Monday, December 30, 2013


I had expected to collect a nice chunk of cash from dividends in December, but it turns out it beat my expectations!  Dividend income for the month was double the highest month of 2013!  What's even more exciting, in 2014 I'll have two big dividend months.  The months of July and December 2014 will have dividend payments of 15 and 16 dividends.  There are also 2 months when I'll receive 13 dividend payments.  So 2014 is already looking like a good year for boosting monthly cash flow.  The greatest thing is, with re-invested dividends, the monthly cash flow increases every single month.  It's like getting a pay raise only you don't have to do anything special to earn it.  This is exactly why I love dividend investing!

With December coming to a close, I've been gearing up for tax time.  Since I had no stock sales or special situation stocks in 2013, this will be my easiest tax season in quite a few years.  It should be quick and simple to fill out my tax return this year and I'm expecting a little cash back which I plan to use for paying some bills and adding to my investments.  

March will be the beginning of the outdoor flea market season and I'm planning on setting up a booth a couple of Saturdays per month.  May go every Saturday if I can find good resale merchandise.  I plan to use that cash for eliminating what little debt I have left.  The light is at the end of the tunnel, just have to hang on a little longer.  Once all my debt is history, I'll be diverting all the cash I've been using to pay down debt toward building my investments.  So I'm excited about reducing debt as rapidly as possible.  I'll be looking for a part time job after the first of the year to work help reach that goal.

Here is wishing everyone a very happy, safe and prosperous New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Along with the best month of dividend income for 2013, I enjoyed about a 5% jump in the value of my investments this past week.  Whether this qualifies as a "Santa Rally" or not, it sure rallied my spirits to think I'll be starting 2014 much better off investment wise than in January of 2013.

This will be the first year I've been off New Year's Eve and New Year's Day for several years, so I intend to celebrate the occasion.  Don't intend to get too wild, just a nice mixed drink or two when the ball drops at midnight and a traditional New Year's Day dinner.  Not really sure if the cornbread, cabbage, black eyed peas and ham will bring me luck in the new year, but since they're all foods I like, I figure it couldn't hurt.

There's a line in the book "The Richest Man in Babylon" which says, "The goddess of good luck favors the man of action."  With that in mind, I'll be working my investment plan and actively searching for extra work to boost my income and investments for the year ahead.  Instead of waiting for good luck to befall me, I intend to create my own luck.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I have to admit I've been kind of down in the dumps for the past few months.  It seems as though I've just had a run of bad luck in 2013.  To get over all the negativity, I decided I should concentrate on reasons I have to be thankful for 2013.

Here are some of the things I've come up with.  My investment portfolio has more than quadrupled since the beginning of the year and I've rebuilt my dividend stock mix.  Met or exceeded all of my investment goals for the year.  My health has improved dramatically.  My cholesterol levels are way down and I've lost over 60 lbs., not to mention I've stuck with my exercise and diet regimen and actually have learned to enjoy it.  Stress levels at work are down and I've been picking up more hours.  I've been able to almost pay off the last two medical bills from my last hospitalization.  Was able to find a decent and affordable apartment in an acceptable neighborhood.  So overall, things are not going so bad.  

Still looking forward to good things in 2014, but I've now realized that we all have good things to be thankful for each and every year.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I decided to invest my cash for December in additional shares of Corning Glass (GLW), since it has been such a great performer from my initial purchase.  I realize that this may not boost dividend income as rapidly as I'd like, but I'm also shooting for some growth and I think GLW has room to increase in value as well as potential dividend increases.  We'll have to see how that pans out.

I've been really busy moving for the first part of December, which doesn't leave me much room for participating in the holiday season.  As it always is with moving, money is tight this month and if past experience is any indicator, it's likely to remain so for about the next 3 or 4 months.  The cold weather hasn't helped.  My utility bills are so high I'm thinking Ameren can afford to build another nuclear plant from the money I've been paying them lately.

On a brighter note, I've already received 9 dividend payments for the month of December which I continue to reinvest.  I do have some reservations about reinvesting dividends while the market is at such lofty highs, but I'm sticking to the plan for now.  There's always the possibility that I may decide to take the cash, should the market reach what I consider unsustainable highs.  In that case I'd switch to cash payments and concentrate on building a cash reserve to take advantage of any fallback in the stock market.  

Hope everyone is having a safe and enjoyable holiday season so far!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Here's wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday!

Monday, November 25, 2013


I know I said I wasn't buying any new stocks in the near future, but I came across one I couldn't resist.  I put in an order to purchase MFC for my IRA account.  While their price to book is a little higher than I like (15.4x) they have a dividend yield of 2.58% and earnings per share of $1.26.  Earnings per share leave plenty of room for growth or raising dividends, so I think this will be a good addition to my retirement account.

I came across MFC after reviewing a post I wrote in 2007 about another insurance company.  That company (AEL) went from $8.70 per share at the time of my post to a current price of $23.80.  As I recall, I traded in and out of the stock in less than one year for a nice capital gain.  Had I had the foresight to hold on to the stock, not only would I have collected 6 years worth of dividends but I would have more than doubled my investment during the same 6 years due to price appreciation.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013


While I'm always pleased to see the balance in my investment accounts increase for any reason, I have to question whether the recent record setting stock market increases can continue.  It's entirely possible I suppose, but from past experience I'd say it's highly unlikely.  

As I've said before, my goal is to increase dividend income every month, so ups and downs in the stock market are not my main focus.  I wrote in a previous post that now might be a good time to build a cash position, which would make it much easier to go bargain hunting if or when the market turns in a downward direction.  For now I plan to continue dollar cost averaging and reinvesting dividends to build my current positions.  I realize this may mean that I'll pay higher prices for stocks I could buy at cheaper prices should the market decline, but my main goal is to increase monthly cash flow through increased dividends.  Should the cost of doing so become too extreme, then I may decide to park cash investments in interest bearing accounts and invest dividends only.  I'm taking a wait and see approach.  I love a bargain, whether it's saving money at the grocery store or finding value in a depreciated stock.  While it's always possible to find undervalued stocks in any market, since I'm not adding any new stocks to my portfolio any time soon, I have to keep an eye on the prices and make sure I'm deploying cash investments where they're most likely to appreciate.

Collected dividends from NYCB and PSEC this past week.  It was great to see increased dividend payments from reinvested dividends.  The magic of compounding is truly amazing to behold.  Can't wait for next month, when I should collect 22 dividend and capital gains payments!  That will be a nice boost to my account for Christmas.

Pickles and I are on the move once again.  The building where we live has sold and we had to find new digs on short notice.  I've located a decent and affordable one bedroom apartment on the fringes of not so nice a neighborhood, but I think we'll be just fine.  Only drawback is no washer/dryer hookups.  Can't have everything.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I've seen a lot of news coverage regarding the disastrous launch of and a lot of talk about Obamacare in general, but I'm thinking they may be asking the wrong questions.

According to, cost estimates for implementing obamacare range anywhere from 1 to 2.6 trillion dollars.  An article on on Sept. 18, 2013 sites a Census Bureau report estimating the number of uninsured Americans at 48 million. (48 Million Uninsured Ahead of Obamacare Changes)  Now if you take the low estimate of 1 trillion dollars to implement the program and you divide it by 48 million uninsured, the government will spend an estimated $20.83 million per person just to launch the program!  Wouldn't it have been simpler and much less expensive to set up a health care trust to cover these individuals.  I'm thinking if you allowed a million dollars for each person for a total of 48 million, the government could have paid insurance coverage for all these people and saved $952 million dollars.  

To help keep the trust funded, they could have charged a token amount of $25 per individual per month and added an additional $10 million per year for the next 95 years, before they'd have reached the low estimate for launching the program.  This cost would have paid for insurance for all the uninsured while the estimated costs for Obamacare are mostly technical and administrative.  Why spend so much money and get so little in return?  

