Saturday, December 1, 2018


I'm going on a vacation out of the country, but I'll update if/when I can in a month or two.

November picked up a bit at the end after the selloff in October.  The big issues on the horizon are the economic summit in Argentina (i.e. Trump & Xi), and the jobs report on Friday.

I'll keep this short, since I'm in a bit of a hurry to start my vacation.

Dividends Received $244.08
FAST  $8.00
ETN  $6.60
PG  $30.12
NNN  $35.50
MAIN  $10.34
HRL  $7.69
ABT  $4.76
OKE  $34.20
APD  $16.50
MA  $4.00
GIS  $26.95

November Purchases:
OKE  2
TGT  20
TGT  3
ADM  3
IP  10
HD  3
IP  5
MAIN  56
QCOM  16
There were some good post-earnings deals for quality companies, especially QCOM & TGT.  MAIN became my largest holding thanks to my wife wanting to invest and putting up some money in our account.  She originally was looking for immediate income so I offered MAIN, but decided to let me reinvest (for now) her dividends from MAIN.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Friday, November 2, 2018

Downturn During a Scary Month

My net worth dropped this month to a level not seen since July, and so did everyone else's.  Anyways, I'm a few days late for this post due to a busy month, so let's get into it.

Dividends Received: $60.60
October is my "low" income month.  I'm not sure if I should do anything about it - two of the stocks are monthly payers, so I don't see how I would ever really get ahead.  I guess I could make it my goal to make sure my bills are just barely paid for in this month, which means everything over that on the other two months would be excess.  In that case, I have a ways to go!

October Purchases:

I started a position in ABBV, and now I am at 28 stocks.  I have all the sectors pretty much covered with what I want, so I think I will hold here for awhile.  My wife has been thinking about joining my son and I in the dividend investment realm, and will probably be purchasing just for monthly income starting this month.  I will probably track her investments separately, even though we will use the same account (so she can take advantage of the free trades).  IP has been dropping like a rock, despite having a great quarter, and WTR announced it will be buying Peoples Gas, which made it drop 10% as the shareholders digest that information.  Everything else I've been buying on dips.

I put my house up for sale last month, and it is currently in escrow (crossing fingers) to close early December.  I did this because the housing market is currently pretty good - along with the job market for potential buyers.  With mortgage rates on the rise, I didn't want to be trapped in a big house that I didn't really need anymore.  I have a feeling that the election in early November might have a negative impact on the economy sooner or later, so I wanted to be ready for any housing market bubbles popping.  I'll be "homeless" for a few months, but we have that taken care of already.  While it is tempting to drop all the house money into dividends for $1000+ a month instant income, I do realize that would be putting all my eggs in one basket, and while home equity buildup is slower (although it seems just as volatile sometimes), it is diversifying.

Friday, September 28, 2018

30 Days in September

Dividends Received: $189.33
401k Taxable 10.01

Highlights this month included:
-The big Southern Vogtle fight.  This is now over, and the nuclear plant is going to continue being built with double (triple) the cost.  The payoff will be huge once it is finished, but this will be an anchor around this utility's neck for awhile.  I bought in once they decided.
-International Paper keeps sinking - I think I'll be buying this more as it dips until I'm full (just under 5% of my portfolio).
-Wanted to by ABBV but it hasn't had a pullback the week I was looking - so nickel and dimed some other nice prospects already in my portfolio.
-Been very busy with life this month, but still kept an eye on stocks.

September Purchases:
Southern Company (SO) 10
International Paper (IP) 4
Fastenal Company (FAST) 5
     I'm trying to determine how real estate is a comparable investment to dividend stocks.  I'd rather pour money into a REIT than get minimal gains after owning a house for almost two decades.  I understand location is key, and the 2007 bubble set many back, but seriously, I've gotten better gains on my dividend stocks in 18 months than almost 20 years with my house, not to mention all the repairs/improvements.  I'd almost rather let someone else deal with the problems and costs of a house and liquidate my house into dividend stocks, except that wouldn't be too diverse now would it?  And the work of owning rental properties vs. buy dividend stocks... sheesh real estate is too much of a headache.  I *may* buy a future vacation rental, then rent it out while travelling the world... or maybe just get a Winnebago.

