Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blog Year in Review: 2013

2013 was a huge year for Passive-Income-Pursuit thanks to all of you readers.  At the end of 2012 the readership base, based off pageviews, was still growing but was around the 8k per month mark and my goal was to increase my pageviews to 10k per month by the end of the year.  Fast forward to the end of November and all of you readers stopped by a whopping 26k times.  Guess I was a bit short-sighted in that 10k goal.  I'm not going to rest on my laurels, as past performance is no indication of future results.  I've got some plans and a huge backlog of posts that need to get written up so now I just need to find the time to be able to sit down and concentrate on the writing.  I just hope to be able to continue creating some solid content for all of you.  I'm hoping to take Passive-Income-Pursuit in a bit of a different direction, but don't worry the bulk of the content will remain the same.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Weekly Roundup - December 28, 2013

It's amazing to me how things work out with my crazy work schedule, or lack thereof.  I was able to be home for Christmas and also got to do the bigger family Christmas/birthday celebrations on the 26th.  This year we had decided to do something a little bit different with Christmas.  What we had been doing was just draw a person's name so you're only buying for one of the adults.  This year we still did that, but then we also had a second "White Elephant" exchange with a gift that you made.  I thought it turned out great and I think a lot of the gifts that were made turned out even better than the normal store bought gifts.  We'll be doing this again next year and I'm already looking forward to getting started on some projects.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope that wherever you are, you're enjoying it with friends and loved ones.  I'm home with my wife today and we'll be heading over to my mom's later on.  Hopefully I'll still be home tomorrow to do the big Christmas with the rest of my family.  However it works out, I'm so glad to be home for Christmas.

Monday, December 23, 2013

3M (MMM) Dividend Stock Analysis

The Board of Directors at 3M Company (MMM) announced a 35% increase in the dividend last week which is amazing for a company that already boasts a $92B market cap.  I last looked at 3M almost a year ago, January 2013, and felt it was a bit overvalued at the time.  Based on this year's results, I sure was wrong.  3M closed trading on Friday, December 20th at $136.72 giving a current yield of 2.50%.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

3M Company operates as a diversified technology company worldwide. The company’s Industrial and Transportation segment offers tapes; coated and non-woven abrasives; adhesives; specialty materials; filtration, energy control, and acoustic systems products; closure systems for personal hygiene products; and components and products used in automotive, marine, aircraft, and specialty vehicles. Its Health Care segment provides medical and surgical supplies; skin health and infection prevention, dental and orthodontic, and food safety products; inhalation and transdermal drug delivery systems; and health information systems. The company’s Consumer and Office segment offers office supply, stationery, construction and home improvement, home care, protective material, consumer retail personal safety, and consumer health care products. Its Safety, Security, and Protection Services segment provides personal protection and safety and security products, cleaning and protection products for commercial establishments, roofing granules for asphalt shingles, infrastructure protection products used in the oil and gas pipeline markets, and track and trace solutions. The company’s Display and Graphics segment provides optical film solutions for LCD electronic displays; reflective sheeting for transportation safety; commercial graphics sheeting and systems; architectural surface and lighting solutions; mobile interactive solutions; and electronic toll collection and parking management hardware and software. Its Electro and Communications segment offers electronic and interconnect solutions, micro interconnect systems, high-performance fluids, high-temperature and display tapes, telecommunications and electrical products, and touch screens and monitors. 3M Company sells its products through wholesalers, retailers, jobbers, distributors, and dealers. The company, formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, was founded in 1902 and is based in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weekly Roundup - December 21, 2013

We're down to just 4 more shopping days until Christmas, so you better get on out there if you haven't bought everything yet.  It's looking more and more like I'll be home for Christmas, which is just awesome.  If I'm home for Christmas this year it'll somehow be 3 of 4 Christmas's and 2 of 4 Thanksgivings.  Considering that's just from complete luck as the timing of wells/jobs has worked out, but I'll take luck any day of the week, especially near the holidays.  I'm looking forward to getting to spend time with my family most of all, as that's one of the big reasons that I'm striving for financial independence at such a young age.  I know we'll all be busy over the next week and a half, so Merry Christmas and I hope you get to spend the holidays with your friends and loved ones.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Recent Option Transactions

I mentioned in my post about adding to my position in HCP that I had made some option transactions as well.  I had a 2 open put options that were scheduled to expire in the money at the close of today's trading but decided to roll them out until a later time.  I was probably a bit hasty with these moves, but with the weakness in the markets that we were seeing in the early parts of December I was kind of caught with my pants down without much free capital should there be continued weakness.  All the more reason to keep a larger cash buffer.  Of course, the Fed then announced this week that they were scaling back the latest round of QE to "only" $75 billion in purchases per month, and the markets rejoiced.  Even though the trades were probably done with a bit more emotion than I should have allowed, I think things will still turn out alright as I'll lower my overall cost basis' for each of the options.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Church & Dwight (CHD) Dividend Stock Analysis

We all know about Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Clorox, Colgate-Palmolive and the like and what they have done in terms of building wealth and continually producing rising dividend streams.  While I still expect continued growth in all of the companies as well as their dividends, a lot of their growth has been in the past and slower growth should be expected given their already massive sizes.  So what's an investor to do if they want to find a similar business model that can potentially provide higher overall growth than their counterparts.  One potential idea is the much smaller Church & Dwight Company, Inc. (CHD).  Church & Dwight Co. closed trading on Friday, December 13th at $65.76, offering a current yield of 1.70%.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

Church & Dwight Co., Inc., together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and markets a range of household, personal care, and specialty products under various brand names in the United States and internationally. The company operates in three segments: Consumer Domestic, Consumer International, and Specialty Products Division (SPD). The Consumer Domestic segment offers household products, such as baking soda, carpet and cat litter deodorizers, clumping cat litters, washing soda, fabric softeners, dryer cloths, aluminum and stainless steel cleaners, daily shower cleaners, fine fabric washes, cleaning products, dishwashing boosters, and bathroom and toilet bowl cleaners, as well as powder, liquid, and unit dose laundry detergents; and personal care products, which comprise toothpastes, home pregnancy and ovulation test kits, deodorants and antiperspirants, toothbrushes, shampoos, laxatives, dietary supplements, depilatories, lotions, creams, waxes, oral analgesics, nasal saline moisturizers, and condoms and vibrating products. The Consumer International segment markets and sells various personal care, over-the-counter, and household products in international markets, including Canada, France, Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, and China. The SPD segment offers specialty chemicals, such as performance grade sodium bicarbonate, potassium carbonate, and potassium bicarbonate; animal nutrition products, including feed grade sodium bicarbonate, rumen fermentation enhancers, feed grade potassium carbonate, rumen bypass fat and lysine, essential fatty acids, and natural sodium sesquicarbonate; and specialty cleaners for commercial, professional, and industrial applications. The company sells its products through supermarkets, mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs, drugstores, convenience stores, dollar and pet stores, and other specialty stores, as well as Websites. Church & Dwight Co., Inc. was founded in 1846 and is headquartered in Ewing, New Jersey.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Simply Investing Course Review

First off, I'd like to thank Kanwal for the opportunity to give an outside perspective of the Simply Investing Course.  It's always great to learn from other successful investors as you can learn so much from others that have gone down the same path as you.  That's one reason why I can never leave a Half Price Books without picking up a new-to-me investment book.  Kanwal was kind of enough to answer some questions from me to help us all learn more about him.

Interview with Kanwal:

PIP:  What are your investment goals?

SI:  My investment goal is to generate sufficient income from my investments so that my income (via dividends) will exceed my expenses.  I can achieve my goal by investing in quality dividend paying companies when they are undervalued.