Why isn't anyone in the news media asking these kind of questions?  

Saturday, November 9, 2013


A recent article in the Wall Street Journal made some good arguments for building up cash positions due to recent increases and record highs in the stock market.  While I like to stay fully invested, I also realize the wisdom of having cash on hand to take advantage of opportunities when the market inevitably goes the other way.  Not to mention, having cash helps to avoid selling while prices are low, since you have the money to ride out the downturn.  

Before reading the article, I had already begun building up a cash position for emergency purposes.  So it's like they were preaching to the choir here.  I've been through enough high and low markets to know how it all works and was happily in a good position when the market tanked in 2008.  I had plenty of cash on hand then and was able to ride out the downturn without having to sell a single position.  Not only did I not sell, I added as much as I could afford, so when the market started to recover I ended up with way more money than I had before the crash.  Unfortunately I suffered my first heart attack not long after, so I was nearly wiped out by medical bills and had to start over.  

I'm happy to report, things are going well.  My new investment plan is working just as I'd anticipated and everything is in place ahead of schedule.  As I mentioned in my last post, I've been able to add an extra cash investment to my IRA this month and will do the same for my taxable account next month, which will effectively put me a month ahead on my investment schedule.  If I manage to do that a couple of times per year, imagine how much faster my new investment portfolio will grow.  We'll see how it all works out, but I have a good feeling about 2014.

All that being said, it's never a bad time to have cash.  Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough have cash.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Collected my first dividend from PFF, the preferred stock fund.  Was glad to start collecting from them so soon after purchasing my original stake, since I didn't expect a dividend until next month.  Also added an extra cash deposit to my IRA to pick up shares of POT earlier in the month.  While it's still too late to capture the next dividend, it speeds up my investment program by investing ahead of schedule.  Next month I'll do the same with my taxable account which will keep me on schedule, making at least one cash investment per month, alternating between my retirement account and my taxable account.  So effectively I'll jump a month ahead with my investment plan.  Should help boost overall cash flow in 2014.

Still haven't found a second job yet, but have managed to pick up extra hours at the workplace.  Don't know how long that will last, since it's largely due to a lack of help.  As soon as they hire replacements for the people who've quit, I'll most likely be back on my old schedule.  So I'll continue to look for another part time job or a job with full time hours.  I'm sure it will all work out one way or another.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Started off the month of November with 4 great dividend payments from NCV, NCZ, PHK and my first dividend from T!  The purchase of a stake in AT&T has proven to be a good decision, already showing a gain over initial investment and generating a dividend soon after purchase.  I like the idea of timing purchases to capture as many dividends as possible.  Just got to make sure you get in before the x-dividend date.

I've been thinking of buying a Chrome book laptop.  If anyone out there has purchased one and can give me some feedback on how well they're working out, I'd appreciate it.

How would you rate the Chrome book?  

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Income from my dividend portfolio for the first month of the fourth quarter beat out the first month of the previous three quarters of 2013, excluding the special dividend paid by HWBK at the beginning of the third quarter.  October's payout was over 8 times the amount received in January, which is fantastic, but I don't expect those kind of increases to continue.  

The month of November, while easily beating the second months of the first and second quarter, will most likely be just a small increase over the second month of the third quarter.  If my dividend calendar is correct, I only stand to collect 9 dividends for the month of November.  December is another story.  For the final month of 2013, I anticipate collecting 16 dividend payments and 6 capital gains payouts!  While I could estimate the amount fairly accurately, I've decided to let it be a surprise.  With a total estimate of 22 payouts for the month of December, I'm pretty excited about having a payment for nearly every day of the month!

Starting in 2014 the number of dividend payments per month from my portfolio are as follows:

January: 10
February: 10
March: 13
April: 12
May: 10
June: 15
July: 11
August: 10
September: 13
October: 12
November: 10
December: 16 

For a grand total of 142 dividend payments and 6 capital gains payments per year.  Or, as I like to think of it, an extra 148 paydays per year!  It's like having a payday every 2.5 days and every time you get paid your pay increases.  How's that for paying yourself first?   

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Has 2013 not been such a great year for you?  Would you like to be better off by the end of next year.  I've come up with a simple 4 step program to practically guarantee you will end 2014 better off than you were at the end of this year.

Step One:  Pay yourself first.  Everyone has heard of paying yourself first, but very few people do it.  It is the absolute beginning of any wealth building program.  It simply means, when you get paid you pay yourself before you pay any of your bills.  Ten percent of all you earn is a good goal to shoot for, even if you're not able to save that much at first.  Start with as much as you feel comfortable with and build up to the 10%.  I started by saving just $35 per month.  No matter the amount, regular contributions to your savings and investment program will add up much faster than you think. 

Step Two:  Put your money to work.  You can do this in many different ways.  In my case, I invest in dividend paying stocks.  However, you might decide to put your money to work in rental real estate, flipping houses, bank CD's or government bonds.  Whatever investment you decide is right for you, you want to have the money you've paid yourself working for you earning even more money.  

Step Three:  Reinvest your earnings.  Whatever avenue you take to put your money to work, once you've received a payout, reinvest your earnings.  With dividend stocks, reinvesting dividends is simple and commission free, so each month my cash flow grows, whether I make additional cash investments or not.  Reinvested earnings increases the rate of compounding investments, leading to a snow ball effect.  So don't spend your dividends or earnings, reinvest them.

Step Four:  Put your cash windfalls to work building your wealth.  Cash windfalls come in many different forms.  Tax refunds, gifts of cash on birthdays and holidays, lottery or casino winnings, or any other lump sum of cash you receiving on a regular basis.  You may not want to set aside all the money.  I know a lot of people who use their tax refunds to purchase new vehicles or cover other large expenses each year, but you can still pay yourself 10% out of cash windfalls and put that amount to work.  

A persons' wealth does not come from money on hand, it comes from the money you put to work earning you an ever growing stream of income whether you work or not.  It starts out small but will grow ever more rapidly if you stick with the program.  It really is as simple as it sounds and it's really not as hard as you think.  So if you want to be better off by the end of 2014, make a plan of action and start today.  There's no better time than the present.  

Friday, October 25, 2013


The one major investment goal I had for this year that looks like I won't be able to reach is buying a home.  I had hoped to find a fixer upper at a low enough price to have a mortgage payment less than my rent.  I planned to add my own sweat equity to make it into the kind of place where Pickles and I would be comfortable.  

It looks like that's not going to happen this year.  While I managed to find 3 places under $20,000 and one that was move in ready under $30,000, due to my hour cuts at work caused by the implementation of Obamacare, I no longer qualify for a loan.  I have good credit, I just don't make enough money to qualify for a loan.  So I'll either have to find extra work or find a place with owner financing which doesn't look too promising.  There's also the possibility of saving the money.  It would take quite a while and I'll miss out on the benefit of lower housing costs while I continue to pay rent.  Where there's a will, a way can be found and I'm sure I'll find a way to make it happen eventually.

On a brighter note, saw increases in dividends from several of my stocks this month.  It's great to see monthly cash flow going up at ever faster rates.  Perhaps I should concentrate all my efforts on raising cash flow and use the money from my taxable account to purchase a place to live.  It's one avenue to consider.  It would still take quite a bit of time, but it is possible.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013


After reading a great article on Motley Fool website, I decided to make a last minute revision to my portfolio.  Instead of purchasing shares of INTC, which I still believe to be a great long term investment, I'm going to buy shares in Potash (POT:NYSE).  Their current yield of 4.4% is higher than Intel with a lower P/E rate and great prospects for growing their dividend going forward.  Since this is the final stock purchase for my IRA, I want to make it a great long term holding and I think POT fits the bill.

