• Michael McGowan

Independence Alley

Looking down the alley where no one dares to go!


When I was in school I was always fascinated with history, Early American History to be precise. I remember sitting in eighth grade History class reading about the Founders struggle for independence and the patriotic duty of the Colonists to throw off the shackles of British tyranny. Eighth grade was quite generic. Walking into my junior year of high school things became much more than dates and names. I needed to understand why the Founders wanted their independence. College courses were much more intense. You begin to understand the action/reaction of choices.

The Founders were enigmas. Americans put these people on a pedestal; we make them demigods. They had their struggles though. Many wanted independence, but friendship with the Mother Country. Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I doubt he passed out a copy of the Declaration of Independence to all those men, women and children he held in bondage.

Somewhere between college and now I shackled myself. It’s not a shackle any where near to the level of slavery nor is it a restriction of freedoms from a far away government. I burdened myself with servitude. My younger self wrote checks that my older self would have to pay. My young self created idleness, prohibition and the pursuit of sadness.



Where am I now?

Where do I go from here?

How do I get there?

What to do when I get there?



I created Independence Alley because I want to go somewhere not too many people go, whether it be fear or lack of knowledge. Imagine you are walking in a large city. You are sharing the sidewalk with, perhaps, hundreds of other people bumping one another to get to where they need to go. We all pass those dark and empty alleys. We don’t travel down them for a variety of reasons. We need to get where we’re going. We don’t have time to explore. We don’t want to go down that alley for fear of what can happen.

I was once walking near downtown Los Angeles. Among the dozens of tourists, homeless, and workers I saw an alley that looked interesting. I walked down that alley squished between two old buildings. As I walked down that alley I was independent from all that hustle out there on the street. I was away from the the struggling people. Every single one of them were struggling. They were struggling to get to work on time, they were struggling to see everything they could see while on vacation, they were struggling to appeal to passersby into giving them some coin so they could eat that day. As I walked further away from those struggles I came upon a beautiful Buddhist temple. It was a grand sight and I stood in front of it alone. I was Independent down an alley.


I know where I want to go. I know where I am at. How to get there is the difficult questions to answer. I’ve decided for me that dividend stocks are the way to go. There a few reasons for this. I want to purchase companies that I believe will be around for a long while. I want to limit trading. I want to be able to plan what kind of income to expect. The stronger the company and the more cash they have on hand the less likely these companies will reduce dividends in times of down stock markets. When everyone is scared and yelling, “sell, sell, sell!” I’d like to sit back watch the grass grow if I want to.

I don’t want to HAVE to work any longer. It’s not that I won’t work any longer, but I don’t want to have to. I get paid well with what I do, but I no longer enjoy it. Honestly, I’m not sure if I ever did. That’s another reason that I’ll want dividend income. I’m going to convert every penny of dividends I get into hours that I no longer have to work. Since dividends won’t dry up then all I need to cover is 2,080 hours a year. I won’t have to figure out Safe Withdrawal Rates (SWR). That type of discussion can go on for 2,080 hours in itself. When I’m 79 years old I don’t want to have to worry about selling stocks to cover my next year’s expenses. For that matter I don’t want to plan on when I’ll have to die.

Let’s see: I have a million dollars and need $40,000 per year. That’ll allow me to live for the next 25 years assuming I have it as cash under my mattress. NO! I don’t want to worry if I’ll be eating Top Ramen when I’m 115 years old. Although I do enjoy it occasionally. I also won’t worry if I die early. There’s a problem with SWR. Sometimes you die with a huge balance. That’s okay. I’ve got kids and they’ll have kids. I’d like to get them started on the path to follow me to Independence Alley. After all, it is a really great place to hang out.

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