Author Topic: FIRE with dividend income from a family real estate company?  (Read 1090 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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I have an uncommon situation, and haven't been able to find any similar case studies. I receive dividends/royalties from shares of a family commercial real estate development firm that I inherited. They have been paying out about $21K/year. I have $302K in my portfolio which according to the 4% rule could generate $12,080/year. So I figure as of now I could generate $33,080 without a job. My expenses are around $33K. What I'm wondering is if it's safe to consider myself FI? I have two concerns:

1. If I retire with $302K, is that too low to tolerate swings in the market even if most of my expenses are covered elsewhere? I'm 43. I entered 12,080 spending, 302,000 portfolio, and 47 years in FireCalc and got a 79.8% success rate. Too low?

2. I'm hesitant to rely on one company to cover most of my expenses for the rest of my life. Not diversified, and anything can happen. However, it's a strong local commercial real estate development firm that's been around over a century. I remember my parents commenting on how the dividend income always goes up. And since I've inherited this I've spoken to relatives who also say it's reliably gone up. I've been monitoring the income for the third year since I inherited it, and so far it's consistent. Should I look at this income the same as if I had rental income in retirement?

My plan at the moment is to continue working my mostly laid back office job for at least two more years and continue to monitor the dividend income, or until I feel like I have a comfortable buffer. I have yet to figure out what that buffer would look like. But I do feel like saving enough to cover 100% expenses in my situation would be overkill.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: FIRE with dividend income from a family real estate company?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2016, 05:26:52 PM »
As you already know a lack of diversification is the big risk with that investment.

I'd go one of two paths.

1. cash up a large portion of you investment in the commercial property company and move it to other more diversified investments.

2. Increase you own investments so they provide an equivalent return to the commercial property dividends.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: FIRE with dividend income from a family real estate company?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2016, 06:10:37 PM »
Do you understand how the $21k/year is calculated?

I'd be mighty scared to retire on a pseudo-pension that was a magic box that spit out money at me regardless of how reliable it was. What happens if the board of directors for it decides to invest all their profits instead of paying them out (is that even an option)? Are they eating up principle by selling places in order to fund the dividends? Etc.

Make sure you really know how and what that income comes from before deciding to depend on for the rest of your life.

I'm not sure either what income you've had, $302k saved doesn't strike me as too much income but depends on when you started saving, so you should check to see what SS you'd receive.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: FIRE with dividend income from a family real estate company?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2016, 08:18:05 PM »
My understanding is the dividends come from commercial rent. And they buy and sell properties every now and then. Regardless, I agree that I shouldn't rely on it so heavily. I'm not interested in selling my shares. I'd rather keep investing that income to grow my stash faster.