With food demand going up at an ever increasing rate and Potash being positioned to take advantage of fertilizer demand worldwide, I think they're in a wonderful position for continued growth.  Continued growth in revenues along with a company history of returning cash to investors through dividend increases makes this stock a great fit for my retirement account.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


The end of the government shutdown has boosted the stock prices, at least in the short term.  While I'm always happy to see an increase in value of my holdings, I'm wondering if we'll see a replay of the whole mess again in January.  I do agree with what President Obama said in his news conference today about Washington needing to change they way they do business.  Although it's not so much the way they "do business" but the lack of getting any business done.  Perhaps they've learned something from the whole mess.  I certainly hope so.  It's clear no one gained anything from the standoff and in my view, everyone from the President on down lost a lot of respect from world leaders and fellow citizens over the way the whole situation was handled.  My mom would have said, "That's about enough of that."

Read some good things about some of my individual stock holdings.  While I've invested in several mutual funds as part of my program to rebuild my investment portfolio, I still think it's important to have good quality individual stocks to round out a portfolio.  I'm a firm believer in dividend investing, but I think growth is important as well and I firmly believe you have a greater chance of growth with individual stocks than with funds.  So I settled on a mixture of the two and so far my portfolio is performing as well or better than previous investments.   

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Had to get up early to drop Pickles off at the puppy spa.  He's getting the works, trim, nails and bath.  He loves visiting with his doggy friends for the day.  I think it does him a lot of good to socialize with other dogs, keeps him grounded and happy.  

They still haven't reached an agreement in Washington, but I'm forging ahead with my investment plan.  Completed my purchase of PFF yesterday and have scheduled my next purchase for my taxable account in December.  For November, I'll be buying a stake in Intel for my IRA account.  This purchase will complete all new stock positions for both accounts.  I'll be moving on to the second phase of my investment plan by building positions in the 20 stocks I own in the two accounts.  I'm anticipating an ever increasing rate of stock purchases through continued cash investments and reinvested dividends.  Which also means that I should see an ever increasing rate of cash flow from dividend income.  This is the exciting part!  The plan is in place, it's now a matter of watching everything take off.  I'm excited about 2014, just hope the politicians don't mess things up too much.

Got a lead on insurance that may prove helpful.  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is advertising their insurance services on local television channels and they're offering to show how much assistance you may qualify for in paying for insurance.  Since I've had great experiences with them in the past when I was covered by their plan at work, I'm going to see what they can do for me now.  I'd much rather go with people I know for health insurance.  I think the Affordable Care Act has opened the door for a lot of people to get ripped off from fly by night insurers and I want to avoid becoming one of them.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Tuesdays' upcoming purchase of PFF will bring the total of all dividend payments from my investment portfolio to 138 per year, or 11.5 per month.  This works out to 2.65 dividends per week on average.  Not the "dividend a day" that I had been shooting for under my old investment plan, however, I've gotten to this point by investing in only 20 different stocks as compared to the overwhelming number of stocks I was invested in before.  I've managed to simplify things dramatically while maintaining diversification.  It will make following my investments much easier than before, since I have fewer stocks to follow.

For the month of November I'll make the final new stock purchase for my IRA with an investment position in INTC.  I have decided to change my December investment from CLM to CRF.  While both Cornerstone funds have similar investment portfolios, CRF had a total return of 45% for the six months ended June 30, 2013 compared to CLM's total return of 35.51%.  

I'm working out a complete investment schedule for 2014, which I'm easily able to do since I'll be building on positions I already have instead of making new investments.  Don't have a completed schedule yet, but I've decided my first three investments for my taxable account will be PFF in February, CLM in April and CRF in June.  My IRA investments will run in alternate months (January, March, May, etc.) so I'll be making additional cash investments every month.  To capture as much dividend income as possible, I'll be scheduling cash investments according to ex-dividend dates.  I expect to have a full calendar of investments made out by then end of this year.  

With monthly cash flows up by the beginning of 2014, compounding will increase at a dramatic rate.  In addition to monthly cash investments, re-invested dividends will bring my total number of investments per month to 13 plus!  Increased dividend income and re-invested dividends will reduce costs automatically since the percentage of costs to overall investments will drop as income increases.  I'm very excited to see how things work out in the new year!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


The launch of the Federal website for people to sign up for Obamacare has been disastrous, to say the least.  The browser froze on my computer while I was reading an article about the site on CNBC for crying out loud!  Probably not related to the problems on the site itself, just thought it was kind of an amusing coincidence.  At any rate, they've got a lot of problems to work out there.

Both sides in Washington are acting like a bunch of drama queens.  We all know it's just politics and they're going to have to come to some kind of agreement sooner or later, all this carrying on is undignified and unbecoming.  Makes me embarrassed that these are the people who are supposed to be representing us.  Doesn't matter which side you're on.  The Democrats are acting like the playground bully, brow beating the Republicans and the Republicans are acting like the stubborn little kid who knows he should just cut his losses and walk away but is too worried about making himself look more pitiful than he already does.  There's been so much talk in the past few years about bullying in schools, wonder where they learned it from???  Grow up people!

In the mean time, the economy and particularly the stock market, is taking a beating.  While that might be good if you're on the buying side, at least for a while, hopefully it's not going to set off a total train wreck.  Not so sure we're not headed there anyway.  It just seems as though the people in Washington are doing their very best to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy at every turn.

So where do we go from here?  I'm sticking to my plan and moving forward.  Hopefully the people in Washington can get their acts together and move on as well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Nothing is more motivating than seeing your investments grow.  For the first 9 months of the year, I tracked my investment growth in two ways.  First by total dollar amount and second by monthly growth in dividend income.  For the year I've been fortunate to see growth in both areas and it has been quite an inspiration towards continued investing.  It occurred to me that I could easily track growth a third way by creating a spreadsheet to track monthly growth in the total number of stocks I own.  While monthly statements do not show specifics as far as positions in individual stocks, I started the spreadsheet with the month of October and will work from there.  Now I'll be able to get a clearer picture of total investment growth by seeing all increases in positions month to month from cash investments and reinvested dividends.  

While all this may seem like a lot of work, I enjoy doing it and get a lot of positive reinforcement from viewing the results.  It also helps me keep closer track of my investments and should alert me to possible problem areas along the way.  My goal with current investments is to buy and hold for as long as possible, forever would be good.  I want to avoid trading in and out of stocks and funds as much as possible to keep costs low and boost investment returns.  Not to mention, less trading simplifies everything dramatically.  So from the onset, I've tried to make good investments for the long term.  We'll see how it goes from here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The month of October is off to a good start with 7 dividend payments to my portfolio, representing 7 increases of shares in some of my current holdings through reinvested dividends.  With the 4 additional payments I'm expecting later in the month and my cash investment in PFF, I'll be making a total of 12 investments in additional shares.  I'm pretty excited about that.

Of course we have the government shutdown hanging over our heads, which has been a drag on the market.  Perhaps I'll be able to pick up my initial investment in PFF at a lower price per share, which is good, but the dysfunction in Washington could drag on for quite some time, causing poor returns going forward.  

Speaking of the government shutdown, maybe we could avoid such problems in the future if political representatives had their pay based on performance.  When they are not performing, i.e. creating jobs, reducing debt, improving the economy, cutting taxes, then their pay would be reduced to a base salary.  If the government shuts down, like it has now, their pay would stop altogether.  Everyone from the President on down, having anything to do with the shutdown should not get paid until the issues are resolved.  To make it effective, there would be no back pay after the resolution.  They should just lose that money.  I also see no good reason for them to have separate retirement plans.  If they truly believe social security is good enough for everyone else, that is the retirement they should get as well.  

