Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekly Roundup - November 21, 2014

Well no weekly roundup this week because Lynsy went in to labor yesterday and Lucas Dean finally joined us.  The real battle for him begins now that he's outside of her and I'll update with pictures whenever I get the chance.

I'm not sure I'll get out a post about the latest purchases in my Loyal3 portfolio but rest assured they will eventually get posted.  I did initiate a new position in my regular taxable account and have enough cash for one more smaller purchase.  I'm looking at adding either Ventas (VTR) or Omega Healthcare (OHI) to my portfolio so let me know what y'all think of those two.

I hope you all have a great weekend.  I know ours is going to completely change everything.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Recent Buys

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Back in August I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Well, I just got an email on Friday from Loyal3 and they will no longer be accepting credit cards for purchase of stock.  So the credit card arbitrage is now over, but that doesn't take away from the value that Loyal3 offers investors.  It's still a no fee way to dollar cost average into wide moat companies which you just can't beat.  There's still a little bit of time to make purchases with credit cards so I'll most likely load up on some extra purchases next week and then slowly bring down my investments through Loyal3.  The plan is to still invest there but probably not at the same rate that I was originally planning on.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Weekly Roundup - November 15, 2014

Another week down!  Although this one was rather boring, but right now boring is good.  We finished up the last job early Monday morning so I started heading back towards Houston to meet up with my wife at the hospital.  Well, go visit her at the hospital.  Things were looking kind of shaky last Sunday night and that Luke might be joining us sooner rather than later, but miraculously things calmed down once I got here.  Now it looks like we can probably push the balloon removal surgery until next Tuesday which will give him almost 6 week with the balloon in.  Then we'll see what happens from there.  I'll be heading back to work tonight or early Sunday morning to get in another 2 days and then it's back to the hospital.

Earlier this month I decided to start making monthly exercise goals to keep me on track.  In hindsight, they were too aggressive.  Not because of physical reasons but due to my sometimes hectic work schedule, sleep is much more important. In case you forgot my goals are:
  1. 1,000 pushups
  2. 1,000 squats
  3. 1,000 burpees
  4. 30 minutes of planks
 I didn't do too well on my goals this past week with only 2 days of being semi-successful.  It's not that I didn't want to do them but my priority was making sure my wife was okay.  Plus a big cold front moved in early this week and dropped the temperatures down a lot and here I am with nothing but t-shirts and shorts.  
  1. 245 pushups
  2. 225 squats
  3. 65 burpees
  4. 5 minutes of planks
Hopefully I'll get back on track next week but who knows what tomorrow will bring let alone the next week.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Net Worth Update - October 2014

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 had a whirlwind month declining at much as 5.5% to start the month and then charging back 8.3% to finish the month with a 2.3% gain for the month.  Since more and more of my net worth is tied to the markets, there's a larger correlation between my net worth and the markets and for August my net worth rose with the markets.  As a dividend growth investor I'm not overly concerned with the short-term gyrations as long as the dividend stream remains in tact, but the markets' effect is noticeable.  I had just under $6,200 in after-tax savings from my paycheck, just over $1,000 in ESPP contributions, and just over $1,400 in 401k contributions counting the employer match.  The rest of the changes were due to dividends received and changes in the stock market.  All in all October saw a $10,144.45 increase in my net worth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bemis Company, Inc. Dividend Stock Analysis

As part of building a diversified dividend growth portfolio it's important to own not only a number of companies but also companies that operate in a variety of industries. Previously I've looked at some restaurants, beverages, and consumer staples companies, but today I wanted to examine a consumer goods company that we've probably all put our hands on their products but none of us realize. This dividend champion has 31 consecutive years of dividend growth. Bemis Company, Inc. (NYSE:BMS) closed trading on Thursday, November 6th at $38.83 giving a current yield of 2.78%.

Discounted Earnings:

Analysts followed by Yahoo Finance expect Bemis Company to grow earnings 5.70% per year over the next 5 years and I've assumed they can grow at 5.13% (90% of 5.70%) for the next three years and at 5.00% in perpetuity. Running these numbers through a discounted earnings analysis with a 10% discount rate and summing over 30 years yields a fair value price of $39.58. This means the shares are trading at a 1.9% discount to the discounted earnings analysis.

Click here to read the full analysis of Bemis Company, Inc. at Seeking Alpha.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recent Buy

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Back in August I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Well, I just got an email on Friday from Loyal3 and they will no longer be accepting credit cards for purchase of stock.  So the credit card arbitrage is now over, but that doesn't take away from the value that Loyal3 offers investors.  It's still a no fee way to dollar cost average into wide moat companies which you just can't beat.  There's still a little bit of time to make purchases with credit cards so I'll most likely load up on some extra purchases next week and then slowly bring down my investments through Loyal3.  The plan is to still invest there but probably not at the same rate that I was originally planning on.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Weekly Roundup - November 8, 2014

Well that week flew by really fast.  I can't believe that we're already a week into November.  It really seems like August started just a week or two ago.  But that's the beauty of pursuing financial independence, eventually you'll get to claim every hour for yourself and your family instead of having to devote that time to work.  I made 2 purchases this past week that will help me along my own path and hopefully I'll get posts up about them early next week.