     September is historically the worst month for stocks, so this one wasn't so bad.  But does this mean the selloff will happen in October for tax harvesting?  Or in November after the midterm elections?  Who can say.... Let's hope for the best!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Big Changes

A lot has happened in my personal life the past month - much of it is a blur, but without going into details I am moving large amounts of money around.  One example is the fact that my employer's 401k is kind of a two-edged sword.  The ETFs they let me invest in do garner interest, but the interest just DRIPs back into the ETF.  It was a little annoying for the brokerage account to not let me at least direct the dividends.  However, on the upside, I could purchase my company's stock in my 401k and receive the dividends as taxable income into my bank account, which I can then feed back into my taxable brokerage account.  I had quite a bit of cash on hand in my 401k in case of a flash crash, but decided to just drop it (about 15%) into the company stock.  A little much, but I don't put anymore money into my 401k, so it will more or less stay at that point without help from me.  This did add over $1k into my taxable and I should be getting those dividends ($250) on a quarterly basis very soon.  So my dividend meter increased by quite a lot at this point.  I haven't yet decided if I want to graph it as part of my taxable brokerage account holdings.  While it is deceptive to have that much income unattributed to my stock picks, it's share of my taxable portfolio isn't something I need to know when I buy stocks that aren't from my employer (hope that makes sense).

After dropping Compass (CMP) as one of my materials stocks for freezing their dividend, I decided to add International Paper (IP) as my second pick for that sector (after APD).  I also purchased my second energy stock Oneok (OKE).  Both were at good times to buy.  After I start a position with another health related stock, I will be at 28.

I like being able to buy 1 or 2 shares depending on if the stock is low for the day, and if I have any cash leftover from dividends received.

Dividends Received: 192.39
 Date Type Descriptio Amount ($)
 08/22/18  Dividend    FASTENAL CO CASH DIV ON 15 SHS REC 07/25/18 P...6.00
 08/17/18  Dividend    ***EATON CORPORATION PLC CASH DIV ON 10 SHS R...6.60
 08/15/18  Dividend    REALTY INCOME CORP CASH DIV ON 45 SHS REC 08/...9.90
 08/15/18  Dividend    PROCTER & GAMBLE CO CASH DIV ON 42 SHS REC 07...30.12
 08/15/18  Dividend    NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES INCCASH DIV ON 71 ...35.50
 08/15/18  Dividend    MAIN STREET CAPITAL CORPORATION CASH DIV ON 5...10.07
 08/15/18  Dividend    HORMEL FOODS CORP CASH DIV ON 41 SHS REC 07/1...7.69
 08/15/18  Dividend    ABBOTT LABORATORIES CASH DIV ON 17 SHS REC 07...4.76
 08/13/18  Dividend    AIR PRODUCTS & CHEMICALS INC CASH DIV ON 13 S...14.30
 08/09/18  Dividend    MASTERCARD INCORPORATED CASH DIV ON 16 SHS RE...4.00
 08/01/18  Dividend    GENERAL MILLS INC CASH DIV ON 55 SHS REC 07/1...26.95
 08/01/18  Dividend    AT&T INC CASH DIV ON 73 SHS REC 07/10/18 PAY ...36.50

August Purchases:
Aqua America - 1
International Paper - 15
Kimberly Clark - 1
Oneok - 26
Southern - 4
Air Products - 2

Southern's nuclear plants are in doubt, and I suppose we will know more after the end of September.  It's share price should continue to dwindle because of this uncertainty, but after the news, I may look to load up.  They are a utility, and always have decent cash flow, so I think abandoning the nuclear project, though expensive, wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing for the company.  We will see if I am right.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Moving Day

Time for the July update, but first...  I'm moving to my new broker!  Nine days of frozen securities as they drop off the stock POD and move me to 30 free trades a month (and some cash)!  July was a great month for me capital gains-wise, and some pretty good increases (FAST had their second div increase this year!) as the Q2 results are all better than expected.