PIP:  Who are your investment heroes and why?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Weekly Roundup - December 14, 2013

It's been a pretty hectic week for me with work as I had to get back to the grind and start up another job.  But all's not lost as that's the fuel source for my journey to financial independence.  Having a high income allows me to accelerate that process and continue to make positive steps forward.  The best part about having to go back to work this week is that there's a chance I'll get to be home for Christmas.  Originally I was thinking I wouldn't be back home until after Christmas but the way this well is going and with there still being 11 more days I think I might be home a little before and on break for a few days covering the holiday.  As far as the portfolio goes, I doubled down on my HCP position to help lower my cost basis and made some option trades to roll out some open positions.  I might have been a bit hasty in that decision but it's been made so now I'll live with it.  I should have a post up detailing all of the moves within the next few days.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Recent Buy

I try to be as open and transparent as I can with my investing decisions in order to give a real life example of what it takes in order to become financially independent through dividend growth investing.  In order to keep track of my reasoning behind a purchase and inform you all about what's catching my eye, I have my Recent Buy series.  This allows me to have a written record as to why I made a purchase for my portfolio and be able to look back and see if that holding is still serving its purpose.  Markets continue to be weak so far in December and while there hasn't been a broad market selloff, there's still pockets of value.  Some of the best current values are in the REIT sector as fears of rising interest rates have depressed prices for most of the sector.  On Thursday, December 12th I picked up 40 more shares of HCP, Inc., a diversified health care REIT.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Net Worth Update - November 2013

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.  The S&P 500 was up another 2.80% in November in its' non-stop quest to infuriate me and my fellow DG/value investors.  However, thanks to the rising tide lifting all boats and a solid savings from my income, I was able to notch my 9th $10k monthly net worth increase.  I didn't expect anything close to this kind of improvement when I started the year.  At the end of the day the increase for November came in around $13,750 with just over $1,200 in combined 401k contributions, $760 in ESPP withholdings, and over $8,800 in savings from my after-tax income.  The rest of the change was due to market changes and dividends received throughout the month.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Income Update - November 2013

 I'm a big proponent of tracking every single penny that comes into your hands if you're really wanting to make a change to your finances.  Mental accounting is too difficult to keep track of and the mundane everyday expenses get forgotten.  Once you keep a detailed history you can see that you're really spending $400 per month on restaurants or $100 on coffee or whatever little expenses that are fine by themselves but add up quickly to destroy a budget.  This is why I like to keep track of all of my expenses to help keep myself accountable and looking to see what areas I'm just plain doing poor in.  If you want to improve your finances, then please track everything for a 3 month span and then take action to make positive changes.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Recent Buys: Part 2

I mentioned in my weekly roundup yesterday that I had 2 more purchases during the week.  I've been really busy with work and getting other things done with the blog so I wasn't able to get this post up earlier; however, I do try and tweet about my purchases once they happen so if you're not already doing so follow me on Twitter @JC_PIP or you can click the button up in the top right.  This was a much busier week than I had expected as I had already purchased 20 shares of Pepsi on Monday.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weekly Roundup - December 7, 2013

This has been a very busy week on the investment front.  Much busier than I expected to be.  I made 3 purchases this week, one in Pepsi that went through on Monday and another 2 later in the week.  I'll have the write-up about the other 2 purchases out tomorrow.  I also had a stock analysis on Deere & Company (DE), the maker of John Deere tractors.  Pretty much the iconic farm equipment maker as everyone can recognize the brand.  Other than that it was a pretty smooth week at work and we finished yet another well.  Unfortunately the cold weather is back and I had to work outside in it for a few hours yesterday, but no complaints as it meant that I got to go home for a few days.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Recent Buy

I try to be as open and transparent as I can with my investing decisions in order to give a real life example of what it takes in order to become financially independent through dividend growth investing.  In order to keep track of my reasoning behind a purchase and inform you all about what's catching my eye, I have my Recent Buy series.  This allows me to have a written record as to why I made a purchase for my portfolio and be able to look back and see if that holding is still serving its purpose.  With the change of the month, markets have started to sour a bit which is just fine with me.  On Monday, December 2nd I initiated a position in PepsiCo (PEP).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Deere & Company (DE) Dividend Stock Analysis

Man it feels good to start cranking out some more stock analyses.  I always love getting to dig into the financials of companies and learning how they operate and what makes them tick.  Nerd alert!  A few weeks back I asked everyone to help me come up with some new investment ideas given our currently elevated market.  And the response was truly astounding.  One company that was mentioned a lot was Deere & Company (DE), the maker of John Deere tractors.  I'd been meaning to take a closer look at them for a long time but with so many of you recommending DE now seemed to be the time to start moving forward on an analysis.  Deere & Company closed trading on Friday, November 29th at $84.24, offering a current yield of 2.42%.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

Deere & Company manufactures and distributes agriculture and turf equipment, and construction and forestry equipment worldwide. Its Agriculture and Turf segment provides agriculture and turf equipment, and related service parts, including large, medium, and utility tractors; loaders; combines, corn pickers, cotton and sugarcane harvesters, and related front-end equipment and sugarcane loaders; tillage, seeding, and application equipment comprising sprayers, nutrient management, and soil preparation machinery; and hay and forage equipment consisting of self-propelled forage harvesters and attachments, balers, and mowers. This segment also offers turf and utility equipment, including riding lawn equipment and walk-behind mowers, golf course equipment, utility vehicles, and commercial mowing equipment; integrated agricultural management systems technology; precision agricultural irrigation equipment and supplies; landscape and nursery products; and other outdoor power products. The company’s Construction and Forestry segment provides machines and service parts used in construction, earthmoving, material handling, and timber harvesting comprising backhoe and landscape loaders, crawler dozers and loaders, four-wheel-drive loaders, excavators, motor graders, articulated dump trucks, skid-steer loaders, feller bunchers, log skidders and loaders, log forwarders and harvesters, and related attachments. Deere & Company’s financial services segment finances sales of and leases new and used agriculture and turf equipment, and construction and forestry equipment. This segment also provides wholesale financing to dealers of the foregoing equipment; finances retail revolving charge accounts and operating loans; and offers crop risk mitigation products and extended equipment warranties. The company markets its products and services primarily through independent retail dealer networks and retail outlets. Deere & Company was founded in 1837 and is headquartered in Moline, Illinois.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dividend Update - November 2013

November is now in the books and now it's time for again for my favorite monthly update, my dividend update.  These dividend updates reflect all dividends that I receive through my investing pursuits and I hope can help inspire you to take control of your own finances and investing 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 opens up all sorts of possibilities.  November treated me quite well on the dividend front, although it was a decline from August.  You can check my dividend income or progress page to see what dedication to an investment plan can give you.  I was able to set a personal best in dividends received during a month during September which is great motivation for me to continue on.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Weekly Roundup - December 1, 2013

How in the world is it December already?  The end of the year is always such a blur and I just want to be able to slow time down.  That's why I'm focusing on reaching financial independence at a young age.  Even if time continues to move fast, you aren't having to spend 8+ hrs every day at work.  Imagine what you can do with 16+ hours to yourself every day.  You have time to build better relationships, volunteer, learn new skills that you've put on the back-burner for years, or anything else that you want.  All because you no longer have to be stressed about money or spend all your time and energy at your employer's discretion.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Owens & Minor Inc. (OMI) Dividend Stock Analysis

It's been quite a while since I've posted a stock analysis and I apologize for that.  Life happened to get busy and things just got in the way that I didn't have the time to compile all of the data and get some posts up.  Have no fear though as I should have some more time to close out the year.  Today I wanted to take a closer look at Owens & Minor, Inc. (OMI).    OMI closed trading on Friday, November 29th at $38.17, offering a current yield of 2.52%.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