Last week I decided to start making monthly exercise goals to keep me on track.  In hindsight, they were too aggressive.  Not because of physical reasons but due to my sometimes hectic work schedule, sleep is much more important. In case you forgot my goals are:

  1. 1,000 pushups
  2. 1,000 squats
  3. 1,000 burpees
  4. 30 minutes of planks
 I did okay on my goals this first week but there's still a lot to improve on.  Here's where I sit after the first seven days.
  1. 185 pushups
  2. 165 squats
  3. 60 burpees
  4. 3 minutes of planks

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Can United Technologies Corporation Move Your Portfolio?

As part of building a diversified dividend growth portfolio, it's important to own not only a number of companies but also companies that operate in a variety of industries. Previously I've looked at some restaurants, beverages, and consumer staples companies but today I wanted to examine an industrial powerhouse and dividend contender with 20 consecutive years of dividend growth: United Technologies (NYSE:UTX). Shares closed trading on Friday, October 31st at $107.00, giving a current yield of 2.21%.

Discounted Earnings:

Analysts followed by Yahoo!Finance expect United Technologies to grow earnings 11.08% per year over the next 5 years and I've assumed they can grow at 8.31% (75% of 11.08%) for the next three years and at 5.00% in perpetuity. Running these numbers through a discounted earnings analysis with a 10% discount rate and summing over 30 years yields a fair value price of $153.54. This means the shares are trading at a 30.3% discount to the discounted earnings analysis.

Click here to read the full analysis of United Technologies Corporation at Seeking Alpha.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Income Update - October 2014

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.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dividend Update - October 2014


October was a big drop from September's record setting month but that was completely expected.  I did set a personal best for dividend payments in the first month of a quarter though.  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 invest to build a passive income stream.  What you use that stream for is up to you, whether it's to fund early retirement, just provide some FI/FU money, or even to provide for an annual vacation; the key is that it can provide options and opens up all sorts of possibilities.  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 March which is great motivation and helps to keep me on track.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Back in August I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Even better is that you can make the purchases with your credit card and earn cash back rewards.  For me that's an extra 1% yield on the first year's dividend.  It's a great way to dollar cost average into positions over time although they do have a limited selection of companies you can invest in.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Weekly Roundup - November 1, 2014

October has been a crazy month and I can't believe that it's already done with.  I didn't get to take advantage of the market selloff, well at least not with larger purchases, because investing was hardly my priority for the month.  Essentially the whole month was spent with a few days at the hospital then a few days back at work then some more days at the hospital then a few more at work.  There's been so many changes for Lucas but things are looking good and stable right now.  Now we just need another 2 weeks and then as much time after that as he'll give us.  He's still not out of the woods yet because the real action will start once he gets here but he'll definitely be starting out in much better shape.

If you read through my 3rd Quarter Goals Update post I failed pretty miserably on my health related goals.  The 3rd quarter was a hell of a quarter and I'm glad that it's over with.  Even though we're already one month into the 4th Quarter, there's no time like the present to get started on a goal.  I'm planning on going an working out this evening once I get off work and with a new month I want to set some mini-monthly goals to hopefully keep me more motivated throughout the month and do at least a little bit every day.  So my monthly goals for November are going to be:

  1. 1,000 pushups
  2. 1,000 squats
  3. 1,000 burpees
  4. 30 minutes of planks
That works out to 33 pushups/squats/burpees per day and 1 minute of planks.  We'll see how these goals go and ideally these will be done on top of regular exercise at the gym as well.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Back in August I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Even better is that you can make the purchases with your credit card and earn cash back rewards.  For me that's an extra 1% yield on the first year's dividend.  It's a great way to dollar cost average into positions over time although they do have a limited selection of companies you can invest in.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.

Friday, October 24, 2014

2014 Goals - 3rd Quarter Update


Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future.  Somehow the first half of the year is already over.  It seems like just a few weeks ago I was reporting on my progress for the first quarter and now another quarter is over and done with.  I think it's important to set specific, measurable goals at the beginning of each year to keep you focused and motivated towards hitting your goals.  It's important for them to be measurable so you can see exactly how you're progressing.  Back in January I set several goals covering budgeting, savings, investing, blogging, and personal goals, so it's high time I take a look and see how I'm doing.

2014 Budgeting Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2014 Amounts Status
Grocery spending < $200 per month $220.31 Needs Improvement
Restaurant spending < $110 per month $124.68 Needs Improvement
Average monthly expenses < $2,350 per month $2,641.54 Needs Improvement

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Intersection of Dividend Growth Investing and Financial Independence

Tired of working under fluorescent lights day in and day out?  Well besides winning the lottery the only way to get away from working 9-5 til 65 is to spend less than you earn and invest the difference.   Most of the blogs that I follow are focused on dividend growth investing and they usually have a tilt, heavy or light, towards financial independence.  Financial independence is the point where your savings and investments can provide enough monthly income to cover your expenses.  Now some people say it's just your base expenses (food, housing, utilities...) and others say enough to support your lifestyle.  It doesn't really matter what it is because the end goal is the same, cover your expenses through passive income.  The intersection of your expenses and passive income is the crossover point.  Once you reach that point serious congratulations are owed to you because you no longer require work and its income in order to support your lifestyle.  That doesn't mean you can't work but you now have the option not to.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Back in August I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Even better is that you can make the purchases with your credit card and earn cash back rewards.  For me that's an extra 1% yield on the first year's dividend.  It's a great way to dollar cost average into positions over time although they do have a limited selection of companies you can invest in.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Net Worth Update - September 2014