Each side is blaming the other and the disparaging remarks are flying fast and furious, but the truth is they are all to blame.  I don't quite understand why a President who recently showed a willingness to negotiate with Iran, would take the position of "no negotiation" with members of Congress.  No matter what their positions are on the issues, they are obligated in the best interests of the people they represent to remain open to constructive negotiations.  No matter the outcome of the present situation, I believe they are all hurting themselves in the long run by maintaining such obstinacy and arrogance in the face of a difficult situation.  Time to seriously consider replacing the lot and starting over.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Dividend income from my investment portfolio fell short of expectations, due in large part to my mistakenly counting 3 extra dividends for the month which are actually payable in October.  I've since corrected the payout dates, however I only collected 12 dividend payments for the month instead of the original 15 I had expected.  The bright side of all this is, monthly cash flow for the last month of the third quarter still beat out the corresponding months of the first and second quarters.  Not only that, but for the month of October, I'm now set to receive 11 dividend payments instead of the 8 payments I had originally expected.  

December is looking like the best month of the year.  For the month of December I should collect a total of 15 dividend payments and an additional 7 capital gains payouts from the funds I've invested in.  As I've mentioned before, all payouts will be reinvested to generate increased monthly cash flow and reduce investment costs.  Since my biggest goal for 2014 is reducing investment costs, I was pleasantly surprised when it occurred to me that keeping my monthly cash investments the same while monthly dividend re-investments are increasing, will lower investment costs all on its own.  Re-invested dividends are commission free and as dividends increase on a monthly basis, the percentage of commission free investments compared to total dollars invested will reduce investment costs. 

There is a lot of uncertainty in the market due to the showdown in Washington and a possible government shutdown.  There is also the possibility of a correction in the bond market as some are predicting and possibly the overall market.  However, I intend to look at any corrections as buying opportunities and move forward.  I'm really looking forward to 2014. 

Friday, September 27, 2013


Since my basic portfolio will be completed by November of this year, I'll be making my first investment for 2014 in December.  Meaning, instead of purchasing shares in something new, I'll be building my positions in stocks I already own.  

I've decided Cornerstone Strategic Value Fund (CLM:NYSE) will be my first investment for 2014.  After reading their recent semi-annual report, I've decided that their investments are in line with the companies I want to be invested in.  Not to mention they have a 17.01% dividend yield on their recent price of $7.25 per share.  While this is somewhat of a high flier, higher returns equaling higher risk, I'm willing to accept the risk for the possible rewards.  I'd highly advise doing your own research before following suit.  This fund may not be suited to your particle investment objectives.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


If you asked most people what the cost difference would be between buying a $25,000 car and a $15,000 car, most people would answer $10,000.  That answer is only partially correct.  The difference in payments on the two cars would amount to over $200 per month.  If you trade cars every four years, that $200 plus per month adds up to a great deal of money over time.  
Let's say instead of buying the pricier car, you chose the less expensive one instead and invested the difference.  If your investments averaged 8% per year over a 30 year period, you would accumulate over $500,000!  I know several people who purchase vehicles every four years and pay $25,000 or more.  The point is, making a few changes in your spending habits can produce dramatic differences in the amount of wealth you accumulate over time.  

It's not just cars or trucks, you can apply the same principle to all of your spending habits.  I've done this with groceries and saw my weekly spending go to $20 or less per week.  I've been using the money I've saved to rebuild my investment portfolio and reduce debt.  Once the small amount of debt is gone, it will all go toward building my investments.  It's really a matter of deciding what you really want.  Do you want a little more luxury now, or would you like to create an income to afford all the luxury you desire later on?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm faced with some risk from rising interest rates due to investments in bond funds which could suffer from higher interest.  However, I have taken steps to reduce the risk involved in some of my higher yield investments by investing in individual stocks with a history of raising dividends.  While these stocks currently have a lower yield, they are not in much danger of going out of business and should hold up much better than some of the high fliers during any market downturn.   Stocks with a history of raising dividends usually fair much better in market setbacks, since investors tend to hang on to issues when they're expecting an upcoming dividend payment.  

Then too, when investing in stocks with rising dividends, the yield on your original investment can grow quite dramatically.  Say, for example, you paid $10 per share for a stock with a 5% yield.  You would earn 50 cents per share during your first year.  Let's assume that this particular stock has a history of raising its' dividend each year and continues to do so by 10 cents per year for the next 10 years.  At the end of 10 years, you would be earning $1.50 per year in dividends on an original investment of $10 per share, which works out to a whopping 15% yield on your original investment!

So if you have higher yield and higher risk investments in your portfolio, it would be wise to balance out some of the risk by investing in stocks with a history of increasing dividends each year.  That's what I've done with my investments.  While I have some very high yield, higher risk funds, I've balanced that out with investments in lower yield low risk stocks with a history of raising their dividends each year.  While you can't avoid risk with the stock market, you can greatly reduce risk by balancing out your investments.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Although it might seem like a no brainer, the first step toward building wealth is to begin accumulating money for investing.  No matter how great an investment idea you may have, it does you no good unless you actually have starting capital to invest.  So as simple as it may seem, the first step toward building wealth is to dedicate a portion of your income for this very purpose.  

While you may feel that every penny you earn must go toward necessary expenses, often what we consider necessary is more of a want than a need.  In my case, my income dropped dramatically in the past couple of years, so it was imperative to correctly identify wants and needs.  I want high speed internet, but I do not need to pay for it.  Since it is available in my area for free at the local library and several restaurants around town, it is a want and not a need.  Eating out is a want for me.  I do not need to eat out, although I've spent countless thousands of dollars doing so over the past 10 years.  I am an excellent cook and have saved a great deal of money by preparing my own meals at home.  

It's small things like this that will help you save money to start your investment account.  Better to decide on the amount you'd like to start with and then figure out how you're going to save that amount.  It's also best if you "pay yourself first" before you pay anything else.  If you have the idea that you'll try and hold the money back, inevitably something seems to come up that prevents you from doing so.  Taking the money right off the top alleviates this problem.  

So if you're really interested in building wealth for a better life now and in the future, there's no better time than the present to start.  It's always best to start saving and investing when you're young, but no matter what your age or situation, it is sure to be improved if you build a residual income through saving and investing.  

Monday, September 16, 2013


While the majority of my total dollars invested are in stocks, I do have some exposure to the bond market through fund investments.  This being the case, you can understand my concern over the recent media frenzy regarding a supposed looming crash in the bond market.  While this may very well come to fruition, since rising interest rates have an adverse affect on bond investments, I've decided not to panic and take a wait and see approach.  

I'll keep reinvesting dividends in the bond funds I currently hold, however, I'll deploy my cash investments elsewhere.  So in effect I'll be limiting exposure to any bond market crash, should one occur.  A crash in the bond market may very well precipitate a correction in the stock market as well.  In that eventuality, I intend to look at it as a buying opportunity.  With prices down, my investment capital will go much farther.  

It's really a matter of learning to make money no matter where the market is going.  The key is not to panic.  I didn't panic when the market crashed during the "Great Recession" and I don't intend to panic now.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


As 2013 is winding down, I've been giving a lot of thought to my investment strategy for 2014.  While my main goal for 2014 is to reduce investment costs, I'm still quite focused on improving monthly cash flow and compounding.  To that end, I've been reviewing current holdings and the final issues I'll be purchasing for the remainder of 2013 to see where my capital might be put to best use.

I've decided to deploy the majority of my investment capital in 2014 in the following three funds.

1.  CRF  

CRF has a current dividend yield of 16.64% and has paid dividends for the past 25 years.  Some of their top twenty five holdings include investments in Johnson & Johnson, Google, Verizon, Coca Cola, Apple, Home Depot, American Express, Amgen and Nuveen.  

2.  CLM

CLM's current dividend yield is 17.02% and they have paid dividends for 11 years.  Some of their top twenty five holdings include JPMorgan Chase, GE, Microsoft, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway, Visa and Wells Fargo.

