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?