Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I'm Back...


I'm finally back after taking the last 2.5 months or so off.  It feels good to be back although this wasn't so much of a choice as it just happened to work out that way.  While I haven't been busy with writing or even reading blogs, I've been very busy with "life".  

As many of you know whenever I'm at work that means I'm gone from home and my wife and daughter.  So whenever I'm home that means writing gets pushed to the back burner to try and make up for lost time.  

However, the last 2.5 months has seen plenty of activity, both in investing/trading and otherwise.  The highlight was most definitely our road trip to Nashville back at the end of June and early part of July.  

Since it was our first extended road trip with our daughter we decided to break it up into much shorter travel days that I'd have preferred because she does not like being in her car seat.  The first day we made it from Houston, TX to Little Rock, AR which was a relatively easy drive at about 6.5 hours.  We spent an extra day in Little Rock and got to explore the area a bit and then since the weather cooperated we decided to take in a minor league baseball game which was lots of fun.  

Then we headed to Memphis which I have to say wasn't all that great.  Granted we didn't get to explore too much because the weather was horrible and rained off and on pretty much the full time that we were there.

The next day we headed to Nashville and got to enjoy some good time with friends as well as exploring the city a bit more.  We were even able to catch another minor league baseball game and they were having a big fireworks display after the game.  I wasn't sure how our daughter would react, but she loved it!

After about 5 days in Nashville we made a quick trip over to Chattanooga to check out another city, the Tennessee State Aquarium and my high school friend's restaurant.  All in all Chattanooga seemed like a great city, kind of a good mix between being a city and small town life.

Then we did the long trek home where we drove straight through back to Houston.  It was a long drive, but it made everything easier for the next couple days because it was our daughters 1st birthday.  It's hard to believe that she's already 1 year old and now she's bumped that up to 13 months.  It's funny to see how her personality has changed just since turning 1 as she definitely has no problem letting you know she doesn't like something.

A New Job...Kind Of

This was in the works for a while, but near the end of July I had officially returned to my previous employer.  For the most part nothing has changed in my time away although I didn't really expect it to.  Unfortunately since I was away from my employer for more than 1 year that meant new employee orientation which was an absolute waste of time, but it did come with a free hotel stay in Bossier City, LA which meant I got to go to the casinos a few times.

Now that I'm back and can hopefully get on a more consistent work schedule writing should start picking up.

Then Came Harvey

For those that don't know we live in the Houston area and as August was nearing it's end Hurricane Harvey showed its power. We were spared of the strong winds that Harvey had since it made landfall much further south along the Texas coast; however, that doesn't mean we were spared completely.  

After Harvey made landfall it just kind of sat over Texas and even moved back offshore into the gulf and then made landfall a second time.  Being on the eastern side of the storm that meant pretty much non-stop rain and we definitely got plenty of it.  Some areas mostly south and east of where we live recorded 50+ inches of rain over the 4-5 days that Harvey took to move out of the area.  Considering the annual average for the Houston area is just over 50 inches that's an astonishing amount of water.

With rain totals that high that meant lots of flooding around the Houston area.  Luckily our house was spared and we weren't ever in much of a bind.  There's a ditch that runs behind our house and I think at the worst there was still ~6 feet or so before the ditch would have overflowed and then another 1-2 feet before it would have gotten into our house.  And then in an absolute worst case scenario we would have just moved up to our second floor for a couple of days.  Fortunately none of that came to pass as the water stayed within the ditch and we even kept power/internet/tv throughout the entire storm.

Although there were some neighborhoods that are close by to us that weren't as lucky.  One neighborhood that can't be more than a quarter mile downstream of us and on the other side of the ditch flooded pretty badly.  And the worst part was that it happened so quick as they went from being high and dry to 3-4 feet of water in their houses in the matter of 30 minutes to an hour.

