year war, he needed a national flag, in which he used the colors orange, white and blue. In 1596 the orange turned red, and orange became the one and only national color.

Earning the money

One other thing that is related to this big day, are flea markets. They are happening in almost every city. So there is something with (earning) money involved? Well yes, but I stopped going to flea markets a long time ago. When I was a kid I had my own very spot on a market selling my old toys. At the end of the day, I had a little profit, which made me feel like a little entrepreneur and keep it for who knows what.

But it always a good time of the year to clean up the house and sell the items that are unnecessary. There are some people that are really earning some big money on this day. Where it turns out the average street-seller makes a 90 euro on King’s Day.

When the book of Marie Kondo was published: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a new trend was born. Decluttering and organizing your home. Along with it, the minimalism movement grew worldwide to a new and embraced lifestyle by many. We aim to be partly minimalistic and only to buy items that have their worth. But are not near as minimalistic as how it could be. Still, we too have items lying around that we haven’t used for months or even years.

So today when many others are wandering around at flea markets, I thought to use it as a way to start decluttering and place some items for sale online. I already placed a small figurine last weekend to check out how fast it would be sold. And it just so happened that it was sold in 1 day for 30 euro. Sweet! I have found enough other items we no longer need or are lying in the back of a closet for years, which we can use to make others happy with it instead. So today, I use my free time of work, amongst other things, to list these items for sale and check out how much it can bring us.

Have you ever sold items in flea markets or garage sales, or on online listings? Or are you rather willing to give it away for free?

A company cuts their dividend, now what?

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We had our first encounter ever with a dividend freeze within our portfolio. I know, It’s not so bad though, imagine they would have cut their dividend… We never actually thought about what we would do if and when such a thing would happen. Although it’s very common and could basically happen anytime with any stock, it can also catch you by surprise.

We buy shares of companies that pay AND grow their dividends. Because of this, we can make use of the beautiful magic of compounding. Over (a long) time, the growth will accelerate our cash flow from dividends and our yield on cost will steadily increase.

I decided to check up on the why of the company in this particular case, and research how dividend cuts affected companies in the past. Hopefully, it will give us some insight into how to make decisions based on a cut and if it’s all that bad at all?

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Monthly dividend & portfolio update – March 2017

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What a month. So many things have happened, both financially and personally. We just got back from a 2-week vacation. So what do you do when you’re home? Writing this dividend report over the past month, of course!

I haven’t spent much time checking up on the markets. Which was a bit strange at the beginning, since I was used to checking it every day… In the end, it doesn’t even matter. And from here on I will hopefully feel the urge less often than before.

When you’re not focussed on the markets, or investing whatsoever for a couple of weeks. It’s great to see you’re still getting some of those dividends. Our year on year growth was great and even higher than February. March was also the month we received our first 3 digit dividend income for this year.

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Wanderlust, why do we travel?

Yesterday morning our alarm clock went off at 5 o’clock. Ridiculously early. But for a good reason. Our plane would depart only a few hours later. Bringing us to the destination where we are spending the next two weeks driving around in the West of the US. And here I am writing this blog post…

We planned our trip at the beginning of this year, because due to a tight study schedule from Mr, Divnomics, we can’t find much time throughout the year to leave the country. 

Almost there

On my work I’ve had many coworkers tipping us on what we should be doing in the US. And while I was finishing up the last working tasks, it also reminded me that our last vacation with a duration longer than a week, had been 4 years ago. While we have made some short trips, this one feels really big. Not only because we leave for longer period than normally, but also because of the greater distance. We are currently 8600 km (or 5300 miles) away from our home in The Netherlands.

Lately, it seems like every millenial is traveling to all kinds of far and exotic places, or all over the world at once. I came across an article the other day which told the story of the youngest person to ever visited every country of this earth. He was only 24 when he already had visited all 196 countried. His reason? He just wanted to see more and decided to go everywhere.  

And what does this have to do with financial independence?

Well, on our journey to FIRE so far, it has become clear that spending money on material things doesn’t always add more value to our life. But relationships, having a purpose and certain experiences do.

Traveling is such an experience that can truly add value to your life.

And millennials are THE group of people that prefer experiences far more than others, 6 out of 10 would rather spend money on this than on material things. And what better experience than travel?

In todays age, where internet has connected everything and everybody online so easily, it’s no surprise all kinds off wanderlust adventures pop up. With pictures being shared of far destinations, gourgeous views and adventurous activities on instagram or other social media. It’s no surprise that so many millennials have traveling on the top of their wishlist. 

According to Wikipedia, wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world. 

So where does this wanderlust comes from?
There are numerous reason why anyone should or wants to travel. As with finance, these reasons can be very personal. But overall there are some reasons that just keep coming back:

You can indulge in new cultures

Where ever you go, people live according to different customs. Opening up to different cultures and getting to know them can really deepen your understanding about this little world of ours.

It’s the perfect way to meet new
people

It’s very easy to connect to other travelers because you already have something in common: traveling. And locals always know the best places to visit, especially non-tourist places which can be very interesting. Who knows what they can bring you? 

We once got into a conversation with a Texan who did a pelgrimidge by foot from France to Portugal. And he found very cheap accommedation with a klooster in Porto (Portugal). So if we would ever travel again there, we know where to stay and save a bit of money on the same time! 

Food! It just tastes so good

Ok, there are some things we might not want to try. But in general you can find delicious types of food in every country. The special thing about it? It always tastes the best when it’s authentic. Like a home made Italian pasta made by a local family. So where to eat better than in the land of origin?

There is just so much beauty to be seen

We aren’t the typical world travellers. But we know what’s out there, yet to be discovered. What can be normal for one person could be very special to others, like the tulip fields in the Netherlands, a hectic medina in Marrakech or Sakura blossoms in Japan.

We aim to see, discover and learn yet so much more. We’re in no rush, we still have many years ahead of us. 

For the coming weeks we have our first trip on US grounds. Where we expect to experience all kinds of new things. Like enjoying the view over the Grand Canyon, driving through death valley, looking up to immense sequoia trees and visit the coast in San Fransisco. 

The activities on this blog might slow down a bit while we’re traveling around.

But we are sharing our vacation via Twitter, just because we believe it would be a hell of an experience. At least, when we have WiFi. So if you didn’t already follow us on Twitter, just click this link.

While browsing through other personal finance blogs, I’ve read many travelstories. Which is a great inspiration of what’s even possible. Like The Dividend Guy who set out to travel around the world in one year with his family, or Justin from Root of Good who has planned a 9 week trip through Europe (and for very little money). 

We know that for us, it has only just begon.