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 declined 1.55% during September and crossed the 2,000 mark for the first time.  Since more and more of my net worth is tied to the markets, there's a larger correlation between my net worth and the markets and for August my net worth rose with the markets.  As a dividend growth investor I'm not overly concerned with the short-term gyrations as long as the dividend stream remains in tact, but the markets' effect is noticeable.  I had just under $5,200 in after-tax savings from my paycheck, almost $800 in ESPP contributions, and just under $1,100 in 401k contributions counting the employer match.  The rest of the changes were due to dividends received and changes in the stock market.  All in all September saw a $1,573.43 decrease in my net worth.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Recent Buy

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Back in August I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Even better is that you can make the purchases with your credit card and earn cash back rewards.  For me that's an extra 1% yield on the first year's dividend.  It's a great way to dollar cost average into positions over time although they do have a limited selection of companies you can invest in.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Weekly Roundup - October 4, 2014

Another week down and we can count off September as well.  The second half of September took the markets on quite a ride but with volatility increasing that usually means lower prices and better entry points.  I took advantage of the volatility earlier this week to initiate a new position in United Technologies (UTX) and add to an existing one as well, that write up is coming early next week.  I love when one month ends and another begins because that means it's time for dividend updates to be coming out.  That's honestly one of my favorite things, seeing how many of you are taking control of your future by investing today for tomorrow.

Other than that it was another work filled week which was honestly welcomed after the craziness of the past few months with Lucas, our son.  It was nice to get back into a semi-routine and have a sense of normalcy.  Plus it didn't hurt that I was able to actually write some posts here.  It's a nice little escape.  Other than that we're stuck in limbo with Lucas until Monday when we'll hear back from the FDA.


I know it's a bit old but it's interesting to see nonetheless.  The New York Times had an interesting chart showing the tax rates, across all levels, for companies in the S&P 500 between 2007 and 2012.  During that period 9 companies paid no taxes at all and 1 out of 7 paid less than a 10% effective tax rate.  The insurance and energy industries had the highest effective tax rates at 51% and 37% respectively.  Anyways, here's the link to the interactive infographic if you want to play around with it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Income Update - September 2014

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.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Recent Buy

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dividend Update - September 2014


September, like the end of most quarters, was an excellent month for dividends.  The majority of companies that I own make their payment to owners at the end of each quarter and I set a new personal best this month.  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 invest to build a passive income stream.  What you use that stream for is up to you, whether it's to fund early retirement, just provide some FI/FU money, or even to provide for an annual vacation; the key is that it can provide options and opens up all sorts of possibilities.  You can check my dividend income or progress page to see what dedication to an investment plan can give you.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Last month I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Even better is that you can make the purchases with your credit card and earn cash back rewards.  For me that's an extra 1% yield on the first year's dividend.  It's a great way to dollar cost average into positions over time although they do have a limited selection of companies you can invest in.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekly Roundup - September 27, 2014

The past two weeks have been pretty rough.  Not due to the increased volatility but due to life in general.  My grandfather passed away almost two weeks ago and a week ago Friday was the funeral.  The man was one of the most kind hearted and loving people that I've ever met and it hurts so much to not have him with us anymore.  But I know he's better off because he's no longer suffering or having to deal with knowing that he can barely move on his own any more.  It still blows my mind thinking back on his life and how he was a World War 2 vet and just thinking of all of the changes that he witnessed in his life.  On top of that after things had settled down a bit with Lucas now we're back on another roller coaster.  Things are definitely looking better than before but he's still got a long journey ahead of him.  My wife and I both could definitely go for a bit of a normal and boring stretch.

What a difference a week or two makes.  The markets were quite volatile this past week with the DJIA having 100+ point moves every day.  I didn't invest a whole lot of capital but I did add to my position in Emerson Electric and there's still a few more companies that I'm looking at for potential purchases.  What companies have you been buying or looking at for purchase?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Recent Buy

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Last month I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Even better is that you can make the purchases with your credit card and earn cash back rewards.  For me that's an extra 1% yield on the first year's dividend.  It's a great way to dollar cost average into positions over time although they do have a limited selection of companies you can invest in.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Net Worth Update - August 2014

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 surged 3.77% during August and crossed the 2,000 mark for the first time.  Since more and more of my net worth is tied to the markets, there's a larger correlation between my net worth and the markets and for August my net worth rose with the markets.  As a dividend growth investor I'm not overly concerned with the short-term gyrations as long as the dividend stream remains in tact, but the markets' effect is noticeable.  I had just under $4,700 in after-tax savings from my paycheck, $700 in ESPP contributions, and just over $960 in 401k contributions counting the employer match.  The rest of the changes were due to dividends received and changes in the stock market.  All in all August saw a $11,444.94 increase in my net worth.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Last month I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Even better is that you can make the purchases with your credit card and earn cash back rewards.  For me that's an extra 1% yield on the first year's dividend.  It's a great way to dollar cost average into positions over time although they do have a limited selection of companies you can invest in.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekly Roundup - September 13, 2014

