Monday, February 28, 2011


I recently purchased a stake in Intel (INTC) as a core holding in my taxable portfolio.  Aside from their great fundamentals and their 3.38% dividend payout, I'm glad to see them leading the way towards creating jobs here in the United States.  Intel recently announced they are spending billions to build new factories in the U.S..  If more U.S. based corporations would follow suit, we wouldn't have to worry about jobs creation.  New factories here not only create factory jobs but boost consumer spending, leading to creation of residual jobs.  Intel's U.S. factories build products for the world market, so they also help the trade imbalance by boosting exports.

Maybe it would make more sense to locate factories outside the U.S. in the short term, but I think if U.S. corporations continue to follow this path, they will eventually destroy one of their most profitable markets.  Forward looking companies, ones who think long term, would realize the value of creating high paying jobs here.  If we continue to lose jobs, who will buy their products in the future?  That's the question CEO's and investors should be asking themselves.  It's not always a good thing to outsource production, if it results in the destruction of one of your best markets. 

Monday, February 21, 2011


Just got back from a relaxing week at Port Elsewhere at the Lake of the Ozarks.  I usually go down each February and meet up with friends for a weeks stay at the lake.  This time of year it's pretty deserted, so we have the condos mostly to ourselves.  The indoor pool, sauna and hot tub are great, but I think I like the peace and quiet most of all.  We usually hit the Outlet Mall, but sadly it's suffered the loss of several great stores and is no longer the best shopping experience.  Didn't buy anything this trip.

While it may seem like an extravagance to be staying at a condo at the lake when I'm trying to rebuild my stock portfolio after recent medical expenses, it really wasn't.  Some friends of mine have a time share there and I stayed with them, so my only real cost was gas money for the trip and food during my stay.  All of which came in at a little under $100.  So for a 5 day vacation, I think it was a real bargain and am glad I took advantage of it since it's not likely I'll be able to take another vacation this year.   

We had a great time catching up, playing cards and Monopoly.  Watched some great movies, had some good meals together and enjoyed our break from the everyday grind.  Enjoyed my vacation, but was glad to get home and back to work.

Finished my Federal and State tax returns the day after I got home.  I actually get small refunds this year, so I'm pretty happy about that.  Already have plans to invest the money in a good dividend stock, keep the money moving and making more.  No major moves planned for my investment accounts in the near future.  Am looking for a pullback in the market this summer and will be building my cash position to pick up some bargains when and if this occurs.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Credit Suisse Group (CS:NYSE) announced plans this week to gradually increase their dividend along with their cash reserves.  They are building cash reserves to meet the stricter standards in the banking industry.  Shareholders recently sent the stock price plummeting when the company cut dividends to build cash.  Since CS is one of my core holdings in my taxable portfolio, I'm thinking now might be a good time to increase my holdings in this stock.  Buy while it while it's on sale. 

Friday, February 11, 2011


"Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right'.  Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along."--Napoleon Hill


My stake in Clorox (CLX:NYSE) jumped a little over $5 per share Friday!  I suspect it has more than a little to do with Carl Icahn's announcement that his investment funds own 12.5 million shares of the companys' outstanding stock.  (About 9.1% of the company.)  Icahn says he bought the shares because he thinks they're undervalued and he supports Clorox's plan to buy back 10 to 11 million shares by the end of their fiscal year. 

I'm very supportive of the stock buy back as well and I'm glad to see Icahn is interested in the stock.  Including today's big jump, my stake in Clorox is up a little over 18%.  Not the biggest gain I've seen of late, but still, not to shabby.  At an 18% return you can double your money every 4 years.  Clorox is one of my core holdings in my taxable investment account.  I expect them to be around for years to come and look forward to collecting a steady stream of dividend income.  Nice to see some price appreciation though.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Finally I've heard President Obama say something about health care that I can agree with wholeheartedly.  In a recent news interview talking about health care reform, he said he didn't think a person should "have to go bankrupt to pay for health care" in this country.  I definitely agree with him there.  We do live in the richest nation in the world and there is no good reason why anyone in this country should have to be destroyed financially because they get sick.

