Thursday, December 31, 2015

WISHING EVERYONE A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!


RECORD MONTH FOR DIVIDEND EARNINGS!

Happy New Years Eve!  The finally tally is in for dividend earnings for the month of December 2015 and it set a new record as expected.  Not only did it beat out the previous record,  but it was up a whopping 60% over the last record from November!  Nice way to close out 2015.  

Looking ahead, I've set goals to increase total investments by 50% next year and boost dividend income by at least 50%.  I've already looked in to ways to make this happen and it seems quite doable.  May have to revise goals midway through 2016 if I hit the targets too early in the year.  I'm excited about the new year!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

DIVIDEND INCOME UP 100% FROM BEGINNING OF YEAR!

Monthly dividend income is up over 100% in December, compared to January 2015!  Even with the markets down and a recent drop in the value of current holdings, that's not a bad way to wrap up the year.  Total number of shares owned also more than doubled from January to December of this year!  Looks like January 2016 will be starting off great!  Not only will I get the first of the month dividends, but since I'm working on a holiday, I'll also be getting time and a half for my first day of work in 2016!  

Just earned another check from SendEarnings (see banner ad) and I'm already back up over $5 on the next check!  Looks like I'll be collecting more from them in the new year as well.  Also doing well with Bing Rewards, although I wasn't too happy about their recent point increase for the most popular rewards/gift cards.  While at this point I still consider it worth the effort, any more increases in points for gift cards and I'd probably drop out of the program.  When they decrease the rewards for their rewards programs, I can profit more elsewhere.

Just got my first semi-annual report from DON.  Wasted no time in reviewing that.  Wasn't overly impressed with performance, I did find it acceptable.  What I was impressed with is their current holdings, which complement my other funds quite well, with very little overlap.  When I invest in funds, I don't want the funds to all own the same stocks.  While they may have some of the big names in common, I think you're better off with less redundancy.  

My big strategy in investing is to make money from everything people do every day.  I think I've pretty well accomplished that.  It started out as a game for me to figure out how I could get money back for everything I do every day.  Then I thought about the things other people spend money on that I never do and how could I make money off their activities as well.  So that's what I targeted for investments.  Consumer stocks for day to day spending, real estate trusts (since I pay rent every month), banking, shipping, insurance, medical services, drug companies, utilities and so on.  If I pay money out on anything each month, I figure it's a safe bet a lot of other people do too and that's what I want, to own a piece of all the businesses that benefit from daily living expenses.  Like I mentioned earlier, I've pretty well accomplished that with my current investments.  So now it's just a matter of building positions, in my current holdings, to the point that the dividend income pays my expenses for me.  Simple really.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2015 SANTA RALLY FOR STOCKS

I may have been a little hasty in my last post, saying so much for a Santa rally in the stock market this year.  Stocks are jumping today and if the Fed raises rates as expected tomorrow, it could put a lot of uncertainty to rest and make way for a tremendous rally before the end of the month.  Just watched a video on CNBC where one analyst was predicting a "Rip Your Face Off" rally with stocks setting a new record high before the end of December.  Not a bad thing, just hope I get to buy the extra shares I wanted before prices go up too much.

Was excited to collect my first dividend from CSX today!  It wasn't really much money wise and I reinvested it instead of taking the cash, but I'm always excited to see a new stock purchase start paying.  Especially when I just purchased the stock the month before, as was the case with CSX.  I purchased CSX for it's history of raising dividends and intend to keep it forever or as long as they keep paying dividends.

Monday, December 14, 2015

STOCK MARKET SETBACKS ARE GOOD TIMES TO BE DIVIDEND INVESTOR!

With the drop in oil prices, recent terrorist attack in California and expectations of interest rate increase from the Fed, the stock market has tumbled for the past week and this week may be even worse.  These are the times that try men's (or at least investor's) souls.  When you see steady loss in portfolio value, it's only natural to think, take the money and run.  However, for dividend investors the better course of action would be to stick with your plan.

When markets start to fall, dividend stocks fall less in value because people are more willing to hang on to stocks that pay them money on a regular basis.  Additionally, as stock prices drop, dividend yields go up and if you're reinvesting dividends, you get more shares with higher yields than you would have had prices remained steady or increased.  Lower stock prices also present buying opportunities, allowing you to get in to new stocks, or add additional shares to stocks you already own.  If you're purchasing more shares of a stock you currently hold at a lower price than your original purchase, you reduce the average cost per share of all your shares and boost the dividend yield on all shares.

So, even though we might be disappointed in not having a Santa rally this year, there are some opportunities presented by a fall in stock market prices.  The most recent drop means I'll be able to increase monthly payouts by 10% in January with my Christmas bonus investment, instead of the 9% I had originally calculated!  With less downside risk and greater upside potential from investments during a down market, I think stock market setbacks are definitely a good time to be a dividend investor.

Friday, December 11, 2015

COLLECTED ANOTHER 6 DIVIDEND PAYMENTS FOR THE WEEK!

This Christmas season is turning out to be a very merry one after all.  In spite of the recent slide in the stock market due to falling oil prices and worries over rising interest rates, monthly cash flow from dividends continue to increase.  Overall value of my portfolio is down, but I'm taking comfort in the fact that lower stock prices make reinvested dividends go much farther.  Which also means future monthly income is increasing at a more rapid pace, since dollars invested are purchasing more shares.

In the last two days I've collected another 6 dividend payments, bringing the monthly total to 11 payments.  Still have 12 more to go!  Income for the month has already surpassed 3 other months of the year and will set a new record by the end of December.  We'll be collecting our Christmas bonuses at work in time for me to beat the ex-dividend date for January on new shares I'll be buying with bonus money, so I'll kick off 2016 with a 9% increase in monthly cash flow!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DECEMBER 2015 KICKS OFF WITH 5 DIVIDEND PAYMENTS!

Started the month off right with 5 dividend payments on the first day of December!  It's a great start to what will be the all time record month for dividend income and total number of payments.  I'm expecting another 18 payments this month for a record monthly total of 23 dividends!  That in itself is pretty exciting, but it will also be the record month for dividend income since I started rebuilding my investment portfolio 3 years ago.  This follows on the heels of a new record for earnings set just last month, which beat out the month of July.

Still have some Christmas shopping to finish, doing pretty good about staying in budget.  Not going for any big gifts, but wanted to give a little more than last year.  Certainly helps to have the extra income from my investments.  Have also seen a more stable income from work this year since finding a new job last March.  The benefits are much better but the total income is about the same.  I expect that to improve in 2016.  Still not sure about a Christmas bonus, but if I don't get one I'm still better off than my old job.  At least now I get holiday pay.

I'm excited to see how the rest of the month unfolds.  I don't keep track of days dividends are paid, so it's always a nice little surprise when I sign in to my account to see I've collected more money.  I do kind of have an idea when most stocks pay, just not specific days.  The way my investments are set up, I receive the bulk of payments at the beginning and end of the month, with some extra payments in the middle of the month.  This should work out pretty well when I retire and start taking cash dividend payments to use for living expenses.  For now I reinvest everything.  Should I actually get a Christmas bonus, my Christmas gift to myself is to invest half my bonus in purchasing more stock.  After all, a dividend stock is the gift that keeps on giving.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

PURCHASED SHARES OF CSX FOR IRA ACCOUNT

This past week I purchased shares or railroad CSX for my IRA account.  With it's history of increasing dividends and a price that seemed like a good buying point, I've added it as a core holding (long term) to my retirement account.  I also believe that railroads will benefit greatly from continued low energy prices.  Got in before the ex-dividend date, so I should see my first dividend from CSX in December.

Was shocked to see the drop in share price of UVE.  It appears to be mostly due to a report issued by some short sellers of UVE, putting the company in a bad light.  However, UVE has rebutted their claims, although the damage has been done as far as share price goes.  I think it's a bunch of hogwash myself.  As a long time investor in UVE, I've seen the company steadily grow their service area and increase income and I personally thought it was still a buy at over $30 per share.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a steal at just over $20 per share.  I'll continue to hold UVE and reinvest dividends to purchase additional shares.  It's kind of nice the share price is so low right before they pay out the special dividend in December.  I'll be able to buy more shares with my dividend payment at the lower price.  Eventually I'm sure the price rebound.  Even at the current price it's a great return on my original investment.