Owens & Minor, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides distribution, third-party logistics, and other supply-chain management services to healthcare providers and suppliers of medical and surgical products. Its services include logistics, supplier management, analytics inventory management, outsourced resource management, clinical supply management, and business process consulting. The company also offers various services comprising PANDAC, an operating room-focused inventory management program that helps healthcare providers to control suture and endo-mechanical inventory; SurgiTrack, a customizable surgical supply service that includes the assembly and delivery of surgical supplies in procedure-based totes; OMSolutions, a supply-chain consulting, customer technology, and resource management service; and technology-based services, such as WISDOM Gold, Clinical Supply, and Implant Purchase Manager solutions. In addition, it provides OM HealthCare Logistics, a customized third-party logistics and order-to-cash services. Further, the company distributes medical and surgical supplies to the acute-care market. It serves federal government, including the U.S. department of defense; and alternate-site providers, such as ambulatory surgery centers, physicians’ practices, clinics, home healthcare organizations, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities, as well as provides distribution and supply-chain management services that include third-party logistics and business process outsourcing services to manufacturers of medical and surgical products. Owens & Minor, Inc. was founded in 1882 and is headquartered in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love this time of year.  There's a chill in the air.  Fires and food are plenty.  And let's not forget the best part, getting to spend time with your family and friends.  Unfortunately I'll be working yet again, but I was thankfully able to see a good chunk of my family this past weekend.  I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to strive for FI/ER so I can capture all of my time to spend on improving relationships with family and friends.   And of course my loving wife that puts up with me and my crazy job.  So enjoy the time you have this holiday and make sure you spend it with your loved ones.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Recent Buy

I try to be as open and transparent as I can with my investing decisions in order to give a real life example of what it takes in order to become financially independent through dividend growth investing.  In order to keep track of my reasoning behind a purchase and inform you all about what's catching my eye, I have my Recent Buy series.  This allows me to have a written record as to why I made a purchase for my portfolio and be able to look back and see if that holding is still serving its purpose.  With the markets continuing their almost no stop climb higher, investment ideas have been lacking so I asked all of you for some help in coming up with some fresh ideas.  One recommendation was to add to my position in Realty Income (O) because it made up around 1% of my portfolio at the time.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Recent Buy

I try to be as open and transparent as I can with my investing decisions in order to give a real life example of what it takes in order to become financially independent through dividend growth investing.  In order to keep track of my reasoning behind a purchase and inform you all about what's catching my eye, I have my Recent Buy series.  This allows me to have a written record as to why I made a purchase for my portfolio and be able to look back and see if that holding is still serving its purpose.  With the markets continuing their almost no stop climb higher, investment ideas have been lacking so I asked all of you for some help in coming up with some fresh ideas.  And you all didn't disappoint in the slightest.  There were several names that kept coming up and one that I really liked was General Mills (GIS) as I don't have a whole lot of exposure to the consumer staples sector.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekly Roundup - November 24, 2013

Well as usual no week can be smooth and relaxing.  Monday was spent recuperating from the weekend in San Antonio and then I started having to wrap things up at the house before heading back to work on Wednesday.  And of course they ended up calling us back early and out satellite didn't work so I was fairly absent from the blog world.  But things are up and running with work and we're drilling ahead so regular posts will start to come back.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I need your help

No I don't need money, nor do I have any health problems or trouble with the law.  My trouble right now is a lack of investment ideas.  So I'm calling on this great FI/DGI community for some ideas.  The markets have continued on their almost never-ending climb higher, but there's always value out there if you can find it.  The biggest problem is that the companies that I'd love to add to right now I also happen to be overweight those positions.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weekly Roundup - November 16,2013

It's been a pretty busy week but also a relaxing week.  I've been on vacation this past week, although all I've done is be at the house.  I've been working on a bunch of stuff around the house and also with the blog.  My wife and I left yesterday to go to San Antonio to stay for the weekend.  We're going to go see some friends that we haven't seen in a while and she's also running in the Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon this weekend.  It should be a pretty good weekend.  Earlier this month, Passive-Income-Pursuit turned 2 years old.  It's been an awesome ride so far and I can't wait for the next 2 years.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another one bites the dust...

Last week on November 6th marked the 2 year anniversary of Passive-Income-Pursuit and I continue to be stunned that anyone would be interested in my thoughts on personal finance, financial independence, early retirement, and my favorite dividend growth investing.  Over the last 2 years I've written over 400 posts.  Some good, some well not so much.  But my writing style continues to evolve and I feel that I've grown a lot as a writer.  Seriously, go check out those first posts compared to now.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Net Worth Update - October 2013

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.  The S&P 500 was up almost 4.5% in October which helped to lift most of the stocks I own as well.  Thanks to the markets and great savings from my income, I almost matched September's net worth increase but ended up a little short.  No real complaints though from me as I had just over a $16,000 increase for the month.  I had a little over $1,440 in combined 401k contributions, $1,050 in ESPP withholdings, and over $8,400 in after tax savings from my income.  The rest of the change was due to market changes and dividends.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Weekly Roundup - November 9, 2013

Somehow yet another week has flown by.  I had to head back to work but I was just glad I got the weekend off and got to spend it having fun with my wife.  Thankfully no other issues with the house to have to take care of.  This week was done in a flash, although I think that's mainly because I know I only had about a week to be gone.  On Monday I'll be getting to go back home as I had another week of vacation to take.  The vacation will mainly be a chance for me to just relax and get a lot of things done both at the house and with the blog.  I have several tasks that I'm planning on accomplishing for the blog alone and I'm excited to get started on them.  The blog world is truly amazing.  Next weekend my wife and I will be heading, ironically, to San Antonio.  Ironic because I'm actually working only an hour or so from there.  Her and some friends are running in the San Antonio Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  I think this is her 4th straight year to do this particular run.  It should be a great time and I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Income Update - October 2013

 I'm a big proponent of tracking every single penny that comes into your hands if you're really wanting to make a change to your finances.  Mental accounting is too difficult to keep track of and the mundane everyday expenses get forgotten.  Once you keep a detailed history you can see that you're really spending $400 per month on restaurants or $100 on coffee or whatever little expenses that are fine by themselves but add up quickly to destroy a budget.  This is why I like to keep track of all of my expenses to help keep myself accountable and looking to see what areas I'm just plain doing poor in.  If you want to improve your finances, then please track everything for a 3 month span and then take action to make positive changes.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Weekly Roundup - November 2, 2013

This week meant it was back to the grind of work.  Which, after the fun of water line problems that I went through the last time I was home, work actually brought a much needed relief from the hassle that I had to deal with.  Although if I had the option, I would be home every single day.  That's the reason that I'm striving to reach financial independence as early as possible by investing in dividend growth companies.  Investing in quality companies that can continue to increase their dividends year in and year will give my wife and I the freedom to pursue any other interests that we happen to have.  I know my list is plenty long.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dividend Update - October 2013

Another month down.  Seems like just yesterday I was having to switch to October and now we're already moving on to November.  The debt ceiling and budget debate came and went with a decent sized dip coing about 2 weeks before the deadline, but all but erased by the time I was able to get capital transferred to the brokerage account.  It was a shame that I wasn't able to pick up any ownership stakes during that time because there were better values at the time that I would have loved to jump on.  I was able to add to my IBM position after an earnings related sell-off as well as start positions in both HCP and ARCP.   Now let's get into my favorite monthly update, the dividend income update.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Recent Buy

I try to be as open and transparent as I can with my investing decisions in order to give a real life example of what it takes in order to become financially independent through dividend growth investing.  In order to keep track of my reasoning behind a purchase and inform you all about what's catching my eye, I have my Recent Buy series.  This allows me to have a written record as to why I made a purchase for my portfolio and be able to look back and see if that holding is still serving its purpose.  On Wednesday I decided to continue building my budding real estate empire by purchasing 100 shares of the diversified REIT, American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP).

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recent Buy

I try to be as open and transparent as I can with my investing decisions in order to give a real life example of what it takes in order to become financially independent through dividend growth investing.  In order to keep track of my reasoning behind a purchase and inform you all about what's catching my eye, I have my Recent Buy series.  This allows me to have a written record as to why I made a purchase for my portfolio and be able to look back and see if that holding is still serving its purpose.  On Monday of this week I purchased 40 shares of the healthcare REIT, HCP Inc.

Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Goals - 3rd Quarter Update

Somehow the 3rd quarter has already passed us by and we're almost done with the 1st month of the 4th quarter.  Really?  I'm a bit late on this, seeing as how the 4th quarter is quickly passing by but it's time to look back to see where I'm at on the goals that I set back in January.  There were a lot of changes to my financial world in the quarter as my wife and I purchased a house.  Unfortunately this will mean that our monthly expenses will be increasing but I'll do my best to stay on track with my financial goals.

2013 Budgeting Goals - 3rd Quarter Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
80% take-home pay savings rate 82.90% average savings (Jan 85.35%, Feb 82.23%, Mar 84.41%, Apr 84.18%, May 81.40%, June 77.71%, July 79.71%, Aug 86.60%, Sept 84.49%) Exceeded Goal
Less than $1,400 required expenses $1,434.18 average (Jan $1,304.19, Feb $1,500.33, Mar $1,314.30, Apr $1,361.56, May $1,399.65, Jun $1,442.76, July $1,454.40, Aug $1,489.46, Sept $1,640.97) Needs Improvement
Reduce Misc. Expenses by 15% (Exp. < $96.51 per mo) $119.16 Needs Improvement
Reduce Restaurant Expenses by 10% (Exp. < $128.31 per mo) $118.28 Exceeded Goal
Reduce Grocery Expenses by 5% (Exp. < $205.64 per mo) $209.37 Needs Improvement

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weekly Roundup - October 26, 2013

It's been a pretty crazy week for me and my wife.  The joys of home-ownership started quickly as a one of the main branch roots for a tree at the new house busted out water line.  When I got home I dug out the water line where the leak was coming from and there were some pretty squirrely things going on.  There ended up being 5 PVC pipes all on top of each other and of course the bottom one was the one that was broken.  Long story short I ended up having to get a plumber out there because just repairing the broken area wasn't going to solve the problem of the tree being the "root" cause.  Get it? Root cause?  So the plumber came out and we got everything lined up for a trench to be dug and a new water line run.  It's a flex pipe, I think it was PEX, and based on what he had said about it it seems to be really good.  So the new water line is now away from tree roots and shouldn't have any issues.  But I'm still curious what's going on with the other 4 pipes.  When they had dug the new trench and I went and looked in to see if those pipes were running to the water main.  And they weren't, they didn't even go straight to the box and you could see that they ran past the meter box.  They're too small and too close to the water line to be sewage so I really have no idea what's going on with those.  All the more reason I want to design my own house and be there for construction.  There's so many hidden things when you purchase a house that's already been built.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recent Option Transaction

I had a recently executed call option on some HAL shares last Friday and the capital from that transaction plus the capital that I've been able to save from my job has led to a fairly sizable cash position for my portfolio.  I'm sitting around 10% cash now and there's just not a log of bargains that I see in the market to really get my mouth watering.  To be fair there's plenty that are hovering around the fair value price points from my stock analyses, but nothing that I'm excited about.  The way I see it, I have two options.  Wait for Mr. Market to give some better prices or you guessed it, turn to the options market.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recent Buy

Last week International Business Machines reported their quarterly earnings.  While they ended up beating on EPS by $0.03, the top line growth in revenue fell short by about $1 billion.  Mr. Market did not like this one bit and the share price dropped over 6.50%.  For me this was just a chance to pick up some more shares and average down my cost basis.  The lower share price fits right into IBM's management's plan to continually provide shareholder value both through rising dividends and share buybacks.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Recent Option Transaction

Well the third Friday of October rolled around and that means that it's expiration day for those that dabble in options.  I had originally sold a call option on 100 shares of HAL which I purchased through the ESPP program at work back in August.  I chose the $48 call option and sold it for $1.43 which netted me $135.01 in option premium to use as I pleased.

Monday, October 14, 2013

PepsiCo (PEP) Dividend Stock Analysis

If you look at my portfolio you'll notice that it's lacking exposure to the food industry.  Specifically those weekly repeat purchase foods such as potato chips and other snack foods.  Coca-Cola is my only current exposure there and I'd like to have at least another company working for me.  While compiling my watchlist last week in anticipation of further weakness in the markets, I mentioned that Pepsi would be a good fit because I'd get to own the other half of the cola duopoly in addition to a wonderful snack food business.  Pepsi closed trading on Friday, October 11th at $80.83, offering a current yield of 2.81%.  I had last looked at Pepsi back in November of 2012, so it's time to update my analysis to see what's has changed and if it still represents good value.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

PepsiCo, Inc. operates as a food and beverage company worldwide. The company’s PepsiCo Americas Foods division offers Lay’s and Ruffles potato chips, Doritos and Tostitos tortilla chips, Cheetos cheese flavored snacks, branded dips, and Fritos corn and Santitas tortilla chips; Quaker oatmeal, Aunt Jemima mixes and syrups, Quaker Chewy granola bars, Quaker grits, Cap’n Crunch cereal, Life cereal, and Quaker rice cakes; Rice-A-Roni, Near East, and Pasta Roni side dishes; Quaker-brand cereals and snacks; and snack foods under Marias Gamesa, Cheetos, Doritos, Ruffles, Emperador, Saladitas, Elma Chips, Rosquinhas Mabel, Sabritas, and Tostitos brands. Its PepsiCo Americas Beverages division provides beverage concentrates, fountain syrups, and finished goods under Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Diet Pepsi, Aquafina, 7UP, Diet Mountain Dew, Tropicana Pure Premium, Sierra Mist, and Mirinda brands; and ready-to-drink tea and coffee products. The company’s PepsiCo Europe division offers snacks under Lay’s, Walkers, Doritos, Cheetos, and Ruffles brands, as well as Quaker-brand cereals and snacks; beverage concentrates, fountain syrups, and finished goods under Pepsi, Pepsi Max, 7UP, Diet Pepsi, and Tropicana brands; ready-to-drink tea products; and dairy products under Domik v Derevne, Chudo, and Agusha brands. Its PepsiCo Asia, Middle East, and Africa division provides snack foods under Lay’s, Chipsy, Kurkure, Doritos, Cheetos, and Smith’s brands; cereals and snacks under the Quaker name; beverage concentrates, fountain syrups, and finished goods under Pepsi, Mirinda, 7UP, Mountain Dew, Aquafina, and Tropicana brands; and ready-to-drink tea products. The company serves wholesale and foodservice distributors, grocery and convenience stores, mass merchandisers, membership stores, and authorized independent bottlers through direct-store-delivery systems, customer warehouses, and distributor networks.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Weekly Roundup - October 12, 2013

Well this past week was pretty uneventful for me.  Just grinding it out at work, as per usual.  The bright spot is that every day that I'm at work I essentially am saving 70-80% of that days pay.  That's the beauty of keeping your expenses low and investing the rest.  Creating and sticking to a plan is the difference between achieving your goals or not.

I can't say the week was uneventful for the government or the stock market.  The markets were whipsawed around by the continuing government shutdown and looming debt ceiling deadline on October 17th.  Of course as things usually go, I had no capital to take advantage of the drop early in the week.  By Thursday there were rumors of negotiations actually taking place and the markets rejoiced.  Me?  Not so much.  Just as I was starting to compile my hitlist and get capital transferred over to my brokerage account, the markets went on a big run on Thursday and Friday to erase some of the value opportunities that were available.  I don't expect anything major to come through this weekend and I'm hoping that negotiations end in a stalemate.  Much like all the other government involved fiscal crises, I expect the status quo of 11th hour agreements to come again.  Hopefully Mr. Market will be in a sour mood to start the week.  What's on your hitlist should there be further weakness in the markets?


Friday, October 11, 2013

What are you buying?