3.  PFF

PFF currently carries a dividend yield of 5%, which is well below the other two funds mentioned, but still a respectable amount and I chose to include them in part to help reduce risk.  Some of PFF's top twenty five holdings include GM, Barclays Bank, CitiGroup, Deutsche Bank, Metlife, Goldman Sachs, Arcelormittal and ING Groep.  

Each of these funds provide monthly high yield payouts and invest in companies in which I own, or would like to own shares.  While this approach is right for me at the present time, I would advise doing your own research before investing in any of the above mentioned funds. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Got a great offer from my Discover card!  They gave me a $50 bonus for opening a cash back checking account tied to my Discover card.  I'll get free checks, free debit card and ten cents cash back for purchases and bill payments and for each check I write.  While I don't write many checks anymore, I do use my cards and make online bill payments, so I should benefit greatly from cash back checking.  I'll use this account for my bill paying and spending money.

Added to my housing fund with proceeds from a recent garage sale.  The sale was fairly successful and we're planning on having another in a couple of weeks.  It's nice to see the balance in my housing fund going up.  Trying to figure out more ways to add to the fund.

Collected two great dividend payments from LLY and CNP today.  Both were reinvested helping to build positions in each stock.  It's nice to see escalating dividend payments from reinvested dividends.  The dividend from CNP remained the same as my last payment, but my dividend from LLY increased!  I'm seeing a pattern of increased dividend payments through reinvested dividends that is quite encouraging.  As my positions are strengthened through further dividends and cash investments, this trend is sure to speed up.  It's exciting to watch!  Kind of like getting a raise every single month of the year.

Monday, September 9, 2013


During the rebuilding phase of my investment portfolio, the investment costs exceeded dividend income for the first 5 months of 2013.  This being the case, as I look forward to adjusting my investment plan for 2014, I'll be concentrating on cutting costs.  

Two ways to accomplish this come readily to mind.  First, I'll continue reinvesting dividends for both accounts through 2014, since there are no commissions on reinvested dividends.  Second, I'll increase the dollar amounts of my investments and make fewer transactions.  I'll save on commissions this way because my investment company charges the same amount whether you invest $25 or $2,500.  

Controlling costs can add a great deal to the bottom line in business and investing.  So cost controls will be a major part of my investment strategy for 2014.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


The month of September is off to a fantastic start with 6 dividend payments credited to my accounts during the first 3 days of the month!  This includes my first dividend from Wells Fargo (WFC), so I'm pretty excited about that!  I had originally expected a total of 15 dividend payments for this month, but I had incorrectly added RRD to the month of August, so I'm now expecting 16 payments in all.  This means I'll receive a dividend payment every two days for the month of September!  Can hardly wait for the grand total.  This will be the best month of the year for my newly rebuilt stock portfolio, although I'm expecting December to be the best month overall.  

By December I'll have added positions in at least 2 more stocks and one preferred stock fund (PFF).  So I'll have a final tally of the total number of dividend payments I'll be receiving each month.  Then it's just a matter of adding to my positions and monitoring my portfolio.  It's been great watching dividend payments go up every month from reinvested dividends, so I'll probably keep that up for the foreseeable future.  At some point, I'll switch dividends from my taxable account to be paid in cash in order to rebuild my cash position and help in purchasing a home, if I haven't already bought a place.  

I'm exceedingly pleased with the way my new investment strategy is working out, especially given the fact that I have so much less in earned income to work with.  Hopefully that will change before the end of this year as well.  But it's nice to know that I can accomplish my goals no matter what my income is, I just have to work with what I've got.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


For the first 12 years of my life, I lived on a farm.  Farm kids usually have to pitch in and help with work around the farm, even at a young age.  This was even more true back in the 60's.  I can remember carrying water around to all the workers picking cotton in the cotton fields of the Missouri boot heel at the age of 5.  Later I was one of the cotton pickers until they automated the process.  So in my early life I developed an appreciation for hard work.  One of the things I enjoyed most was planting season.  I was fascinated that such small seeds could grow into such large plants and produce many times over the original single seed.  

As a result of my early life on the farm, I've always enjoyed watching things grow.  Now that fascination has switched to growing dollars instead of plants.  It truly is the same basic principle, you plant your seed capital, no matter how small.  Give it time and attention along the way and it can grow in to a great harvest.  Once the harvest comes in, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor or use the new seeds of capital to expand your crop.  Right now I'm expanding the crop by reinvesting all my dividend earnings, planning for a much bigger harvest in the future.

No matter how much or how little you're able to put aside for saving and investing, it's guaranteed to bring a measure of satisfaction to watch your money grow.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Current estimated earnings from dividends are up over 50% compared to the second month of the 2nd quarter of 2013!  This follows a 50% increase in earnings during the second quarter over first quarter earnings.  As I've stated before, I don't expect such dramatic increases in monthly dividend income to continue, but it's sure nice to see now.  

I'm excited about the month of September.  I'm currently on track to receive 15 dividend payments during the month, which is the best so far this year.  December will be the really big month, with a total of 13 dividends and 8 capital gains payments!  The total number should rise between now and then, due to further new investments.  It's very motivating to know that by the end of the first year of my new investment plan, I'll receive one dividend or capital gains payment for 21 out of 31 days of the month!

Working on my plan for 2014.  It's never too early to start and I'd like to see the great gains in monthly cash flow continue as long as possible.  While they'll most likely slow down some starting in January, I should start to see a lot of benefit of compounding from re-invested dividends.  I'm seeing that to a degree now, but it should really pick up after the first of the year, as I start to strengthen positions in stocks I hold in my accounts.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


While browsing the August 5th edition of Barron's, I noticed in their preferred stock quote pages the large number of preferred stocks paying dividends in the 7%-9% range.  As a dividend investor seeking increased monthly income, I thought it wise to do a little more research on preferred stocks.  

With limited investment capital, it would be impractical for me to invest in individual preferred stocks, so I looked at ETF's and managed preferred stock funds.  While some had better investment results, I decided to add iShares PFF Preferred Stock Fund to my buy list.  I won't be investing right away, but I like their monthly dividends with over a 5% yield.  Even though it is a passively managed fund, they invest in a limited number of high quality preferred stocks, which suits my investment objectives, since I already have enough invested in riskier issues.

Before I make a final decision to invest, I'll be doing a great deal more research.  In the end, I may not choose to invest in PFF, but it's a sure bet I'll be putting some money to work in preferred stocks, one way or another.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


As a big fan of the "Rich Dad" book series by Robert Kyosaki, one of his suggestions I always try to follow is to "look at a deal a day."  Maybe I take advantage of the deal I find, maybe not, but it's always a learning experience.  Then too, there's always the possibility I'll come back to it at a later date.

While perusing the latest issue of Barron's, I came across a couple of deals I thought might warrant further research.  One is PMF a municipal income fund.  With it's investment in municipal bonds, it provides an attractive tax advantaged income.  The recent price of just over $12 and a dividend yield of 8.13% on top of the tax advantages, make this an ideal candidate for providing monthly income in taxable a taxable account.  Would not be suitable for an IRA or 401k since they are already tax advantaged.  I have decided to buy PMF instead of KO for my taxable account.

Another deal I came across in the magazine was MLP, EPD which I've invested in before.  With a recent price of over $60 and a yield of 4.52% on top of a history of increasing dividends, this MLP is still an attractive investment.  However, their current price does not fit well with my limited investment capital at the present time.  May take a look at them again at some future date.

Completed purchase of a stake in Corning Glass (GLW) and it looks as though I'll be in line to collect my first dividend from them in the month of September.  This months' purchase brings the total number of dividend payments I collect from my portfolio to 121 per year!  