Another week has come and gone.  How do the days keep flying by so fast?  All the more reason to reach financial independence as early as possible and start to recapture some of the ever-fleeting time that we have.  With no appointments this week that means it was time to get back to work.  Honestly I was glad to get back into a normal routine again after the whirlwind that was August.  One thing that I really like about my job is that there's a lot of downtime but I still get paid.  Who doesn't like that?  Yesterday three of the guys that I work with and myself went golfing at a course near where we're working.  It was a great day for golf as the temperature wasn't too hot considering we're in south Texas.  The front 9 went quite well but the back 9, not so much.  Considering I haven't golfed in nearly a decade I thought it was a pretty successful round.  And even better is that I got paid as if I was working but was out on the golf course.  That's a win in my book.

The markets have started to stumble a bit which is music to my ears.  I added to my position in Deere & Company this week as well as continuing to add to my Loyal3 portfolio.  I even got a few raises this week as well which is always a welcomed bonus.  I'm looking forward to the markets continuing to decline and hopefully open up a lot more value.  One company that I'm really interested in right now is Emerson Electric (EMR).  I already own a small position in them and would like to add more if the share price dips a little bit.  Other companies that I'm interested in are some of the oil majors (Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP) and Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and YUM Brands.  What companies are starting to catch your eye for potential purchases?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Income Update - August 2014

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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Recent Buy - Nothing Runs Like A Deere

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

I Got a Raise!

Two raises in fact!  No it wasn't from my employer but rather these raises came from two of my employees.  Both of them have been working hard this past year and decided to shoot me a little bit more cash every quarter.  That's dividend growth investing in action and eventually with more increases and continued investment will allow me to consider early retirement.

Yesterday, Phillip Morris (PM) increased the quarterly dividend by 6.4% from $0.94 to $1.00 per share.  Since I own 62 shares of PM that's an extra $3.75 coming my way every quarter or $15.00 extra every year.  This increase marks the sixth annual dividend increase by PM and the current yield is now 4.75%.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Last month I started a new portfolio with Loyal3.  Loyal3 is a new brokerage that allows you to make purchases with no commission costs.  That's right, fee free investing.  Even better is that you can make the purchases with your credit card and earn cash back rewards.  For me that's an extra 1% yield on the first year's dividend.  It's a great way to dollar cost average into positions over time although they do have a limited selection of companies you can invest in.

Each week I plan to make small purchases in several companies to slowly build up the positions.  This allows me to get some capital invested every week, for free.  The valuations might not always be the best but it does help me to consistently build up my portfolio and dividend stream that will eventually allow me to consider early retirement.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weekly Roundup - September 6, 2014

This past week was trying to say the least.  Nothing much to report on the financial/investing front but lots of things changed with Lucas, our son set to join us in late December.  We haven't updated the BabyLukeBlog.wordpress.com site yet for this week but hopefully we'll get the chance to do so this weekend.  Ever since finding out that my wife was pregnant I've felt my priorities shift a bit and even more so after finding out there were complications that our little boy will face.  I don't expect anything to change too drastically in the next 6 months to a year, but after that there might be a job change on the horizon.

This weekend should be a pretty fun one.  Today our plan is to go meet up with some friends that have a lake house a few hours from here and spend the day out on the lake, bbq-ing, and having a good time with some friends.  Sunday is looking like we'll head back home kind of early but that's just so we can get back to civilization and watch some long-awaited NFL games.  It's the first full weekend of games and I'm quite excited.  Football is by far my favorite sport to watch on tv and even better when you can watch the games with friends.  And that's exactly our plan.  My wife and I are both looking forward to a relaxing weekend to kind of clear our heads from the whirlwind that the last month has been.  Unfortunately it's looking like Monday will bring another drive back to work but honestly I'm looking forward to that as well to get back into a normal routine.  Anyone else have some really kickass plans for this weekend?

Friday, September 5, 2014

How To Get Someone Started: Part 2

Last month I asked you all for some help with getting some of my relatives interested in dividend growth investing.  The idea of this comes from my desire to help and teach and also the simple fact that time in the market is extremely important.  My wife and I have a child on the way and I have 1 cousin that's a freshman in college, 2 in high school, and 4 more that are elementary school age or younger.  With at least a decade of compounding for the majority of them that's a huge advantage.  Even if it's just $100 dollars that's plenty to show the power of compounding and dividend growth investing.

My plan is to sit down with the 2 oldest, when I get the chance, and ask them about investing and help guide them.  I won't pick the company for them but I do plan on steering them towards the dividend growth companies that are available.  The biggest issue that I see is that dividend growth investing is a long term process so the right company is of utmost importance.  The company needs to make a product that they know, use, and see on a daily basis.  There's more established and more stable dividend growth companies out there but in order to keep their interest it has to be something that they will be interested in.  Unfortunately that probably eliminates companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, or Realty Income.  Unfortunately those companies aren't exactly the "sexiest" ones out there.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dividend Update - August 2014


August was a great month for dividends and was my first non March/June/September/December month to surpass $300.  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 invest to build a passive income stream.  What you use that stream for is up to you, whether it's to fund early retirement, just provide some FI/FU money, or even to provide for an annual vacation; the key is that it can provide options and opens up all sorts of possibilities.  You can check my dividend income or progress page to see what dedication to an investment plan can give you.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

Earlier this month I started a new portfolio through Loyal3 and what I really like about it is the opportunity to dollar cost average into positions for free.  That's right no commission costs.  And the fact that you can purchase shares using your credit card is just icing on the cake.  That's an extra 1% "yield" through the cash back rewards I get with my credit card.  Not bad for getting to invest capital that I'd be looking to invest anyways.