After reading the latest report from NCZ I switched from reinvesting monthly dividends to having them paid in cash.  While I expect bonds in general to perform poorly for the next few years, NCZ hasn't done well at all.  I don't plan on selling my shares, but I will take the monthly cash and put it to work elsewhere.

The month of November edged out July as the record month for dividend income, beating July by a little over 1%.  That's not much but I'll take it.  This record won't hold long since December is set to blow it out of the water!  It's looking to be a very Merry Christmas and a good start to a Happy New Year!




Thursday, November 26, 2015



Wishing everyone a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

NEW RECORD MONTH FOR DIVIDEND INCOME!

While I expected to set a new record for dividend income in December with it's total of 22 dividend payments, I was not expecting to beat July's record earnings in November.  However, after calculating remaining dividends due for this month, it looks like I'll have a new record, beating out July by a 1% increase.  One percent isn't much, but I'm happy with any increase in record earnings.  This month's record won't last long, as I still expect December's earnings to blow it out of the water.  

Not only will I receive an additional 8 dividend payments in the month of December, but payments will be higher and include two special dividends from UVE and MAIN.  It looks as though that trend will continue in 2016, with the biggest months being July and December.  March and June of 2016 also look to be very good months with high number of payments and a special dividend in June.  So I'm pretty excited about the upcoming year as far as monthly cash flow goes!

While the stock market being down of late certainly presents some good buying opportunities and a chance to increase overall yields, it is kind of depressing to see the overall value of portfolio holdings decrease.  Still, this is much easier to deal with when monthly income increases month after month.  So I'm not overly concerned.  

It seems very likely the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December.  I think this will actually relieve some of the uncertainty in the markets and its' effects will be mostly inconsequential in the long run.  I'm not expecting to see any major increases in interest rates anytime soon.  This rate increase will have a negative impact on bond funds, utilities and REIT's but should benefit some of the other holdings in my portfolio, helping to offset the impact.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

UVE TO PAY SPECIAL DIVIDEND IN DECEMBER 2015!

Nov. 5, 2015 Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:UVE) announced that its Board of Directors declared a dividend of 27 cents per share on its common stock to be paid on December 10, 2015 to shareholders of record as of December 1, 2015, which includes the quarterly dividend of 12 cents per share and a special dividend of 15 cents per share.  This follows the strongest quarter ever in UVE's history.

The recent plunge in the U.S. stock market has seen UVE's share price plummet, however fundamentals remain intact and it continues to be one of my core holdings in both my IRA and my taxable investment accounts.  While this is not the first time UVE has paid a special dividend in December, it's great to see that they are continuing to do so.  HWBK is another of my stock holdings which usually pays a special dividend in July each year.  Theirs is in the form of stock, but I always look forward to the extra boost to my investments from the extra dividend.  Since special dividends are not included in stated dividend yields, it's like hidden income from the stocks that pay them.  So I'm always glad to see one of my holdings pay a special dividend.

As for the recent plunge in the stock market, I'm looking at it as a buying opportunity and a chance to boost overall yield in my portfolio.  As long as the market is down, re-invested dividends are buying more shares of current holdings at lower prices, reducing average cost per share and increasing yields.  So while I have less money on paper, monthly income is actually increasing at a faster pace.  I'll be looking to add additional cash investments as personal income allows.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

LOOKING FORWARD TO ANOTHER RECORD MONTH IN DECEMBER!

Collected my first dividend from MAIN today and the monthly dividend from ROYT!  While I'm always glad to see the dividends roll in each month, I especially look forward to milestone months, where the dividend income sets a new record high.  The month of December 2015 looks all set to be the next milestone month, with a whopping 22 dividends!  It should easily beat out the month of July as the biggest month for dividend income.  Looks like it's going to be a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

HIGH NET WORTH VERSUS HIGH MONTHLY CASH FLOW

You might think it's not one or the other, but it is possible to have a high net worth and a negative cash flow.  The ideal situation would be to have both.  However, if you're just starting out or rebuilding (as in my case) which should you concentrate on first?  I decided that it's more important to build cash flow and then concentrate on improving net worth.  The main reason being that you can own a lot and have a high net worth but it may not be generating any income.  Take for example someone who owns gold bars or gold coins.  If they have enough of them, they might be quite valuable.  However, unless they sell the gold, it's not really putting money in their pockets.  It may go up in price which would increase net worth, but the only way to unlock net worth is to sell something or to borrow against it.

If, instead of a high net worth, you have steadily growing cash flow and use the cash flow to pay off debt or increase your holdings, then you will build net worth.  That was the idea I had when starting to rebuild my investment portfolio after losing most of it to pay off medical bills.  So far it's working out quite well.  While my net worth is nowhere near what it used to be, monthly cash flow is increasing rapidly and I expect to see a turnaround in the next few years.  As cash flow increases, my net worth improves along with it.  But I still concentrate all my efforts on improving monthly passive income.  In my case the passive income is from dividend stocks, but it would be the same principle with real estate or a business.  Build cash flow every month and you've set yourself up for success.

Monday, November 9, 2015

INVESTING IN ISRAEL

Recently I posted about interest in investing in Israel, specifically the possible new found oil field.  However, upon closer examination of current stock holdings I've discovered that I already have a significant amount of money invested in technology and pharmaceutical companies in Israel.  This does not mean that I would no longer be interested in investing in Israeli oil, but I'm happy to know that I'm supporting my people by supporting Jewish owned and operated companies.

I am painfully aware of all the unrest in the middle east and the hostility and danger faced by Jewish people of Israel on a daily basis.  At this time, the best that I can do to show my support is to invest in the nation of Israel and help support their economy.  While I'm not a practicing Jew (I consider myself Christian), I am descended from a German Jewish family and I do support the nation of Israel and have great respect for the Jewish people.

MARKET DOWN OVER FEAR OF FED RATE HIKE

The stock market is down due to concern over a Federal Reserve hike in interest rates.  While I like to see my stocks go up in price as much as the next guy, this is not an entirely bad thing.  Lower stock prices create more buying opportunities with higher yields for the dividend investor.  For example, NYCB's price has dropped significantly since their last dividend payment.  So the money I re-invest from this month's dividend will buy more shares at the lower price than if the price had remained high.  The more shares I own, the more the next dividend payment will be.  But wait, it's gets even better than that, because the lower price without a reduction in the dividend means I'll be getting an even higher yield on the newly purchased shares.  It also raises the average dividend yield for all of the NYCB shares owned.  As long as the market stays down, this trend will continue for all re-invested dividends.  So the real opportunity is boosting monthly cash flow and accelerating stock purchases through re-invested dividends.  It's kind of exciting to think about.  I wouldn't mind the market staying down for a while, although I'm hoping we'll avoid a major recession.

The political scene in the U.S. looks to be favoring Republicans in upcoming elections, which could be good for the stock market.  But it's a little too soon to count the Democrats out.  One things for sure, whoever ends up in control of the country, they're really going to have to do some serious reigning in of spending.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

MONTHLY CASH FLOW FROM STOCKS

As a dividend investor, I invest for monthly cash flow as opposed to traders who attempt to buy low and sell high.  As long as my monthly cash flow is increasing, I'm pretty happy.  This is a very simple way to invest and make money every month from stocks.  However, I just read an article on the Rich Dad Blog, by best selling author Robert Kyosaki, concerning cash flow investing from selling covered call options.  It's a great post and certainly worth your time to check it out.  I intend to give it a try as soon as I learn more about options.

The post is titled: Yes You Can Cash Flow With Stocks  and you can find it by clicking the link below.

Rich Dad blog post

Saturday, October 31, 2015

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! TIME FOR TRICKS AND TREATS!

I know it's supposed to be tricks or treats, but the end of October has been good for my portfolio.  First, I pulled off a trick by doubling the total number of shares owned in my portfolio from the first of January to the end of October 2015.  Then, with the month ending on a weekend, I collected end of the month dividends on Friday and first of the month dividends today!  Couldn't have a better treat than that.

