Monday, May 27, 2013


O.K., so he's not exactly homeless.  This is my dog Pickles and we're hoping to buy our own home.  We're saving for a down payment.  If you'd like to kick in a few bucks you can make a donation by clicking on the donate button on the right side of this page.  All donations are greatly appreciated.  Pickles would love to have his own backyard to play in :0).


I've always said, you can live on whatever amount of money you make, you just have to figure out how.  With that in mind, one of the ways I'm working on for Pickles and I to live better is to purchase our own place to live.  In order to make that happen, Pickles and I are moving to an apartment in a building owned  by some of my relatives.  In exchange for doing some repairs and upkeep while the building is up for sale, we get to live in the apartment rent free.  I'll have to pay utilities, but they shouldn't be much more than what I've been paying, so it should allow me to set aside cash to purchase our own place.  

While this is only a temporary situation, we'll be living in a much larger and much nicer apartment.  Since this apartment also has washer and dryer hookups, I should save additional money by not having to use the coin operated laundry like I've been doing for the past eight plus years at my current apartment.  

It's still possible in Missouri's capital city to buy a small 2 bedroom house for under $50,000.  While that might not fit most peoples' needs, it would be just right for my little dog and I.  With such a low price, the house payments would be less than the rent I'm used to paying.  If I'd bought one of these houses 10 years ago, I could have paid it off by now.  So my goal is to buy a place now, so it will be paid off by the time I retire.  Any money I save on the difference between what I'll pay in house payments and what I'm used to paying in rent, I'll put in a maintenance fund for the house.  

Times are changing and you have to roll with the punches.  That's what Pickles and I are going to do.  I'm excited about the move, but I'll sure be glad when the moving is done.  

Friday, May 17, 2013


Will be receiving my latest check from within the next few days.  It's a great shoppers' rewards program you can sign up with for free.  I've been with them for a long time now and have earned quite a few checks.  I've decided to put this check to work by purchasing additonal shares of HWBK.  Hawthorn Bank is a local bank and although I'm not an account holder there, I have had a great deal of experience with them and have been quite impressed.  My original investment has done quite well and I think it will be a good use of my SendEarnings check to purchase additional shares.  

This weeks' dividend payment is courtesy of another bank I've invested in for quite some time NYCB.  I used to collect coin banks, I've stopped adding to my collection of coin banks when I purchased shares in a real bank for the first time.  While investing in bank shares for the past few years could have been a wild ride for some, it's worked out pretty good for me.


While the month of May, as the second month of the second quarter of 2013, started off with a bang, I had no special expectations since I knew I would only be collecting 6 dividend payments for the entire month.  However, when I compared this months' expected earnings to the month of February (second month of the first quarter), I was surprised to see monthly cash flow has increased by over 50%!  Much better than I'd expected.  A nice surprise and more proof that my investment plan for 2013 is on track.

Pickles and I are on the move, literally.  I've been spending all my extra time after work painting and cleaning our new apartment.  We're moving in to a larger place and it's going to be a much better place for both of us.  I've said before that you can live on whatever you make, you just have to figure out how. It's been a rough couple of months, but things are looking up.  One of my relatives own the building we're moving to and we're getting the apartment in exchange for working on the building. We'll be staying there as caretakers until the building either sells or I work out a deal to buy our own place.  I'm way over paying rent.  Time to buy.

On the health front, I've lost a total of 47 pounds and have only 28 pounds to go to reach my goal weight of 190.  Been sticking with my exercise program 5 days a week and taking lots of walks with Pickles.  Also sticking to the high protein, low fat, low carb diet in an effort, not only to lose weight, but hopefully to improve my cholesterol.  I'll be getting a test in June, so I'm anxious to see how it will turn out.  The weight loss has been gradual, over the past 3 or 4 months.  I usually lose around 2 pounds per week, which is really the best way to go.  Fad diets don't work.  You have to come up with a healthy diet that you personally can live with and you have to exercise.  It's the only way to keep it off.  Not only do you look and feel better, but you can save a bundle on medical expenses by staying healthy.