I was a lot more active this week with purchases in this new portfolio since there wasn't a whole lot of value that I saw to make outright purchases.  That's just fine by me since I can slowly build up positions over time in some great companies.  Last week I invested $100 through Loyal3.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekly Roundup - August 31, 2014

The S&P 500 crossed 2,000 for the first time this past week which is an amazing feat considering where it was 5 years ago.  With new all-time highs in the markets there's been more and more people calling for a major correction to come soon.  I know this past week I heard someone on the financial news shows (yes I do watch them but ignore 99% of what they say) saying that a 50% correction is just around the corner.  Is it?  I have no idea but I have a feeling that as long as there's still the constant calls for a major correction it's probably not going to happen.  But dividend growth investors don't buy the whole market.  We select individual companies trading at good valuations so despite the record highs and elevated valuations for the market in general there's still pockets of value.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Best of Both Worlds: Put Options

Obviously the most important part about investing is finding the truly great companies that have the ability to grow profits and dividends for decades on end.  Once you identify those companies through a qualitative analysis the next step I like to take is a fundamental analysis to determine what a "fair value" for the company's shares is.  After you determine what price you'd be willing to pay for the future growth and income stream that a company provides you can see where the current share price lies on the value spectrum, i.e. whether shares are under, fairly, or over valued.  There's two ways to enter into a position, you can either purchase shares outright or you can write/sell put options.  My preferred method is open market purchases but sometimes the value just isn't there and put options give

By selling a put option you are selling someone the right to sell shares of a company at a predetermined price.  Now no one is going to give up their "option" for free so in return the seller receives an option premium.  We'll use Coca-Cola (KO) (Full Analysis Here) since shares are currently trading for about a 1.50% premium to my fair value calculation of $40.75.  If I'm a stickler for not paying more than what I deem to be a fair value price then Coca-Cola wouldn't be a possibility right now unless I use put options.  Let's look at the options that expire September 26th.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Harris Corporation (HRS) Increases the Dividend

This morning Harris Corporation (HRS) announced an increase in the quarterly dividend.  The payment increased from $0.42 to $0.47 or 11.9%.  The new dividend rate is payable on September 23rd to shareholders of record as of September 9th.  This increase is now the 13th consecutive year of increasing the dividend.  The new dividend would be a 38.7% payout ratio based off the analyst estimate of $4.86 EPS for FY 2015 which leaves plenty of room for future growth.  Even better is that the FCF payout ratio using the new payment is only at 31.9% based on FY 2013's FCF numbers of $5.89 per share.  Click here to see the press release.

Since I own 82.506 shares of HRS this increased my annual dividends by $16.50 and increases my YOC to 4.01%.  Dividend growth investing in action!!!

My forward 12-month dividends are now $4,983.31 which is 99.67% of the way towards my goal of $5,000 by the end of the year.  A couple more dividend increases or another purchase and I'll pass my goal.  With 4 full months left in the year I'll smash my original goal and have to set a new one.  Great problem to have!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekly Loyal3 Purchases

I recently started a new portfolio with Loyal3 and I'm working on building up a portfolio through dollar cost averaging into some really great companies.  Due to the batch trading that they do I don't really have a lot of control over the purchase price but the no fee investing more than makes up for that.

I had two purchases go through this week.  On Wednesday, August 20th I had an order for Mondelez International (MDLZ) and VF Corporation (VFC) go through.  The starting yields on both are pretty low but I'm fairly confident that both will provide dividend growth rates well above inflation for decades to come.
  • MDLZ - 0.6968 shares @ $35.88 / 1.67% YOC / $0.42 annual dividends
  • VFC - 0.3925 shares @ $63.70 / 1.65% YOC / $0.41 annual dividends

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekly Roundup - August 23, 2014

I've been off work for 1.5 weeks now but today I'll be heading back.  Time to go make some money.  Now don't get me wrong I much prefer to be home but we aren't close to financial independence yet so I have to grind away.  It was great to be home and last weekend we had the gender reveal party, IT'S A BOY!, and then my wife and I and some friends went to the Soundgarden/Nine Inch Nails concert.  That made for a long day but it sure was fun.

After making at least one purchase each of the last four weeks I took a breather this week.  Although I didn't see a whole lot of value but I am looking into another insurer, Chubb Corporation (CB).  I hope to make a purchase of something next week though because I still have a good amount of cash waiting to be invested and with the month coming to an end there's about to be some more savings available.  I did make two small purchases though but definitely not needle movers.  The purchases were made in my new Loyal3 portfolio and I'm excited to dollar cost average into positions there.  With Loyal3 you can Buy Stocks Fee-Free$0 fees to buy and sell stock.Open a free online account today. (Affiliate Link) or Loyal3 (Regular Link).  The options are a bit limited but there's still plenty of great dividend growth companies to choose from.

