A Message From My Wife:
Greetings and salutations! I am the newlywed Mrs. My Dividend Growth.
For about a year and a half Ryan has been documenting our financial journey, and I’ve played a small role in this blog as the editor of most of his articles (not including the ones with spelling or punctuation errors). During this time I have gotten to know many of you, reading expositions and comments here and there while discussing the similarities and differences of our methods with Ryan over dinner. It was through this that I truly began to understand the power of dividend growth investing and the importance of proper money management. You have changed my life exponentially, and I will forever be grateful.
When I first met Ryan almost 7 years ago, I had nothing to my name. Very little money, an unfulfilling job and no hope for my future. I was living paycheck to paycheck and figured that’s just what life had to offer for me. I had always been a frugal person, growing up in a low income household and then at one point of my life being homeless, but I never correctly allocated my finances to accumulate enough for a savings account. Soon thereafter I moved in with Ryan to a room with the square footage of an office, and unbeknownst to us everything would metamorphosize in a matter of time.
After 2 years of living in our cramped space, we were able to upgrade to a small studio apartment but still barely got by; right after signing the lease and obtaining the keys, I along with dozens of my co-workers were let go from our jobs due to “budget cuts.” I distinctly remember Ryan and me sitting on the floor on opposite sides of the room, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of space we had and frightened that it would soon be taken away from us. Once Ryan acquired his first job in the television industry, he began reading the blog of Dividend Mantra and this changed his and my perspective of finances forever. When Ryan explained everything to me we figured that with his research and income and my organizational skills and discipline of frugality, we were equipped to begin our long road towards financial independence.
We created budget and portfolio spreadsheets to better formulate our cost of living and stock purchases, learned easy and fast recipes to reduce our dining out and grocery expenses, and tried to refrain from purchasing anything we didn’t need. For Ryan, this last point was easier said than done and to this day I still have to talk him out of spending money. However, if I had it my way we would never spend money on anything (unfortunately this sometimes includes experiences) so we balance each other out quite nicely.
Fast forward to the present day, Ryan and I are moving along stronger than ever. We recently had a lovely wedding and went on a honeymoon that took our breath away. Five years ago, I would have never dreamed either of those to be a possibility in my lifetime. The cost of our wedding accumulated to about $4,530.00 which included an intimate celebration with 18 family members, a lot of hand made decorations and months of diligent planning. Because we made it a point to pay for it all ourselves in order to not burden our family, I wanted to make sure that everything was aesthetically beautiful without spending an excessive amount of money. While this wasn’t the dream wedding I had always imagined as a little girl, it was exactly the wedding I wanted as a responsible adult who has a plan for the future that is far more important than all those bells and whistles. I wanted a wonderful memory of being with those I love most on the best day of my life, and I got just that. The cost of our two week honeymoon in Greece and 3 Greek islands (Mykonos, Naxos and Santorini) was around $6,546.00 which included 2 round trip plane tickets, 4 different hotels, 4 ferry rides to the different destinations, meals, cab rides, activities and enough gifts to open our own Greek souvenir shop. The averaged total cost of both events was $11,076.00. Now this is a huge amount of money to me, especially knowing what it would have been worth in the future if we had invested it, and at times I felt that we went overboard; however, the average cost of a Los Angeles wedding without the honeymoon in 2014 was $38,735.00, so I think we did well. Here is a breakdown of cost:
COST OF WEDDING:
Rental of Chapel – $900
Minister – $300 ($100 was a tip)
Photographer/Videographer – $200
Decorations (handmade) – $250
Attire (for both of us) – $400
Rings (for both of us) – $180
Dinner – $2,300
COST OF HONEYMOON:
Plane tickets – $2,076.00
Travel Package (hotels for 4 locations/4 ferry rides/9 cab rides) – $2,470.00
Spending cash (gifts/food/activities) – $2,000
There is no doubt that life can be a hard grind at times, but that is precisely what motivates us to look forward to a future that doesn’t have to be. Granted even if we were billionaires I would still be as frugal as ever, but I’ve just never really liked the idea of money keeping us from experiencing new and exciting things. If you share a similar vision, find a method that is suitable for your income, lifestyle choice and aspirations. Your journey will be different than his which will be different than hers. Just keep organized, keep moving and stay focused on your desired outcome. And to all of you bloggers: please continue writing for I will surely continue reading.