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Journalist building a stream of dividend income

Mike Nadel, 53

Occupation

Semi-retired freelance writer

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The portfolio

Includes shares in Exxon Mobil Corp., Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble Co., Bank of Nova Scotia, Royal Bank of Canada, BCE Inc., Chevron Corp., General Mills Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and General Electric Co.

The investor

Mike Nadel was a newspaper journalist for 30 years until he was laid off in the last recession. Now he writes freelance articles for investment website seekingalpha.com and works part-time at a golf course. The kids are grown up, there are no debts to pay and his wife has a "bullet-proof" job in pediatric nursing.

How he invests

Mr. Nadel and his wife are invested in several dozen blue-chip corporations with "long histories of dividend increases." Along with a modest pension and social security payments, the dividends are expected to provide enough income for a comfortable retirement in the United States.

They are already receiving $25,000 (U.S.) annually from their portfolio. And it is growing at more than 5.5 per cent a year due to dividend hikes.

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Their target is $36,000. Just reinvesting the dividends will get them there within 10 years in today's dollars, as calculations by Mr. Nadel show (assuming an annual inflation rate of 4 per cent). Add in the couple's annual contributions and the journey should be a lot shorter.

"While market forces will move the portfolio's value up and down on paper, I expect our income to grow through good times and bad," Mr. Nadel says. "We never should have to dip into the principal for our needs and wants, and we should be able to leave a financial legacy to our heirs."

Best move

It was being a good saver while working as a newspaper journalist and investing "no matter what was happening in the world around him."

Worst move

"… getting swept-up in dot-com fever just before the tech bubble burst in 2000."

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Advice

"Buy only what you understand, have investments that let you sleep at night and make decisions for yourself after doing your own homework."

Want to share your strategies? E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

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