Friday, August 22, 2014

How To Get Someone Started

I'm sure we all know someone that could benefit from embracing the dividend growth strategy whether that's a family member, close friend, coworker or anyone else.  With the first cousin that was born after me graduating high school a few months ago and starting college in just a few weeks I figure he's prime to take advantage of the power of compounding.  Even if he starts now at 18 that'd be about 10 extra years of compounding and dividend growth to get him started down the right path to financial independence if he so chooses.

Obviously there's a lot behind investing in individual companies.  There's a lot more risk than investing through index funds/ETFs and in order to mitigate that risk and keep from selling just because of share price movements he would need to commit to research and learning how to invest properly.  I'd point him in the right direction with a few books and of course a lot of the wonderful dividend growth investing blogs for starters.  And any help mentoring or being a sounding board or anything else.  If you're going to get someone started then I think you have to be available to help guide them along until they are ready to go on their own.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Life Can Change In An Instant

Starting at the beginning of this year my wife and I didn't exactly start trying to have a child but we stopped not trying.  It finally felt like the time to start working towards adding to our family.  Even though I expected for us to find out the good news the gravity of the change didn't really sink in until one day in May.  Around the middle of May my wife had an appointment scheduled and luckily things worked out with my work schedule that I was able to go with her to that appointment.  We got the news that we had been expecting and it was a huge emotional roller coaster.

Just finding out news that I'm now fully responsible for the care and well-being of another person is a bit overwhelming and changes your perspective on things.  Coupling the emotions of that news with the issues my grandfather was going through at the time made it kind of bittersweet.  For those that don't remember, my grandfather had fallen and broken his left hip and left shoulder.  That was a truly wild ride because my wife and I didn't feel that the time was right to share our good news with my family because the focus really needed to be on the well-being of my grandfather who was in bad shape.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Recent Buy

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekly Roundup - August 16, 2014

Quick update because it's late and I need to get to sleep.  I initiated 5 new positions for me this week, although 4 of them are really small at just $25 each so far.  I started positions in Disney (DIS), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL), and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) as well as a much larger position in a company I've been eyeing for a while.  I'll get a post up about the newest position early this coming week.  Make sure you follow me on Twitter@JC_PIP to get nearly up to the minute information of new purchases that I make for my portfolio.

Thanks again to each and every one of you that stopped by, commented, or shared posts from Passive-Income-Pursuit this past week.  I truly appreciate it and if there's ever anything I can do or write about to help you out then feel free to ask.

Friday, August 15, 2014

I Finally Did It

A few months back I wrote about some alternative brokerage options.  My portfolio is now getting to be pretty hefty at over $160k and I've been looking at possible brokerages to further diversify my holdings.  There's no sense in having everything held at just one brokerage firm just in case the brokerage has any issues that keeps you from having access to your investments while the problems are sorted out.  I discussed a few different options each with their own advantages and disadvantages.  I've been pretty interested in Loyal3 for a while now and finally decided to go on and open an account.  The biggest positive with Loyal3 is that all trades are fee free.  That's right no commission.  Although I've grown more comfortable with the long term viability of their business model it's still something to watch closely for potential changes in the fee structure.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Evidence for Dividend Growth Investing

This following post is written by Ben Reynolds, who runs the Sure Dividend site. Sure Dividend focuses on high quality dividend growth stocks suitable for long-term investing.

Dividend growth stocks are an excellent vehicle to build passive income over time. The idea of owning businesses that pay you more money year after year has a certain appeal to those in pursuit of passive income. Not only do dividend growth stocks give you a raise year after year, they have also historically outperformed the market. The Dividend Aristocrat Index is made up of businesses that have raised their dividends for 25+ consecutive years. The Dividend Aristocrat index has outperformed the S&P500 by 2.41 percentage points per year over the last decade.
Source: S&P500 Dividend Aristocrats Fact Sheet

Dividend Aristocrats & Quality

The Dividend Aristocrat index is full of high quality businesses with a long history of success. Some examples are Coca-Cola (KO), Wal-Mart (WMT), PepsiCo (PEP), 3M (MMM), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). There are 54 businesses in the Dividend Aristocrats Index. You can download a full list of current Dividend Aristocrats sorted by dividend yield, growth rate, and P/E ratio right here. Not only do Dividend Aristocrats have a long history of profitable growth, they also tend to have higher profitability on average. The average return on assets (ROA) for the S&P500 is 7.23%, compared to 9.58% for the average Dividend Aristocrat stock.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Liebster Award Nomination


Last week I was nominated for a Liebster Award by both Asset Grinder and Roadmap2Retire.  Thanks so much for the nomination guys!  The Liebster Award is a given to bloggers by bloggers in an attempt to learn more about them and their blog.  I really like getting to know the story behind the blog so the Liebster Award really helps with that.  If you're nominated for the Liebster Award you're supposed to answer the questions given to you from the nominator and then nominate five other bloggers for the Liebster Award and give them five questions of your own.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Recent Buys

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Weekly Roundup - August 9, 2014

This past week was pretty crazy and honestly it was a really tough week.  It started off good enough with the same old routine of finish up one job, drive home, do some paperwork, then spend some time with my wife.  I love when the summer is in full swing and she's not working, she's a teacher, so we can spend all day every day together when I actually get a chance to be home.  She's one of the biggest reasons why I'm working towards reaching FI as quickly as possible.