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I made a change of plans for purchasing the final stocks to round out my investment portfolio.  I've decided to buy in to Corning Glass (GLW).  Their current price of just over $15 per share and a dividend yield of 2.64% make them an O.K. purchase for the long term.  However, the reason I'm buying in now is that I suspect their new Willow flexible glass is going to be a big hit, much like Gorilla glass was before it.  If that is the case, I'd expect earnings to increase dramatically in the next few years.  This will be one of my long term core holdings.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


It's been all over the local news the past couple of weeks, RR Donnelley & Sons is shutting down operations in Jefferson City, MO..  I understand the anxiety over lost jobs and tax revenues but I'm wondering if none of these people read the annual report.  Maybe they'd have seen this coming, since they stated in their last report that the company's earnings from traditional printing operations had stalled and they were moving more toward digital media.

At any rate, I'm hoping this is a move towards cutting costs which would be positive for shareholders.  I can't complain, since my investment in RRD is up over 80%.  Still I like to see progress towards cost control and increasing revenue.  We'll see how it pans out.  


Did an online search today for lots for sale.  I’m looking
for an empty lot with utilities where I can either build
or place a mobile home.  I’m buying my new place piece
by piece.  I figure if I shop around, I can find a lot and
either build my own place or place a mobile home on
the lot for less than $15,000.  I don’t plan on spending
over $10,000 for the lot, so that leaves me $5,000 to
work with on the home.  

While you may think it is impossible to build a home for
that amount, I just saw an ad for new steel framed
metal buildings which could easily be converted to a
house, the price was $2,800.  I can do all the interior
work myself and pick up materials at a local surplus
outlet.  I only have to make the place livable, then I can
work on improvements after I’ve moved in.  I plan on
adding a lot of sweat equity to the total project.  I’ve set
up a separate housing fund to accumulate money for the

A used mobile home would be less work and lower
initial cost, so I may go with that initially.  In the end
though, I’ve decided building a small house would be
most suitable.  It all hinges on the sale of the building
where I’m living now.  If it takes a while to sell,
obviously I’ll be in much better position financially to
buy my own place.  Should it sell sooner, I may have to
go to my backup plan, buying a mobile home and
renting lot space.  I’d like to avoid this option, but I
gotta do what I gotta do.  I’ve paid rent for way too
many years.

In the mean time, I’m getting rid of some things I no
longer need by having a garage sale.  The money raised
from the sale will go in to the housing fund.  I’m also
saving money by stepping up couponing (saved 35% on
my weekly grocery shopping today).  Also restricting
spending to an as needed basis.  The only exceptions
I’ve made to this rule are purchases I can use in my
own home.  A washer and dryer, a lawn mower and a
nice used set of dining chairs.  I bought the washer and
dryer and lawn mower for $180 used.  They work great
and I’m able to use them even now.  The chairs were
just a great deal at $32 for a set of 4.  They go well with
my dining table and I now have a matching set.  The
mixed set of chairs I’ve been using for the past 10 years
are still in great shape and should bring at least $20 at
the yard sale, so I’ll put that money back in the housing

Also finished up some estate planning.  Made
arrangements for my bank accounts and investment
accounts to transfer on death to avoid probate.  Set
beneficiaries on my investment accounts and life
insurance and made sure my heirs were aware of what
and how they will inherit.  Hope to be around for a long
time to come, but the recent death of a good friend
made it clear to me the importance of having your
affairs in order.       

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Recently I had a conversation with a young co-worker who is interested in investing and we discussed different investment strategies to make money in the stock market.  One of the strategies we discussed was what I like to call "free stocks."

What do I classify as "free stocks"?  I consider a stock investment in which you have none of your initial investment tied up as a free stock, in other words you're playing with the houses money.  I like to use this strategy with dividend stocks to build monthly cash flow and total portfolio holdings.  

How does it work?  I've found that this strategy works best in a rising market, but you can use this strategy in any kind of market.  To get your free stock, you do your research, find a good company paying dividends with good prospects for price appreciation.  You decide on a dollar amount to invest in the company.  Once you've made your initial investment, you simply wait for the price to appreciate a significant amount and then you sell just enough shares to recoup your initial dollars invested.  

For example, you find a nice little insurance company selling at $10 per share with a 3% dividend yield.  You do your research, the company looks solid with good growth prospects and price appreciation, so you decide to invest $500.  Your $500 investment buys you 50 shares (not counting commissions, although you can include costs when selling to recoup your investment).  Over time others realize what a good company this is and the stock price appreciates say 30% to $13.33 per share.  Which makes your 50 shares worth a total of $666.50.  To get back your original $500, you would need to sell about 38 shares (38 x $13.33 = $506.54).  This leaves you with 12 shares paying a 3% dividend on your original purchase price of $10 and you no longer have any of your own money tied up in the stock, making it essentially free.

While this may not sound like much, repeat the process enough times and you've built a tremendous dividend portfolio.  You might be saying this sounds all well and good, but how do you find such investments.  I currently hold positions in 17 different stocks and mutual funds.  Out of the 17, I could use this strategy right now on 5 different investments.  I could pull all my money out and still own the stocks in my portfolio.  While I'm not planning on doing this at the present time, it does show the feasibility of this investment strategy.     

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Dividend cash flow for the first month of the 3rd quarter are up over 75% over the first month of the second quarter!  This is thanks in large part to continued monthly cash investments and re-invested dividends.  The third quarter looks like it's going to be a good one, but I'm expecting big things in the fourth quarter as far as dividends are concerned.  There seems to be some concern about a "Santa Clause correction" in the market around December of this year, which may or may not happen.  If there is a correction, I plan on viewing it as a buying opportunity and a chance to add to my positions while prices are low.

Just got the results of my latest cholesterol test and they're looking good.  The diet and exercise along with the weight loss are starting to pay off with improved numbers.  I think this may be the first time my LDL cholesterol was below 100.  My cardiologist should be pleased.  

Looking in to ways to cut my monthly expenses to build up cash for purchasing a place to live.  I'm very determined to accomplish this goal before the end of 2013.  Want to be in my own place by December, which really doesn't leave me much time, but I think it can be done.

Had a great conversation with a young guy at work about investing and some of the different strategies I've used over the years to make money in the stock market.  It made me think of some things I should be doing now to help raise money for buying a house.  So I'll be putting some of these ideas into play in the coming months and will write more about it then.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Nothing makes me happier than seeing the
dividend payments roll in to my accounts each
month!  With the purchase of shares in Wells
Fargo (WFC) I have more to be happy about. 
Adding WFC’s 4 quarterly dividend payments
brings the total number of payments I’ll collect to
117 per year!  I’ll be adding 4 payments each
month for the next 3 months with the purchase of
shares in Intel (INTC), AT&T (T), and Coca Cola
(KO) respectively.  Haven’t made a final decision
on the last stock to make up my 20 stock/fund
portfolio.  I’m trying to decide between one of my
favorite blue chips or another monthly dividend
stock.  I’ve got 3 months to decide, but I’m
leaning toward a big blue chip stock, most likely
one of the Dividend Aristocrats.

The final purchase for my 20 stock portfolio will
be in November.  Then I’ll concentrate on
building positions in each holding, increasing
monthly cash flow as rapidly as possible.  I’m
especially looking forward to the month of
December.  Not only will I collect 15 dividends for
the month, but I’ll also collect capital gains
payments from at least 6 funds.  It’s looking like it
could be a very Merry Christmas for 2013!


Improving your life and finances every day, what do I
mean by this?  Exactly what it says.  While I’ve been
working to rebuild my investment portfolio after
catastrophic medical expenses related to my heart
attack, it has occurred to me that the same method can
be applied to other aspects of my life as well.  In fact,
I’ve already applied the same principles to addressing
my health issues without realizing it until just recently.  