The government continues to remain deadlocked and it looks like that is going to continue up until the debt ceiling issue comes next week.  Eventually they will work all of this mess out, but in the meantime the markets have been none too pleased.  I'd expect volatility to increase leading up to any kind of resolution and that means it's the perfect time to build a watchlist and get some target entry prices.  Overall the markets haven't given too many opportunities, but with the current self-imposed debacle prices on some high quality companies are coming down to much better valuations with the chance for some fire sale prices if the government continues on its current ways.  In the long run, this is just noise.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Semi Recent Buys

I've been a bit lax in announcing my purchases over the last 1-1.5 weeks and haven't had the free time to get a post written up.  Well, that changes today.  I recently added to my positions in both Baxter International and Proctor & Gamble.  In late September I had initiated a position in Baxter and with a further dip in price I scooped up some more shares.  To close out September I celebrated by adding to my position in Proctor & Gamble after Unilever came out saying that emerging market growth had slowed leading to PG and following suit by dropping.  Over the long term I don't view either of these dips to be more than just noise in the long term.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Net Worth Update - September 2013

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.  The S&P 500 was down a little over 4% for the month of August which pushed the value of my investments down; however, thanks to my highest monthly income and a great savings rates I was able to counter the negative pull from market fluctuations.  It was a bit of a let down that my net worth didn't increase more considering I had my highest monthly savings total as well but that's what happens when you have more and more of your net worth tied to the markets.  I had a little over $1,700 in combined 401k contributions, $1,260 in ESPP withholdings, and over $9,250 in after tax savings from my income.  The rest of the change was due to market changes and dividends.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Weekly Roundup - October 5, 2013

This has been a crazy and frustrating week.  First off they ended up calling us back to work on Tuesday.  That was even earlier than the last time they moved the rig which was annoying, but what really irked me was that we didn't pick up our tool until Thursday night.  I already get limited time at the house and with my wife so when I get called out 2.5 days early it really gets on my nerves.  In other news, the government shut down and the world didn't end.  To me this is just showing the incompetence of our elected officials.  I was listening to the Dave Ramsey show and his intro on the October 3rd show was spot on.  He was discussing the government shutdown, or any other media crisis, as it relates to the stock markets and investing.  While I don't believe that projecting 15% annualized returns is all that great, his advice on investing here was spot on.   The markets will cycle and have highs and lows.  You make your money in the markets during the storms and crises and learn to be a disciplined investor.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Income Update - September 2013

 I'm a big proponent of tracking every single penny that comes into your hands if you're really wanting to make a change to your finances.  Mental accounting is too difficult to keep track of and the mundane everyday expenses get forgotten.  Once you keep a detailed history you can see that you're really spending $400 per month on restaurants or $100 on coffee or whatever little expenses that are fine by themselves but add up quickly to destroy a budget.  This is why I like to keep track of all of my expenses to help keep myself accountable and looking to see what areas I'm just plain doing poor in.  If you want to improve your finances, then please track everything for a 3 month span and then take action to make positive changes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dividend Update - September 2013

September is now in the books and now it's time for again for my favorite monthly update, my dividend update.  These dividend updates reflect all dividends that I receive through my investing pursuits and I hope can help inspire you to take control of your own finances and investing 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 opens up all sorts of possibilities.  Since most of my ownership stakes pay on the March, June, September, December schedule I get great results when each quarter closes.  You can check my dividend income or progress page to see what dedication to an investment plan can give you.  I was able to set a personal best in dividends received during a month during September which is great motivation for me to continue on.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekly Roundup - September 28, 2013

This past week was pretty good.  We finished another well and things went pretty smooth.  Now I get to be home for my cousin's wedding today and through the rest of the weekend.  Unfortunately I'll be heading back to work sometime early next week.  There's was also a lot of blog news this past week.  I analyzed both Starbucks and Stryker this past week and I like both companies from a dividend growth perspective but not necessarily at current prices.  There was also some changes to my FI Portfolio where I trimmed positions in both Caterpillar and Intel to put that capital to work in companies I'm more bullish on for consistent growth in Baxter and Johnson & Johnson.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Recent Buys

I discussed in my post yesterday about half of the changes I made to my portfolio, namely the sells that I made.  Today I want to cover what I did with the proceeds from those sells.  I was a bit hasty in my decision to pick up shares of dividend growth stalwart, Johnson & Johnson, but took advantage of a sell off in Baxter International that saw shares close down around 6%.  When I see moves like that in what should be fairly stable companies I get intrigued and start scouring the internet to see if there is some explanation for the decline like a huge recall or some government regulation that was just enacted.  The only thing I could really find were that analysts at JP Morgan had downgraded Baxter.  For a long term investor, this is just noise and represents a buying opportunity.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Recent Sells

Well Wednesday brought about some changes to my portfolio.  This is something I've been thinking about doing for a while with two of my positions.  Both Caterpillar and Intel are great companies although they've fallen on hard times.  Caterpillar is suffering from the slowdown in the global economy leading to lowering demand for their products.  Intel has been late to the game in mobile/tablets and is trying to make up ground.  Earlier this year Caterpillar increased their dividend by 15% which I took as a very positive sign from management.  Lately though I'm not so sure about it.  Intel failed to increase their dividend after four straight quarters of paying $0.225 per share and they are struggling to make inroads into mobile.  I reduced both positions on Wednesday morning in order to be able to put that capital to work in companies that I feel have better prospects going forward and to gain exposure to another sector.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stryker (SYK) Dividend Stock Analysis

I really want to get more exposure to the healthcare industry as I currently only have Medtronic in my FI Portfolio.  Late last month I looked at Baxter International (BAX) and really liked what I saw, but unfortunately I had no free capital so I couldn't purchase.  I'm still hopeful that I'll get an opportunity later this month or sometime next month to pick up some shares.  I also received a request to look at Stryker Corporation (SYK), so that's who we'll look at today.  Stryker was trading around $71.28 per share on Monday, September 23rd, giving a current yield of 1.49%.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

Stryker Corporation, a medical technology company, provides reconstructive, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine products for doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Its Reconstructive segment offers orthopaedic reconstructive implants used in hip and knee joint replacements; and trauma implant systems, as well as other related products. The company’s MedSurg segment provides surgical equipment and surgical navigation systems, endoscopic and communications systems, patient handling and emergency medical equipment, and reprocessed and remanufactured medical devices, as well as other medical device products for use in various medical specialties. Stryker Corporation’s Neurotechnology and Spine segment offers neurosurgical and neurovascular devices, which include products for use in endovascular techniques, products for use in traditional brain and open skull base surgical procedures, and orthobiologic and biosurgery products, as well as products for the treatment of acute ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. This segment also develops, manufactures, and markets spinal implant products, such as cervical, thoracolumbar, and interbody systems for use in spinal injury, deformity, and degenerative therapies. The company sells its products through direct sales, and third-party dealers and distributors in the United States and approximately 100 countries worldwide.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Starbucks (SBUX) Dividend Stock Analysis

I've been trying to take a look at some of the next potential dividend growth champions that can string off a 40+ year record such as Johnson & Johnson or Coca-Cola or Proctor & Gamble.  I want the core of my portfolio to be made up of the normal stalwarts, but I believe there's a place for at least some position in some of the combination high growth businesses that also are growing their dividends, even though their streaks are fairly short.  Last month I took a look at Visa, which fits the bill of the high growth and high dividend growth company that I'm looking for.  I like their prospects so much that I also initiated a small position.  Today I want to look at another budding dividend growth candidate, Starbucks (SBUX).  Starbuck's closed trading on Friday, September 20th at $76.12 giving a current yield of 1.10%.  So here's a little reading for you while you sip your Starbucks this morning.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

