As mentioned in a previous post, I said I would follow up on Susan Brunner’s story. She is an early retiree thanks to dividend investing. I asked her about dividend investing and how early retirement was going 10 years in. Here is what she had to say:
On changing interests:
Things never turn out the way you expect. I started to invest as a way of earning income so I could spend my time reading. I had no idea I would become so interested in investing [Brunner blogs regularly on dividend stocks at Investment Talk with SBrunner].
In my opinion, you should not look for quick and easy profits or for a single big payout when investing. What you want to invest in are good solid companies, which return a solid dividend income to you. What you should expect is about 8% of total annual return from your investments over the long term. This 8% total return includes both dividend income and capital gains.
On thriftiness and budgets:
I firmly believe that the reason I was able to do so well financially, was that I not only took a practical approach to investing, but that I also controlled my spending. It is not that I do not spend money on myself; I just make sure not to spend money that I don’t have. I do use credit cards, but only for convenience and I always pay my bills on time.
I also strongly believe in the importance of a solid and practical budget. You will never follow one that is unrealistic. If you have a good budget, it will help to ensure that you spend your money on not only what is important, but also often ultimately on what you want to spend it on (rather than on things that you might regret later).
On early retirement:
One thing I’ve found to be very important in early retirement is a healthy social life. We need other people, like family and friends in our lives. We need to ensure that we make the effort to stay connected with family and friends. We should also do our best to continue to form new friendships all our lives. I feel that I am very lucky that I have life long friends, but I also try things to expand my social life. I have met up with others to enjoy music at local bars with Toronto Music Lovers. I also have joined another group call UK Connexions at that have a number of activities going on each week.”
Another thing that I think is very important to make the effort to exercise and to have a healthy diet. Here again, it really counts on what you do every day. There is an awful lot of research that says to have a healthy mind; we also need to have a healthy body. What I personally do is stretching exercises followed by a jog 5 days a week. I do not think it matters what it is that you do, but you must do something on a regular basis. It may be time to consider going to your neighborhood gym. But do something, and do it daily.
I should have more on Brunner in either the next installment of my Canadian Business Online columnor as a blog post.