I’m Kevin Drongowski. I’m not a self-help guru, or a financial expert. I’m not even especially well paid. I’m just a dude who likes video games and doesn’t want to work forever. I’m always trying to find a new way to get ahead in life, but the more I try, the more I just break even or worse. I’ve been pretty steadily employed full-time since 2008, and while there are certainly worse fates, I’d like to be free and financially independent some day. I don’t want to wow you with my hopes and dreams of traveling the world or owning a successful business, because I honestly don’t care that much about those things. My ideal day would go something like this, I wake up at 10:00 AM, take a shower, cook some food and play video games until I go to sleep again. I care about money to afford laziness.
To me, money is survival. In the way that a cat has claws to kill its prey for food, we have money to buy the food and shelter we need to survive. So wealth for us is like the cat having a pile of meat to eat at it’s leisure. Which means passive income is like a robot that automatically kills prey for the cat while the cat plays Super Mario Bros. That is my goal, to create a passive income robot that allows me to afford my preferred lazy lifestyle. The most successful strategy I’ve found for this is dividend growth stocks, but before I get into that I’ll catch you up on the other strategies I’ve tried.
First, there was a webcomic. I wrote a webcomic for a short period with the intention of merchandising and collecting ad revenue. Here’s the truth, no matter what ad provider you use, you’re not going to make more than $30/month from ad revenue unless you have substantial traffic. Needless to say, my inside jokes, that only my close friends got, were not generating a lot of traffic. When you consider the time I spent working on it, and the cost of website hosting, it’s safe to say I lost money on the project overall.
Next was the facebook game. After the dive into web development with the webcomic, I learned php and mysql. Using these newly developed skills I built a browser game with some cool flash elements. The game was fun, but ultimately did not build a good enough following to bring in any income from microtransactions or advertising. Again, given the amount of time I put into it, this one was another loss.
During that time I was able to save up some money by living relatively frugally. I decided to start trying to play the stock market with that money. I bought some books on investing and tried my hand at day trading. Some days I’d make $200, other days I’d lose $600, this ultimately turned into another losing strategy. Over time I tried to lengthen the term of those investments and only invest in companies I believed were going to go up in value. While holding one such company (Discover), I saw that I had earned a dividend on one of my statements. I had no idea what a dividend was at the time. So after doing some research and learning about dividends, I started buying up high dividend yielding stocks. However, I still ended up losing money more often than not.
After a lot more research and experimentation, I’ve finally started seeing reliable gains. I’d had no clue how to properly value a stock up until then. All of the numbers made no sense and it seemed like it was impossible to really apply. After all, even if you evaluate what price you would like to buy a stock at, that doesn’t mean it will ever trade at that price. The key is to focus on a reliable and rising dividend, and do your best to ignore market noise. Embracing this strategy was how I finally started to profit off of the stock market.
Right now, I have 401ks and Roth IRAs from employers and a rental property in Florida, but my true focus is on my taxable individual stock account and the dividends it produces. When my dividends can cover my living expenses, I will be free to remove the shackles of employment, and live the lifestyle I want. It’s not glamorous, and dividend stocks aren’t sexy, but this is my journey, and I encourage you to join me.
I wasn’t born a natural investor, and I’m not going to “get rich quick.” However, I am going to be a millionaire some day, and I hope you can learn from my mistakes and become rich yourself some day as well. Even then, 1 million dollars isn’t my goal. My goal is to have enough passive dividend income to pay bills and allow me to sleep in and play video games. Just don’t tell my wife that.