Welcome to the seventh post of my blogger interview series. I interviewed Bert and Lanny, better know as the Dividend Diplomats. You can find a list of all blogger interviews and upcoming blogging interviews on my Blogger Interview Series page.
The Dividend Diplomats are a staple in the DGI community. They are very active posters, but also consistent visitors and commenters on other blogs. We’ve never met, but when I think of them, I always imagine it would be cool to have a few beers together and shoot the breeze. Of course, I need a few more months to go by so they won’t give me too much grief about their team beating-up my Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Dividend Diplomats Interview
Where do you live?
Lanny: I live on the East-Side of Cleveland, Ohio.
Bert: I used to live on the East-side of Cleveland but migrated over to the west-side a few years ago.
What are your hobbies?
Lanny: I enjoy reading, blogging (of course), whooping Bert’s ass on the basketball court, Cleveland Sports, traveling, trying new things, investing and research.
Bert: Outside of blogging and investing because let’s be real, there is a lot of that in my free time, I am a huge sports fan and love traveling as well. I probably was 40% of the Indians 162 game season haha, and Lanny has an unfair advantage on the basketball court considering his height advantage. Being 5’7” has its downfalls on the basketball court. Step out on a baseball diamond though…different story.
Which countries or major cities have you lived in or traveled to?
Lanny: I have traveled to quite a few. I’ve been to Punta Cana twice, have traveled within the states, such as: Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Vermont, New York, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, California, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, North/South Carolina, Georgia, Colorado. However, my long-term goal is to go to Italy and be with the family roots at some point (Maybe even in 2017!!).
Bert: Outside of the US, I have traveled to Israel and spent 10 days on a trip around the country. One of my favorite trips of all time. I have traveled to major cities in the US such as Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Houston, etc. Some of the cities on my hit list are Toronto, Washington DC, Miami, and San Francisco. Also, can’t forget to mention that I have never been to and I really want to check out Europe.
Which sports or teams are your favorites?
Lanny: Cleveland Cavaliers by far have been my favorites since the early 1990 days with Mark Price and Brad Daugherty. Being from the city of Akron – I love Lebron and cannot be more emotional about our Cavs winning the NBA Championships! Can we do 2 in a row? HERE WE GO!!
Bert: I love all the Cleveland Sports Teams (Basesball = Indians, Football = Browns, and Basketball = Your 2016 NBA Champion Cavaliers). Must also give a shout out to my alma mater Ohio State as well, as I am a big Buckeye sports fan!
What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
Lanny: Funny vacation has to be the road trip to New Orleans with one of my best buds Mike. Best couple trip has to be either Punta Cana or Florida, tough call. All ends in laughter, if I’m laughing, I’m loving it.
Bert: My favorite trip was a cross-country road trip I took with one of my roommates after college. He was moving from Ohio to Los Angeles and asked me if I wanted to join. Who could pass up that opportunity? We drove through the desert over three days and just slept in the cheapest hotel we could find along the way. Oh yeah, he forgot to tell me that his car didn’t have air conditioning and it was in the middle of summer, so to keep ourselves cool we stopped at gas stations, bought a cup of ice cubes, and placed one on our forehead every five minutes. However, I’m sure that trip will be trumped by my upcoming honeymoon.
When you were a child, what profession did you want to be?
Lanny: I wanted to be an NBA basketball player. Didn’t happen, obviously. Here I am now.. a blogging CPA.
Bert: Baseball player obviously. The progressed to a financial planner and then that transformed into public accounting.
What is your career today?
Lanny: I am a Manager in a top 10 public accounting firm and am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), screw busy seasons.
Bert: Same as Lanny, just a year away from being a manager.
What is your primary motivation to reach financial independence and retire early?
Lanny: To be able to spend time doing exactly what I want on a day in/day out basis. To spend time and teach others, as well as to be with my loved ones and help those in need. Financial Freedom = Time.
Bert: To allow me to spend my time doing what I want, when I want, with the people I want. It is hard to do that when you are living the daily grind of a typical 8-5 job.
At what age are you planning on retiring?
Lanny: Yesterday! Kidding aside – it all depends on what “Retirement” means. I am going to say retirement is doing what you want to do with your time – even if that is a part-time consultant for families and individuals on how to invest, budget and save. Therefore, I’ll say no later than 35, C’mon!!! 7 years to go… The Journey is REAL.
Bert: That’s easy….ASAP. I don’t have a set date in mind, I just want to set in motion the wheels that need to turn to get my income stream rolling as soon as possible. There are a lot of breaks I need to catch along the way and I wish I could predict a date. I would love to say 30, but nothing is for certain. So for now, I’m going to cop-out and say as soon as possible.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when you retire?
Lanny: Put my middle fingers in the air. Hug my girlfriend, and begin planning out the next steps of what I’ll do (though I’m sure I should/would have that already spelled out) and then making plans to see all my friends/family in some form of fashion.
Bert: Sleep in, sip coffee, and figure out what I want to do next. It’ll be fun not having any set plans and beginning the second phase of my life, which is pursuing what I want to do. It may result in a trip, opening a business, or moving to a tax-free state…who the heck knows! But I’m sure there will be a lot of coffee in that brainstorming session.
If you could go back in time, what investment advice would you give to your past self?
Lanny and Bert: Start investing as soon as possible in dividend stocks. Get that dividend snowball rolling as fast as possible. The power of compounding is the 8th wonder of the world after all!
Why should people read your blog?
Lanny: Because we are the gosh-damn Dividend Diplomats!! What better does it get than a Catholic Italian and my long-lost Jewish Brother tearing into stocks, making purchases and sharing our journey and making fun of each other along the way.
Bert: What Lanny said plus the fact that we lay it all out there for our readers. We disclose every move we make, every way we try to save money, and every side hustle we succeed or fail in. The fun part is sharing your journey and seeing if we can all learn from each other.
Why do you blog?
Lanny and Bert: To share the journey, keep each other motivated and to share any knowledge that we may have, that others may not have. We love this community, wholeheartedly.
I told you, the Dividend Diplomats are interesting guys. Aside from their choice of sports teams, they pretty cool ;-). I don’t know about a Cavs repeat, my team went out and got Durant to ensure a repeat doesn’t happen.
They both have fantastic portfolios. I’m jealous because they’re much younger than me and they’ve already figured out a path to early retirement. The Dividend Diplomats created a dividend stock screener to evaluate stocks prior to buying them. It’s an easy system, that works well for them. They also keep a Top 5 List that is an easy place to find their most popular posts.
Bert and Lanny are socially active. Here are links to their social pages: