Sunday, May 31, 2015

Liebster Award

My gratitude to Dividend Developer for nominating me for a Liebster Award. The Liebster Award is a sort chain-letter of blogging, its purpose to raise awareness among newer blogs. Recipients of the award must acknowledge the nominator, provide 11 random facts, answer 5-11 questions proposed by the nominators, and finally nominate 5 additional bloggers to keep the chain-letter moving.

First, thank you to Dividend Developer for the nomination. I have been following DD since soon after his blog started; his first post caught my eye as it was the same way I started my first post about a week earlier. For those that don't follow DD you should definitely check out his blog, he cruises through analysis on a large swath of companies and posting the results several times a week.

11 Random Facts About Me

1) I am 29 years old, I live in Seattle, WA and I work as Structural Engineer at an aerospace company.

2) I love basketball. I watch a lot of the NBA and, since Seattle no longer has a team, I follow several teams but the Cavaliers and Lebron James are my main jam. I love playing even more even than watching and I am not very good, lucky for me I am tall so it evens out. If my knees would let me I would play basketball all day every day.

3) My other hobbies include hiking, biking, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, reading, and my favorite: binge watching Netflix.

4) I am the 2nd of 6 kids. I like having a big family but I am not very close with any of my siblings.

5) I am 6' 4" making me taller than average but my older brother makes me feel small and always has, so sometimes I forget how tall I am.

6) My girlfriend's name is Tracy and we have been dating for over 4 years. We met on a booze cruise and I guess she liked my dance moves because she was insistent on having a friend introduce us.

7) The Seahawks should have given the ball to Lynch....just saying.

8) At one time I was able to ride a unicycle but I'm sure I can't now.

9) I am really interested in teaching. I think I would love it but I'm not sure if my communication skills are really on par to be a good teacher. In college I was considering switching from engineering to teaching early on but as I completed engineering classes I realized I was good at engineering and was starting to even enjoy it. Now my goal is to continue working full time and try to teach engineering part time at a community college and if I like it and am good at it I will try to switch to teaching full time.

10) I love kids and they usually love me too. I always have, probably comes with having 4 younger siblings, the youngest of whom I babysat and took care of quite frequently. Now I have my nephew who is a load of fun and my girlfriend has a nephew as well who is about to turn 1 so he is a lot of fun to play with too. I think my favorite thing about kids is that they wake up so excited for the day, they hate sleeping because it takes them away from all the cool stuff out in the world waiting for them to see, play, and experience. As adults all we want is to sleep because waking up means its time to go to work.

11) While I love basketball, it has not always been kind to me; I have dislocate my pinky at least three times playing basketball. The first time was really bad and they gave me a splint. Well my pinky ended up healing to the curve of the splint and now I can no longer straighten my pinky, it is stuck in a semi-bent position. Which I think has made it more susceptible to dislocation. I have also has some bad ankle sprains, hyper-extended elbows, finger jams, eye pokes, countless bruises, and of course the worst of all is the nagging knee pain due to all the wear and tear I put on it.

Up next are the questions Dividend developer posed to his Liebster Award recipients.

1) Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog for three reasons: accountability, community, and practice. 

Firstly, I wanted to make myself accountable for my goals and actions. The single best thing you can do to accomplish a goal (besides setting it) is to write the goal down. So this blog provides an easy way for me to have my goals clearly stated and permanently recorded. In addition, by posting to the world the fine details of my budgets and goals, I am holding myself accountable to the world. This provides a real incentive to meet your goals or face the shame of the world knowing you didn't quite make it.

Secondly, I feel that having a blog joins you more to the community of like-minded individuals. Prior to starting my blog I followed several other blogs regular but never participated in discussions and such. Now with my blog I feel more inclined to comment and participate than I did before. It also provides a great opportunity to find additional like minded people that I would have never found otherwise.

Lastly, I wanted to practice both my writing and my communication skills. As an introvert am not always the best communicator and I have always struggled to put my thoughts into words (whether verbal or written). Well, the only way to get better at something is to practice. This blog provides a great opportunity to practice putting my thoughts down in writing and sending it out to the world to read. This part I need to do better on with my blog; I need to take more time and be more thoughtful with my blog post to make sure I'm what I am putting out there is high quality and makes sense.

2) What do you like most about the dividend growth investing/personal finance community? What do you dislike? Why?

My number one favorite thing about dividend investing is the dividends themselves. Dividends are cold hard cash that a company pays you in exchange for using your capital to further grow their business. This makes complete sense to me. What does not make sense is growth investing, with growth investing the only way you make money is by selling your stake in the company, but once your stake is sold off, that's it, there is no more, the well has dried up. Dividend on the other hand provide a continuous stream of income I plan to use to replace my needing to work.

My least favorite thing about investing is analysis. It makes my eyes blurry and I hate it. I probably shouldn't be a dividend investor and should probably just hold index funds...but why not do a little of both?

3) Why are you fighting for financial independence?

For me its all about freeing up my time. I don't hate working I just hate how much I have to work. I think 40 hours is far too much and overtime only makes things worse. I don't need to earn as much as I do now, I only need to meet my expenses. Ideally I would like to work part time with the freedom to take time off when I wanted to. Or work full time for stretches followed by a stretch of freedom.

I had great reminder recently of what I wanted, I spent a quick weekend with my family. There was nothing exciting about the trip but I had a great time with my family and the trip was very inexpensive. I left thinking "when can I come back again?" and the only issue that came up was time. Time away from work, time to recoup, extra time put in at work to make up for the time away. It always comes back to time for me.

4) What is the favorite stock/financial investment you own?

Probably SPY (a S&P500 index ETF) because it was the first stock purchase I ever made and even though I didn't know what I was doing, I bought it and forgot it and in the intervening years it was earning me money.

5) If you could own one stock that you don’t already own, what would it be? Assuming valuations were ideal, etc.

I don't have anything specific in mind but probably something with a really long history of paying dividends do maybe 3M, Dover, Genuine Auto Parts, etc.

6) I like DH’s question, so let’s ask it again: Someone gives you $10 million and says “Have fun”. What do you do with it? Assume it’s after tax and has no restrictions on how you use it.

I would invest probably 8 million of it (boring right?) to ensure a long life of plenty of money. I would use the other 2 million to buy a sailboat and sail around the world stopping anywhere and everywhere I wanted. I have never sailed before so I would probably need to spend some of the money on a captain and/crew. I have no idea how much such a thing costs so maybe 2 millions isn't enough. I'd also buy a house and a couple of vacation houses (that I would rent out when I'm away, no need to waste money here).

7) What’s your favorite kind of cheese? (I'm from Wisconsin, this is important!)

Probably bree or a smoked guoda both are amazingly delicious.

8) If you could visit any place on this earth for free, where would you go?

Probably Antarctica, not because it is that high on my list of places to go but because its (probably) really expensive to go and I would like to get the most value I can out of it. So suck it who is paying for this hypothetical trip.

9) What was your dream job as a kid?

Easy, paleontologist. I freaking LOVED dinosaurs as a kid, my mom even painted dinosaurs all over my room to make it mine, I have the best mom.

10) If you currently have or want to have kids, what’s the one thing you hope to pass on to them?

My genes; I am tall, good looking (according to my girlfriend but she's biased, I am very healthy, smart, I feel like I would be starting my kids off on the right footing.

11) What’s the nicest compliment you’ve ever received?

I don't have any that I can think of, I usually brush off praise because I find any attention embarrassing. The best compliment I could receive would be "nice dunk" because I can't actually dunk anymore and even if I could no one would call it "nice".

11 Questions for Nominees

1) Why did you start your blog?

2) Describe your biggest life goals.

3) What is most likly to stop you from reaching those goals?

4) What was your dream job as a kid?

5) What is your dream job now?

6) Favorite book? Why?

7) If you could travel back in time to live permanently, what time period/where would you go?

8) Your dream vacation experience?

9) If you had the skills to be a professional athlete what sport would you play?

10) Your favorite investment?

11) Your worst investment decision?

Finally the nominees:
All of the blogs I follow are not eligible for the Liebster Award, so I had to go looking for some nominees.

Dividend Beginner

Dividend Empire

Dividend Wisp

Forward Dividends

Frugality to Financial Freedom

Thanks for stopping by!

-A Better Me


  1. Totally agree that they should have given the ball to Lynch. Too bad. :(

    I would love to go to Antarctica for free too. That's one place not many ppl have set foot on.

    Thank for sharing these things with us.

    1. Well hopefully the Seahawks will get another chance.

      I think one of my ancestors was actually the first American to sail to Antarctica so that would be an interesting way to experience some family legacy.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great read, mate! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the nomination and the support DD!