Starbucks Corporation operates as a roaster, marketer, and retailer of specialty coffee worldwide. As of September 30, 2012, the company operated 9,405 company-operated stores and 8,661 licensed stores. Its stores offer regular and decaffeinated coffee beverages, Italian-style espresso beverages, cold blended beverages, iced shaken refreshment beverages, premium Tazo teas, packaged roasted whole bean and ground coffees, Starbucks VIA Ready Brew soluble coffees, Starbucks coffee and Tazo tea K-Cup portion packs, Starbucks Refreshers beverages, juices, and bottled water. The company’s stores also provide various food items, including pastries, prepared breakfast and lunch sandwiches, oatmeal, and salads. In addition, it licenses the rights to produce and distribute Starbucks branded products to The North American Coffee Partnership with the Pepsi-Cola Company, as well as licenses its trademarks through licensed stores, grocery, and national foodservice accounts. The company offers its products under the Starbucks, Tazo tea, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, Starbucks Refreshers, Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, and Verismo brand names. Starbucks Corporation has a strategic agreement with Danone to create and develop a line of dannon-branded fresh dairy products.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weekly Roundup - September 21, 2013

This past week has been an absolute whirlwind.  My wife and I continued to move things over to the new house and then of course it was time for me to head back to work on Tuesday.  I really dislike when I first get back because we drill for a day and then we're off for a day then we drill for a day and a half and then we drill to finish the well.  So my sleep gets messed up and the drilling is pretty fast so I don't get much time to just relax during the day while at work.  And then yesterday the sky just opened up and dropped buckets and buckets of rain where we're at.  Didn't realize I would have to swim to get to work.  Other than that it's been a pretty good week and I'm excited to get back home sometime next week.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Weekly Roundup - September 14, 2013

This past week has been really busy.  We signed all of the papers on Monday but unbeknownst to us, the sellers weren't going to be at the title company until later that afternoon so we didn't get the keys until later that evening.  It's exciting to be able to start moving into our new house although the big move won't be for another week.  Unfortunately for my wife I won't be home for the big move due to work so she'll be flying solo on that but some friends should be there to help out as she has recently helped 2 of her friends move.  Now it's time for payback!  Earlier this week I also discussed why we opted for a 30 year mortgage rather than a 15 year.

I'll be heading back to work sometime this weekend so I should finally be able to get a few more posts up.  I've gotten a request to do a stock analysis on Stryker and should hopefully be able to get that out sometime in the middle of the week.  As always if there's any company you'd like a stock analysis on, feel free to ask.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why we chose a 30 year mortgage when we can afford a 15 year

When we first went and talked with our mortgage broker he had suggested that based on our income and financial responsibility that we should take out a 15 year mortgage rather than a 30 year. At first we were both pretty gung ho about it because we could easily afford a 15 year note. However, once I started crunching the numbers to see how exactly our budget would look I quickly changed my mind. The mortgage note alone wouldn't be an issue to cover, but when you add in all the other expenses including insurance, taxes, full maintenance costs, increased utilities and furniture, the monthly outlay quickly rose from just the 15 year note. Adding to the risk is that my job is currently stable but far from being as stable as my wife's job as a teacher. If you've studied the oilfield, or just paid some attention to the news, over time is a very boom and bust industry. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Net Worth Update - August 2013

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.  The S&P 500 was down a little over 4% for the month of August which pushed the value of my investments down; however, thanks to my highest monthly income and a great savings rates I was able to counter the negative pull from market fluctuations.  It was a bit of a let down that my net worth didn't increase more considering I had my highest monthly savings total as well but that's what happens when you have more and more of your net worth tied to the markets.  I had a little over $1,800 in combined 401k contributions, $1,320 in ESPP withholdings, and over $9,800 in after tax savings from my income.  The rest of the change was due to market changes and dividends.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Weekly Roundup - September 7, 2013

Another week down and my wife and I are that much closer to closing on our house.  My coordinator the job that I'm on right now has got a replacement for me to come out today so I can be home to close on the house on Monday.  It'll be a big relief to finally be done with all of the house because the time seems to have just drug on and on.  Well in relation to the house it seems to have taken forever, but in relation to just about everything else it seems like we didn't even have an August.  I know my wife will be happy that I'll be at closing because we ended up deciding to go with the mortgage just in my name to keep her credit open in case we do move forward with a rental property purchase in 2014.  Anyways the reason she'll be happy is that one we get to close on the house and two that she doesn't have to have power of attorney for me which would have entailed her writing a sentence stating as such for every place where I would have to sign the documents.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Income Update - August 2013

Well the satellite that we use at work has been messing up all week so I haven't been able to get any posts up this and haven't commented much.  Fear not though, I have a new satellite, actually it's our third one, so I can get back on track.  I'm a big proponent of tracking every single penny that comes into your life if you're really wanting to make a change to your finances.  Mental accounting is too difficult to keep track of and the mundane everyday expenses get forgotten.  Once you keep a detailed history you can see that you're really spending $400 per month on restaurants or $100 on coffee or whatever little expenses that are fine by themselves but add up quickly to destroy a budget.  This is why I like to keep track of all of my expenses to help keep myself accountable and looking to see what areas I'm just doing poor in.  If you want to improve your finances, then please track everything for a 3 month span and then take action to make positive changes.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dividend Update - August 2013

There wasn't much news on the portfolio for the month except for two small purchases, one in IBM and one in Visa.  I'm a big fan of both companies although I have to admit that Visa is probably going to be more of a total return investment thanks to the sub 1.00% starting yield.  Feel free to check out my analysis on IBM and on Visa if you want to learn more about the qualities that make for good investments.  Other than that it was a pretty quiet month, but the beauty of a dividend growth investing strategy is that the dividends will continue to roll in from high quality companies every month.  This was my first month that wasn't on the March, June, September, December payout schedule to surpass the $100 mark.  Although July almost made it, coming up less than $4.00 short.  So a little bit of an investing milestone was accomplished and going forward I expect to continue to receive at least $100 every month from here on.  That's passive income I can use to invest in other opportunities now or use to pay for expenses later.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Weekly Roundup - August 31, 2013

Another week has come and gone and it seems like each one goes by faster than the previous.  Everything is settled with the upcoming house purchase so now we just have to wait until closing.  We're about 1.5 weeks away and my wife and I are more than ready to get this done with.  I'm just glad that all of the financing is taken care of and now there's nothing else to do other than move a little bit more money from my savings account to my checking account for closing.  It's going to be so exciting to get to move forward on this.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baxter International (BAX) - Dividend Stock Analysis

If you take a look at my portfolio I'm lacking in two major areas that I'd like to get more exposure too.  One is the food industry, I only have KO and MCD that are direct plays on food and the other is healthcare.  The demographics both in the United States and globally is trending towards an older population which generally means more healthcare services.  Today I'm going to take a closer look at Baxter Intenational, Inc.  BAX closed trading on Tuesday, August 27th at $70.60.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and markets products for people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. The company operates in two segments, BioScience and Medical Products. The BioScience segment processes recombinant and plasma-based proteins to treat hemophilia and other bleeding disorders; plasma-based therapies to treat immune deficiencies, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, burns and shock, and other chronic and acute blood-related conditions; biosurgery products; and certain vaccines. The Medical Products segment manufactures intravenous (IV) solutions and administration sets, premixed drugs and drug-reconstitution systems, pre-filled vials and syringes for injectable drugs, IV nutrition products, infusion pumps, and inhalation anesthetics. It also provides products and services related to pharmacy compounding, drug formulation, and packaging technologies; and to treat end-stage renal disease or irreversible kidney failure. In addition, this segment manufactures solutions and other products for peritoneal dialysis, a home-based therapy; and distributes products for hemodialysis, which is conducted in a hospital or clinic. Baxter International Inc. serves hospitals, kidney dialysis centers, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, doctors’ offices, clinical and medical research laboratories, and patients at home under physician supervision in the United States, Europe, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Canada. The company sells its products through its direct sales force, as well as to and through independent distributors, drug wholesalers, and specialty pharmacy or other alternate site providers.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Recent Buy

