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.