On the investing front the S&P 500 was up slightly on the week but it was anything but a smooth ride.  Essentially all of the gains were made thanks to a very good day yesterday that saw the index gain 1.15% from Thursday's close.  Although a grumpy or fickle Mr. Market is great news for long term investors.  Last week I added to positions in Realty Income, General Mills, Verizon and Wal-Mart to help boost up my dividends and get some idle capital to work.  I also went ahead and added to 2 more positions this week that were long overdue to have further investments made.  That post will be up early this coming week, most likely Monday.  If you want to stay on top of the latest purchases, in almost real-time from the trade execution, then make sure to follow me on Twitter@JC_PIP.  There's still a few other positions that I'm looking to add to and hopefully I can do so this week.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Net Worth Update - July 2014

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 2.16% during July although the real action came on the last day as the S&P 500 saw a 2.00% drop sparking worries of a correction being underway.  Since more and more of my net worth is tied to the markets, there's a larger correlation between my net worth and the markets and for July my net worth suffered.  As a dividend growth investor I'm not overly concerned with the short-term gyrations as long as the dividend stream remains in tact, but the markets' effect is noticeable.  I had just under $5,700 in after-tax savings from my paycheck, almost $900 in ESPP contributions, and just over $1,200 in 401k contributions counting the employer match.  The rest of the changes were due to dividends received and changes in the stock market.  All in all July saw a $5,412.25 decrease in my net worth.  Yikes!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Income Update - July 2014

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.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Recent Buys

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Mr. Market was in a sour mood to close out July and had the worst weekly loss in two years with the S&P 500 dropping 2.0% on July 31st alone.  That's just fine by me though as I had plenty of capital that I was ready and willing to put to work.  As a long term investor drops in prices don't concern me as long as the fundamentals of the company remain in tact.  So I took advantage of the dip to close out the month and added to three positions.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Weekly Roundup - August 2, 2014

Well this past week was just grinding away in the blistering heat down here in south Texas.  Luckily I don't actually work outside but man it was extremely hot.  We should be able to finish this well up sometime this weekend and I can't wait to get back home and spend some more time with my wife.  I'm not sure what all we'll be up to but I want to take advantage of her last few free days before the next school year really starts kicking into gear.  I'm also glad to report no big expenses this past week so that is very good.

What a difference a week makes.  The S&P 500 was down 2% on the last day of July and the DJIA retreated about 1.8%.  That makes for a happy investor especially since both indices were already a few percentage points off their recent highs.  I was quite busy over the last week or so by adding to my position in Realty Income (O) and then adding to 3 positions on Thursday, write up on those coming early next week.   I just tallied it up and I invested over $9k in July which was quite surprising to me because I didn't think it was anywhere near that.  I've still got a lot of capital to put to work though so hopefully the markets continue to sour.  I'm very happy to announce that with dividend increases and the new purchases I made in July my forward 12-month dividends are now up over $4,800.  I've got my eye on a few more companies to purchase during August, of course there's no telling what Mr. Market will do.  I actually had to log out of my brokerage account because all of that red on Thursday.  Not because there was so much red but there were lots of companies moving into the high ends of my buy ranges and I had to keep from going through my whole stash.  Got to keep some powder ready, right?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dividend Update - July 2014


July was fairly steady as she goes as far as dividends with just a slight increase from April but progress is progress.  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 invest to build a passive income stream.  What you use that stream for is up to you, whether it's to fund early retirement, just provide some FI/FU money, or even to provide for an annual vacation; the key is that it can provide options and opens up all sorts of possibilities.  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 March which is great motivation and helps to keep me on track.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Recent Buy

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Earlier this week I wrote about another rental propportunity that I happened to find.  Given the right property in the right location you can generate a lot more cash flow on a monthly basis by investing in real estate.  However, my big concern with going that route is being adequately diversified.  The approximate $25k that I'd need for the downpayment on that property would only net me on property and require the use of debt or I could continue to build ownership stakes in 5-10 companies.  Since I'm still a little undecided on rental properties as an option right now, I still like to invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs).  So yesterday I added to one of the best run REITs out there, Realty Income (O).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What's Your Weight?

No I'm not asking you to divulge your body weight, although if that will help you with any weight loss goals you have feel free to do so.  The weight I'm referring to has to do with your portfolio.  I think we all understand the importance of diversification, especially for those looking to live off the dividends your portfolio churns out.  You don't want to be left owning a few companies or a be highly concentrated in one segment of the economy as we all know how that worked out for those that were heavily invested in the finance sector during 2008/9.

