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.