Wednesday, September 29, 2010


It's been kind of a slow week for me investment wise.  End of the month I guess.  Anyway, collected a nice dividend from New Zealand Telecom (NZT).  The stock itself didn't hold up well in the downturn, but I believe in the company and they carry a dividend of 11.31% on their recent price of $7.70.  So I'm keeping the stock for the yield and looking for some recovery.  I'm thinking it will happen, just may take some time.

Put in an order with my IRA account to purchase more shares of S&P 500 Index SPDR (SPY).  While the dividend is not so impressive (2.10%), I'm expecting to collect some decent capital gains with this fund.  SPY is definitely one of my long term holdings for my retirement account.  I also like the fact that SPY invests in some sectors currently not represented in my overall investment portfolio. 

On a personal note, looking forward to the latest round of "Dancing With the Stars" and the new season of "Glee" on television!  Also looking forward to the November elections, it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


In a move to boost monthly dividends, I've decided to increase my stake in iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index Fund (PFF:NYSE).  They have a current yield of 9.23% on a recent share price of $39.85.  Exchange traded funds that focus on dividend paying stocks trailed the market by a wide margin in 2009, but may attract yield starved bond investors who are also worried about the prospect of rising interest rates.  Several factors are causing some fixed income investors to take a second look at stocks to generate income.  Yields on CDs, money markets and high quality bond funds are at paltry levels thanks to the Federal Reserve's commitment to keep rates low to fight recession.  There's also the fear among bond fund investors of the potential losses from rising interest rates.

After taking all this into consideration, I decided it would be a good place to put available funds to work.  Where else can you get a reasonably safe 9.23% yield?  As with all stock investments there are risks, so if you're thinking about investing in PFF, do your homework people.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


While doing some research to boost my monthly cash flow from dividends, I discovered something truly amazing.  I'm ashamed to admit that I never considered it before, since I have been investing for many years now.  However, here it is.  I found out that I can replace the money I earn in a years time at my current job for a total investment of just under $140,000.  To do this I would only need purchase 2,000 shares each of 3 dividend stocks that pay in different quarters.  The average dividend income per month would be roughly equal to what I currently earn at work.  

Why is this so exciting to me?  Because even though I'm working for a lot less than I'm used to making in this down economy, I've been managing quite well.  Not only am I paying all my bills ahead of time, I add to my investment portfolio every month as well.  On top of that, I've always estimated that I would need anywhere from a quarter to half a million dollars to retire comfortably.  Now I've come to the realization that I can retire on a whole lot less than I thought and possibly years earlier than I expected.  

I've revised my automatic investment plan to include my new discovery.  The greatest thing of all is that I already own shares in all three companies, so I need only increase my stake to 1,000 shares each.  While I don't have enough cash to buy the entire 6,000 shares, I'll be diverting dividends and capital gains from my other holdings to speed up the process until I reach my goal.  In the mean time, I should benefit from ever increasing monthly dividend income as my stake in the 3 companies rise.   

Monday, September 13, 2010


Added shares of telecom Windstream Corporation (WIN:NASDAQ) to my taxable stock account.  It's been a great performer for my portfolio and I like the dividend (currently 8.06% on their recent share price of $12.39).  Windstream is one of my long term holdings. 

For my IRA account I purchased shares of Credit Suisse Group (CS:NYSE).  They currently pay a dividend of $1.78 which represents a yield of 3.84% on their recent share price of $46.66.  While it's not the highest yield, I think they have good prospects for increasing dividends in years to come.  CS is one of my long term holdings for my IRA account. 

I'm happy with the way the markets have been moving of late, although I'm not too optimistic that the upward trend will continue.  I'm thinking a lot hinges on the direction of the November elections.  Should the Democrats retain control of both houses, which seems unlikely, I'd expect a prolonged drop in equities.  If the GOP manages to rest control of both the House and the Senate, I expect the stock market to react quite favorably, at least through the first part of 2011.  Aside from the above scenarios, the only real market mover that I foresee would be a dramatic increase in new jobs, which I believe is highly unlikely.  Should the jobs situation get worse, it would present another tremendous buying opportunity when equities bottom out.  At least for those who still have money and the courage to invest in stocks.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I've said it before and I'll say it again, there will be no meaningful recovery of the economy without new jobs.  But I wouldn't count on Obama's plan to create new jobs by spending 50 billion dollars on infrastructure.   Creating infrastructure jobs will not directly impact the areas of unemployment among the poorly skilled workers,  those hardest hit by high unemployment.  When current and newly employed skilled workers spend their earnings there may be some residual job creation, but in my opinion it's highly unlikely to have any significant impact on unemployment overall. 