To rebuild my portfolio I came up with a plan of to set
into motion small changes that would improve my
finances at an ever increasing rate.  In the case of my
investments it involved purchasing positions in a set
number of dividend paying stocks and funds,
re-investing all dividends and making small monthly
cash contributions for an ever increasing monthly cash
flow.  Dividends from my investment portfolio have
been increasing at a rapid rate and should continue to
do so, barring any major drawback with the economy. 
The end result is that income from my portfolio is
improving with each passing day.

The same thing has happened with my diet and exercise
program.  I came up with a plan to lose weight by doing
simple exercises 5 days per week to improve
cardiovascular health and increase lean muscle mass.  I
also made up a diet plan of healthy foods I already like,
so it was easy to stick with the diet.  No deprivation,
since I’m eating foods I love and really eating more
than I was before.  The difference is lower fat, lower
carbs and less cholesterol, while increasing non-meat
protein intakes and eating more fiber rich foods.  It was
simply a matter of identifying foods I like to eat and are
healthy for me, as well and incorporating these in my
daily diet to replace the bad food I was eating.  The
results so far?  I’ve increased lean muscle mass,
reduced my waist size by 6 inches and lost a total of 59
pounds!  So a few simple changes have put me on the
path of improving my health just a little bit every day.

Basically it boils down to setting a goal, devising a plan
involving simple daily changes to your lifestyle to help
you achieve your goal and sticking to the plan.  It’s
really a matter of improving by degrees.  Instead of
shooting for a large target, you seek to accomplish small
successes on a daily basis, creating a cumulative effect
on improving your life every day.

Since I was turned down for a conventional loan to buy
a home (my income was too low due to recent hour cuts
related to Obama care), I’m going to apply the same
principles toward buying a home.  I’ve figured out how
to do it and implemented my plan.  I’ll keep readers
posted on how it turns out. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Last year I wrote about being proactive in personal health care as a way of saving on expenses.  To that end, I put into practice some of the suggestions as far as changing my diet, losing weight, stopping smoking and starting a regular exercise program.  

I'm happy to report I've been able to stick with the program quite easily.  To date I've lost a total of 58 lbs. and have gone from a 42 inch waist to a 36.  I'm down to an extra large shirt from a size 3 X and I'm feeling great.  I exercise at least 30 minutes a day five days a week and take the weekends off.  As for my diet, I've cut red meat down to 2 or 3 servings per month and have switched to a high protein, low carb, low fat diet.  I actually eat more than I did before, but the weight keeps dropping, usually 2-3 lbs. per week.  I started at 265 lbs and have a goal weight of 190.  I only have to lose 17 more pounds and I'll be at my goal weight, then it will be a matter of maintaining the weight, which shouldn't be too hard since I've changed my habits to include the increased activity and improved nutrition. 

How much will I save by doing all this?  I have no real way of knowing.  However, each trip to the hospital for my last two heart attacks cost over $47,000.  If I avoid another heart attack, then the savings would amount to at least $50,000.  Not bad for doing something that makes you feel better and feel better about yourself.  

Perhaps instead of creating the nightmare called "Obamacare", it would have been more rewarding and much less expensive for the politicians to have come up with a plan to incentivize healthier lifestyles.  But that would make sense, so it's probably not likely to happen.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Do you really want to get ahead?  Do you want to be
well off or even rich one day?  You just need to do this
one simple thing and you can make it happen.  What
one thing am I talking about?  Pay Yourself First!
You’d have to have lived your life under a rock to not
have heard of this before.  Most people know you’re
supposed to pay yourself first, but not many people
really practice it.

It’s how I’ve been able to make great strides in
rebuilding my investments, while making half the
money I did before.  How do you really “Pay Yourself
First”?  You do it by taking your money off the top
before you pay anything else.  I do not have a strict
budget, even though most financial “experts” would say
that’s exactly what I need since I live on such a small
income.  However, I know that most people, myself
included, do not stick to budgets, so I work around it.  I
pay myself first by automatically transferring money to
my investment accounts every payday and living on
what’s left.  It really is that simple.  If you don’t have
the money in your account, you will find a way to live
without it.  So if you truly pay yourself first, you don’t
have to budget to have money left over for savings.
Your savings come off the top.

As time goes by, and you figure out how to live without
the money you transfer automatically to you
investments, you’ll also find ways to increase the
amount you set aside.  So if you’re tired of working
hard and never having anything to show for it, try this
one simple idea.  You’ll be glad you did.

Friday, July 5, 2013


It's been all over the news this week, Obama Care, or at least part of it, has been pushed back until 2015.  Apparently the Democrats were concerned layoffs and hour cuts implemented by employers to avoid prohibitive costs associated with compliance to the health care act would cost them votes in the upcoming elections.  DO YOU THINK???  

I for one have not benefited in the least from the passage of this law.  To be honest, it has cost me dearly.  Even though I had cut back on hours worked for health reasons, my employers have cut my hours even more to avoid extra costs associated with the new health care laws.  So, not only do I still not have health insurance, I'm finding it hard to pay my regular monthly expenses.  

I fully intend to express my displeasure in the next elections by voting against all Democrats running for office.


How would you like to get paid 10 times or more
per month?  Sound good?  It’s easy enough to do.
I’m already getting paid more than 10 times a
month from my dividend investment portfolio.
Am I rich?  No.  Very well off?  No.  But I’m
headed in the right direction.

Before I had my first heart attack I had gotten to
the point where I no longer worried about money.
No matter what happened, I knew I had the
money to cover any cash shortfalls and cash flow
was going up every month.  Then I ended up in
the hospital with a heart attack and have had to
go back again, having stints put in both times.  So
I was pretty close to being wiped out financially.

But like I’ve said before, when you’ve learned
how to save money and put it to work, it’s a
simple matter to do it agein.  Like I said, I’m
headed in the right direction with cash flow
increasing every single month.  My main goal now
is to work on finding a better job.  While the
economy is still in the dumps, it has gotten better
and the job market has improved.  The survival
type job I’ve been working is O.K., but with a
little better job I’ll be able to ramp up investments
and rebuild my portfolio at a rapid pace.

So if you like the idea of getting paid 10 times a
month, save up some cash and buy a few dividend
stocks.  While the payments may not be much to
begin with, if you re-invest dividends and add to
you’re investments whenever you can, you’ll be
amazed how fast monthly cash flow goes up.
When you’re collecting and re-investing 10 or
more dividends per month, plus making
additional cash investments, the compounding
rate skyrockets.  There is nothing more
motivating for me than to see my dividends go up
every single month.  It doesn’t matter how much
they go up, when they’re increasing every month,
you can start out with small payments and before
you know it you’re collecting enough to pay your
bills.  When you’ve reached that point, you’re
financially free.

HAPPY 4th of JULY!

Want to wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July
celebration!  The month of July has started off with a
bang!  Dividend income from my investments is already
more than double the first month of the first quarter of
2013.  Comparing expected dividends from this quarter
to the first month of the second quarter, I don’t expect
to income to double over second quarter results.
However, by current estimates, dividend income for the
third quarter will be up over 60% when comparing
July to the month of April.

Got a surprise dividend from HWBK.  I wasn’t
expecting a dividend from them at all in the month of
July.  Not only did I recieve a cash dividend, but they
also paid a much larger stock dividend, so it was a very
pleasant surprise for me!  Thanks HWBK!

Got a little surprise by CRF as well.  CRF pays a
generous monthly dividend, but I didn’t expect any
dividends from them until this month.  As it turned out,
they paid a dividend to my account on June 28th, so got
a little more than I was expecting for the month of June.

