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Saturday, November 1, 2008

* It Has Been a Wonderful Year!

Yesterday, October 31st, marked Dividends4Life's one year anniversary. It has been an exciting year that has seen many changes, not only at Dividends4Life, but in the global markets and their underlying economies. Please indulge me as I reflect back over the past year. I apologize in advance for the length.


History

In August 2007 I was surfing the web researching some dividend stocks, and low and behold a site called The Dividend Guy Blog turned up in a search. Being a little older than the average blogger (mid-40’s), I always assumed that blogs were for teenagers and 20-somethings to discuss irrelevant topics. Was I ever wrong! I have found more good investing information and intelligent conversations on blogs like The Dividend Guy than in all the main-stream media combined.

As time passed, I wondered how difficult it would be to set up a blog. I discovered Blogger, set up a quick dirty blog and here is the entire contents of my first post:
Like many that came before me, I am on a journey to construct a portfolio that will provide me…

Dividends 4 Life
I am now on my 4th template. The first two were standard Blogger templates "Son of Motto" and "TicTac Blue". "Son of Motto" was just too green for me. I have always been fond of Crimson, White and blue so I really liked "TicTac Blue", but wanted a three column template. After a while I found "Thisaway (Blue)" in three columns (click here for a blast from the past). The upgrade was nasty and nearly ended my blogging career. I lost a lot of data and a couple of nights sleep during the upgrade. Eventually, I got through it and learned a lot though the process. Later, I decided I wanted a more professional looking blog with a white background and moved to my current template. Compared to the prior conversion, that conversion was nearly flawless.

The Blogs

The thing I found most appealing about blogging was the ability to connect with like-minded people. In the early days there were only a handful of blogs I read. They were:
  • The Dividend Guy Blog: The Dividend Guy has an incredible writing style in which he can directly connect with his readers. As noted above, this is the first blog I visited and so there will always be a fond spot in my heart for it.
  • Dividends Matter: Average Joe doesn’t post much anymore. His thoughtful stock analysis inspired me to clean up my messy analysis and concentrate a little more on its presentation.
  • Dividend Money: Tyler is an exceptionally gifted writer, and more importantly he knows what he is talking about. I always enjoy reading Tyler's posts.
  • Financial Jungle: Like Average Joe, The Financial Jungle Guy does not post much anymore. I remember him for the exceptional interviews posted on his blog.
  • The Div Guy: Is someone I was able to connect with on a personal basis - we are around the same age and place in our career.
  • the money gardener: MG is another like-minded dividend investor. Something about his site just felt inviting. There is always a lot of comments and conversations going on.
As time went by, more dividend blogs came on the scene. Some didn't make it but others did and thrived. Here are two that started up soon after Dividends4Life:
  • The Dividend Investing Blog: Jake runs an interesting dividend blog. Like me, he was educated in the south and understands what is important on fall Saturdays - S.E.C. college football! Unlike me he is living behind enemy lines.
  • Dividend Growth Investor: In DGI, I have found a soul brother and someone that I am comfortable confiding in. In addition to running a great dividend investing blog, he is an accountant, like me, and understands what quarter-end and year-end really means.

The Networks

In early 2008 I started working on a dividend/value investing network. Before it got off the ground I was invited to join a start-up network that would eventually become The Wealth, Money & Life Network (WML-Net). This network was launched on May 1, 2008 and is more of a personal finance network that values diversity in its members and financial perspective.

Our members ages span across the 20s, 30s and into the 40s. We are located in different parts of the U.S.; ranging from the east coast to the west coast, from the midwest to the southwest to the deep-south. Our backgrounds are varied and include careers, education, income streams and lifestyles. Some of us have debt, while others do not. There are those who are married, with and without children, while others are single. Some of us have a college degree and there are those who do not.

Our members include:
Later in the year, The Dividend Guy and Dividend Growth Investor and I got together as the founding members of The Dividend Investing and Value Network (DIV-Net). Behind the scenes we built the web site, wrote the governance documents and recruited the initial Charter and Associate Members. The DIV-Net was launched on June 29, 2008.

The DIV-Net is a unique network providing exclusive, original and unpublished content daily from a growing membership containing the best authors in the field. Seven Core Members are responsible for maintaining and administering The DIV-Net site and the DIV-Net network.

Our Core Members include:
We believe strongly in the virtues of dividend investing, value investing and a long-term buy and hold philosophy. Thus, we did not want to limit DIV-Net to just seven Core Members, but wanted include as many bloggers as were interested. To that end we created an Associate Membership. Our Associate Members include:
If I could offer any advice to a new blogger, it would be find and join a quality network. I feel a special kinship with the members of the two networks that I belong to. Having a support group is incredible, and beyond that, everything else is just icing on the cake!

Growth

As mentioned in Pocket Change Portfolio, I never expected Dividends4Life go anywhere and certainly didn't expect the growth I have seen over the last year. At the time of this writing Dividends4Life has over 35,000 page loads per month and over 600 subscribers. I am humbled at how far Dividends4Life has come.

Celebration

To celebrate Dividends4Life's one-year anniversary, I am going to take the day off and carry the family to Tuscaloosa for Alabama's homecoming game. Before someone asks, yes, everyone in the family are adamant Crimson Tide football fans. We are undefeated at 8-0 and ranked #2 in the nation. Roll Tide!

Thanks!

There have been so many people that helped me through this first year, I couldn't begin to mention them all, but I would like to offer a sincere and heart-felt thanks each of them.

Last, but by no means least, a special thanks to all of you who have faithfully read, commented and supported Dividends4Life over the last 12 months. I am truly excited about the upcoming year and all the great buying opportunities in the days to come.

Many thanks!
D4L


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