Yes, it is totally possible to retire or even retire early with dividend stocks. Just ask Mr. Money Mustache! However, it isn’t necessarily that easy to do – regardless of career field – because of how much money you’ll need to invest. But we have some tips for that too in Step 1, so keep reading!
Real estate agents typically have ZERO options to retire from real estate from their broker (unless you have equity programs or revenue share cash flow). So, while this isn’t one of our favorite options, it is ONE option and a fairly simple option to retire early – especially if you already have or know how to amass a lot of cash or equity.
To get started, let’s go over what dividend stocks and investing are and then jump right into the steps to retire early with dividend stocks!
Table of Contents
Intro to Stocks, Dividends, and Stock Market Investing (for Retirement)
A stock is a share of a company. Companies sell shares in order to raise capital to grow their business. In return, an investor expects their stock prices to rise over time as the company flourishes and grows and reap the reward later when they sell the stock to another investor.
A dividend is a distribution of earnings to shareholders. Dividends are particularly interesting because they can provide an opportunity to actually generate income without having to sell the stock.
The way most people invest in the stock market is by putting money away into an Individual Retirement Account (or “IRA”) or in a 401K (if you are a W-2 wage earner and your company provides one). They invest the money into stock/bond funds within that account in the hopes that it grows into a large nest egg by the time they reach retirement age of no earlier than 59 and a half years old.
There are a whole bunch of problems for real estate agents when it comes to trying to invest in an IRA (since we don’t have 401Ks) in order to retire – more on why real estate agents never retire in this post.
But the real gotcha in our mind is that you can’t use the money without penalty until age 59 and a half. You are locked into some sort of work-for-money arrangement until that age unless you come up with another plan!
I don’t know about you, but I DON’T WANT TO WORK UNTIL I DIE.
Enter cash flow from dividends. As far as we know, this is the only way that you can build an actual cash flow stream by investing in the stock market without having to sell your shares. So let’s talk how to retire early with dividend stocks!
Step 1: Determine Your Goals
You need to decide two things:
- How much annual income do you need to achieve financial freedom?
- When do you want to retire by?
Part 1: Annual Income
Keep in mind when deciding how much annual income you’ll need to achieve financial freedom that once you get there you won’t need to be investing any more money. So if you’re currently budgeting for that, you can remove it as an “expense” in the equation.
Do this: add up all your current expenses, plus add a buffer for emergencies, and add on fun and vacation funds. No one should retire without money to play with and with enough income to make retirement stress free! That’s now your target number.
To use an example, let’s say $100,000 a year is a good target. That’d be awesome to make that much without working at all, right?! The next step to retire early with dividend stocks is to decide WHEN to retire.
Part 2: Retirement Age
While it isn’t a bad thing to want to tinker or work in some capacity into your later years, it is far better for working to be TOTALLY optional at some point. For example, when I achieve financial freedom in about ten more years, I plan buy an RV and road trip across North America for a year! Because why not!
When would be your dream age to retire at? A better question may be, when would be your dream age to achieve financial freedom?
The average retirement age in the USA is 61. Let’s say for this example we want to retire by 50 and spend more time travelling and enjoying life and family!
Step 2: Choose Your Funds
Picking Dividend Funds
So now comes the time to choose what dividend stocks you’ll invest in so that you can each your income goal by your planned early retirement age but without taking too much risk.
Here’s a secret: you can automatically minimize risk by investing in funds, which are a mix of a WHOLE BUNCH of stocks. That way you instantly have a diversified portfolio of stocks, so that losses from one may be offset by the gains of the others.
By investing in just a handful of funds, you automatically spread your equity across many many different stocks. While you can’t control stock market ups and downs, many dividend stock companies have long track records of continuing to pay out dividends in any market. This is good!
So which funds to choose? This is something you must do yourself. But here are some good places to start:
- Forbes Dividend Funds article
- Nerdwallet High Yield Dividend ETFs article
- Investopedia Top Dividend Funds article
- The Balance Top Dividends for Any Investor article
- Read Mr. Money Mustache blog
The goal is to pick at least a few different funds that yield a decent dividend income with a proven track record. I know this isn’t an easy decision because retirement is at stake! But don’t stress, you can do this. To recap:
- You want a FEW different funds to lower risk even further
- You want to spread your investment across these funds
- You want decent dividend yield
- You want a proven track record
A decent yield is a debatable number. For me, I like to get around 5% as my average return. So I like to spread my equity equally between all my dividend funds and the average dividend payout across all of them is about 5% annually.
Working Backwards for Your Goal
Now that you have chosen your funds, what is your planned dividend return annually? We’ll use 5% because that’s what I think is doable. The most proven funds are usually not higher than this.