As I mentioned in my stock analysis on Visa (V), I was very interested in purchasing some shares even before yesterday's pullback.  If you're wanting to invest in Visa you have to go into it knowing that it's going to give good dividend growth but it's much more of a total return investment.  I've been wanting to add a few more high dividend growth companies to my portfolio and Visa fits the bill quite nicely, as well as my recent IBM purchase.  I'm quite bullish on the company and expect to see lots of continued growth.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Visa (V) Dividend Stock Analysis

I wanted to get this analysis out last week but I was just way too busy with work.  Today we'll take a closer look at another lower yielding but higher growing company in Visa (V).  Visa Inc. recently became a publicly traded company with FY 2008 being their first year.  Visa closed trading on August 23rd at $179.10.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

Visa Inc., a payments technology company, engages in the operation of retail electronic payments network worldwide. It facilitates commerce through the transfer of value and information among financial institutions, merchants, consumers, businesses, and government entities. The company owns and operates VisaNet that provides fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. It also offers a range of payments platforms that enable credit, debit, prepaid, and cash access programs, as well as digital, mobile, and eCommerce payments for individuals, businesses and government entities. The company provides its payment platforms under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink, and PLUS brands. In addition, it offers risk management, issuer processing, loyalty, dispute management, value-added information, and CyberSource-branded services. Visa Inc. is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Recent Buy

Ahhh...you know what that sound is?  It's me enjoying making a purchase for my FI portfolio after about 1.5 months.  It's a shame too because there's several positions that I'd like to be adding to right now but capital is pretty light due to the pending house purchase.  All will be well though once September rolls around and I can build my emergency fund to the level I feel comfortable and start investing the rest.  I initiated a new position on Friday by purchasing 10 shares of International Business Machines (IBM).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekly Roundup - August 24, 2013

This past week was very busy for me.  It started off with a quick call out on Monday to head back to work.  I was hoping to be home at least until Tuesday and maybe until Wednesday, but they got things done at the rig much faster than I expected.  I don't like starting these jobs up because it's a lot of work for about 2 days, then catch up on sleep, then a lot of work for 2 days, then catch up on sleep and then everything slows down a bit and it's much better from then on.  But the the start is such a pain and time is very short.  I was hoping to get at least one stock analysis out this week but I was too pressed for time.  I'll get at least one out next week and hopefully two or three.  There wasn't much to do with my portfolio this past week.  Although I did sell off some more shares of Halliburton and closed my position in Alcoa.  I also started a small position in IBM as well and I'm hoping to be able to add to it over the coming months.  It's going to be great to start investing capital again after taking most of the last 1.5 months off due to the upcoming house purchase.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Recent Sells

Yesterday seemed like as good a day as any to try and sell off some more shares of Halliburton and also close my position in Alcoa.  I sold 25 shares of Halliburton, leaving me with just 100 more.  I had been debating whether or not to sell those shares or not because they changed the ESPP program and purchases are now made on a quarterly basis rather than semi-annual.  This leads to lots of less than 100 shares every quarter which means no covered call capabilities.  I might hoard up some more shares in the future and keep some extra handy to take advantage of call writing, but for now I decided to sell off some more shares and diversify into other dividend growth candidates.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Recent Option Transactions

Last Friday was the third Friday of the month and that means option expiration for those that use them.  I like when expiration Friday rolls around because it means I'm getting to purchase shares in quality companies or getting to turn a nice profit for waiting.  In general I look to achieve a 10% annualized return if the option expires out of the money or a cost basis that is at a price I'd be willing to purchase anyways.  That's why I like options because as the name implies there's multiple outcome possibilities.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Weekly Roundup - August 17, 2013

This past week was just plain busy.  We finally settled on the house are just going through the financing steps.  We finished drilling that last well and I got to head home Wednesday night and then back to working on documents for the financing.  What a mess.   I'll be glad when all of the house stuff is done and we can officially close on it.  I'll definitely take some pictures and share those whenever we get moved in.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Automatic Data Processing (ADP) Dividend Stock Analysis

Third analysis of the week is now up.  I previously looked at Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and International Business Machines, and now we'll move on to a financial services firm, Automatic Data Processing.  It feels good to get back to analyzing stocks and learning as much as I can.  The more you learn and study and practice the better you'll get.  Investing is a skill as much as an art.  ADP closed trading on August 13th at $72.99.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

Automatic Data Processing, Inc. and its subsidiaries provide business outsourcing solutions. The company operates in three segments: Employer Services, Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Services, and Dealer Services. The Employer Services segment offers a range of human resource (HR) information, payroll processing, time and labor management, and tax and benefits administration solutions and services, including traditional and Web-based outsourcing solutions to employers in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Australia, and Asia. Its solutions assist employers to recruit, staff, manage, pay, and retain their employees. The PEO Services segment provides employment administration outsourcing solutions comprising payroll, payroll tax filing, HR guidance, 401(k) plan administration, benefits administration, compliance services, health and workers’ compensation coverage, and other supplemental benefits for employees. The Dealer Services segment offers integrated dealer management systems, digital marketing solutions, and other business management solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment retailers in North America, Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific region. It also provides integrated applications for various department and functional areas of the dealership, such as customer relationship management applications, front-end sales and marketing/advertising solutions, and IP telephony phone systems; and computer hardware, hardware maintenance services, software support, system design, and network consulting services, as well as designs, establishes, and maintains communications networks for its dealership clients.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

International Business Machines (IBM) Dividend Stock Analysis

I'm finally getting back to posting some stock analyses.  For some reason I just didn't have the motivation, I'm not sure if it was a bit of a burn out but I think it was mainly just due to laziness.  I don't mind compiling the data but actually writing the posts is what I always get hung up on.  I've got a new focus and motivation of course that might also be since I'll be able to start investing again.  A lot of my free capital has been going towards the house down-payment so investing has taken a backseat.  Today I'm going to look at International Business Machines (IBM).  They were trading around $189.31 during trading on Monday, August 12th.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

International Business Machines Corporation provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. The company operates in five segments: Global Technology Services, Global Business Services, Software, Systems and Technology, and Global Financing. The Global Technology Services segment provides IT infrastructure and business process services, including outsourcing, process, integrated technology, and technology support. The Global Business Services segment offers consulting solutions for strategy and transformation, application innovation, enterprise applications, and smarter analytics; and application management, maintenance, and support services. The Software segment offers middleware and operating systems software, such as WebSphere software to integrate and manage business processes; information management software for database and enterprise content management, information integration, data warehousing, performance management business analytics and intelligence, and data analytics; Tivoli software for cloud and datacenter management, enterprise endpoint and mobile device management, asset and facilities management, storage management, and security systems; Lotus Software to connect people and processes for communication; rational software to support software development in IT and embedded systems; and operating systems software. The Systems and Technology segment provides computing power and storage solutions; and semiconductor technology, products, and packaging solutions. The Global Financing segment provides lease and loan financing to end users; commercial financing to dealers and remarketers of IT products; and remanufacturing and remarketing services for equipment. The company has a strategic alliance with Kutxabank. The company was formerly known as Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co. and changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation in 1924.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) Dividend Stock Analysis

It's been a long time since I've posted a stock analysis.  Much too long in fact and I apologize for that, but I've gotten renewed vigor to post some analyses and I'm hoping to get several out this week.  If there's any other companies that you'd like me to take a deeper look at feel free to email or comment about it.  Today I'm going to look at Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and it's dividend growth prospects.  The company was spun off from Cadbury in 2008.  I enjoy the namesake product of Dr. Pepper as well as several of their other products.  Shares closed trading on August 9th at $46.85.