Meanwhile, my last opportunity to purchase before moving was a bust.  Mainly because I had nothing on sale.  The only two stocks of mine that are under water are General Mills (GIS) and AT&T (T), and I am overweight on those.  So I decided to hold my cash until after the move.  I was looking to round out my two energy buys with Occidental Petroleum (OXY) but that, also, is too expensive.  Hard times for DGIers everywhere :)

I've been reading Adam Smith's ponderous tome "The Wealth of Nations" on my audible app, and it has many interesting tidbits.  I only mention this, because once I finish it, I'll start researching my business startup so I can "ROBS" my 401k, which I mentioned last month.

Dividends Received: $59.31 (the low month)
 Date Type Description (show categories) Amount ($)
 07/20/18  Dividend    XCEL ENERGY INC COMMON STOCK CASH DIV ON 43 SHS REC 06/15/18...16.34
 07/16/18  Dividend    MAIN STREET CAPITAL CORPORATION CASH DIV ON 53 SHS REC 06/29...10.07
 07/13/18  Dividend    REALTY INCOME CORP CASH DIV ON 45 SHS REC 07/02/18 PAY 07/13...9.90
 07/03/18  Dividend    KIMBERLY CLARK CORP CASH DIV ON 23 SHS REC 06/08/18 PAY 07/0...23.00

July Purchases:
 Date Type Description (show categories)
 07/17/18  Bought    26 of T 
 07/03/18  Bought    40 of ORI 
 07/02/18  Bought    22 of T

GIS and CMP are currently a "Hold" for me, as they have frozen their dividends.  I did tax harvest GIS this month.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

401k Escape Plan

This past week a co-worker, knowing I regretted investing in my 401k, turned my world upside down.  He told me about ROBS (Roll-Over for Business Startups).  Essentially, if I leave my current employer, I would be able to start or buy a business, roll over my 401k into my business's 401k plan, issue shares from my business, and then walla, fund my business without being taxed or penalized.  So - if I start a bed and breakfast or vacation rental business, I could buy/build a vacation home, deck it out with all the latest furnishings with extras (car for picking up vacationers?) fund it with my 401k, then rent it out (when I'm not staying there).  The IRS overlooks this manipulation of your 401k because you are starting a business so hopefully a) paying taxes b) employing people and c) they are paying taxes.  I still have a lot of research to do, but here's a brief overview: Suddenly my dream of retiring early is much closer.  I just need to pick a business and set up a business plan ready to go in the possibility I leave my current employer for one reason or another.

June was a bit of a humdrum month, but a few times this month I only had 2 stocks on sale.  On sale meaning that they have dropped 5% or more below the price I paid for them.  Staples are showing a bit of strength, and the domestic stocks are growing (for now) thanks to the tradewar.  I may tax harvest GIS into T, and then buy some ORI to help balance my growing portfolio.  I am getting closer to the 50k milestone and looking forward to free trades every month!

This is my most profitable dividend month yet, which is good, because the next month is pretty lean:

Dividends Received: $177.21
 Date Type Description (show categories) Amount ($)
 06/01/18  Dividend    WEC ENERGY GROUP INC CASH DIV ON 13 SHS REC 05/14/18 PAY 06/...7.18
 06/01/18  Dividend    AQUA AMERICA INC CASH DIV ON 14 SHS REC 05/18/18 PAY 06/01/1...2.87
 06/06/18  Dividend    SOUTHERN CO CASH DIV ON 40 SHS REC 05/21/18 PAY 06/06/1824.00
 06/07/18  Dividend    ARCHER-DANIELS-MIDLAND CO CASH DIV ON 15 SHS REC 05/17/18 PA...5.03
 06/11/18  Dividend    TARGET CORP CASH DIV ON 14 SHS REC 05/16/18 PAY 06/10/188.68
 06/11/18  Dividend    CHEVRON CORPORATION CASH DIV ON 13 SHS REC 05/18/18 PAY 06/1...14.56
 06/12/18  Dividend    JOHNSON & JOHNSON CASH DIV ON 15 SHS REC 05/29/18 PAY 06/12/...13.50
 06/14/18  Dividend    HOME DEPOT INC CASH DIV ON 12 SHS REC 05/31/18 PAY 06/14/1812.36
 06/15/18  Dividend    REALTY INCOME CORP CASH DIV ON 45 SHS REC 06/01/18 PAY 06/15...9.88
 06/15/18  Dividend    OLD REPUBLIC INTL CORP CASH DIV ON 46 SHS REC 06/05/18 PAY 0...8.97
 06/15/18  Dividend    MAIN STREET CAPITAL CORPORATION CASH DIV ON 35 SHS REC 05/21...6.65
 06/15/18  Dividend    COMPASS MINERALS INTL INC CASH DIV ON 11 SHS REC 06/01/18 PA...7.92
 06/18/18  Dividend    MCDONALDS CORP CASH DIV ON 13 SHS REC 06/04/18 PAY 06/18/1813.13
 06/20/18  Dividend    QUALCOMM INC CASH DIV ON 45 SHS REC 05/30/18 PAY 06/20/1827.90
 06/26/18  Dividend    MAIN STREET CAPITAL CORPORATION CASH DIV ON 53 SHS REC 06/19...14.58

June Purchases:
KMB - 8
JNJ - 7

According to the Stock Trader’s Almanac, July ranks among the best months of the year for both the Dow and the S&P 500, although the results are notably worse for the Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 — the two gauges that have generally been holding up the best of late.  Hope July keeps its rep!

Friday, June 1, 2018

May Portfolio Update

May was a pretty good month.  I had two stocks flirt with "Gold Status" only to dip back down, but they are on their way to making it permanent.  Home Depot (HD) and Chevron (CVX) are two excellent stocks well on their way to achieving gold status in my portfolio.

I received my largest dividend disbursement ever in a month, $153.06.  I am making, on average, $137 a month.  Compared to a year ago at $15 a month.  Of course, I had only invested $6k at that time, and mostly in low yielding stocks, as opposed to 44.5k today.  My next goal is to hit 50k, then move that to Merrill Edge for 30 free trades a month!

I tax harvested AT&T, and moved that over to MAIN for a higher yield.  I will always tax harvest for a higher yield, and since AT&T yield-on-cost already is high, MAIN is the only one higher.  It wasn't enough to take it out of the purple category (10% loss), but AT&T is now underweight and ripe for purchasing in late June.  I'll be keeping a close eye on the DOJ ruling to determine when to buy.  I may be harvesting GIS next month.  It makes more sense for me to take my harvest losses this year as I am working to get below the expected tax bracket I will be hovering above.  I give a lot to tax-deductible charities (10% of gross), but my portfolio can definitely help out with this as I re-position my holdings for the future while increasing my annual income.  Tax harvesting is really beneficial to dividend growth investors.

I completed my industrial sector purchases by buying Eaton Corporation (ETN).  They are an American-born company, that switched their HQ to Ireland, so it is considered an international stock.  As long as they continue to prove that they are a reliable dividend payer, I'll continue to hold them.  The negative about having international stocks is that they are usually late to report dividend tax information to my broker, who in turn delivers them late to me, so I need to re-file over a few dollars.  I guess I won't mind as much when it is a couple hundred dollars, but I am an early filer (don't want scammers to steal any returns I might have).

I removed my watchlist from my holdings spreadsheet, as I have enough opportunities in my own portfolio to keep me busy at the moment.  If I am overweight on all stock sales, or if I receive a windfall, I will consider increasing my holdings.  I am currently lacking in the energy department, but that sector is a little too volatile at the moment, so I don't mind sitting it out.

Dividends Received:
AT&T (T)                     34.50
General Mills (GIS)     24.50
Mastercard (MA)           4.00
Air Products (APD)     14.30
Abbot Labs (ABT)         4.76
Hormel (HRL)                7.69
Main Street (MAIN)       6.65
National Retail (NNN)  20.43
Procter & Gamble (PG) 20.80
Realty Income (O)           9.88
Fastenal (FAST)              5.55

May Purchases:
NNN          28
ETN            10
PG               13
MAIN         18
GIS              19

June should be slow and steady, with a possible influx of cash at the end of July, and definitely in August.