Dominik Wenzelburger runs the financial blog depotstudent.de.
Dominik Wenzelburger quit his job as an engineer to become a self-employed financial blogger.
Wenzelburger uses his blog to evaluate financial products. He earns around $70,900 per year.
He started his blog after his bank asked to talk to him about investing and he chose to go it alone.
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Dominik Wenzelburger is still grateful to his savings bank today but not for the reason you might expect.
During his studies and work placement in industrial engineering, Wenzelburger earned around $1,500 gross per month. He was still living at home at the time and was able to save a few thousand euros.
He had nothing to do with shares and the stock market at that stage, his savings bank called him and invited him in for a chat to introduce their products.
„Typical savings bank funds with high running costs,” Wenzelburger told Insider. „I then decided to do a deep dive into the topic to see whether it would work for me.”
His decision was sobering for the savings bank – he didn’t like their products and decided to invest on his own. In May 2017, he invested a few thousand euros in the well-known ETF MSCI World for the first time. This is how his passion for finance began.
Since then, he has become more and more involved with shares, the stock market, and saving and came up with the idea of starting a blog in February 2018.
Initially, his parents weren’t keen
He had always wanted to develop something of his own alongside his studies and, since he’d been dealing with finances at the time, he found it exciting to write about it.
Wenzelburger now tests and evaluates financial products on his blog, depotstudent.de. He explained that the main business model he’s focused on is getting paid for opening a portfolio.
„People come to my site, see how I invest my money, which financial products I recommend, and then open a portfolio.”
He then gets around $60 from the brokers for opening a securities account – a decent source of extra income. After completing his studies, Wenzelburger started working at the automotive supplier Elring Klinger near Stuttgart in October 2018.
He worked there during his time at university, in the battery storage division in requirements management. When a customer wanted to buy a battery storage system, Wenzelburger explained the requirements, such as how the product should look and be installed.
Wenzelburger was the middleman between the customer and the development department.
„A common job for industrial engineers,” he said. What he liked about the job was that he had a lot of freedom. „We didn’t have rigid hierarchies. It was fun to work on several large projects.”
What he didn’t enjoy so much, however, was the feeling that he wasn’t always directly rewarded for his own performance.
„If I work a lot as a self-employed person and my business model works, I get something directly from my success,” he said. He explained that he feels much more motivated when he works for himself.
And so, after two and a half years as an employee, he decided to quit his job and run the blog full-time. In the beginning, his family „couldn’t believe it.”
„My parents weren’t keen on the idea at first,” Wenzelburger explained. „I also don’t know what I would have said if my son had given up a secure job in engineering to become a financial blogger.” His parents didn’t quite understand that there was a business model behind it.
„My mother said if I enjoy it and if I can earn enough money with it, I should do it. But now my father also thinks it’s cool,” Wenzelburger said.
His job offers him good pay and more freedom
Wenzelburger has been self-employed with his blog for half a year now and makes a decent living from it. He earns $6,000 (€5000) gross per month, exactly the same salary he earned as an industrial engineer.
„But the trend is currently on an upswing,” he warned. On average, around 100,000 users per month land on his blog.
The business is running so successfully that Wenzelburger no longer has to write everything himself, but pays other financial experts to produce articles for his blog. He works around 45 hours a week.
He also can’t just go on vacation though. „I don’t go on holiday without my laptop,” Wenzelburger says. „When I’m on vacation, I check in once a day to see if I have received any important emails or if anything was wrong with the blog.”
But he thinks that looking at everything for 20 minutes every day is a „relatively small price to pay.”
„I am free and work very flexibly,” he said.
Wenzelburger never studied finance or worked in a bank
Wenzelburger has neither studied finance nor worked in a bank or investment company, so it’s puzzling that he has considerable expertise in evaluating and analyzing products. An essential step was testing the financial advice in banks and with marketing structures.
„That’s how a whole lot of information from different sources comes together, which educates you further,” he said. In addition, he compares the advisory interviews with figures from the specialist literature and discloses the analyses and comparisons on the blog.
„My approach is, if you have a lot of different sources of information and include them all, you get as close to the truth as possible.” He invests $1,770 in shares every month.
„I always have to be open and see if there are any better opportunities that would be more suitable in this situation,” he said. „I think that’s another advantage to being a blogger since I also represent myself.”
He sees no conflict of interest for himself because he also puts into practice what he recommends to readers. „There are many financial products where the commission would be higher, but I don’t promote those in the same way I do with ETF products, for example. That’s why I write about them a lot.”
Wenzelburger’s own portfolio is structured classically: 67% of his invested money is in the MSCI World, 20% in the MSCI Emerging Markets, and 13% in a dividend ETF.
Wenzelburger’s portfolio is worth around $170,000
His entire portfolio is currently worth around $169,000 (€143,000). He invests $1,770 (€1,500) a month. Currently, the blogger invests the entire savings amount in his dividend ETF, the Vanguard High Dividend ETF. This ETF invests specifically in large and medium-sized companies worldwide that have an above-average dividend yield.
„I enjoy receiving regular dividend payments on a day-to-day basis,” he said. „It motivates me to keep at it and it’s fun to see when I get 100 or more euros every month.”
Wenzelburger wants to continue building up this position while leaving his shares in the other two ETFs to grow with the annual return. Of his total trading account, around $113,000 (€96,000) are in the MSCI World and $33,800 (€28,600) in the MSCI Emerging Markets.
„The enormous sum in the trading account sometimes amazes me,” Wenzelburger said. „But you have to keep in mind: With a savings rate of $1,770 (€1,500) per month over four years, that’s $85,000 (€72,000) at the end. If the stock market plays along during this period, the portfolio can quickly approach six figures.”
In addition, the entrepreneur was able to invest a „really big amount” – almost 40,000 – as a one-off in 2020, as he had double earnings that year, with his blog and his job at the car company.
„That gave the account another boost,” he said.
There are three keys to building a portfolio
In addition, he didn’t have to move for his studies and didn’t have to pay rent, so he had such a large amount to transfer because of his savings and regular salary.
According to Wenzelburger, three things are crucial when building up a portfolio: earning money, savings rates, and continuity.
„I have always earned money somehow – whether as a holiday worker, as a working student, as an employee or as a blogger – and sometimes had several sources of income at the same time,” he explains. In addition, low living costs make it „extremely easy” to build up a portfolio.
He lives with his girlfriend in an 80-square-meter flat near Stuttgart, his share of the rent is $590 (€500).
He estimates his total monthly expenses, including rent, at around $1,770 (€1500), which is what’s remaining after he’s put the rest into his portfolio. This includes all costs, from food to holidays.
He already knows what he wants to achieve: „I just want to make a cool blog and earn at least $118,000 (€100,000) a year with it in the next few years.”
He can’t imagine returning to full-time employment for the time being – with such a buffer, he probably doesn’t need to either.