March and April Blog Update

It is crazy to think that I have not posted on my blog for a little over two months! Honestly, it felt like a couple of weeks. I just wrapped up my first busy season as a tax accountant and it was everything people have said. Thankfully I now have time to breath and plan on being very consistent with my posting schedule going forward!

A lot has happened over these last two months with regards to my finances and financial situation. I will explain a little about events that helped me save money during the month, what my saving rate was for the month, dividends I received during the month and any other cool details.

March Update

March was the peak of my busy season. During the week I never once left while the sun was out and on the weekends I was often in the office for over eight hours. When you combine this with my CPA studies (1 left!) it was literally work, eat, sleep. Thankfully during these long days, my firm often provides $25 for dinner if we work for more than 10 hours a day so I often split this money into lunch and dinner which was pretty sweet.

March also marked the month that I maxed out my 2016 Roth IRA in a matter of two months! More on this will come in a future article.

March Savings Rate

During March I managed to save 54.62% of my salary. This is actually my lowest to date and painstakingly below my 2017 goal of 55% savings. There are a couple reasons for me missing my goal. Utility bills were higher for the month as we pay water on a quarterly basis which led to some unexpected cost.

The real budget buster though was my entertainment category ie. Bars and alcohol. With more work naturally came a greater need to have fun so my life did not feel like it was being consumed by my job. Aside from the increase in entertainment I also had a reunion with my freshman class swim team at an Airbnb which led to some higher cost but a ton of great memories. All in all, this was not a bad month for spending despite the very slight miss in my goal.

March Dividends

March was a breakthrough month for my dividend income. I received a whopping $85.90 from dividends, which is a 410% increase from the prior year! Not only was this my best month yet, it also represented a whopping 41% of ALL my dividends received last year. Talk about a great feeling right there! Ever since I started my job I have constantly pumped over $2k every single month into the market which is really driving my net worth up as well as my dividend income! You can find my portfolio on my dividend page.

April Update

April started off like March but once April 18th came around (tax deadline day in the US) the month slowed down. I spent a couple days in Maryland working at a client and recently came back from a week in Chicago for work.

April Savings Rate

In April I managed to save 58.54% of my salary! This was well above my goal as described earlier. Like millions of Americans, I received a tax refund due to my very low income received in 2016. Going forward I am trying to get my refund to be as close to $0 as possible as I hate paying taxes. Not only are taxes the first or second biggest expense for many people, they also represent an interested free loan to Uncle Sam which is unacceptable. If you think about how much the stock market appreciated in 2016 and the start of 2017 it is safe to say the money could have been put to better use!

One area of concern for April was once again my entertainment budget as well as my food expenses. I got rather lazy in April and bought food almost every day. In May I am going to try to change this poor financial habit by cooking meals as much as possible. The entertainment expenses is a little trickier to reduce as the summer months are coming up which means I will be looking to take a vacation as well as enjoy the warm weather and numerous happy hours throughout Philadelphia in the coming months with friends and coworkers.

April Dividends

The first month of every quarter is always a low month for dividends. Most companies in my current portfolio pay out dividends in the third month so naturally, April and May will be lower for me.

During April I received $20 in dividends which is roughly a $4 increase from January and a 2,000% increase from the prior year as I had no dividends in April! A large part of the increase was my purchase at the start of the year in DOW chemical in my ROTH IRA.

My First Net Worth Milestone

Not only was April a great month for my personally, it was also a great month for me financially. During April I crossed a net worth mark I thought would take me at least one year to see.

March and April Update

Note that this will be reduced by $1,575 as my rent payment hasn’t been subtracted yet! Real number is: $25,772

I have finally crossed the 25k mark and will be going full steam ahead towards 50k! You can easily track your net worth with personal capital. Based on my current savings rate I should reach here around this same time next year.

This, of course, assumes my life stays the same. Once I complete my CPA I will be getting a bonus and I am expecting a raise later in the year as we have year-end reviews for my job coming up this summer.

There is one big caveat though. My ability to stay in the US! At the end of May or in early June I will find out if I have been selected for the H1-B Visa which will allow me to continue working in the US. If I am not this will throw a huge wrench in my plans and there is no telling what will happen after that!