Finally, I have to follow up on my last post about mutual funds.  The reason my discovery made me so excited is, it gave me hope that even with the major setbacks to my retirement planning due to health issues over the past 2 years,  there is still time to recover financially.  By my calculations I could retire with as little as $80,000.  I've never been able to figure out how to come up with enough income to retire with less than $120,000 until now.  With the changes I'm making to my lifestyle and my new investment portfolio, I believe that my retirement goals are well within reach.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013


I've always been a big proponent of investing in individual stocks over mutual funds, mostly due to the fees and tax consequences of owning funds.  Recently, however, I've decided a mixture of the two types of investments works out pretty well for me.  

During the rebuilding phase of my investment portfolio, I added positions in five funds paying monthly dividends with the goal of increasing cash flow and speeding up the rate of compounding.  While this has worked out much as planned, I've made an amazing discovery along the way.

While reviewing my dividend income spreadsheet I noticed that even though I'd made small initial investments in the five funds, they were paying a decent amount in dividends.  So I did a "what if" scenario in which I had the same amount of money I had before I had to pay out so much for medical expenses, however, instead of the investments I held back then I figured the amount of money I would have earned on a monthly basis by having it evenly invested in 4 of the five funds I currently own.  I was shocked by the difference.  I would have been earning nearly 75% more in dividend income on a yearly basis had I invested in these 4 funds.  What's even more embarrassing and eye opening is that all 5 funds I'm currently investing in have been around and paying dividends for the past 25 years.  Which means that I could have invested in them from the very beginning.  While they did cut their dividends in 2008 due to the "Great Recession", they have paid continuous monthly dividends for the past 25 years.

O.K., so hindsight is 20/20 and you have to go from where you are now.  With that in mind, I've revised my investment plan to make it a priority to concentrate on building my positions in these monthly dividend payers first.  Once I've built substantial positions in all five funds I'll work on building my holdings in my other investments.

You may be wondering about the names of these 5 funds.  I intentionally left them out, although I've written about my purchases in past posts, so it would be easy enough to find them.  However, the real reason I didn't list them is that it was so easy to find them that anyone could do it.  I used the paid search on and searched for monthly dividend paying stocks.  When I found a starting list, I did further searches for dividend histories of each fund/stock listed.  Then I did a final search to discover each funds investment portfolio and see whether it matched up with my own investment goals.  During the whole process I was marking off the stocks that didn't meet my investment criteria until I ended up with the 5 I own now.  So, there you have it.  If you're looking to boost investment returns through dividend yields, you could follow the same path I took and you might just be amazed at what you find.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The month of May started off with a bang with 3 dividend payments on May 1 st.  However, according to my dividend calender, the rest of the month is going to be slow, with only 3 more dividends coming in.  Even so, when comparing May as the second month of the second quarter to February, the second month of the first quarter, I should still see dividend income double over last quarter.  So while 6 dividends for the month doesn't seem like much, it's leaps and bounds ahead of where I started from.

Next month promises to be a big improvement over March.  March was the last month of the first quarter and I collected a total of 4 dividend payments for the month.  For the month of June, the last month of the second quarter, I'll collect a total of 11 dividend payments!  So I'll be looking at another great increase in dividend income over the first quarter of the year.  Can hardly wait to see what the total percentage increase in income is from the first quarter to the second!

As I've said before, I don't expect to keep up this pace for the rest of 2013, but it's nice to see my plan is working out so well.  I do expect to see an increase in dividend income with compounding of re-invested dividends.  That's the phase 2 of my investment plan, building monthly income through compounding of dividends and reducing costs, since re-invested dividends are commission free.

Phase 3 of my plan involves finishing up my portfolio by adding adding positions in a few select blue chip stocks from the dividend aristocrats.  These are stocks with long histories of increasing dividends every year.  I'm looking to add stability and protection against market downturns by adding these stocks.  

Phase 4 of my plan involves monitoring investments and making changes as needed, while building monthly cash flow through increases in my current holdings.  A simple plan, but one that's moving along just as I'd expected, so I'm quite happy with it so far.