Our “New Life” Fund

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Mr. TOL here!

I started our portfolio on February 5, 2015 with a purchase of a single share of stock, ExxonMobil, at $92.30, with a 4.95 commission.  But before we get into that, let’s go back into time a little bit.

I received my first credit card, Discover with a $3,000 limit, around 1996, at the impressionable age of 18 years old.  That would be the start of a long struggle with debt that would go deep into my adult life.  I struggled with all kinds of debt – credit cards, student loans, car loans, even personal loans.

I worked for a well-known appliance & electronics company during the early to mid-2000’s.  During my employment, I contributed to the company’s ESPP – Employee Stock Purchase Plan.  I had no clue what I was doing, I was just going along with an older employee who had been with company much longer than I had.  During the program, I was able to purchase about 12 shares.  I noticed every so often I would get a check in the mail for about $1 and change, and on the stub it said something about “dividends”.  I had heard that word before and knew it meant “money” but I didn’t think much of it.  I just cashed my check, though it was embarrassing to cash a check that small, but to me, it was “free money”, so who cares.  If someone walked up to you on the street and just gave you a $1.50 would you take it, or just walk away because it’s too small of an amount?  Yeah, I thought you would take it, lol!

Fast forward to around 2009, I read Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” book that a co-worker let me borrow.  The part of the book that stayed with me was when the author discussed the stock market.  I had heard of the stock market, but like most people, thought it was just a rigged, rich man’s game.  All I knew was to get up in the morning, work, work, and work.  Come home, eat, shower, sleep, wake up the next morning and repeat the process.  I can honestly say this book turned on the proverbial light bulb over my head.  Armed with a small amount of knowledge, I proceeded to study online and soak up as much wisdom as I could about the stock market for about a year.

I opened up my first brokerage account and proceeded to trade stocks.  It was a great learning experience because I was using real money, not a practice account.  I learned about options, and that’s when the money started flying out the window.  The main problem during that period was not trading itself, but my debts, combined with a meager salary, consumed all my take-home pay.  My expenses were more than my take-home so I always ended up withdrawing money from my brokerage.  I even stopped trading for more than a year.  However, I never lost my enchantment with the stock market.  Every morning at work, I tuned in to YAHOO finance right at 9:30 a.m. to see the open of the market.  I was a market junkie, but I learned so much about what makes it work.

I met Mrs. TOL in late 2013 and by early 2014, we were planning our lives together, which meant merging our finances.  Mrs. TOL was in a better financial position than I was, but I was in a better position at that point than I was years before I met her.  Together we knocked out a lot of debt, and at the same time, my salary at work was growing as I received promotions and pay increases.

2015 rolled around, and I felt like it was time to begin a portfolio.  Our finances were in a good place, income exceeded expenses, and we were able to start saving.  On February 5, 2015, I purchased one share of ExxonMobil, for $92.30 with $4.95 commission.  Oil was tanking to record lows, and so were oil stocks. I know you are wondering “why in the living hell would I buy a single share, less than $100 and pay a commission?  You’re already 5% down just on commission alone!?!”  I did it because I wanted to be in the stock market, but wasn’t ready to go all in.  I wanted to say that I own stock in some company, but wasn’t ready to drop $1,000 buys just yet.  Would I buy like that again – not really, unless it was commission free.  Though it was only one share, I was damn proud to own that one share.  Yeah the commission was $4.95, but I spend more than that on a single drink when I go out, and don’t get much in return but 2 ounces of vodka.  Plus, I planned to keep my holdings for long term, so who cares if I spend $4.95 on this share 25 years from now.

As 2015 progressed, I initiated several more positions in dividend paying stocks, with purchases averaging $200 to $300.  As we knock out debt and free up even more disposable income, I will increase our increments to $500 and beyond.  Again, commission is not a big deal to me as these are long-term holdings.

Our portfolio is titled “New Life” for pretty obvious reasons.  This fund will finance the new life that we strongly desire.  A life lived on our own terms and schedule instead of that of our jobs and bosses.  A life of walking in parks instead of sitting in 5 p.m. rush hour traffic and 1.5 hour commutes.  I look forward to posting updates on the growth of our portfolio, as well as discussing buys and strategies.  I also look forward to hearing and learning from others who travel the same path.  I believe we all can learn even more, no matter how much knowledge we hold, I know I can!  I look forward to discussing dividend income and swapping numbers with our followers.  Below is our current portfolio of stocks.  I will dig into it more during our monthly Net Worth post that will be done at the end of every month.

What’s the title of your new life portfolio? We’d love to hear about it!


7 thoughts on “Our “New Life” Fund

  1. Maarten Reply

    Like you I started out in the stock market learning lessons (often the hard way) and then retreated. This was back in 2000 when it all came crashing down. It took me a year before I started to slowly get back in. Fast forward 15 years and I’m glad I did. Good luck on your path. One of the best days for me was the day my unrealized gains started outpacing my salary. You’ll get there before you know it.

    1. Tradeourlife Reply

      Thanks for commenting and the encouragement. I was definitely discouraged seeing all my positions turn red but I had no clue what I was doing at that time. It was mostly options where I lost big. I know better now! We look forward to a great day of gains like that as well. Good luck on your continued path of FI!

  2. […] in the morning, the TOL’s did something we usually do not do…sold shares of stock from our New L... tradeourlife.com/7-reasons-we-sold-realty-income-corp-nyse-o
  3. […] family is tired of being servants to debt so we’ve been paying if off while building up our New Li... tradeourlife.com/milestone-achievement-3-emergency
  4. […] nothing has changed but Mrs. TOL’s job description and title.  We will continue to invest in our ... tradeourlife.com/milestone-6-new-life-event
  5. […] to me, as I have dealt with credit card debts well before Mrs. TOL and I were even married.  I thin... tradeourlife.com/milestone-achievement-8
  6. […] For April, our dividend income was $12.88.  This is an increase from April 2015 of…$12.88! That... tradeourlife.com/april-2016-dividend-update

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