Collect 6 good sized dividends for the end of October, including my first dividend from recent purchase, DON!  For the beginning of November I collected 5 dividend payments which included increased payments from NCZ and PHK due to increased share purchases in both funds.

October, with it's 19 dividend payments, turned out to be the second highest month for dividends this year.  It also beat out October 2014, with over a 30% increase in monthly income!  The stock market ended down on Friday from the day before, but over all it wasn't a bad month.

I expect December to set the all time record in this new portfolio, with a total of 22 dividend payments for the month.  Not only is that the most dividends for any single month this year, but it will include special dividends from UVE and MAIN, if previous years are any indication.  They could always decide not to pay the special dividends this year, but I don't see that happening at this point.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

HOW I BOOSTED PSEC DIVIDEND INCOME BY 150%!

I took advantage of one of the recent dips in stock prices to double my investment in PSEC.  By buying in at the lower price, I not only bought more shares than my original purchase, I also boosted the monthly dividend by a whopping 150%!  Warren Buffet has always said that your buy in price makes a big difference.  I've always known that was true, but it surprised me how much difference it can make.

The best part about the whole transaction is that I got in before the ex-dividend date, so I'll see the first boost in dividends in November.  November is also the month I collect the first dividend payment from MAIN, so it will be interesting to see what the new monthly income turns out to be.  Of course I could calculate the amount ahead of time, but I like being surprised.

Just read an article on Bing about CEO's retirement benefits.  The writer acted surprised that they stand to collect such extreme amounts during retirement.  I don't know why anyone would be surprised by that.  Almost every annual report I've gotten from every company I've ever invested in, there's some kind of vote on executive compensation (usually to increase it).  While they may not be so concerned about company performance or taking care of the shareholders, they certainly don't drop the ball when it comes to their own pay.  These are the same people who just can't figure out how to give hourly workers a raise.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

MY CURRENT TOP TEN DIVIDEND STOCK HOLDINGS

I thought it was time to update my top ten holdings list.  This does not constitute investment advise in any shape or form, simply for informational purposes.

 1.  AOD  Alpine Total Dynamic Dividend Fund.  Current price $8.04 with a dividend yield of 8.58%.  Pays monthly.

 2.  UVE  Universal Insurance Holdings.  Current price $36.32 with a dividend yield of 1.10%.  Pays quarterly.  (Because my original buy in price was much lower, the current yield on my original investment is 8.2%)

 3.  DON  WisdomTree Trust Mid Cap Dividend Fund.  Current price $82.75 with a yield of 1.74%.  Pays monthly.  (Showing a profit on DON in less than a month.)

 4.  NCZ  AllianzGI Convertible and Income Fund.  Current price $5.69 with a yield of 12.13%.  Pays monthly.  (Recently reduced dividend.)

 5.  PHK  Pimco High Income Fund.  Current price $8.33 with a dividend yield of 14.90%.  Pays monthly.  (Recently reduced dividend.)

 6.  LLY  Lilly (Eli) and Company.  Current price $78.51 with a dividend yield of 2.54%.

 7.  GE  General Electric Co.  Current price $29.51 with a yield of 5.12%.

 8.  MAIN  Main Street Capital Corp.  Current price of $30.05 with a yield of 6.39%.  (Showing a profit on MAIN in less than a month.)

 9.  NYCB  New York Community BanCorp.  Current price of $18.95 with a dividend yield of 5.28%.

10.  CRF  Cornerstone Total Return Fund.  Current price of $17.65 with a dividend yield of 22.1%.  (Like the dividend from CRF, but it's performance otherwise has not been good.)


My current yields on several of these stocks are much higher than the current yield, since, like UVE, I bought in at much lower prices.  The thing I found most interesting when compiling this list is that the original 4 stocks I bought when setting up this portfolio are all still in the top ten.  (UVE, GE, LLY and NYCB)  Of course I consider all 4 core holdings, but I haven't bought any extra shares since my initial investment in each of these stocks.  In fact I sold several shares of UVE and it's still No. 2 in the top 10.  Warren Buffet says a good investment is one that continues to grow earnings and increase in value without any additional cash investment.  These 4 stocks all qualify in that regard.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

WHY ARE THERE NO STARBUCKS IN ISRAEL?

Recently read an article about Starbucks not having any stores in Israel.  Is this true?  If it is true, why is that?  The same article stated that there are over 600 Starbucks in Muslim countries.  I would think it would be more difficult to maneuver the business environment in Muslim countries than in the nation of Israel, so I question why Starbucks isn't doing business there.  While I like their coffee, it may not be the type of business to catch on in Israel.  I remember reading a story several years back about KFC not doing well in Brazil because people in Brazil didn't like greasy finger foods.  Does anybody from Israel know the real story?

GREAT WEEK FOR STOCK PRICE GAINS!

It's been a great week for gains in stock price gains for my portfolio!  MAIN, my most recent new addition is already in the black with a little more than a 3% gain.  DON continues to do well, up nearly 10% since my initial purchase.  Both are monthly dividend payers and will add nicely to monthly cash flows.  Put in an order to purchase additional shares of PSEC, which will triple my current holdings in the stock.  Not only will this move boost monthly income, but it will also reduce average price per share on PSEC.  They have a high payout ratio, but current income is sufficient to continue the monthly dividend at it's present 8 cents per share.  

Had a couple of dividend reductions recently on NCZ and PHK.  I'm kind of bummed about that, but they do pay monthly and I'm satisfied with the new payout amount, so I'll hold on to both of them for now.  May have to look at replacing them should the dividends continue to slide.

The recent run up in stock prices boosted my gains on UVE to over 500%!  While I'd normally be tempted to sell and collect the gains, my current dividend yield on the original price I paid for the stock is 8.2%, so I hesitate to part with a winning stock.  Not to mention that I pulled all my original cash invested, out of the stock, quite a while back and I'm essentially playing with the house's money here.  So even if the share price should slide some, the income from dividends is attractive since it's not tying up any money out of pocket.

With new positions I've taken out in the past year, I may have to adjust my 20 stock portfolio strategy to a 30 stock strategy, since I'm not really ready to part with any of my current holdings.  But I definitely have no plans to go over 30 investments, since it would make it much more difficult to keep track of performance.  I'll work all that out in my investment plan for 2016.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

SAVE BIG ON YOUR ELECTRIC BILL!

One easy way to free up more cash for investing is to save on regular monthly expenses.  Recently I've been looking for ways to save extra money on utilities.  One easy way I just discovered is plug in solar power.  What is plug in solar power?  It's just what it sounds like.  It's pretty much an out of the box solar system that you plug in to a wall socket in your home, like any other appliance.  However, with the plug in solar system you're producing energy to use in your home and slowing down the metered energy from your electric provider, so you're reducing your monthly utility bill.  

I found a really simple, easy to install system at pluggedsolar.com.  They have a 240 watt plug and play solar system for $799 which would provide substantial savings on your monthly electricity costs.  The system also qualifies for a 30% Federal tax credit, which can help defer the cost of purchase.  I'm thinking that the monthly savings and the tax credit would make purchasing the unit a great idea for reducing regular monthly expenses.  If you take the money you save each month and invest it in a dividend paying stock, you'll recoup the money to pay for the unit even faster. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

MONTHLY INCOME UP ANOTHER 5% WITH PURCHASE OF STAKE IN MAIN!

Completed purchase of a stake in Main Street Capital (MAIN) Tuesday.  MAIN is a monthly dividend payer with insider buying, increasing dividends and good future prospects.  Set to collect the first dividend payment in November, which will boost monthly dividend income by another 5%.  Still haven't seen the full impact of recent share purchases on monthly income.  Should have a better idea of average income per month by the end of December.  Of course by then it will have increased even more from re-invested dividends, but I'll have a pretty good idea of where I stand.

DON continues to do well, up nearly 5% from my original purchase price.  Anxiously awaiting first dividend from them around the end of this month!  UVE is on fire!  Up a whopping 493% over original cost!  Would like to find a few more of those type investments.  They don't come along often, but when you do pick one, it's fantastic!

Been looking at ways to cut personal expenses and reduce personal debt to boost net worth.  That's going to be a big part of my investment plan for 2016.  Would like to be debt free by the end of 2018.  Just have to work out a plan to get there.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

POSSIBLE MASSIVE OIL STRIKE IN ISRAEL!