So we want $100,000 a year in income, remember? To do this, simply divide by 5% and we get $2,000,000. Yes, that’s two MILLION dollars. Don’t despair! It is actually completely doable to put this amount of money away in order to retire early with dividend stocks.
I know two million sounds like a lot of money, but in the next step I’m going to let you in on a few secrets to amassing this much money either over a shortened career (say age 20-50) or by working creatively to build equity fast over just a few years. After all, if you are a real estate agent then you already have a few advantages over the public to build equity faster!
Step 3: Maximize Equity to Invest
Now, about that lump sum of cash we need to invest in order to retire early with dividend stocks: don’t be dismayed, we can do this! By leveraging the following ways to amass equity, we can immediately invest it and then reinvest dividends we earn into more dividend stocks. Pretty soon, your investments will be taking off!
Here are the quickest four ways to amass enough equity to invest in dividend stocks for an early retirement:
Reduce the Top 3 Biggest Expenses
Most people’s top three expenses are:
- Housing – Live within your means, keep interest rate low, rent out a room on AirBnB, etc.
- Transportation – Carpool, buy gently used and reliable vehicles with low fuel consumption, shop around for insurance, buy reasonable vehicles now so you can have the fun car later!
- Food – cook more and dine out less, drink water at restaurants, go out on deal nights, get a crock pot or insta pot, find a value grocery store
Penny pinching is far less effective than reducing the BIG three expense. Reducing your phone bill by $20 is great. Reducing your mortgage payment by $400 with a refi (I just did this) is WAYYYYY more effective at building wealth!
Flip Properties in Your Market
Real estate agents are perfectly positioned to be fantastic house flippers in their markets! They know how a home should be priced, how to negotiate, know lenders and contractors, understand how to determine After Repair Value (ARV), and what finishes sell! Plus they can get into properties faster, keep 100% commission on personal investment transactions, and more!
To learn more about flipping houses and real estate investing as a real estate agent, go read this right now!
Start an Agent Team
By starting your own real estate agent team, you can create a steady and scaleable income source! Support your agent team and they will do amazing things for you. Provide leads and split commission.
Start your team with a favorable commission split broker who will provide all the tools, training, support, and liability coverage you could possibly need while you focus on growing your team and transactions!
My team lead started his team while he was a fighter pilot in the US Air Force! So even if you didn’t think you had the time, he’s living proof that you do!
Leverage Revenue Share
Revenue share is just another way to build a cash flow stream as a real estate agent. By getting paid by your broker to attract agents to the company, you can create an ever growing payment source that you can then reinvest into dividend stocks for an early retirement!
Consider this: by leveraging revenue share, you can reduce how much equity you need for dividend stocks. Let’s say you find a forum to attract agents to the company and bring 10 highly productive (and capping) agents to the company and then they all go out and bring 1 more capping agent. That would hypothetically bring in over $50K a year! (See a Demo)
That’s HALF your goal, so now you only need to invest $1 Million instead of $2 Million into dividend funds – you just cut the required cash to retire early with dividend stocks in half and attained retirement that much faster!
So now you’ve either invested enough cash to then live financially free off the dividend income or you mixed some dividend income with some other source, like real estate investments or revenue share!
CONGRATS! Now you can literally do WHATEVER you want. Every. Single. Day. There ya have it: you can retire early with dividend stocks.
Now keep in mind, that there may be a recession or some other event that might mean many of the companies in your portfolio have a bad year and pay out less dividends. This is unlikely because most companies pride themselves on never having missed dividend payments to investors. But it is possible to have a bad year. So just be smart, have some reserves on hand, and live free!
A Multi-Million Dollar Secret Benefit to a Dividend Retirement
Think about this: most people “retire” by investing in the stock market, hoping to amass some huge nest egg in their 60s, and then “retire” by spending a fraction of that so that the money can last 30+ more years. They have to live frugally and make sure the money lasts… which will – as planned – eventually go to ZERO.
But compare it to this: you amass your $2 Million, which provides the $100,000 in cash flow. When you kick the bucket, what happens? You can let your heirs inherit the money! So not only did you get a a super baller retirement cash flow, but your family gets to benefit for a LONG time as well!
How to Learn More
As real estate agents, we don’t enjoy many of the perks that W-2 employees have when it comes to sustainable equity plans through company stock purchasing programs. Since it is extremely difficult for real estate brokerages to go international or even national, there has never been a way for agents to earn stocks by working with their brokerages. Until now.
If you want to learn more about a platform that allows agents to earn their company stock through recognition programs and sustainable equity plans, while also providing agents with new technologies to better help their clients then check out this article here!
Learn more about building wealth through stock market investing for real estate agents!