Jan 19 2017

2016 In Review

2016 In Review
Well, the year is over. I can’t believe 2016 is gone. Although it was a  great year in many ways, it was also an unpleasant election year and the world lost many notable entertainers and figures.

On the bright side, how was 2016 in my quest for dividend income? Overall, it was a pretty good year despite a more volatile market compared to 2015. From January’s Chinese stock market crash to the post-election “Trump bump” it was quite a roller-coaster ride for my dividend investing portfolio in 2016.

To put 2016 in perspective, let’s look at my previous nine years of dividend income since I began in mid-2008:
2008 $ 251.63
2009 $1349.98
2010 $3453.20
2011 $4074.18
2012 $4086.27
2013 $4513.42
2014 $5780.63
2015 $7361.25
2016 $8541.46

2016’s total dividend income grew 16% over 2015. That’s pretty damn good! It’s not as good as 2015 vs. 2014 (+27.3% !), but that’s because I wasn’t as flush with cash from stock options as I was in 2015.

Here’s 2016’s performance for each quarter:
Q1 $2047.79
Q2 $2024.42
Q3 $2231.00
Q4 $2238.25

Overall, 2016 was good for my dividend income, as I achieved three major milestones that I had been looking forward to reaching.

First, I attained my stated goal of having a projected average monthly dividend income of $750 per month. This I did in September, but soon some dividend cuts trimmed that back a bit, but I recovered and then some.

The second goal was the one I looked forward to the most. By reaching a projected average monthly dividend income of $730.00 per month, I now earn $1.00 per hour every hour of every day. I looked forward to achieving that milestone for a long time, and it was a glorious feeling when I finally reached and exceeded that goal. One measly dollar earned every hour doesn’t sound like much, but that dollar comes in regardless of what I am doing. That’s passive income at its best.

The third milestone is having a projected average monthly dividend income that equals or exceeds my minimum monthly mortgage payment of $767.43. This doesn’t mean I’m completely foreclosure-proof, but it does mean a higher level of financial resilience. Like most middle-class Americans, housing is one’s biggest monthly expense. If I can have that covered by passive income, then that’s a large stride towards becoming financially free.

On a more somber note, 2016 was the year of dividend cuts. From minor nicks to severe cuts, every dividend cut was felt. Here’s a quick recap of the dividend cuts I experienced in 2016:

RSO cut its quarterly dividend from 64 cents per share to 42 cents, a 34% cut
CLM cut its monthly dividend from 36.8 cents per share to 28.37 cents, a 23% cut.

HQL cut its quarterly dividend from 48 cents to 37 cents, a 23% cut.
DHY cut its monthly dividend from 2.4 cents to 2.3 cents, a 4.2% cut.
HHY cut its monthly dividend from 7.5 cents to 6.0 cents, a 20% cut.
DMF cut its monthly dividend from 4.5 cents to 4.1 cents, a 8.9% cut.

BGY cut its monthly dividend from 4.9 cents per share to 3.8 cents, a 22.4% cut.

DHT cut its monthly dividend from 25 cents to 23 cents, an 8% cut.

VFL cut its monthly dividend from 6.0 cents to 5.5 cents, an 8.3% cut.

DHT cut its quarterly dividend from 23 cents per share to 2 cents, a 91.3% cut.

EHI cut its monthly dividend from 9.63 cents to 8 cents, a 16.9% cut.
RSO cut its quarterly dividend from 42 cents to 5 cents,  an 88.1% cut.

Dividend cuts always suck, but I soldiered on and kept on investing. As I’ve said numerous times before, it’s a “four steps forwards, one step back” process and that was definitely the case for 2016.

Looking beyond 2016, here are some important milestones that I hope to reach in 2017 (in order of expected difficulty):
• A $900 month (and with luck, maybe even a $1000 month)
• Projected average annual dividend income of $10,000 (or $833.33 per month)
• Projected average minute dividend income of $0.0200 (or $876.00 per month)

The second goal is the one that really captures my interest, and I will push my matching program harder to have the capital needed to cross the $10K line.

Overall, 2016 has treated me well financially. Not great, but certainly well, and I hope that 2017 will be better yet.

Image Credit: McZerrill (pixabay.com)

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