Company Background (sourced from Yahoo! Finance):

Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. operates as a brand owner, manufacturer, and distributor of non-alcoholic beverages in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The company offers flavored carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) primarily comprising beverage concentrates and fountain syrups; and non-carbonated beverages (NCBs), including ready-to-drink teas, juices, juice drinks, and mixers. It also provides carbonated mineral water and bottled water. The company offers CSDs primarily under the brand names of Dr Pepper, Crush, Canada Dry, Sunkist soda, Schweppes, 7UP, A&W, RC Cola, Squirt, PeƱafiel, Sun Drop, Diet Rite, Welch's, Country Time, Vernors, and the concentrate form of Hawaiian Punch; and NCBs under the brand names of Snapple, Hawiian Punch, Mott’s, Clamato, Yoo-Hoo, Deja Blue, FIJI, AriZona, ReaLemon, Nantucket Nectars, Mr and Mrs T mixers, Mistic, and Rose’s. It sells its products to bottlers, distributors, and retailers.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weekly Roundup - August 10, 2013

This week has been exciting and frustrating and stressful all at the same time.  Purchasing a house is such a huge financial decision and there's just so many aspects that go into the purchase.  I can't wait for this process to be over.  We're currently still in the option period, although that ends Sunday at midnight, and I'm really hoping that every goes well.  The inspection came back really clean except for the roof and we're having some roofers out to inspect it today and we also have the appraisal going through.  There's no damage to the actual structure of the roof but the inspector was saying the shingles needed to be replaced but the homeowner's are saying no.  So who knows what will happen.  As soon as the final price is agreed upon, a huge burden will be lifted because then there's no more negotiating and no more issues.  Just answering stupid questions from the loan writer about where this money came from and where that money came from.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Recent Portfolio Moves

I made 2 moves to my portfolio today as well as two moves to report from last week so I've got a bit of a backlog of transactions.  Even though I've slacked a bit on getting the announcements up, it's mainly been from lack of free time and I wasn't as rushed because none of these moves effected my dividend growth strategy.  As I've mentioned, my wife and I are in the process of purchasing a house and I needed to get the last bit of down-payment settled.  What better way than the use the shares purchased at a discount through the employee stock purchase plan at work?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Net Worth Update - July 2013

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.  The markets surged higher again through July which when coupled with a very good savings rate helped to push my net worth up over $10k last month after a very disappointing June.  I had a little over $900 in combined 401k contributions, $670 in ESPP withholdings, and over $5,850 in after tax savings from my income.  The rest of the change was due to market changes and dividends.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Income Update - July 2013

Keeping track of your expenses is step one for anyone trying to improve their financial situation.  After you get a better idea of what you're spending money on, then you can look for ways to save money by smarter decisions or completely stopping spending on areas that aren't really adding any value to your life.  This is why I like to keep track of all of my expenses to help keep myself accountable and looking to see what areas I'm just doing poor in.  Of course this isn't for everyone but I do recommend that for at least a few months every year you go through this process to try and look for better uses of your money like paying down debt or investing for your future; whether that's early retirement or a more traditional one.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weekly Roundup - August 3, 2013

This past week went by extremely fast.  As I've mentioned my wife and I are looking at purchasing a house and we spent most of our time while I was home looking at potential houses.  We had put an offer in last week and it was accepted.  Now I just want to get the process started toward actually getting keys in hand.  We'll be having the inspection done on Monday and hopefully there's no big issues that need to be taken care of because that could seriously effect the purchase.  It's newish construction since it was built in 2000 so I wouldn't expect there to be anything that bad.  I know our monthly costs are going to go up with a house but my wife really wanted to have a place of our own.  Once the house is ours for sure then I'll post up some pictures.  If everything goes smoothly we should close around the first week of September.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dividend Update - July 2013

And another one bites the dust!  Seriously, was July shorter this year by about 10 days?  It was a pretty quiet month for dividends as well as new additions to the FI Portfolio.  I only started small positions in Realty Income and General Electric but other than that it was selling off shares of Halliburton, which I purchase through the ESPP program offered at work.  I've been selling off some shares to try and diversify away from my employer and also use those proceeds to help with the down-payment for our potential house purchase.  We actually have an offer in right now so we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Something to do in your first year of early retirement that will continue to pay "dividends"

I've been thinking a lot about early retirement lately mainly due to the great time that I've had on my days off. It's worked out to where I've been off more the last 1.5 months than usual which has been absolutely awesome and led to some great time with family at the beach and my wife on our several outings.  I love the summer months since she's a teacher and is off, so whenever I get a chance to be home it's wonderful to get to spend the whole day with her.  There's nothing that I want more than to have all of my time to spend with my wife, family, and our future kids.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weekly Roundup - July 27, 2013

This past week was great.  Everything went smooth with work at least as far as my end.  We almost set a record for drilling a well but missed it because the motor ended up breaking so we had to come out of the hole to change that out.  Overall it was still a great well and despite the extra time coming out of the hole for the motor we still beat the previous well we drilled by a day.  This ended up being a 8.6 day well.  I like having really fast wells but stacking them back to back like this is going to set some high expectations.  Whenever we drill a well a normal speed they're probably going to be wondering, WTF?  But the best part about this week is that I get to go home again for a few days and go spend time with my wife.  There's a drive-in theater that's relatively close to us and we're going to see about heading over there this weekend.  I love that drive-in because even after buying food/drink and tickets it still only works out to a little bit over the price of just seeing one movie in the theater, and we get double features.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Recent Buy

Well I wasn't planning on doing much to the portfolio other than selling off more shares of HAL, my employer's stock.  General Electric reported a great quarter with a huge list of back-orders and I'm not really sure how I've never picked up any shares.  It's not a steal of a price but the potential for both capital appreciation and dividend growth is there.  Management has stated they are targeting dividend growth that matches earnings growth, which if you believe management and analysts that should be around 10% for the next five years.  I'm hoping for the markets to pullback some other the next few weeks so I can average down my cost basis for the new GE position.

4 Tips for debt relief to lead you towards financial independence

The following is a guest post by Billy Patterson.

Financial independence is something that everyone dreams of. It’s neither too strenuous nor too easy to achieve. However, it’s possible to relish the benefits of financial freedom by managing your debts and other financial obligations cautiously.

Some valuable tips to achieve financial independence

Financial problems are not unique at all. Quite obviously you can’t expect your problems to disappear in a day. It’ll take time for you to achieve a financially stable life. You need to follow the right tips rigorously until you succeed in your endeavours. Following are the tips that may help you in achieving a debt free and financially successful life. Have a look:
  1. Careful expenditures is what you should follow: Impulsive expenditures are perhaps the biggest hurdle in the way towards financial independence. So, you must work to overcome that hurdle first. Plan your expenses according to your affordability. Learn to compromise a bit with the level of your lifestyle. Formulate a strict budget plan and spend within your limits. In this way you’ll never have to worry about huge shopping bills. You’ll be able to pay off your bills on time. The chances of debt accumulation will reduce. You’ll get to save also to pay off your due debts.
  1. Don’t fall for attractive offers on credit cards: Every now and then, credit card companies come up with lucrative offers to allure customers. Think twice before falling for any offer. There is no point in using your credit cards just for collecting some reward points or to get certain offers. This will increase the amount of your bills too. So, be very careful and stay away from unreasonable credit card offers.
  1. Take care of your debts: Apart from managing your expenses, you must also take care of your debts. Neglecting debts is a habit that most people have. This can be really disastrous for your financial health. That’s why it’s always better to take care of your debts on time. If you aren’t that much confident about the whole process, then get professional help for better debt elimination. Make it a point to pay off the regular installments of your due debts every month. In this way you’ll be able to reduce your debts gradually.
  1. Never ignore paying off bills: Unpaid bills only aggravate your debt problems. So, piling up unpaid bills is definitely not great idea. Be a bit more responsible and pay off your due bills as soon as possible. This will reduce your burden in a big way and you’ll be able to relish financial freedom at its best.
As you can see, it’s not that difficult actually to get debt relief and achieve financial independence. All you need is to be more responsible towards the way you use your income and savings. Apart from savings, work hard to increase your income too. Get some part time job or ask your family members to share the responsibilities. If you’re confused about how to start with the whole process, then you may contact some financial advisor. The advisor will surely suggest you the right way.