Just read about a possible massive oil find in Israel's Golan Heights area!  Hasn't been confirmed as yet, but it's from what I read, things are looking good.  Would love to see the Israeli's strike oil and become energy independent, or at least less dependent on oil imports.  I'd be willing to invest in an Israeli oil company.  Have to keep a close eye on this for further news.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

DON IN THE BLACK!

Less than a week after purchasing a stake in DON, I've already earned my commission back and am ahead on the stock!  Makes me think I made the right decision on this one.  I'll be looking for similar investments in the months to come and will be adding to my stake in DON.

Anytime you invest in a stock and make a profit in less than a week, it's a pretty good sign that you've bought the right stock.  Over the years, I've managed to do this on several occasions and have never been disappointed for holding on to the investment.  

On a different note, attended a chili festival this weekend in the small town of Lupus Missouri.  It's located next to the Missouri river and has a population of 33.  They hosted a very nice festival with some good food and great music and there were probably well over a thousand people there.  I was told that they hold this festival every year to pay the city's expenses.  In one day, they earn enough money to cover city government expenses for the entire year.  It made me wonder, if this little town in the middle of nowhere can figure out how to raise the money to cover all there expenses in just one day per year, why can't the politicians in Washington?  I think the answer is, they're too busy politicking. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

FIVE DIVIDENDS TO KICK OFF THE MONTH OF OCTOBER

Kicked off the month of October with five dividend payments.  Have to say I'm a little bit disappointed, although not so surprised, to see NCZ and PHK cut their dividends.  I'll be monitoring both closely, but for the time being, I have no plans to sell.  Both carried high yields and high risk, but even with the dividend cut, they're still worth hanging on to for the monthly dividends.  That is, as long as there aren't any more cuts.  But I knew the risk going in and I'm still willing to hold for the dividends, but I'll be collecting them all in cash.

October is an 18 dividend month, so I should still do well.  Especially looking forward to collecting my first dividend from DON on the 31st.  I'm feeling really good about this investment.  Plan on adding more shares as soon as possible.  Also feeling pretty good about my investment in AOD, but I did notice something disturbing in their last semi-annual report that's making me question my decision there.  Just have to see how things pan out going forward. 

Picking up extra hours at work today and tomorrow, so I should have a little more cash to add to my investment fund or pay down debt.  I'm really planning on attacking my remaining debt for the rest of 2015 and all of 2016.  I don't really have much debt compared to the average U.S. citizen, but it's more than I want to carry.  So I'm going to be concentrating on paying off as much as I possibly can.  The savings from interest alone would allow me to boost my investments dramatically.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

INCREASED TOTAL SHARES OWNED BY 70%!

While the third quarter may not have been so great performance wise, it was a good time to build up my portfolio for future income.  Recent cash investments increased the total number of shares held in my portfolio by 70%!  Monthly cash income from dividends increased dramatically and lowered average price per share on some of my current holdings, increasing yield and positioning my holdings for a quicker recovery when the market takes off again.  Don't know when that will be, but I'm hoping it stays down for a while so I can add additional shares at the lower prices.

Ended the month with 6 dividend payments from AOD, CLM, CRF, GLW, UTG and SPHD.  In a move to build up cash, I'll be taking dividend payouts from CLM and CRF in cash for the foreseeable future.  Also taking payments in cash from NCZ, PSEC and PHK.  With the remaining stocks and funds I'll continue to reinvest all dividends.  Looking forward to first of the month dividends, which should include increases from some of my recent share purchases.  Should see the full benefit of increased income from recent share purchases in the month of October.  December should be the best month of 2015 with a whopping 20 dividend payments!  I'm thinking it will break my all time one month record set in July of this year.  September was the second highest month for dividend income.  So even though total value of my holdings is down, the third quarter of 2015 has been pretty good as far as I'm concerned.  When you concentrate on income, it's a lot easier not to worry so much over the every day ups and downs in the market.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ADDED DON TO TAXABLE PORTFOLIO TO FOCUS ON QUALITY

In an effort to focus on quality and income, I added a stake in Wisdom Tree Mid Cap Dividend Fund (DON) to my taxable account.  They have below average risk, above average returns and a five star rating from Morningstar.  Recent purchases have been directed mostly toward boosting monthly dividends and I felt I needed to add additional quality holdings to balance things out a little more.  Got in before the ex-dividend date for October, so should see the first dividend from DON on October 31st.  

For the rest of the year, I'll be building up my stakes in individual stock holdings, as I mentioned in my previous post.  Recent uncertainty in the stock market, including yesterday's drop, lead me to believe there will be several buying opportunities for the next several months.  With the uncertainty over the Fed's actions on interest rates, it's questionable how long interest rate sensitive stocks (utilities, banks, etc.) will continue to benefit from low interest.  That being said, I really don't expect major moves in interest rates anytime soon, so I'm not overly anxious about it either.

Entering the final quarter of 2015, it's been a pretty good year for me overall.  Didn't meet all my goals, but I'm happy with what I've accomplished for the year.  Will be working on my investment plan for 2016 over the next 3 months.    

Saturday, September 26, 2015

BOOSTED BOND AND STOCK FUND DIVIDENDS, NOW IT'S TIME FOR INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

The extra cash I put to work recently boosted shares held in bond and stock funds and dramatically increased monthly dividend income.  With that in place, I've decided to shift gears and concentrate on increasing stakes in individual stocks in both my IRA and taxable accounts.  I'm setting money aside each month to buy when opportunity presents itself, as in recent dips in the market.  I also decided to collect bond fund dividends in cash to help purchase additional shares of stocks.

While UVE has been my best performing stock (up 349% as of this writing) I don't intend to buy additional shares, although I'll continue to reinvest dividends.  I pulled all my original investment cash out of UVE as the share price skyrocketed and kept the remaining shares.  I kind of like the idea of just letting it ride, knowing that no matter where it ends up going from here, I'm playing with the house's money.  It is still my largest individual stock holding dollar wise.

The first three stocks I'd like to buy more shares of are my original 3 remaining stocks from my last portfolio.  After paying off medical bills from two stent surgeries, I had small stakes in GE, LLY and NYCB.  All three have performed well over the past 3 years and I don't see myself ever selling, unless of course they should discontinue their dividend.  I'll probably start with NYCB.  Not the greatest growth prospects of the three, not even a really great bank stock, but it's been steadily churning out dividends and I like the yield.  LLY is the most expensive and also the best performer of the three, but I'll probably buy that second and GE third.  All of these can be added to using my plan mentioned above, however, should I come in to some unexpected cash, like I did recently, I'd probably buy all three at once.  Hmmm, wonder what kind of Christmas bonus I'll get from my new job?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

BOOST DIVIDEND YIELD BY REDUCING AVERAGE PRICE PER SHARE!

It's always nice when one of your stocks decides to raise dividends to shareholders and you see an increase in yield on dollars invested.  But there's another way to boost yield by reducing your average cost per share.  How do you do that?  By taking advantage of dips in the market to pick up more shares at a lower price.  When you purchase additional shares of a stock you already own at a price lower than your original price, you reduce the average cost per share, which in turn boosts the overall yield on the stock.

How much can you expect to reduce average cost per share?  It depends on what price you bought in and how far the market has dropped when you decide to buy more.  I recently purchased additional shares in AOD and PHK.  Both stocks are down from my original buy in price.  With the new shares purchased, I reduced my average cost per share on AOD by a little over 8% and reduced average cost per share on PHK by a whopping 30%!  Of course before you decide to buy more shares you'd want to make sure the price is down because of a general downturn in the market and not due to any problem with the company you're invested in.  

By reducing average cost per share, you also position yourself for a much quicker recovery when the stock market goes back up.  Whether you buy in at an original low price or take advantage of market downturns to reduce average price per share, the less you pay per share, the more likely you'll see good returns.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

NEW SHARE PURCHASES BOOST DIVIDEND INCOME 42% PER MONTH!

Thanks to an unexpected cash windfall, I put in an order to purchase more shares of AOD, UTG and PHK which will boost monthly dividend income by a whopping 42%!  This investment boosts total cash invested by 25% and increases total shares owned by 40%.  As an added bonus, since I hold UTG in my IRA, it will also give me an additional tax credit when I file my taxes for 2015.

In order to get the most bang for the buck, I reviewed my current holdings to see where the money could best be deployed.  I went for one conservative fund (UTG), one medium risk fund with a higher yield (AOD) and one higher risk bond fund with very high yield (PHK).  With the market being off recent highs, I'll be getting in at a better price and stand to boost overall portfolio yield.  I estimate overall dividend yield to be approximately 7.5% after this latest purchase!

Still have my original plan in place to boost income 10% per month through the rest of 2015.  However, I may decide to change my original investment purchases to make the most of tax deductions and savings on commissions.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

USED UNEXPECTED BONUS FROM WORK TO BOOST MONTHLY DIVIDENDS ANOTHER 10%!

Was fortunate to receive an unexpected bonus from work today.  I considered using it to pay down debt, but my boss said I should buy something for myself.  So I took her advice and invested the bonus in additional shares of NCZ, a monthly dividend bond fund.  I figure this way I'll get a bonus every month from now on.  The additional shares purchased will begin paying in October and will boost monthly cash flow by 10% on top of the 10% boost this month from two additional investments.  I already had a plan in place to boost dividends by 10% in November and December and I'll stick to that plan.  The bonus just allowed for additional increase in monthly cash flow.  Re-invested dividends continue to grow monthly cash flow by 1%, so during the last four months of 2015, I'll have boosted monthly cash flow by a whopping total of 44%!  While total monthly dividends are still quite small, with gains like this, they won't stay that way long.

While I'm excited about the increase in cash flow, I'm even more excited by the fact that these three purchases boosted total shares owned by 25%!  This doesn't include shares purchased through dividend re-investments, which continue to add about 1% per month to total shares owned.  While 1% may not sound like much, it's extremely gratifying to see my portfolio and income increase month after month all on it's own.

Collected two more dividends this week, from LLY and CNP.  For the month of September, I'll collect a total of 17 payments, still have 10 to go!  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

LET YOUR INVESTMENTS PAY FOR YOUR NEXT CAR

About 3 years ago I was talking to one of my younger co-workers who'd saved over $14,000 to buy a new vehicle.  I was impressed that someone so young had been dedicated enough to save his money until he'd accumulated such a big amount.  He was only 18, still lived at home, had no bills to pay, so it was easier for him to save.  Still it's quite an impressive accomplishment.  

Anyway, he was telling me about shopping for a good used vehicle which he intended to pay cash for.  Nothing wrong with that, saves a lot on finance charges.  However, at the time, there were several car dealerships running advertisements for new cars in his price range with payments less than $200 per month.  I knew of at least two bond funds paying monthly dividends in which a $14,000 investment would give you a monthly dividend of $200.  So I advised him to invest his money, buy a new vehicle and finance it with payments below $200 and let his investment pay the payments.  At the end of the loan on his car, he would still have a fairly new car and his $14,000, which would continue to generate $200 per month in dividends.  He decided instead to purchase a used 4 wheel drive truck for $12,500.  

If he'd followed my advice, his car would be nearly paid off and he'd still have a great deal of money, even after the market drop.  More importantly, the funds I recommended would still be paying over $200 per month in dividends.  Instead, he's spent a small fortune on gas for the truck, had to make several expensive repairs and the vehicle has dramatically dropped in value.  

So if you're planning on buying a new car or a newer car, why not drive the old car a little longer and make your car payments to yourself for 3 or 4 years.  As you accumulate money, put it to work to help earn more money until you reach around $14,000 or $15,000 and invest in a monthly dividend fund where you'll earn around $200 a month.  Buy an inexpensive new vehicle and let your investment pay for your car.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

MONTHLY DIVIDEND INCOME UP 10% WITH PURCHASE OF ROYT AND AOD!

Kicked off the month of September with a nice increase in first of the month dividends!  While I'm happy enough about that, I'm even more happy that I was able to take advantage of the market slump to add to my shares of AOD and ROYT.  Got in before the ex-dividend date, so I'll receive the first of the increased dividend payments this month!  Used some of the cash I earned from unexpected overtime in August to purchase the shares which will boost monthly cash flow by 10%!  Was also able to restart my automated savings plan before the end of August to boost cash holdings.  Things are looking up for the beginning of September, even if the market is down.

Also used part of my increased income to purchase a new washer and dryer.  Since moving to my current apartment, I've been going to the laundromat, which is not only time consuming but quite costly.  By purchasing a washer and dryer, I not only free up the time, but I estimate I will recoup the money spent in about a year.  After that, I'll be saving about $40 per month minus electricity costs for operating the machines.  I expect to make that up in the extra free time from not going to the laundromat.  This is a case where spending money up front was the smart thing to do, since it saves a great deal of money and time in the long run.

Monday, August 31, 2015

FOLLOWING WARREN BUFFET'S LEAD

I recently read about Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway making a big investment in Phillips 66.  Makes a lot of sense to me, since Buffet is known for buying quality stocks at a good price and with the oil market being down for quite some time now, the price is right.  If I had the money I'd have probably done the same and bought shares of Phillips 66.  However, I don't have enough free cash to buy individual shares of Phillips, although 4 of my mutual funds have substantial stakes in the company.  

Instead I've been buying up more shares of ROYT, Pacific Coast Oil Royalty Trust.  Even though the share price has taken a beating, I'm pretty confident they'll eventually snap out of it when oil starts to recover.  When will that be?  I'm not sure exactly, but I'd say a pretty good guess would be after the presidential election in 2016.  Once we have a winner, I think we'll see oil prices start to climb.  Sad thing at the gas pump, but could be a wonderful thing if I'm sitting on a pile of ROYT shares.

Collected 5 dividends for the end of the month of August.  While dividend income for the month was no where near last months' record setting level, it was up 9% when compared to the second month of the second quarter.  So I'm pretty pleased about that.  Got an order in to purchase more shares of AOD and ROYT tomorrow, which should generate around a 10% increase in monthly cash flow from dividends.  I'm pretty excited about that and about the first of the month dividends.  It's always great to collect the 5 end of month dividends, but what's even better is knowing the very next day, I'll collect 4 or 5 more dividends! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

MARKET CORRECTION PROVIDES BUYING OPPORTUNITY

While the drop in portfolio value is painful to watch, I've been looking at the market correction as a buying opportunity.  So I put in an order to purchase additional shares of AOD and ROYT.  At current prices, the cash invested will boost monthly cash flow from dividends by 10%!  While this doesn't take all the sting out of declining portfolio value, it does go a long way toward boosting morale.

If you look at market corrections as buying opportunities instead of panicking and selling, it's been my experience that it usually works out in your best interest.  Back in 2008 when the market crashed, I didn't sell anything.  Instead I invested as much as I could to take advantage of the lower prices.  As it turned out, when the market recovered I ended up with way more money than I'd ever had before.  While the current correction is unlikely to be as bad as 2008, it still presents a good buying opportunity and I'm ready to take advantage of it to boost overall yield from my investments.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

HOLDING OUT FOR A GOOD BUYING OPPORTUNITY

The stock market dropped this morning following the latest actions from the Federal Reserve.  I've been holding  back on new share purchases in case of such an eventuality.  

If share prices go down, stock yields rise making new investments in out of pocket cash more profitable.  If I had invested the cash I put back for new share purchases yesterday, I could have increased monthly cash flow by 3%.  If I invested that same amount today, monthly cash flow would increase by 4%, since I would be able to purchase more shares now that prices have dropped.  

However, I'm going to wait a while longer.  I'll keep reinvesting dividends, but I'll hold on to my cash to get a bigger bang for my buck.  I don't think the turmoil in the stock market is going to be over anytime soon and I'm willing to bet that I can find a better buying opportunity.  Of course, since building my portfolio is an ongoing process, I'm not trying to wait on it hitting the bottom, I'm only trying to get a better deal than I would now.  The main goal is to boost monthly cash flow.  A down market makes it easier to buy more shares with higher yields boosting monthly income at a faster rate.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

WHAT ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT?

With all the craziness in the world today, there are plenty of things to worry about.  There are also plenty of things to worry about in the average persons' day to day life.  However, it occurred to me just recently that I've wasted an inordinate amount of time worrying about things that never happened.  So I'm making it my goal to worry less and deal with whatever comes my way when it actually happens.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

SIX MONTHS AT THE NEW JOB, THINGS ARE DEFINITELY LOOKING UP!

One of my goals I set at the first of the year was to find a better job.  Not necessarily a higher paying one, but one that I enjoyed and had more prospects than my old job.  I started my new job in March, so August marks my 6 month anniversary.  Everything is going well.  Stress levels are way down, job satisfaction way up.  I get less per hour, but I have way more in benefits, so it more than makes up for the lost wages.  I also get way more hours than I did at my old job and have more opportunity for advancement, so I'm actually making more money than if I'd stayed on at the old job.

With the extra income, I am finally getting caught up on some of my medical expenses from the heart attacks.  I'm at the point now that I can finally start putting more cash in my retirement account.  I set up an automatic plan to deposit cash twice a month in my investment account and have made deposits to my regular savings account.  Got in some extra hours this week that I wasn't expecting, so I'm taking half the cash from that to make an extra payment on my credit card bill and the other half goes to savings.

Still doing outside work on my own.  I've got a dog sitting job this week and plan to divide the money from that up between paying off debt and adding to my investment account.  It's amazing that one simple goal can lead to big changes in your lifestyle.  Once I get better situated financially, I'm planning on moving to a better neighborhood.  Right now I'm thinking a move closer to work would be the best idea.  Reducing the cost of my commute would allow for more money to pay off debt and increase investments.

So my next life changing goal is to move closer to work.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

MY CURRENT TOP 10 HOLDINGS

A couple of times a year I like to review my holdings to make sure I'm not getting too tied up to any one investment.  Then I make a list of my top ten holdings, which should in no way be construed as advice to invest in any of these stocks.  It is for information purposes only.

My current top ten includes:

 1.  UVE:  Remains my number one holding even after selling off enough shares to recoup all my out of pocket costs.  However, I'll continue to hold this stock forever since my yield on original cost is fantastic and I have none of my own money tied up in it.

 2.  LLY:  Continues to be a great performer, but has plateaued recently.  This is one of my core holdings and I'll likely never sell this stock.

 3.  NCZ:  Bond fund, nice yield, ho-hum performance.  I'll hold for now, but am looking for better performing fund.

 4.  AOD:  Happy with this funds performance and monthly payouts.  It's a keeper as long as the dividend holds.

 5.  NYCB:  Have held this stock for years and will continue to do so, as long as the dividend continues.

 6.  GE:  Seems like everybody owns a little piece of GE.  

 7.  HWBK:  Hometown bank, got in at a great price, will hold this one for the long term.

 8.  WFC:  What can I say, if Warren Buffett likes their long term prospects, so do I.

 9.  T:  Good dividend, core holding.

10.  RRD:  Initially a speculative play, but I'm holding for the dividend.  Did see nice gain on share price since my initial buy in.

There you have it.  My top 10 holdings.  The only stellar performer in the bunch is UVE, up 374% since my initial purchase.  Some of the others have done quite well and I'm pleased overall.  Although I'm heavily weighted towards financials in my top 10 holdings, I'm not worried about it because the remaining investments in my portfolio tend to balance it all out.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

EMBRACING MY JEWISH HERITAGE

It was only in the last two years that I discovered my grandfather who immigrated from Germany was actually Jewish.  Although he was not a practicing Jew and I have no intent to convert to the Jewish religion, I do identify with my Jewish ancestors.  I would be 1/4 Jewish, 1/4 native American, 1/4 Irish and 1/4 British.  From what I know about these four groups, I feel more drawn to my Jewish ancestry, even though I identify as Christian by faith.

With that in mind, I've decided to learn more about the history of the Jewish people and about their religion.  As I mentioned, it is not likely that I'll convert from Christianity, but I would like to know more about where I came from.  I've had opportunity to learn about Native Americans, Ireland and Britain and now I'd like to know more about the rest of my heritage.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

JULY DIVIDEND INCOME SETS NEW RECORD HIGH!

Dividend income for the month of July set an all time record high for my portfolio, thanks in part to the special stock dividend from HWBK.  Income for July beat out the previous record month of December 2014 by 10%!  Total shares owned increased by 1% through reinvested dividends.  Nice to see the steady growth of cash flow and total shares owned.

August is off to a good start with 4 dividend payments collected.  While I'm continuing to reinvest all dividends in individual stocks, I have diverted some fund dividends to cash account in order to purchase more shares of AOD and SPHD as I talked about in a previous post.  While they may not be the top performing funds, they are doing well and I have a lot of faith in the underlying assets of both funds.  Add to that the monthly dividends paid by both and I think it's a good direction for me to go in for now.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

JULY 2015 SET TO BREAK ALL TIME HIGH DIVIDEND INCOME RECORD FOR ONE MONTH!

July 31st I'll receive the final 4 dividends for the month.  I've calculated the monthly total based on previous dividends and it looks like the total will break my all time high record for dividend income in a single month!  I'm pretty excited about that, although I'm not quite sure how it happened.  According to some of my earlier projections, dividend income for the year will be up only slightly over last year.  So I hadn't expected to be setting many records along the way.  But that's the way it works out sometimes.  You can accurately project so many things, but sometimes you have some disappointments and sometimes you have some pleasant surprises.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I'VE BEEN ENTERING A LOT OF SWEEPSTAKES LATELY

I've been entering a lot of sweepstakes lately, although not the ones most people would enter.  See these are small drawings from gas station, grocery store and dollar store receipts.  The prizes range from $500 to $3,000, usually in a gift card, but sometimes in cash.  To enter, they normally require you fill out a short survey on your visit to their store.  Doesn't take much time and any win would make it worth the effort.  I figure the odds of winning one of these prizes is way greater than winning the lottery, since most people won't bother to enter.  Then too, any of the prizes would most likely be a life changing event in my case.  Granted it wouldn't be a big life change, but imagine free gas for a year to someone on a tight budget.  That's definitely a life changer.

So far all I've won is a Bose wave radio, which was nice, but not as good as some of the other prizes.  I sold the radio as soon as I got it for $100, so it was a quick turnaround to cash.  Merchandise prizes I'll most likely sell for cash, but I plan to use any gift cards for gas, groceries, etc. to offset my normal everyday shopping expenses.  Freeing up cash to pay off debt or add to my investment account.  I believe persistence will pay off, so I keep entering.  It's all free, so any prizes won I consider a good return for my time.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

BUY 3 FUNDS, GET 60% STOCKS, 40% BONDS AND 3 MONTHLY DIVIDENDS!

If you read much about investing, you've probably seen the recommended 60% stocks and 40% bonds touted at one point or another.  The idea being that as you age, you divert more of your portfolio in to bond funds for more secure retirement income.  It's my opinion that, if you're a dividend investor, you never really need to increase bond holdings unless it just helps you sleep better at night.  As a dividend investor, I plan on drawing dividend income only, so cashing in my holdings to support my retirement is not part of the plan.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  While reading annual reports from 2 of my stock funds, I was impressed with the quality of the stocks held in each fund and it occurred to me that adding a bond fund with the 2 stock funds would make a very well balanced portfolio.  It would also make it easy to invest in a 60/40 split of stocks and bonds.  You simply divide your investment cash 30% to each stock fund and 40% to the bond fund.  You wouldn't have to sell stocks and buy bonds to re-balance and maintain the 60/40 split.  With funds paying monthly dividends, all you'd have to do is divert the amount of dividend income from one investment to the other as needed.

In my case, I own stakes in AOD (stocks), SPHD (stocks) and NCZ (bonds).  So my plan is to let the rest of my portfolio increase on it's own through reinvested dividends, while I build up my stakes in each of these funds.  I'll be buying quality dividend stocks with monthly payments, increasing my monthly income from bonds and balancing out my portfolio for less volatility and maintain good growth prospects.  It really is not a big change to my overall plan, more like a minor tweak, since it fits in well with my current investment plan.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

TOTAL PORTFOLIO DOWN FROM RECORD HIGH, COLLECTED 2 DIVIDENDS FOR THE WEEK

Well my record high portfolio balance didn't last long.  It was dragged down this week after shares of CRF and CLM tanked on announcement of rights offering to issue more shares.  Not sure what they're up to at Cornerstone, I think it's a bad move. Will be looking to move money out of both funds.

On a brighter note, collected to dividends for the week!  The dividend from ROYT was a whopping 50% higher than last month!  That comes on the heels of a huge increase the month before.  While Iranian oil hitting world markets is sure to add to the excess supply in the short term, I think ROYT will still be a money maker.  I may have to hold on to it longer than I expected, but don't mind collecting those monthly payments.

Had a really busy week at work.  Been filling in for vacationers and working a lot of extra hours over my normal schedule.  Will be looking to boost my investments with some of the extra cash.

Friday, July 17, 2015

WHAT IS THE GAME PLAN AT CORNERSTONE FUNDS FOR CRF AND CLM?

Not sure what the directors of CRF and CLM are up to now.  Since I've held stakes in the funds, they have done rights offerings, increasing the number of shares outstanding.  Then they did reverse stock splits, reducing outstanding shares, which kind of made sense.  Now I see CRF is doing another rights offering and the share price has tanked.  Of course that's not hard to figure out, since they are issuing more shares again, so you'd expect the share price to drop.  I have to admit, I don't understand the logic behind it.  Yes they'll take in more money and possibly increase total equity, but with more shares outstanding who is really going to see any benefit?  I can't help but wonder if they have the shareholder's best interests at heart.  I'm thinking no.  Definitely won't be buying any more shares until I find out what's really going on here.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

ROLLER COASTER WEEK FOR THE STOCK MARKET

It was a roller coaster week with the stock market.  First my accounts were down, then up, then way down and ended the week with a record combined balance for my retirement and taxable account!  Seems people were fretting over the Chinese market, the financial problems in Greece and worrying about what the Fed will do.  As long as there's not a total collapse of the world's financial system, dividend investors kind of have an edge during times like these.  Since they tend to concentrate on monthly cash flows from dividends (or at least I do anyway), then ups and downs in the market don't tend to cause as much anxiety.

Looking forward to collecting a nice dividend from ROYT on the 15th.  Otherwise, it's not much going on with my investments.  Been busy with work though.  It's vacation time for several of my co-workers, so I'll be picking up a lot of extra hours.  Looking forward to having more cash to invest and pay down bills.  Also have money coming in from selling my old laptop and some of my online earning schemes.  Looks like it's going to be a good month!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

2015 HWBK DIVIDEND UP 20% OVER 2014!

HWBK's July dividend, including special stock dividend, is up 20% compared to July 2014!  I think this is amazing performance, considering I added no new cash to my stake.  I simply re-invested dividends and the bank did the rest.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, Warren Buffet says a good investment is one that should grow without any further cash out of pocket.  The value of my Hawthorne Bank shares has gone up about 39% since my initial purchase and dividend income has increased 20% since last year.  I think this would qualify as a good investment.

I'll be holding my investment in Hawthorne for the long term.  Partly because I believe in their long term prospects, but also because it is a local company and I'm more familiar with their day to day operations than most of the other companies I'm invested in.  It always brightens my day to drive by one of their banks and realize that I own a small part of that business.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

HWBK PAYS SPECIAL STOCK DIVIDEND!

Although not so surprised, I was very pleased to see Hawthorne Bank pay a special stock dividend to shareholders this month.  It wasn't surprising, since they've paid the special dividend every July since I've owned the stock.  I am a bit partial to HWBK, although not emotionally attached.  I bought my initial stake when share prices were down, following a bad earnings report.  Since they have a strong presence here in central Missouri, I was very familiar with the bank and their operations and saw an opportunity for gains from a turnaround.  I haven't been disappointed.  My stake in Hawthorne is up nearly 60% since my initial investment!

It's been a good week overall for my portfolio.  Even though some of my holdings were down, ended the week with a record high balance in my investment account.  Got a lot of great dividends in the past 7 days, which always renews my enthusiasm for dividend investing.  During the past 5 days I collected a whopping total of 15 dividend payments!  While the total dollar amount is still small, it is growing every single month.  Imagine if you could find a job where you didn't have to do a lot of work, you got paid 16 times a month and every payday you got a small raise.  Would you be excited about a job like that?  That's exactly why I'm excited about dividend investing.

Thursday, July 2, 2015





Wishing Everyone a safe and Happy 4th of July Weekend!



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

JULY STARTS OFF WITH A BANG, 5 DIVIDENDS FOR THE FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH!

July started off with a bang, as I collected another 5 dividend payments for the first day of the month!  That makes 11 payments total in the last two days!  Who says dividend investing is boring.  I get pretty excited about it when I see the money rolling in.  

UVE is set to pay on the second, shares ended up 4.42% today.  Overall 75% of my current holdings ended higher for the day, so I'm pretty happy about that.  Total portfolio value is still down, mostly due to seasonal drop in price of UVE which is still my largest holding.  Don't intend to ever sell any shares of UVE as long as they're paying dividends.  It's been a great investment over the past 10 years.  I've bought low and sold high and collected a lot of dividends along the way.  I bought back in a little over 2 years ago, held until the price doubled, sold enough shares to pull all my out of pocket money out and kept the rest.  Since then I've reinvested dividends to build my stake back up, with no additional cash investment on my part.  Warren Buffet says a good investment should continue to grow without adding additional cash.  So I'm pretty sure UVE is one of the best investments I've ever made.

ROYT dropped in price today, but I'm looking forward to the increased payout this month.  Last month's increase was a nice surprise, but I never expected to see them increase the payout again, especially while the share price is so low.  I'm reinvesting it all and letting it ride.  I'm still convinced that I'll see some fantastic gains from ROYT as soon as the price of gas goes back up.  We all know that's just a matter of time.  I wouldn't be surprised if gas prices stayed low until after the presidential election in 2016, since historically gas prices always drop during the presidential campaigns.  The article I read about it theorized that the government manipulates the pricing so the incumbent party has a better chance of retaining the White House.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

THIS IS WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT DIVIDEND INVESTING

Just collected 6 dividend payments on the last day of June.  While I was pleased to see the increase in dividends from last month, what makes me even more excited is that tomorrow, on July 1st, I'll have a repeat of today with all of the first of the month dividends rolling in.  This is the greatest part of dividend investing.  The market is down, yet the money keeps pouring in.  Not only am I collecting more each month, as reinvested dividends increase monthly cash flows, but I'm also seeing my total stock holdings increase with every payment.  While your portfolio is small, the increases seem slow, but as your holdings increase, the money rolls in in ever increasing quantities.

I'm at the point now where I'm in the maintenance mode.  I don't expect to add any new stocks anytime soon, but I'm working on building positions in current holdings.  The only thing that would trigger a trade would be a dividend cut, then it's time to sell.  Otherwise it's just a matter of monitoring my investments.  I do plan to increase my portfolio to a total of 30 holdings after doing more research in dividend investing.  According to my research, a portfolio of 30 investments stands a greater chance of positive returns with less volatility than a smaller portfolio.  I don't feel particularly rushed to buy stakes in an additional 10 stocks.  I think at this point I should be very selective and search out quality stocks at good prices to add to my holdings.  I'll be looking for the best deals with the most profit potential.  When I do decide to buy new stocks, they will most likely all be from the list of Dividend Aristocrats.

Monday, June 29, 2015

MARKET TUMBLE OVER GREECE DEBT NOT ALL BAD NEWS

Today's drop in the stock market is actually not all bad news.  At least not for me, or people like me, who re-invest dividends.  I have several stocks that pay at the end of the month and on the first of the month.  With dividends being re-invested and prices being down, I'll get more bang for my buck.  Lower priced shares also mean rising dividend yields, as long as dividends aren't cut.  Don't really see that happening anytime soon.

I am a bit concerned about the rumors of the IMF adding China's yuan to the international basket of reference currencies.  If other countries begin to sell off U.S. dollars in exchange for the Chinese yuan, it could create havoc in the U.S. economy and the stock markets.  Although, I'm not convinced that it would be the end of the world scenario that some are predicting right now.  If it all goes down, it could lead to a massive transfer of wealth, which means that there will be opportunities to make money as well as the potential of losing money.  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

SHORT SUCCESS STORY FROM A DIVIDEND INVESTOR

An active comment writer on Seeking Alpha shared their brief story of success investing in companies with growing dividends.

Actually, having owned CL since 1991, the facts are:
Purchased 200 shares at $69.75
Original cost: $13,950.00
Stock split 2-1 in 1991, 2-1 in 1997, and 2-1 in 1999.
The 200 shares grew to 1600 shares.
Dividends reinvested added an additional 527 shares
Currently holding 2172 shares.
Current price $82.41
Current value $178994.52
Change in value: $165044.54
Cost Basis Per Share: $6.42
Current Dividend: .58 per share per quarter or $2.32 annually
Income from Cl holdings: $5039.04 annually or $419.92 per month.
Peace of Mind: Priceless
Just Sayin
This reminds me of the kind of success the early buyers of Walmart have had – without even counting reinvested dividends, an original investment in 1970 of 100 shares has grown to over 200,000 today, with an income of $292,000.

YOUR FUTURE STARTS NOW!

Below is an excerpt from my initial blog post dated October 27, 2007, I thought it was worth re-posting:

At this point, I don't have much doubt that I will reach my goals, but telling the story as I go is very appealing to me and I hope will be of interest to others who might want to follow along. I most certainly welcome advice from others along the way and hope that my example might inspire people who, like myself, may not see any way out of the wage slave racket of going to work day after day and spending all their hard earned cash to pay bills and just get by. Opportunities and money abound in this country, that's why so many people want to come here. Sometimes when you're so close to something every day, you don't really notice it. I've finally realized it was time to open my eyes and my mind to all the possibilities and to take action to get from where I am to where I want to be. The future starts NOW!

PLUG THE LEAKS IN YOUR FINANCES!

Got a call from one of my banks about my statement being returned, turns out they'd sent it to my old address.  This was from an account I opened when I worked in Columbia, MO and I hadn't used it in a while.  Decided I'd better update my checking and savings, so I went to their website and signed in.  I was shocked at what I found.  They'd been charging me an inactivity fee on my "free" checking and had used up all the money, then closed the account.  My savings was below the minimum amount and I knew they were charging me a fee for that, but I didn't realize how long it had been since I'd checked it and was shocked to see the balance was below $10.

I had to go by this bank on my way to work today, so I stopped in and closed the savings account.  While there was only a small amount left, I figure there was no good reason for me to let the bank have it.  Not to mention they'd already taken enough of my money.  This got me to thinking about all the other small fees I've been paying.  While I'm pretty good about checking for automatic charges to my credit cards and cancelling the ones I don't use anymore, I've been lax about my bank accounts.  Decided it was a good time to close out all the accounts that charge fees and go with the banks that pay me instead.  Sorry to say my main bank for the past 22 years didn't make the cut.  Their interest rate on savings is one of the lowest in the nation and they still charge me a $4.00 monthly fee on checking.  So they're out.  I'm going with Discover checking (free checks, no monthly fees, free debit card, cash back on checks, electronic payments and debit card swipes).  For savings I'm going to stick with Capital One (competitive interest rate, monthly compounding).

It's always good to take a look at your day to day finances periodically to look for leaks.  When you have small amounts of cash taken away for non-essentials or for goods or services you no longer use, cut them off, plug up the leaks!  It will make for a lot smoother sailing financially.

ROYT BOOSTS DIVIDEND PAYMENT FOR JULY 2015!

Pacific Coast Oil Trust (NYSE:ROYT) announced a July cash distribution to unit holders in the amount of $0.04289 per unit.  This represents an increase of over 50% compared to the June distribution!  The trust's distribution relates to net profits and overriding royalties generated in May of 2015.  While ROYT was a speculative investment on my part, I'm happy to see the dividends rolling in!

This may be a good investment for to use my "free stock" strategy.  By "free stock" I mean, when the price per share increases to double what I paid, I sell half of the shares and take out my initial cash and keep the remaining shares.  Thus making it "free" in the sense that no out of pocket money is invested.  So whatever it makes from then on is just icing on the cake.  I'll have to keep a close eye on it.  The share price has been moving higher along with gas prices, so it could potentially double in a relatively short time.  Just have to see how it goes.

Friday, June 12, 2015

ROYT DIVIDEND UP OVER 300% FROM LAST MONTH!

Collected monthly dividend from ROYT today and the payout was up over 300% compared to last month's payout!  Not sure why the increase, unless the profits for the trust were up, but whatever the case may be, I'm pretty happy about it.  I bought in to ROYT for possible capital gains profits, since I believed the price had been driven down way more than it should have.  However, it's great to collect the dividends every month while I wait to see if the price goes back up.

Also collected dividends from 3 quarterly payers this week.  LLY, CNP and PDLI.  Lilly and Centerpoint Energy are two of my core holdings, PDLI is more of a speculative ploy, but I'm expecting to hold on to my shares in the bio-pharma company for quite some time.  

Needed to upgrade to a newer computer and I finally found a deal this past week.  Got a new Toshiba Satellite, by searching under "laptop deals" on Amazon, for $179 and also got a great deal on Kenneth Cole Reaction leather laptop case, bringing my total to a little over $200.  Since my old Toshiba laptop with Windows Vista is still in great working order, I figure I can resell it for $80 to $100 and recoup a good deal of the money I spent on the Windows 8 laptop.  Took only a couple of hours for me to figure out the differences between Vista and Windows 8, I'm liking the newer version pretty well.  By buying now, I also got to reserve a free upgrade to Windows 10 due in July of this year!  Just goes to show, if you have a little patience, you can get what you want or need for a great deal less than if you just run right out and buy. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

KICKED OFF THE MONTH OF JUNE WITH 5 DIVIDEND PAYMENTS!

The month of June started off on a positive note with 5 dividend payments on the first of the month!  While not unexpected, it's still nice to see the money keep rolling in month after month.  It's also nice to see the payments increasing every month!  Been looking at ways to come up with extra cash to boost current positions and increase the dividends even more, but I'm still thinking the market will go in to a slump mid year and I'd rather invest at the lower prices.

This week kind of gave me a case of whiplash.  One day my portfolio was up, the next day it was down and Friday it was all over the place.  But that's when you just have to remember that, as a dividend investor, it's not so much about the current price as it is the current cash flow from investments.  Price is a big consideration when you buy in or sell, but when you're holding for the cash flow from dividends it's not as big a deal.  That being said, it's still nice to see the value of your holdings going up instead of down.  

The new job I started in March is going great!  Still not making the kind of salary I'd like, but there is a lot to be said about job satisfaction.  I haven't had a single bad day at work since I started and I've had a lot of great days.  It's such a nice change to do something you like and actually be appreciated for it.  Getting out of the bad work environment I'd been in for the past 6 years was one of the best things I've done in a long time.  It's changed my entire perspective on life overall.  Much easier to look on the bright side of things when you're not faced with a constant barrage of negativity from co-workers.

Since the positive job change is working out so well, I've set my sights on moving to a better neighborhood.  I figure a change of location on the home front will keep the good energy flowing.  So I've been looking for a new place to live.  Wish me luck!

Friday, May 29, 2015

TOTAL NUMBER OF DIVIDEND PAYMENTS DROP, DIVIDEND INCOME UP 20%!

With EGAS changing from monthly to quarterly dividend payments, the total number of dividends I'll collect has dropped from 192 to 184.  Since the dividend was not cut, it will only have a small effect on total income related to compounding from frequency of payments.  So it's pretty much a non issue.

Overall portfolio value is still up for the month.  Total dividend income is down in 2015 when compared to the month of May 2014.  However, total dividend income for the year is up a little over 20% when compared to 2014.  As expected, I'm not seeing the huge gains in monthly cash flow that I experienced all last year.  Income has leveled off to more sustainable amounts.  

Still expect to see a slump in the markets starting in June or July, but I could be wrong.  No matter how it actually goes, I'll either see an increase in portfolio value from a higher stock market or I'll be able to purchase more stock at lower prices.  It's kind of a win win scenario for me, so I'm pretty excited about the prospects.