19 comments… add one
  • wealth from thirty May 1, 2017, 6:02 am

    Congratulations on the very productive couple of months Stefan and crossing the $25k net worth mark! Right on about getting a $0 refund, there isn’t much to gain by giving the Gov. an interest free loan. Looking forward to the future posts.

    • Stefan Sharpe May 1, 2017, 10:20 pm

      Thanks man! I fully agree on the refund. While it is great to receive some money, most people forget it was theirs in the first place!

  • Dividend Meter May 1, 2017, 8:37 am

    Thanks for the update – glad to see you’re posting again and I hope everything works out with your H1-B Visa.

    • Stefan Sharpe May 1, 2017, 10:20 pm

      Thanks buddy, I hope it works out as well!

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher May 1, 2017, 9:27 am

    Woohoo! Great job with that savings rate! That’s no easy feat. 🙂 And the dividends are small now, but they’ll surely grow over time into a good chunk of passive income. Yeehaw!

    • Stefan Sharpe May 1, 2017, 10:22 pm

      Love the enthusiasm! Hopefully this continues into the future, May will be a lower month as I got some trips planned.

  • Dividends Down Under May 3, 2017, 2:36 am

    I was just thinking it had been a long time since I checked in on your blog, and then you said you hadn’t posted in 2 months! that explains some of it! Those work hours sound crazy, I really do hope things get back on track now that the US tax season is over. Congratulations on your $25k networth! Fingers crossed for the visa, I bet you’re a little nervous to get that result, when will you find out?

    Mrs DDU (keeping it anonymous these days)

    • Dividends Down Under May 3, 2017, 2:37 am

      Oops – I just re-read and you said it would be May/June when you’ll find out about the visa – please keep us posted! Thinking good thoughts 🙂

      Mrs DDU

      • Stefan Sharpe May 6, 2017, 7:01 pm

        Haha no problem! Glad to see you stop by again 🙂

  • Matt @ Distilled Dollar May 4, 2017, 3:58 pm

    Great to see you’ll be posting again!

    Congrats on the awesome progress and I’ll count that 55% goal as being met despite technically being within 1% off the mark. 🙂

    • Stefan Sharpe May 6, 2017, 7:01 pm

      Thanks Matt, I am definitely being harsh but a goal is a goal!

  • Buy, Hold Long May 4, 2017, 7:32 pm

    Well done mate. Over 25k is fantastic. Well done to you.

    • Stefan Sharpe May 6, 2017, 7:02 pm

      Appreciate it bud!

  • Dividend Portfolio May 4, 2017, 8:51 pm

    Don’t worry about not posting for a couple of months. It’s tough sometimes to keep up with blogging. What matters is that you’re posting again, and you’re still killing it. That’s an impressive savings rate over two months, even if you missed your goal on one of them. Very, very impressive.

  • Dividend Daze May 5, 2017, 8:56 am

    Congrats on the new net worth record! And the even though it is a lot of work up front, the CPA stuff will be worth it when it’s done. Just have to get through it. Keep that savings rate up and making new stock purchases. You will be at 50k in no time.

    • Stefan Sharpe May 6, 2017, 7:03 pm

      Hopefully I hit it faster than expected! The CPA should be done by end of summer.

  • DivHut May 6, 2017, 12:50 am

    Very solid results. Impressive savings rate too. Any time you can save over 50% of your income you are doing very, very well. Keep saving and investing in those quality dividend payers and watch that passive income continue to grow and grow. Love reading these updates!

    • Stefan Sharpe May 6, 2017, 7:04 pm

      Thanks DH, it was definitely a great couple of months. May is surely going to be rough as I just booked a week long vacation but hopefully I can come close. Talk soon my friend.

  • Dividend Diplomats May 7, 2017, 9:34 am

    MB –

    Ah.. the pursuit. Loving this – HUGE milestones and you are building up automation it seems! Love that your savings is still high and net worth is exploding. Kick the exam out of the way and open yourself up to more time on your hands. Focus, study, take the exam and see that crap in the rearview!!!


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