BennyEast.Com/Blog The official blog of Kenny West


Inch By Inch

My salary from investment dividends is now at $216 a month.  It's actually slightly higher than that because I've been investing in new stocks by buying more shares in dividend paying companies.  Those dividends aren't in my trailing reports.  So, the $216 I'm making a month from dividends isn't including that.

This time last year, I was making about $105 a month from dividends.  My goal is to just keep growing that monthly number.  That's it.  I'm not really interested in trying to grow the total amount in the portfolio... In fact, I could care less about the total value.  I'm interested in the salary.  The dollar volume per month.  It's a bit like when it rains, you don't really care about how BIG the clouds were producing the rain.  It's more about how hard it's raining.

If every dividend deposit is a raindrop... I'm interested in creating a downpour.

Basically, every time I buy a stock now, I plan to hold it for the rest of my life.  I'm buying for the long term.  I'm buying shares in companies that pay regular dividends (rain drops) and keep those dividends growing.

But why?

It's pretty simple.  I want to act.  I want to audition for movies.  I want to write music.  I want to write books.

It's hard to make it in any of those industries.  I would argue it's near impossible.  That actually making a living in any of those industries is pretty much impossible for 99 percent of people who try.

Why risk it?  Why move to LA and then end up waiting tables?  Why move to NYC and then end up living with 20 roommates and having to move back?

So, instead... What I'm doing is creating a stable dividend salary that gives annual raises in the form of dividend hikes.  Then, once that salary is enough to cover all my expenses... I can go act, write music, write books... And I don't have to ever worry about making it.  For the rest of my life, dividend checks will pay all my bills.

I'm at $216 bucks.  Obviously, that's not going to pay my bills.  But hey, my only goal previously was to break $100 a month, and then after that, my goal was to break $200.  Now my new goal?  Break $300.

And I'll just keep on letting my investments ride and pay dividends and tally the dividends until that number breaks the point where it covers all my costs in life.

I've mentioned it to a few people, and pretty much everyone laughs at the amount.  But, keep in mind, that $216 dollars is earned without any work.  I could sleep all day, and all night.  I don't have to show up anywhere, do any kind of work at all other than just let the stocks ride passively and the dividends show up in the account.

That's actually pretty powerful.  Consider just a normal 9-5 job... Let's say you get up every morning and you commute the average commute.

The average commute time is 25.4 minutes.

So, that's both ways.  50.8 minutes.  If that commuting is done via a car, you pay for gas.  You pay for maintenance on the car.

To work, from work, to work, from work.  Now, the more time on the road, means the more likely you are to have some kind of car repair needed.

With my dividend checks.... I don't even need to get out of bed to make money.

The only thing I have to do once a year is file the taxes made on the money.  And even that, I could have someone do for me.

So, that $216 I'm making a month, lets say I had to get up and commute somewhere to make that money.  The real rate of return on the income I'm making goes up.

So, even though I'm making more at my 9-5 job, I have commuting costs.

I also have stress costs.  Work is stressful and draining.  Dividends just come in.  I could be poolside, sipping on a margarita.  The dividends keep coming.

You get the idea.

So, let's say to deal with a stressful job someone has to have a couple drinks every night after work... Those drinks add up!

But anyways, it's not that I don't want to work... I just want to work a job that has unpredictable and unstable income.  SO, I'm creating income to replace that part of the industry.

My next goal is just to hit $300.  Once I hit that number in monthly income... I'll plan my next goal.  In the mean time while I wait for that salary to increase... I've been starting to create budgets and spending patterns.  I've been tracking future costs and how much things will cost me going forward to better get an idea as to how I can transition from my current 9-5 to a dividend salary working on creative endeavors.

It'll be interesting to see how long it takes to really replace my current 9-5 salary with a dividend salary.  I do believe it's possible to do... It's just going to take time to get it ramped up.  What's interesting about an investment salary versus a 9-5 salary is... On a regular work salary, you show up, and you get paid.  If you stop showing up to work... Or if for some reason you are let go... That salary stops.

It's impossible to get fired from investments.  Yes, some investments can turn south.  Dividends can be slashed or cut.  This is where proper portfolio management comes in.  There are a lot of companies that have been paying dividends for 100+ years, and many that have been increasing the amount of dividend they pay for 25+ years.  Diversification is key, and holding solid dividend paying companies is also key.

Right now I'm holding 80+ different investments in my portfolio.  My ideal goal is to basically get that number over 1000 different holdings.  So, if any one company goes completely bankrupt... The jolt to my monthly income is less.  As well I hold different kinds of investments... Bonds, common stock, REITs.  The idea is to try and build a salary that will pay me for the rest of my life.