For those that don't know I graduated college with a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering which is a very broad topic that covers anything from roads to bridges to water treatment plants and much more.  One of the other subsets of Civil Engineering is water resources/hydrology, at least that's what it was called at my school, which deals with pretty much everything related to a drop of rain hitting the ground to getting it out of the area.  That always interested me while in school and after paying much closer attention to that during Harvey it piqued my interest in it once again as it all started coming back to me.  

Who knows maybe there will be another career change back into Civil Engineering in my future.

It's Great To Be Back

Unfortunately I can't really say that much has changed in regards to my thoughts on the markets where things still in general look expensive in terms of valuation.  Although that's just fine by me because I don't have much in the form of cash reserves should the markets actually roll over.  

Of course I also believe that value can still be found if you look hard enough.  It's just that during a 10 year old bull market that value is much harder to be found.  

One of the great reads that I got the chance to read was Howard Marks' memo "There They Go Again...Again".  If you haven't read it yet and consider yourself a value investor I consider it a must read.  FYI that link opens a PDF.

I have to say that it's great to be back and in the swing of things.  While I wasn't writing over that time I was still busy with my options trading within my Rollover IRA to stay in tuned to the markets.  I'll probably still need another week or so, depending on how work goes, to get caught up on a bunch of my financial history during my absence but I should start getting back to a normal writing schedule shortly.

Also if work allows I'll be heading up to FinCon in Dallas at the end of October and if anyone else is going I'd love to meet up.

Image Source

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weekly Roundup - June 24, 2017

Curated list of articles on dividend growth investing, financial independence, freedom and passive income
Happy Weekend!  Check out what's been going on in my world and some of the best articles from around the blogosphere.

I hope everyone has been having a good couple weeks.  I've taken a bit of a break from writing, well not a planned one, it's more that life has gotten very busy.  As many of you know I work out of town so when I'm home my productivity regarding writing declines because I'd much rather spend time with my wife and daughter.  Especially now that my wife is on summer break from teaching and is home.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dividend Growth Investing at Work - Realty Income Keeps Rewarding Investors

Concept of how dividend growth investing works, real estate
Getting a pay raise while sitting on the couch?  Sign me up!  Thanks Realty Income for the dividend increase!
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.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Options for Income Week Ending June 2nd

dividend growth investing, option strategy, call option, put option, income investing
Options for Income Week Ending June 2nd
My preferred method of generating income from my investments is just plain old dividend growth investing.  I love that the most because it's a truly passive source of income that requires no work and very little monitoring on my part once the initial research on the company/valuation is complete.  The problem with dividend growth investing is that it requires a large capital base in order to generate substantial amounts of income.  

I've been testing out ways to generate investment income via option trading because the income can be substantially higher.  If my experiment proves viable over different market cycles I would have no problem using options as a way to supplement our income if it would allow us to reach financial independence faster even if that means a more active approach is required.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Weekly Roundup - June 10, 2017

Curated list of articles on dividend growth investing, financial independence, freedom and passive income
Happy Weekend!  Check out what's been going on in my world and some of the best articles from around the blogosphere.
This was a rather ho-hum week as far as investing as well as my writing.  The markets continued their climb higher which was good for some of my option positions, but very bad for others.  That's led to a rather sub-par start to June, but looking at the bigger picture I can't really complain.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

New Option Positions From The Week of May 29th


dividend growth investing, option strategy, call option, put option, income investing
Option Activity for the Week of May 29th
As part of running this blog that chronicles my journey to financial independence I like to be open and honest with all of my transactions.  Typically that revolves around buying shares of high quality companies that I deem to be at fair value or less.  And occasionally there's a sale of a company like when I closed one of my positions earlier this month.  Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around.  If it creates my own "investment journal" to detail why I made the move and my expectations, well that's even better.  


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Weekly Roundup - June 3, 2017

Curated list of articles on dividend growth investing, financial independence, freedom and passive income
Happy Weekend!  Check out what's been going on in my world and some of the best articles from around the blogosphere.
One of the big downsides to working out of town is that the "honey do" list builds up while I'm away.  This past week I've been very busy scratching items off that list, but since a lot of it was outside the weather didn't cooperate as much as I would have liked.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dividend Update Preview - May 2017 [Infographic]

This year keeps flying by, but the great is that with each passing month there's more dividends coming in.

Come check out how much these companies paid me to do absolutely nothing for the company!  That's the kind of work-life balance that I love!
dividend growth investing, dividends, stocks, investing, financial independence
My real-life portfolio monthly dividend update for May 2017
I've started the process of transferring the shares held at Loyal3 to my main brokerage account.

With May in the books are you on pace to meet your goals through the first half of 2017?

Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Options for Income Week Ending May 26th

dividend growth investing, option strategy, call option, put option, income investing
Options for Income Week Ending May 26th
My preferred method of generating income from my investments is just plain old dividend growth investing.  I love that the most because it's a truly passive source of income that requires no work and very little monitoring on my part once the initial research on the company/valuation is complete.  The problem with dividend growth investing is that it requires a large capital base in order to generate substantial amounts of income.  

I've been testing out ways to generate investment income via option trading because the income can be substantially higher.  If my experiment proves viable over different market cycles I would have no problem using options as a way to supplement our income if it would allow us to reach financial independence faster even if that means a more active approach is required.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

New Option Positions From The Week of May 22nd


dividend growth investing, option strategy, call option, put option, income investing
Option Activity for the Week of May 22nd
As part of running this blog that chronicles my journey to financial independence I like to be open and honest with all of my transactions.  Typically that revolves around buying shares of high quality companies that I deem to be at fair value or less.  And occasionally there's a sale of a company like when I closed one of my positions earlier this month.  Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around.  If it creates my own "investment journal" to detail why I made the move and my expectations, well that's even better.  


Monday, May 29, 2017

Dividend Growth Investing at Work - 6 Years and Counting

Concept of how dividend growth investing works, health care, real estate
Getting a pay raise while sitting on the couch?  Sign me up!  Thanks Phillips 66 for the dividend increase!
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, May 27, 2017

Weekly Roundup - May 27, 2017

Curated list of articles on dividend growth investing, financial independence, freedom and passive income
Happy Weekend!  Check out what's been going on in my world and some of the best articles from around the blogosphere.
Another week is in the books.  I have no idea where this past week went, but sure enough it's over.  I headed back to work this week although this time it was back to my old stomping grounds in south Texas.  I'll only be here until Tuesday of this coming week, but it was nice getting a chance to go back to an area that I worked in for nearly 2 years to see what's gone on.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Options for Income Week of May 15th

dividend growth investing, option strategy, call option, put option, income investing
Option Activity for the Week of May 15th
As part of running this blog that chronicles my journey to financial independence I like to be open and honest with all of my transactions.  Typically that revolves around buying shares of high quality companies that I deem to be at fair value or less.  And occasionally there's a sale of a company like when I closed one of my positions earlier this month.  Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around.  If it creates my own "investment journal" to detail why I made the move and my expectations, well that's even better.  


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Option Positions From The Week of May 15th


dividend growth investing, option strategy, call option, put option, income investing
Option Activity for the Week of May 15th
As part of running this blog that chronicles my journey to financial independence I like to be open and honest with all of my transactions.  Typically that revolves around buying shares of high quality companies that I deem to be at fair value or less.  And occasionally there's a sale of a company like when I closed one of my positions earlier this month.  Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around.  If it creates my own "investment journal" to detail why I made the move and my expectations, well that's even better.  


Monday, May 22, 2017

Net Worth Update - April 2017

net worth, balance sheet, equity, financial independence
April 2017 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.

April saw the S&P 500 climb higher by 0.91% which certainly helped to move the net worth higher.  It's great to see the net worth climb because of the markets, but personally I wouldn't mind seeing them take a step back for a couple months.  Of course, what's really exciting is seeing the $320+ of dividends coming in for the month which is a step in the right direction on our journey to financial independence.

For the month our net worth increased $7,018.57.