Wednesday, August 24, 2016

It's Quiet...A Little Too Quiet

Embrace the volatility, VIX option

For the most part I've been on the investment sidelines for much of the past year.  Part of that was due to not seeing many investment opportunities, but mostly it was due to having other needs for our cash.  The past year has seen both of us without a full time job at the same time, the birth of our daughter, becoming a SAHD and so many other changes.  Unfortunately just about everything requires cash which means investing has been on the back burner.

One of the advantages of being on the sidelines is that I get to sit back and just observe.  Something that's surprised me a bit is the lack of volatility this year.  For the most part the major indices have taken after the tortoise rather than the hare this year.  Even more so since the "Brexit" vote.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Should You Be Taking Profits In General Mills?


dividend growth investing, value investing, discounted cash flow analysis
General Mills, Inc. (GIS) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016
For decades, cereal has been the go-to breakfast for Americans, because it's quick, easy and relatively healthy. That makes it a staple in the pantry of millions of American households. The domestic cereal market is dominated by the two largest players, General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) and Kellogg Company (NYSE:K), both owning around 30% of the ready-to-eat cereal market.
General Mills is much more than just a cereal company, with well-known brands found in kitchens everywhere. There's baking products such as Bisquick, Betty Crocker, Gold Medal Flour and Pillsbury. Haagen-Dazs ice cream in the frozen section. Larabar, Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen in the organic/natural space. Fiber One and Nature Valley for those quick snack granola bars, and one of the most well known yogurt brands, Yoplait.
As a long-term investor, I want to stock my portfolio up with as many great companies as I can and buy shares at fair value or less. Identifying great companies is the easy part of that equation, but you make your money ensuring the value is right when you buy shares.
Let's examine some qualitative factors of General Mills and why I feel that it meets the high-quality standard, and then dig into whether the shares represent a value.
Continue reading the article on Seeking Alpha.

Seeking Alpha - General Mills, Inc. (GIS) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Weekly Roundup - August 20, 2016...Finally A Break

Weekly Roundup filled with some of the best articles on dividend growth investing, stock analyses, personal finance and financial independence from the past week.
Happy Weekend!  Check out what's been going on in my world and some of the best articles from around the blogosphere.
We finally got a break from the oppressive heat that had just been sitting on top of us for the last month or so.  Of course, in typical fashion that break came with a swing in the opposite direction.  Every day this past week we've had gray skies and rain.  It's rarely a nice mix here in Houston, but I'll definitely take gray and rainy over 100°F+ by the early afternoon.   

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rio Olympics, Gold Medals and Bad Investments



Rio Olympics, Gold Medals and Bad Investments
2016 Rio Olympics
I don't know about all of you, but I've been loving the 2016 Olympics.  Of course it helps that I'm currently unemployed and get to check out the events whenever I get a chance during the day.

Seeing all of these athletes from around the world competing and getting to see 4 years of hard work be put to the test is inspiring.  I've seen Olympic records, World Records and heard some great stories behind the athletes.

By now I'm sure just about everyone has heard of Michael Phelps and his insane accomplishments.  In the Rio Olympics alone he's amassed 5 gold medals and was involved in a 3-way tie for the silver medal he won.  Over the 4 Olympics that he's been in he's hauled in 28 medals.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

McCormick & Company: Overvalued No Matter How You Cook It

dividend growth investing, value investing, discounted cash flow analysis
McCormick & Company (MKC) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016
Spices and herbs. Those are the epitome of kitchen staples and the largest player is McCormick & Company (NYSE:MKC). Consumer staples companies are historically some of the most consistent payers and growers of dividends because of their stable businesses.

McCormick & Company offers excellent diversification in the spices and flavors portion of your kitchen with both general consumer and industrial customers. The consumer segment, that's you and me, provide approximately 60% of McCormick's sales while the industrial segment accounts for the other 40%. McCormick also offers global diversification with just over 40% of 2015's revenues coming from outside the United States.
There's two parts to determining whether a company should be added to one's portfolio. The first is the quality of the company so we'll examine if McCormick & Company meets that standard. The second is whether the market is undervaluing, fairly valuing or overvaluing the shares in relation to the value of the company.
How about that dividend?
A company's quality is crucial for investors with a long term mindset. Unfortunately companies aren't just labeled high quality we have to look for cues within the numbers. One of the easiest signs to read is a company's dividend history because companies don't just wander into a multiple decade long streak.
Continue reading the article on Seeking Alpha.

Seeking Alpha - McCormick & Company (MKC) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016

Nike: Attractively Valued And Poised For Double-Digit Returns

dividend growth investing, value investing, discounted cash flow analysis
Nike, Inc. (NKE) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016
Nike, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) has long been synonymous with athletes everywhere. With the Rio Olympics going on and the free advertising with close-ups of just about every athlete what better time to analyze Nike as a potential investment than now?

Nike has delivered investors 20.6% annual returns over the last decade and 12.2% returns over the last twenty years. There's very few companies that can maintain that level of consistency and wealth generating ability, yet Nike has done superbly.

Nike has extremely strong brand strength with consumers routinely buying more product and willing to pay more for that "Nike Swoosh" on the side of the shoes. Nike's brand strength might be untouchable and the company high quality, but that doesn't mean it makes for a good investment if the market is valuing the shares to richly. Let's examine why Nike is an excellent company and then we'll see if we should purchase some shares.
How about that dividend?
The quality of a company is crucial to an investor looking to own the company forever. However, determining the quality is difficult so I look to the numbers. Companies don't just stumble into decades long dividend growth streaks which is why the dividend history is one of my first stops when analyzing a company.
Nike's streak sits at 14 years currently based on calendar year payouts. That gives them the title of Dividend Contender.
Continue reading the article on Seeking Alpha.

Seeking Alpha - Nike, Inc. (NKE) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Weekly Roundup - August 13, 2016...I'm Melting Edition

Weekly Roundup filled with some of the best articles on dividend growth investing, stock analyses, personal finance and financial independence from the past week.
Happy Weekend!  Check out what's been going on in my world and some of the best articles from around the blogosphere.
The 3 day SAHD trial this week turned into a 4 day trial, but no one was worse for the wear.  Our daughter had a few tears, but I'm happy to report that there were none from me.  It's hard to believe it, but as of August 9th she's already a month old.  This past month has been a complete blur and it's amazing to see how much she's changed in just one month.  She went from essentially only sleeping and eating to now being awake for an hour or so at a time and exploring her world.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Trouble Ahead For Kimberly-Clark Investors?

dividend growth investing, value investing, discounted cash flow analysis
Kimberly Clark Corporation (KMB) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016
As a new dad going through plenty of diapers I couldn't help but look into the maker of Huggies diapers. We're going through an 88 pack box in about a week's time which means lots of cash leaving my pocket and going to the maker, Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB).
I love consumer staples as part of the core of my portfolio and Kimberly-Clark is a company that I've always had my eye on, but have yet to add it to my portfolio. You can't get much more staple with your product lineup than diapers, Kleenex and paper towels.
Let's examine Kimberly-Clark a bit closer to see what makes them tick and how they've been able to amass a 44 year dividend growth streak. Of course a quality company doesn't mean it will make a good investment so we'll look at the valuation too.
How about that dividend?
First and foremost for dividend growth investors is the quality of the company. If a company consistently grows the dividend payment year after year there's a high likelihood that the company is high quality.
Kimberly-Clark is no exception with 44 consecutive years of increases. A streak that long is enviable and gives them the title of Dividend Champion.
Continue reading the article on Seeking Alpha.

Seeking Alpha - Kimberly Clark Corporation (KMB) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

Racing To Dividends With 3M Company

dividend growth investing, value investing, discounted cash flow analysis
3M Company (MMM) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016
Diversification plays a key role in risk management for any investment plan as well as for running a company. If a company relies on income from just one segment of the economy, the economic cycles are felt especially hard in the bad times.

3M Company (NYSE:MMM) is a one-stop shop for diversification with 5 business segments that range across the economy: Industrial, Safety and Graphics, Health Care, Electronics and Energy, and the Consumer. 3M Company also gives global diversification, with 60% of 2015's sales being derived internationally.
The geographic and product diversification allows different segments of the business to zig when others zag. In other words, the business can continue to march forward more often than not even if some of the segments are going through a rough period.
Periodically, I like to re-analyze the companies that I own to update the valuation in order to determine if now is the time to make bolt on purchases.
How about that dividend?
As a dividend growth investor, one of the first things I examine is whether a company has consistently paid and grown the dividend payout. You'd be hard pressed to find many companies with a better track record than 3M.
Assuming the two remaining 2016 dividend payments are made, 2016 will mark a huge milestone for 3M. This will be the 58th consecutive year of dividend increases and also marks the 100th consecutive year of uninterrupted dividend payments. That firmly gives it the title of Dividend Champion.
Continue reading the article on Seeking Alpha.

Seeking Alpha - 3M Company (MMM) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Weekly Roundup - August 6, 2016...How is it August edition?

Weekly Roundup filled with some of the best articles on dividend growth investing, stock analyses, personal finance and financial independence from the past week.
Happy Weekend!  Check out what's been going on in my world and some of the best articles from around the blogosphere.
How in the world is it August already?  This year seemed to just be dragging on and on then once June hit we just kind of fast forwarded to August.  Of course there's good reason for that in our household with our daughter being born in early July.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Dividend Growth Investing at Work - One More Increase From July

Concept of how dividend growth investing works
Getting a pay raise while sitting on the couch?  Sign me up!  Thanks Bank of America for the pay raise!
Something I love about dividend growth investing is that each month I get to hear about companies I own deciding to pay me more money in dividends.  Just for owning a small portion of said companies.  Not going and doing R&D for new products or technology.  Not selling any products.  Not managing any employees or inventory.  Not making sales calls.  All I had to do was have the foresight to invest some of my savings in excellent companies.  That's dividend growth investing at work!  I mean who doesn't like getting a raise for doing nothing?  Dividend growth investing is far from a get rich quick investment strategy, rather you need to remain focused on the long term goal to be successful.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dividend Update - July 2016

dividend growth investing, stocks, financial independence
Dividend Update - July 2016

It's the end of one month and the beginning of another so it's time for my favorite update: my dividend update.  These dividend updates reflect all dividends that I receive through my investing pursuits. I hope they can help inspire you to take control of your own finances and invest to build a passive income stream. What you use that stream for is up to you, whether it's to fund early retirement, just provide some FI/FU money, or even to provide for an annual vacation; the key is that it can provide options and open up all sorts of possibilities. You can check my dividend income or progress pages to see what dedication to an investment plan can give you.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

No Deals At Costco Wholesale Corporation

dividend growth investing, value investing, discounted cash flow analysis
Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016
My wife and I became members of Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) earlier this year and the warehouse really is fantastic. We've been to the store closest to us a few times over the past few months and compared to some of the other large retailers in our area I have to say that Costco is by and far the best one to visit.

I've long heard of Costco's merits from shoppers and investors alike. Now that I've had the Costco experience first hand it's time to investigate the company as an investment.
How about that dividend?
As a dividend growth investor one of the first things I examine is whether a company has consistently paid and grown their dividend payout.
Costco has increased the dividend payout for 13 consecutive years giving them the title of Dividend Contender. There's plenty of other companies that have streaks longer than Costco; however, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step...or in Costco's case 13.
The following chart shows the quarterly dividend payment from Costco since initiating a dividend in 2004.
Continue reading the article on Seeking Alpha.

Seeking Alpha - Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) Dividend Stock Analysis 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016

Dividend Update Preview - July 2016 Infographic

Come look at how many dividends these excellent companies paid out in July!  And 5 companies even handed out some pay raises!

The full breakdown will come later this week, but you can get the advanced look here!

How were your dividends in July?

dividend growth investing, dividends, stocks, investing, financial independence
My real-life portfolio monthly dividend update for July 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dividend Growth Investing at Work - Dividends Are Sweet!

Concept of how dividend growth investing works
Getting a pay raise while sitting on the couch?  Sign me up!  Thanks Hershey Company for the pay raise!
Something I love about dividend growth investing is that each month I get to hear about companies I own deciding to pay me more money in dividends.  Just for owning a small portion of said companies.  Not going and doing R&D for new products or technology.  Not selling any products.  Not managing any employees or inventory.  Not making sales calls.  All I had to do was have the foresight to invest some of my savings in excellent companies.  That's dividend growth investing at work!  I mean who doesn't like getting a raise for doing nothing?  Dividend growth investing is far from a get rich quick investment strategy, rather you need to remain focused on the long term goal to be successful.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Weekly Roundup - July 30, 2016

Weekly Roundup filled with some of the best articles on dividend growth investing, stock analyses, personal finance and financial independence from the past week.
Happy Weekend!  Check out what's been going on in my world and some of the best articles from around the blogosphere.
3 weeks.  In just about 12 hours our daughter will be 3 weeks old.  It's hard to believe that she's already been here this long.  Things have been going a little bit better with her now that we're spacing out her nighttime feeds and only waking her up if she sleeps for 5 hours over night.  It's really helping out my wife for getting sleep, although it does make her a bit more fussy/hungry in the mornings.  *My daughter, not my wife.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dividend Growth Investing at Work - Realty Income Does It Again

Concept of how dividend growth investing works
Getting a pay raise while sitting on the couch?  Sign me up!  Thanks Realty Income for another pay raise!
Something I love about dividend growth investing is that each month I get to hear about companies I own deciding to pay me more money in dividends.  Just for owning a small portion of said companies.  Not going and doing R&D for new products or technology.  Not selling any products.  Not managing any employees or inventory.  Not making sales calls.  All I had to do was have the foresight to invest some of my savings in excellent companies.  That's dividend growth investing at work!  I mean who doesn't like getting a raise for doing nothing?  Dividend growth investing is far from a get rich quick investment strategy, rather you need to remain focused on the long term goal to be successful.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Taking Aim At Target Corporation

dividend growth investing, value investing, discounted cash flow analysis
Target Corporation (TGT) Dividend Growth Stock Analysis 2016
Credit card hacks. Failed Canadian expansion. A bathroom policy. These are just some of the headlines that were going to lead to the downfall of Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) over the last few years. But you know what? Target still hit all-time highs for sales last year. Not bad for a company that's been written off several times over the last few years.

In the time that I've owned shares of Target Corporation, the dividend payment has increased 67%. That sounds good to me for a company that's had as many problems as it has while I've owned it. This Dividend Champion has increased dividends for 49 consecutive years.
One of the things I like to do at least once a year with my holdings is update my analysis and valuation of the company. This process lets me get reacquainted with the company, its issues, its growth initiatives and most importantly, the value of the company.
Read on to see what makes Target Corporation a quality company and why it's trading at a discount to fair value.
Continue reading the article on Seeking Alpha.

Seeking Alpha - Target Corporation (TGT) Dividend Stock Analysis 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wal-Mart Stores Is A Rare Deal On Sale In A Toppy Market

dividend growth investing, value investing, discounted cash flow analysis
By GeneralCheese (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Over the last 60+ years Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) has grown from one small store in Bentonville, Arkansas into the world's largest retailer with operations in 28 countries. Wal-Mart's annual revenues are now pushing near half a trillion dollars per year. Not bad for a company with such humble beginnings in small town Arkansas.
The 60 years of growth for the company has also been accompanied by 43 years of excellent dividend growth. That gives Wal-Mart Stores the title of Dividend Champion.
A lot has been said about Wal-Mart's demise; however, relatively meager yet achievable growth has the company trading at a discount to fair value. Read on to see what makes Wal-Mart a high quality company and why it's trading at a discount.
How about that dividend?
Wal-Mart has long been one the top dividend growth companies out there and rightfully so with a 43 year streak of rising dividends. Even more impressive is that Wal-Mart had routinely grown dividends by the mid-teens percentage annually.
Continue reading the article on Seeking Alpha.

Seeking Alpha - Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) Dividend Stock Analysis 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why I Always Have Direct Investment Exposure to International Markets



Asset Allocation Return Quilt Since 2000
Asset Allocation Return Quilt Since 2000
The Following is a guest post from Bryan.  He writes about his family's Flexibly Independent lifestyle and financial journey on IncomeSurfer.com. He also recently created AllTravelJourneys.com as a place where fellow traveler could swap tips and trip ideas.

It's no secret that since the 2008/2009 financial crisis, the S&P 500 has trounced many foreign market indices.  This relative outperfomance has led some to question if US investors really need to own companies that are based outside the United States.  The topic comes up whenever the US stock markets outpeform international markets for few years. (Remember the late 1990's!)   Some very high profile investors, such as John Bogle, have repeatedly said that US based investors shouldn't bother to invest in companies outside the United States.  I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Bogle, but that is one bit of advice I am not following.  I have always had a small percentage of my portfolio invested internationally, but in recent years I have been ramping up that percentage as investors have taken a negative view on stocks in many international markets.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Net Worth Update - June 2016

June 2016 Net Worth Update
June 2016 Net Worth Update
While cash flow is more important when it comes to financial independence, it's still good to look at the balance sheet too, which is why I provide these net worth updates.  Since more and more of my net worth is tied to the markets, there's a larger correlation between my net worth and the markets but in the long run as I continue to save and invest the net worth trend should be higher even though short term fluctuations can vary wildly.  As a dividend growth investor I'm not overly concerned with the short-term gyrations as long as the dividend stream remains in tact, but the markets' effect is noticeable.

The S&P 500 cooled down a bit during June eeking out a small increase of 0.09%.  Since the majority of my net worth is tied to the performance of the markets my net worth moves in line with the markets.  Although the dividends I receive help to boost my returns and my net worth increased more than the markets so that's a small win in my book.  Of course a record setting month of dividends can do that as I pulled in over $900 in dividends across all of my accounts during June.  

For the month our net worth increased $4,746.05.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Weekly Roundup - July 22, 2016...Everything's Changing

Weekly Roundup filled with some of the best articles on dividend growth investing, stock analyses, personal finance and financial independence from the past week.
Happy Weekend!  Check out what's been going on in my world and some of the best articles from around the blogosphere.
It's hard to believe that in just less than 12 hours our little girl will be 2 weeks old.  She really is amazing and in just her couple weeks here she's already changed so much.  We went to the pediatrician this past Thursday and as he was checking her out he was surprised that she was keeping eye contact and tracking him as he moved.  He said you don't see that too much with babies that young.