When the State of Missouri received federal funding for road improvements in the last round of stimulus spending, the only thing I saw locally was some street resurfacing and a lot of new roundabouts that were not really needed.  Did it create more jobs locally?  Not that I'm aware of.  It appears that all the work was done by persons already employed by city street and state highway departments.  So I guess it did keep those people working and good for them.  But there was no significant increase in employment and I'm sure it will play out much the same on the national level.

So how will this affect the stock market?  We might see some temporary gains because of additional funds being pumped in to the economy, but it's unlikely to last.  Big infrastructure firms and their shareholders are likely to benefit most of all.  We're also likely to see a severe market correction, as taxpayers who are spooked by runaway government spending and the ever increasing threat of massive new tax increases, tighten down even more on discretionary spending. 

If they want to create jobs, why not invest the 50 billion in partnerships with business owners who have proven track records of starting and building businesses and creating new jobs?  It shouldn't be that difficult to identify 50,000 U.S. businessmen with successful track records, loan each of them $1,000,000 to start new businesses on the condition that they hire at least 20 employees.  This would instantly create a million new jobs.  The business man would benefit as the owner of a new business, the government would benefit by having a chance to reclaim the money loaned out from successful business ventures.  While they may lose some from businesses that fail, it's better than infrastructure spending where there is no repayment at all.  Taxpayers would benefit by having jobs and residual jobs created by increased spending from a million newly employed.  Oh and don't forget, the 50 billion dollar spending package on infrastructure was just the amount proposed to get the program started,  so even more taxpayer dollars would be spent on future projects. 

However, with the type of government and business partnerships I'm proposing, if the first 50 billion in partnerships was successful, then the loan repayments could go toward creating new partnerships between government and business leaders, whereby even more jobs could be created, without additional costs to taxpayers.  Of course it will probably never happen, but wouldn't it make more sense?  As for those who would argue the dire need for infrastructure spending, I couldn't agree with you more.  We definitely need infrastructure spending, but the money for infrastructure could and should come from increased tax revenues due to job creation, not the other way around. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I recently paid a visit to my local Big Lots Store.  Got a great deal on a wireless keyboard and mouse combo for my desktop computer.  They had the least expensive prices I'd seen anywhere for the set.  They also had great deals on some nice laptop cases and even though I don't really need one right now, it's nice to know for future reference.

Another thing I love about their store is the primo line of furniture they carry.  While it's not like visiting your local furniture store, they do have quite a selection and the prices were unbelievable for the quality of merchandise.  When I'm in the market for new furniture, this will be the first place I visit.  I could have easily refurnished my 2 bedroom apartment with fantastic furniture for less than $3,000.  Which is most likely what I'll do as soon as I finish paying off my credit cards. 

I would consider investing in their stock (Ticker Symbol--BIG:NYSE) but I limit my investments to mostly dividend stocks and don't currently pay dividends.  Although, in their defense as an investment the companies stock price is up 33.94% for the past year.  Pretty impressive.


"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."-- Bill Cosby

Thursday, September 2, 2010


The markets rally over the past few days serves as a reminder of why we invest in stocks.  It is extremely gratifying to see the rapid increases in wealth that even a small rally in the market can bring.  While I doubt anyone, including myself, has gained enough over the past few days to quit their day jobs, it's still good to see some gains.  While I suspect that a true recovery of the economy and the stock market will only come with recovery  in the job market, small rallies along the way remind us of better days to come.

On Wednesday of last week, I wrote about getting another check from  Today I discovered that I have started earning money from referrals.  So far I only have 2 referrals, so the amount is quite small, but I'm excited none the less because I see the potential for greater earnings in the future.  I'm still planning on investing my checks in dividend stock so I can keep the money growing.  This reminds me of what Robert Kyosaki talked about in one of his "Rich Dad" series of books about creating wealth building assets with no money.  He basically said if you want to be rich, you need to learn to create income producing assets from nothing.  With SendEarnings you invest no money, it's totally free to sign up.  You don't have to buy anything, you can earn money from reading paid emails, doing surveys and so on.  I started earning money faster when I decided to do a portion of my regular shopping through their associated retailers.  I only purchase items that I would normally buy anyway, but with SendEarnings I get some of my money back with every purchase.  What could be better?  The money I save and the money I earn all goes in to my investment portfolio.  So basically it's like creating wealth without investing any of my own money.  My idea right now is to invest in a couple of stocks with my earnings and see how much I can make it grow.