Want to Be “Rich”? Here’s How to Make Your Goals a Reality

Marc Lichtenfeld
by Marc Lichtenfeld, Chief Income Strategist, The Oxford Club

My colleague Rachel Gearhart wrote a column over the weekend describing what Americans think it takes to be rich.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with striving to be rich. Money can equal freedom. Freedom from a job that you don’t like... freedom to choose your quality of healthcare... freedom from certain stresses.

When you don’t have money, getting some is usually a top priority.

But what does it mean to be rich?

I’ve never had the nicest car on the block, the biggest house or the fanciest wardrobe. Sure, those things are nice and there’s nothing wrong if that’s what makes you happy. But to me, being rich means having memorable experiences.

And by that definition, I consider myself a one-percenter.

I’ve lived my childhood dream of being in the center of the ring for big championship boxing matches. (I moonlight as a ring announcer on HBO, Showtime and ESPN.) I’ve met and talked with Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns and others whose posters I had on my wall as a kid.

I’ve taken amazing trips: backpacking through Fiji on my honeymoon... visiting Poland with my father-in-law who was returning for the first time since fleeing the Nazis 60 years earlier... seeing my Florida-raised children’s faces when they had their first snowball fight in Lake Tahoe...

I’ve also been fortunate to travel to some incredible places with some truly inspiring Oxford Club Members. A favorite memory? Sipping warm glühwein in the frigid yet beautiful Christmas markets in Salzburg, Austria, while an octogenarian Colombian-born Member told us how she found herself divorced, middle-aged and penniless in the United States... then went on to start, run and eventually sell a successful greeting card company.

Or listening to the harrowing story of a pilot who got shot down over Cambodia during the Vietnam War as we dined at the historic Jerusalem home of a former drug company CEO (who is now the chairman of one of the biotech companies I follow).

I’d like to think that when I’m near my final moments, those are the things I’ll reflect on and smile. Not how much money is in my bank account or what brand names I’ve been able to afford.

Of course, you need money for many of those things. But isn’t that why we all work(ed) so hard? Once we’ve put food on the table, a roof over our heads, braces on the kids’ teeth, etc., we want to live life. Not just be able to afford to live.

The Oxford Club and Investment U have all kinds of investment ideas to help you achieve your financial goals. My long-term money is in both the Gone Fishin’ Portfolio and in Perpetual Dividend Raisers.

Just this past weekend, my 13-year-old son and I reviewed his account, which is invested in Perpetual Dividend Raisers. Most of them paid a solid dividend and had a history of annual dividend raises. All of the stocks were beaten up at the time we bought them.

He was astonished at how well they’ve done while turning around. After reinvesting the dividends for several years, he’s now earning a yield about 50% higher than he could get in the market today.

I hope someday he uses that money for his own meaningful experiences. A summer in Europe, living expenses while doing volunteer work, etc.

Much of the money I’ve put away for retirement is invested in stocks that raise their dividend every year. That way, when I retire, I can live off the income those assets produce and hopefully not have to tap into the principal - although investors are required to use a percentage of their 401(k) and IRA funds starting at age 70½.

More importantly, since the dividends are constantly being raised, those investments will generate more income every year. That will enable me to visit my kids and grandkids whenever I like, go on cruises, travel abroad, etc.

Having clear goals for what I want to do in retirement has helped me save and stay disciplined in the way I invest. Whether it’s through conservative strategies like The Gone Fishin’ Portfolio or Perpetual Dividend Raisers or more aggressive methods like active trading, knowing what you want and how to pay for it will help you make those goals a reality.

Good investing,


Have thoughts on this article? Leave a comment below.

P.S. This November, I will embark on another adventure I expect to remember for the rest of my life. I’ll be leading 24 Members on the Oxford Club’s Cultural Expedition to Cuba. Our tour guide, Adam Vaught, has just been named the Top Travel Specialist for Cuba by Conde Nast Traveler.

If you’ve never traveled with the Oxford Club before, you need to understand: you won’t just be seeing the sights and snapping pictures. You’ll experience Cuba. By meeting with local professors and entrepreneurs, and visiting musicians and artists in their homes.

It’s going to be incredible and there aren’t many spots left. For more information click here or contact Adam Vaught directly at 212-627-1950 or avaught@absolutetravel.com. He’ll be able to answer all of your questions.

Hope to see you in Havana.


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A Frequent Dividend-Raiser That Doubles as a Growth Stock

If you’re like Marc, you love companies that frequently raise their dividends. Looking for explosive growth as well? We’ve got you covered there, too. Just check out W.P. Carey (NYSE: WPC), a New York-based real estate investment trust.

Marc recommended the stock to his Oxford Income Letter subscribers back in May of 2014. Here’s what he had to say at the time:

“If you’re at all familiar with my work, you know that I believe Perpetual Dividend Raisers are one of the best ways to accumulate wealth. A Perpetual Dividend Raiser is a company that raises its dividend every year. So, what should we call a company that raises its dividend every quarter? How about W.P. Carey...

“W.P. Carey has raised its dividend for 54 consecutive quarters - over 13 years. And it’s still boosting the dividend by a meaningful amount.”

And in the year or so since Marc added W.P. Carey to the Oxford Income Letter portfolio, it’s returned 44% (including dividends). Not bad for a conservative income play. With strong cash flow and continued dividend growth, this play should continue to provide meaningful gains for the foreseeable future.

- Alexander Moschina with Marc Lichtenfeld

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