If you had a salary to cover all your life expenses... What job would you work?  What passion would you chase?  For me... It's always been making music, acting, and writing.  I've always wanted to be a hollywood movie producer and actor.  I've always wanted to be a music producer and singer/songwriter.  This basically is my life plan on how I'm going to transition to that.  It won't be overnight, and it might take a while... And it might seem like it's only moving inch my inch... But I'll get there.  Slow and steady.

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Just Send Her A Message

Okay, so I really want to write a song with Kesha.  That's pretty much my dream/goal in life right now.

A bunch of my friends and even my brother were all like... "Just send her a message!"

I'm like, okay, you can't just send Kesha a message.  It doesn't work like that.  She's famous.  She has millions of fans all trying to holler at her all at once...

So, even if I TRIED to send her a message... She probably wouldn't even see it.  Also I wouldn't even know where to start!  It's not like she just has her number on her website and it says... "Here's my number!  Give me a call!"

So, where to even start would be difficult.  You can't just yell into the wind and Kesha hears it.  I mean, who knows, maybe you can, but as far as I know, you can't.

Let's say she DOES happen to get some message from me.  Let's say I even were able to talk to her in person and be like... "OH MY GOD KESHA!!!!!  CAN WE WRITE A SONG TOGETHER!!!"

What?  Is she just going to drop everything and be like... "Write a song?  Right now????  SURE!  Let's DO THIS!"

No.  It doesn't work that way.  Kesha is a busy lady.  She's got things to do...  SO, even if I were able to some how even find a way to get a message to her... Then even if she were to read the message... and even if she were to learn that I even exist... and then actually know who I am... As the saying goes, "Ain't nobody got time for that".

Because here's the thing, if Kesha writes a song with me... That means, she's has to write a song with every other non-famous songwriter who wants to write a song with her.  That list could get very long.

If you do for one, that means you have to start doing that for everyone.

So, while "Just send her a message" is a good idea in theory... As I keep telling people, it doesn't work like that.  You can't just message a famous person.

I mean, that goes for more than songwriting... Actors... Authors.  You can't just tell some famous actor that you also want to be in a movie with them.  You can't just email some famous author and say you want to write a book with them.

It just doesn't work like that.  Yes, it would be awesome if it did.  But this is just how things work in the real world.  You have to work hard to get famous as well and then you have to have long talks between agents and other legal-esk people to finally organize some kind of collaboration.

Kesha doesn't just, invite you over to her house, the two of you open a bottle of wine, break out the guitars, and start writing music.

Just like J.K. Rowling wouldn't just invite you over for a short story writing session over sushi.

So, as much as I want to write a song with Kesha... It's just not going to happen.  I mean, who knows, maybe if I could somehow figure out how to get my own music career launched, and manage to become as famous as she is, and then convince both our labels to let us have some kind of play date... Then maybe I could write a song with her...

But for everyone to just say... "Oh, just send her a message!"

Yeah.  Because it's that easy.  It just doesn't work like that.  She's Kesha!  You can't just send Kesha a "Yo what's up?  Let's write music together!" message.  As awesome as that would be... It's just not meant to be at the moment.

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Okay, so my new song is done.  And, it's on its way to the various digital streaming sites.  I have another song in the pipeline and I've just started another another song.

Lately, though, I've been obsessed with the new Kesha song.  It's super good.  I really love it.  But let's be honest, who doesn't love it?

It's just really good.  Anyways, so, I was saying "I wish I could collaborate with Kesha, that would be amazing!"  I think she's just a very unique and cool and talented artist.  She really is just interesting, and I'd love to collaborate with her.

My brother was like... "You should try to get her attention, do something that stands out."

So, then I had this idea for a song.  And now I'm working on that.  I mean, hey, it might not ever end in Kesha and I recording a song together... But it's just fun to be working on something new.

Anyways, I'm working on all the small little admin stuff related to finishing posting my newest song.  I've also been working on my next projects.

And of course, I've been listening to Kesha's music non-stop lately.  Anyway, if you haven't heard the new song by her, it's called "Praying".  Definitely check it out.  It can be found on YouTube.  It's SOOO good.

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New Song Status Update

Okay.  So, today I paid for the copyright fee to copyright my new song.  Getting there.  Next step is to review the song and lyrics and what not.  Make sure it's all ready to upload... Then, I upload it to the copyright place.

Once that's done, I then upload everything to CDBABY.  Then I pay their fee.  Then they take the song and put it up all over the planet.

Good stuff.

Then, of course, it takes me 5 years to make the money back that it cost me to post it.  Haha.  Oh well.  It's all good.

Actually, I'll be using my next round of dividends coming off my beach day portfolio to pay for the fees.

That's the point of the portfolio.  To use that income from that to invest in other things and cover costs for future investments.

So, this song is like an investment.  So, I'll cover the costs for it, from my previous investments.  Then when income starts coming off this song... I use that income to cover costs of future investments... etc. etc.

Anyway, yep... New song is JUST around the bend.  In the next few days I'll finish the copyright part.  Then I'll finish the CDBaby part.  And then it will go live!  Exciting stuff.

Then I start all over again and work on my next tune.  So, there ya go!  That's the latest with what's going on with my newest song.  It'll be up soon enough.  Just have to take care of this administrative stuff first.

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The Search

Yesterday I went on a search to find out the last name of my first kiss, or as the British counselors at camp put it, her surname.  Surname sounds much more formal.  Anyways, either way... Her second name... Which could very well be her third name by now.  Or, possibly her second middle name.  Second surname?

I have no idea how that works when people get married, which she probably is.  Names get shuffled about. So even having her last name may not have been helpful because it could be different by now.

Anyway, I made an attempt after leaving camp to go find her full name.  See, in the summer of 1996, or I'll admit, it could have been 1997.  Although, from my calculations I'm fairly certain it was 1996.  It could NOT have been 1998, as I was already attending another camp by that time.  As well it also could not have been before 1996 as in, 1995, because that would have made me 12 in the summer of 1995, as I was born in the Fall of 1982.

I know I was not 12 because I know that my brother had already had his first kiss by the time he was 12 and I felt the need to hurry up and have my own first kiss.

It came eventually.

Her name was Amanda.  She wrote me a menagerie of love letters that same summer.  The letters all contained a plethora of stickers.  Sooooo many stickers.  All over the place, on the envelope, on the letter, inside the envelope.  I really wish I had saved the letters.  Her handwriting was exquisite.  But she was really big on using stickers.

Well, so, yesterday I left my camp to head over to Camp Mataponi.  When I arrived there was a tornado warning.  I'm fairly certain that the multitude of tornado warnings blaring from my phone were probably a sign that I should not have attempted to locate my first kiss.  But, since the camp office had no information to assist in my search, I feel like it doesn't actually matter that I did not turn back when the first tornado warning showed on my phone.

I mean, what are the odds there would be a half dozen tornado warnings show at the exact moment I'm in the car and on my way to try and locate my first kiss.

Coincidence?  Maybe.  But it didn't feel like it.

I arrived at the camp office and awkwardly explained the meaning of my visit.  They directed me to a small library of old camp photograph books.  The problem was that no names were associated with any of the photos, only quotes, and camp sayings.  Additionally the exact year I was looking for, 1996, was missing.

1997 and onward were there, along with 1995, and a few other previous years.  The further you went back, the less consecutive it got.

I paged through the 1997 and 1995 books, nothing that helped.  I asked if they had a camper list, or an all camp photo.  Or some sort of alumni list.

The office staff tried to help, but nothing seemed to have any kind of information that would have contained her surname.  They were very interested to know the detailed explanation of the night the kiss occurred.  I explained that it was at one of the dances that we called "Socials".  After the very last song, "Stairway To Heaven", everyone was leaving... For some reason I decided, after I'd already gotten into the van that would drive us back over to my camp, that I wanted to go back and say goodbye again.  I ran back over to her and it just happened.  It was totally awkward.  But, cool at the same time.

I saunter back over to the van holding my head high and smiling to all of my bunkmates.

That's pretty much how it went.  Of course... Then the letters started, which contained her full name and home address as well.  I saw her on a couple other occasions at other socials held during that summer.

1996 seemed to be a bit of a mystery year.  I'm fairly certain that it was 1996.  I'm almost positive.  There's no way it was 1997, because that would have made me 14 almost 15... I'm pretty sure I WAS 13 going on 14.

My only hope is to find the lost letters.  It's funny because I don't recall throwing them out, and I usually keep things.  If I do throw things out, I scan them first.  I'm big on scanning things and then keeping the PDFs in triplicate on digital storage devices.

Though I was not successful I thanked them and went on my way.  I suppose if I was not supposed to search for my first kiss, I'll find out why eventually.  Supposing those tornados were a sign of some sort.  Oh, and in addition to the tornado warnings... There was a fog/mist coming out of my vents as I was driving there.  The fog didn't smell or anything.  It doesn't smell like anything was burning, I'd never seen that before though.  It was just a white fog coming from my vents.

At any rate, I then went a mile down the road to visit my old camp... It's still owned by the same owners and coincidentally the very same counselor DJing that very night I had my first kiss... Still works as one of the head staff at the camp.

As of right now I'm writing this from a Panera Bread somewhere in Connecticut.  I just downloaded two albums from The 1975 containing the songs "The Sound" and "Chocolate" to listen to on the rest of the ride now.  Those two songs were played a lot this year at camp, so each time I hear them will now memories of great times spent with best friends.  Just like the song "Stairway to Heaven" will always remind me of my first kiss.

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