The man behind the march

I’m Ben.

I’m a lot of things, but, unfortunately, millionaire isn’t one of them. In fact, nothing about me screams million-dollar portfolio. I wish I could find something, but, well, nope. Nothing.

That’s going to change, though. I’m on a mission to march my way to $1,000,000 and I’m not going to stop until I get there. Don’t believe me? That’s what this blog is for: to track my progress and show people you don’t have to have a ton of money ( I sure don’t) to build a small fortune over time.

I literally started from the bottom, opening a Robinhood account and depositing $100 in the summer of 2016. I don’t have a ton of money to invest each month, but I add what I can whenever I can.

I have two mortgages, one for my current residence – a comfy single-family home in suburban Columbus – and one for the condo my wife and I bought right after we graduated from college. We turned the condo into a rental property, but aren’t making much of a profit yet. My wife and I also have student loans, credit card debt and car payments we’re tangling with on a month-by-month basis.

We have three kids, too – all boys. The oldest is six and, well, if you have kids you don’t need me to tell you how expensive they are.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the life I’ve made for myself. I’m 33 with my wonderful wife and aforementioned crumb snatchers within arm’s reach at any given time. For that, I consider myself one of the luckiest guys around. Laughs, hugs and bedtime stories highlight my days, but there are plenty of tears, boo-boos and tantrums, too.

One thing there’s not, though, is money … at least not a ton. Not yet.

I make less than $50,000 a year as a sports editor for a newspaper in Ohio. My wife also makes less than $50,000 a year. I’m no math wiz, but I’m pretty sure that puts us at less than $100,000 a year combined, even with the rental property. We make fine money. It’s enough to be comfortable, but not enough to live on our own terms.

Obviously, that’s what I’m trying to change … without getting a higher-paying job or some other boss to report to. I love my current gig. I have tons of flexibility and it’s lots of fun. I can hang with my boys during the day, cover a game in the evening and still have time to wind down with my wife at night. We don’t have any childcare costs, which is amazing, and I’m comfortable.

Comfort, to me, is key. I went to college with the dream of becoming a journalist and that didn’t change when I graduated, landed my first newspaper job and immediately realized I was never going to get paid a ton of money.

That’s where dividend-growth investing comes in.

A dividend – a small amount of money companies pay shareholders for investing in their business – is the ultimate form of passive income. You buy a stock once and earn money for owning it for years to come, potentially even forever.

I earned my first dividend – $0.50 for a single share of Walmart – January 1, 2017. I’ve been hooked ever since. Ever since that first dividend I knew I wanted a $1,000,000 portfolio loaded with nothing but dividend-paying stocks.

You know what 3% of $1,000,000 is? Yup, that’s a cool $30,000 … which is how much a $1,000,000 portfolio yielding 3% will shell out in dividend payments per year. I don’t know about you, but I could do quite a few things with that extra $30,000 in free money. Reinvest it to earn even more, live off it in retirement, put my kids through college, I could go on and on.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with all the dividends once I get to $1,000,000 (I plan to reinvest them all until I get there), but I can promise you this: I will get there.

You can follow my march in a variety of ways:

Twitter @marchtoward1mil

Instagram @marchtoward1mil

Facebook

And, of course, you can always subscribe to this blog.

My hope is that you’ll start investing and march right along with me.