However, what the President and Judge Vinson (Florida judge who declared it unconstitutional for the federal government to require individuals to purchase insurance coverage) may or may not be missing here is, individuals who would be required to purchase health insurance under the health care reform bill are not necessarily people who stubbornly refuse to buy coverage, but most likely are ones who simply can't afford to do so.  I certainly would love to have insurance coverage again, especially after having a couple of heart attacks and heart surgery, but there is simply no way possible for me to stretch my income to pay for it.  As it turned out, I was able to negotiate with health care providers and settle my debts for much less than originally billed.  So in my case it all worked out and I avoided going broke. 

Perhaps what we really need is to make sure people are aware of programs already in place to help those who cannot afford health insurance coverage. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


My recent brush with mortality has me thinking about my investment goals beyond retirement.  We hear so much about creating a comfortable retirement and having enough money to last until we die, but I've been thinking more about creating an investment portfolio that lasts beyond my demise.  I'm talking about generational wealth.  While I have no children of my own, I come from an extended family, so I've been thinking more along the lines of what I will leave to family members after I'm gone.  Even more so after my recent heart attack.

While some of my family members have enjoyed a certain measure of success money wise, for the most part I come from a very poor family.  Most of my immediate family would now be considered lower middle class, but that certainly has not always been the case.  I grew up in a very impoverished household during the 1960's and 70's and my siblings and I have all faced a great deal of financial struggles during our adult lives.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for where we are now and for any future successes we may have.  However, it has all come from a lot of years of hard work and struggle and we've all paid the price both physically and mentally along the way.  That being said, I don't waste a lot of time feeling sorry for myself, I simply accept what life has given me and look for ways to make things better.

I've come to the conclusion that my retirement may not be as golden as I'd like it to be, but most likely I'll be in a lot better shape than most, so I'm content with that.  What I'm really more concerned about is providing a legacy for my family after I'm gone.  When I retire, my plan is not to draw from my investments until they're depleted, but to draw income from dividends to supplement my retirement income, while continuing to build my investment portfolio.  Ultimately the goal is to set up a family trust to provide for family members for generations to come.  I want their lives to be better, less stressful, than the life I've had.  So that is my ultimate goal as an investor, building generational wealth that keeps growing and providing income for my family long after I'm gone. 


Just finished digging a path from my garage to the street, which was no small task given the blizzard we experienced over the past two days.  Didn't want to miss another day of work, so I took it on myself to dig out the garage entrance and a path to the street.  Probably a good 25 or 30 feet, so I guess the workouts are doing me some good after my heart attack.  I'm a little tired and have some body aches, but otherwise feel pretty good.

Tuesday's rally in the stock market was good to see, but I'll be looking to pick up shares during dips in the market.  While I'm in the rebuilding stage of my portfolio, I'll be concentrating on increasing stakes in quality stocks and avoid more speculative issues.  Will most likely add more to AT&T, Philip Morris and my drug stocks like Bristol Myers and Merck. 

For February I'll be concentrating on my tax returns for 2010.  I should get a small refund, which I plan on putting to work in a good dividend paying stock.  Want to build cash flow as rapidly as possible to help cover any future medical costs related to follow visits with my cardiologist. 

My new computer equipment is great!!!  Glad I went with used equipment.  It's super fast and I got a great deal buying off of Ebay.  My computer and monitor cost a grand total of $208, much less expensive than new and it's way more than adequate for my current needs.  I'm sure I'll more than get my moneys worth by the time I need to upgrade again.

Still loving the ipod touch!  Now I understand why Apple has done so well, although I'll probably never own shares directly.  They have some great products and the quality can't be beat.  I'll definitely consider purchasing an ipad when my laptop finally craps out.