The investment plan I started at the beginning of 2013
seems to be working out better than any strategy I’ve
used in the past.  It’s simple, relatively stable and easy
to keep up with.  I think I’ll be sticking with what
works, don’t expect to make many changes anytime

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Whether you're rich or poor famous or unknown, everyone makes mistakes.  Paula Deen is no exception.  As far as I'm concerned, her past use of a racial epithet is not concrete evidence of any racial bias on her part.  While it's definitely not polite or politically correct and probably not the smartest thing she's ever done, I don't think it makes her a bad person.  A lot of people have said and done a lot worse and gotten away with what amounts to a slap on the wrist. 

I was dissapointed to hear the Food Network is not renewing her contract.  While I'm sure it's not the last we'll hear from Paula, I will miss her show.  I just wanted to say that I'm a fan of Paula Deen and will continue to support her.


I just finished reviewing my Dividend Income Calendar for
2013.  Dividends for the month of June are more than double
those from the month of March.  If this trend continues, with
dividend income doubling every three months, by the end of
2013 I’ll have the option to divert some dividend income to pay
ongoing expenses.  The whole point of having a taxable account
and an IRA is to create usable cash flow now.  Instead of
waiting until retirement, why not have a better life as you go.

I may choose to keep re-investing dividends and build on my
positions instead of taking monthly cash payments.  After all,
re-invested dividends are a great way to cut investment
expense, since there is no commission on re-invested dividends.
Not only that, but by continuing re-invested dividends and
keeping monthly cash contributions the same, total
contributions to my account would go up over 50% by the end
of 2013.

Gives me a lot to think about when formulating investment
strategy for 2014.  None of us know what the future holds,
however, it’s always good to plan ahead as long as your plans
are flexible and you’re ready to roll with the punches.  Even
though I start on my investment plan nearly 7 months ahead of
the new year, I never really finalize my yearly plan until
February or March of the new year.

On an unrelated subject, I saw Claire McCaskill has
announced her support for Hilary Clinton in the next
Presidential election.  REALLY!!!  I’m beginning to think it’s
time for Claire to retire.  Hillary supposedly dropped out of
her Secretary of State position for health reasons and she’s not
getting any younger.  She’s also no Bill Clinton.  While I’m not
especially a fan of Bill Clinton, he wasn’t the worst Democratic
president we’ve ever had, but I don’t think Hillary would make
as good a president as her husband was.  In her defense, I
would have voted for her over Obama hands down.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


When I revised my investment plan at the beginning of 2013, I had 3 main goals to accomplish for the year.  I wanted to rebuild both my retirement and taxable investment accounts by purchasing stakes in 20 stocks and funds by the end of the year. I also wanted to rev up compounding by investing in monthly dividend payers and reinvesting all dividends, the more dividends you receive the faster your compound rate.  My third goal was to simplify my investment strategy to reduce the amount of time and effort involved in managing my accounts.  

I've simplified my plan and boosted dividends to 111 payments per year, so I've already accomplished those two goals.  My final goal of reaching the 20 stocks and funds will be reached by November of this year, barring any major setbacks.  I've set up an automatic investment plan with my accounts to purchase one issue per month, which means, in 5 months I'll have purchased the last stock to round out my portfolio.  From then on it's a matter of building my stakes through continued monthly cash investments and reinvested dividends.  

I'm already working on ideas to tweak the plan for 2014.  I'm sure to include as many cost cutting measures as I can come up with and I'll be looking for ways to boost returns as much as possible while avoiding excessive risk.  While the prospects for the economy overall are still no so bright, I'm getting excited about investing again.  You just have to work with what with the hand you're dealt.


With the purchase of a stake in CRF, which pays
monthly dividends, I’ll now be collecting a total of
111 dividend payments per year.  By January of
2014, I expect the total number of dividends to go
up to 127 with purchases of WFC, KO, INTC and
T.  I’ll be adding one additional stock to bring my
total investment portfolio to 20 stocks and funds.
Although not evenly divided between taxable and
retirement accounts, it’s a pretty even allocation
dollar wise.  Once in place, the only changes to
stocks or funds in the portfolio may be to replace
any investment which cuts or ceases to pay
dividends.  Otherwise I’m going long term all the

My biggest reason for choosing a dividend
investment strategy over say aggressive growth or
value investing is, I love to get paid.  The more
often I get paid the better.  It’s what motivates me
to keep investing month after month.  I think it
was J.D. Rockefeller who said one of the things
that made him truly happy was collecting his
dividends month after month.  That’s the way I
am.  While collecting dividends isn’t the only
thing that makes me happy, it is something I
count on to brighten my week.  I’ve had a lot of
bad luck in the past couple of years.  Health
problems (3 heart attacks), loss of family and
friends who’ve passed away and not much luck
job wise.  However, while I could just sit around
feeling sorry for myself, I’d much rather spend
whatever time and resources I have rebuilding my
portfolio and compounding my investments as
rapidly as possible through lots and lots of

Saturday, June 8, 2013


With the latest dividend payments from CNP and LLY, dividend income from my investment portfolio for the month of June is already up over the month of March.  Which means that dividend income for the second quarter has beaten each month of the first quarter!  I expect to repeat this process for the remainder of 2013, with each successive quarter beating out income from the previous 3 months.  

Currently new cash additions to my investment accounts make up the bulk of increased income.  However, with steadily rising monthly cash flow from dividends, it should not be long until dividend income and re-investment is responsible for the bulk of growth.  Since I'm working on reducing debt and building up cash in the bank to purchase my own home, I don't anticipate being able to increase the monthly cash contributions to my taxable or retirement account for the remainder of the year.  So progress seems a little slow, as far as rebuilding my accounts after my heart attack last year, but percentage wise income growth has been phenomenal!  I think I've hit on the perfect plan to reach my goals.

In my last post I outlined my planned stock purchases for the rest of the year.  Along the way, I'll also be beefing up my current positions by re-investing all dividends.  By the end of 2013 I'll re-evaluate my plan and make adjustments where needed, but I'm thinking I'll be able to continue most of the plan I've put in place for several years to come.  

Friday, June 7, 2013


June is definitely going to be a good month for dividend
income.  In the first 5 days of the month I’ve already collected
5 dividend payments.  Was glad to collect my first dividend
payment from HBI, great job, keep them coming!  Also
collected from NCZ, NCV, PHK and RRD.

While June is a great month, with a total of 11 dividend
payments for the month, it looks like September and December
will be the best overall.  For both months, I’ll collect 12
dividend payments and in December I should also see capital
gains payouts from the 5 mutual funds I hold stakes in.

As for planned purchases of the last four stocks for my overall
portfolio, I plan to add positions in CRF and WFC in June and
July respectively.  I’ll follow that up by adding positions in KO
and INTC in August and September and finish up by adding T
in the month of December.  Then it will be a simple matter of
increasing my investment in each holding by reinvested
dividends and future cash investments.  I’ll only add new
positions if it becomes necessary to sell one of my holdings due
to poor performance or cancelled dividends.

Pickles and I have finished our move and are getting settled in
the new place.  We’re currently in a 3 bedroom apartment in
an old church.  The building is up for sale, so it’s a temporary
situation, but we’re enjoying while it lasts.  Thanks to my
sister, was able to get a great deal on a used washer and dryer.
I got a Hotpoint washer (one of the best) and a good Kenmore
dryer.  It doesn’t bother me in the least that they’re a little
scuffed up and don’t match.  They work great and that’s all
that really matters.  May be getting a mower next.  These are
things I’ll need if I’m able to figure a way to by our own place.
It’s going to be much harder since I’ve never fully recovered
employment wise from the “great recession”.  However, where
there’s a will there’s a way and I intend to find it.  I once
bought a fixer upper mobile home for $800 and a corner city
lot for $2,000.  For a total of $2,800 and a little cleaning and
painting, I had a decent place to live.  While I don’t expect to
do that now, I do think there are comparable deals if you
adjust for inflation.  We’ll see how it goes.