Most dividend growth investors that I've spoken with agree on the importance of diversification and fall somewhere in between wanting to own 20-50 companies in their portfolio.  I currently own 41 companies and I'm trying to really focus on building positions up rather than continually expanding into new positions.  So when it comes to diversification you can either weight your portfolio based on capital value or on dividends paid.  In a perfect world all companies would pay the same yield to make this a lot easier but we have to work with what's available.  I created a chart showing the weighting of my taxable portfolio based on current capital value and on the dividends each position provides.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Another Rental Propportunity

One of my goals for this year was to purchase a rental property to further diversify my passive, well semi-passive, income sources.  After the first quarter of the year I figured it probably wouldn't be a realistic option because there's a lot of obstacles to overcome given my work schedule.  It had been a while since I looked at potential real estate investments but earlier this month I decided to browse around a bit on the internet and found a really great opportunity.

Based on the pictures I found online the property looks to be in pretty good shape.  There's laminate wood flooring throughout with newish appliances.  The previous owners had added on an extra room that added an extra 342 sf to the house which is essentially a second living room.  I used to live in this same neighborhood before my wife and I bought our own house and the area is in a great location with easy access to two main highways.  It's a small neighborhood off on it's own and isn't the greatest of neighborhoods but would probably be considered a B/C neighborhood.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekly Roundup - July 26, 2014

Another week of being home for a while and then heading back to work.  Although I think I'm glad to be back at work so I can finally get some rest.  My wife and I were busy just about the whole time that I was home.  Saturday was spent painting, well picking up some small test paint samples and painting, and running errands.  Sunday we spent most of the day with my grandparents; giving my grandmother a break and helping out with my grandfather.  He's back home now but still has a ways to go.  Monday we ran some other errands that I can't even remember what we all we did and then bought a new car for my wife.  An Acura RDX if you're interested; a bit more expensive that I really wanted to spend on a vehicle but hers was old and starting to break down and she really wanted it.  We were debating between the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Acura RDX but went with the RDX because it drove better and had a few more features she wanted for about $5k more from the quote we got on the Santa Fe.  I figured since she has to deal with me being gone a lot she deserved a bit of a luxury in the meantime.  Tuesday we spent a solid 5.5 hours cleaning out our garage.  It was still a big mess from when we moved last year and it feels great to finally get it cleaned out and organized.  Then it was back to work.  So it was a pretty busy week in general.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Recent Buys

Man it feels good to be back and adding to my forward dividends.  It was 1 month exactly since I made a purchase so it's been a long time coming.  I guess the main reason is that my attention was being pulled in a million different directions so it was hard to focus on any specific one.  Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014 Goals - 1st Half Update


Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future.  Somehow the first half of the year is already over.  It seems like just a few weeks ago I was reporting on my progress for the first quarter and now another quarter is over and done with.  I think it's important to set specific, measurable goals at the beginning of each year to keep you focused and motivated towards hitting your goals.  It's important for them to be measurable so you can see exactly how you're progressing.  Back in January I set several goals covering budgeting, savings, investing, blogging, and personal goals, so it's high time I take a look and see how I'm doing.

2014 Budgeting Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2014 Amounts Status
Grocery spending < $200 per month $223.70 Needs Improvement
Restaurant spending < $110 per month $106.76 Needs Improvement
Average monthly expenses < $2,350 per month $2,638.12 Needs Improvement

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Reynold's American (RAI) to buy Lorillard (LO)

This morning it was announced that Reynold's American (RAI) would buy methol cigarette maker Lorillard (LO) in a deal valued at $68.88 per share.  If the acquisition is approved then LO shareholders will receive $50.50 in cash for each share of LO and 0.2909 shares of RAI at closing which is projected to take place in 2015.  I was quite surprised to see that shares of both LO and RAI sold off pretty hard on the news with RAI losing 6.9% on the day and shares of LO losing about 10.5%.  Pretty surprising considering that when talks of a potential merger/acquisition surfaced shares of LO had increased strongly on the rumor.

The deal could definitely face some headwinds due to regulatory and anti-trust concerns and could therefore fall through.  If the merger is given the green light then the new company will be divesting some of the smaller brands to the British tobacco company Imperial Tobacco.  What was really surprising to me is that one of the brands that will be sold off is the Blu e-cigarette that Lorillard currently owns.  Blu is the leader in the e-cigarette market and I don't understand why you would want to get rid of that even if RAI is coming out with their own e-cig called Vuse.  This is the most baffling piece of information about the merger, at least to me.

Can Johnson & Johnson Cure What Ails Your Portfolio?

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is well known around the dividend growth investing community with over 50 consecutive years of dividend increases. Chances are there's Johnson & Johnson products in your medicine cabinet right now and if you've ever had to take prescription medicine or had a medical procedure you've most likely used its products even if you didn't know it. Johnson & Johnson is a diversified giant in the health care industry. Johnson & Johnson closed trading on Friday, July 11th at $105.10 giving a current yield of 2.66%.

Discounted Earnings: 

Analysts followed by Yahoo! Finance expect Johnson & Johnson to grow earnings 6.96% per year over the next 5 years and I've assumed they can grow at 5.22% (75% of 6.96%) for the next three years and at 4.00% in perpetuity. Running these numbers through a discounted earnings analysis with a 9% discount rate and summing over 30 years yields a fair value price of $111.61. This means the shares are trading at a 5.8% discount to the discounted earnings analysis.

Click here to read the rest of the analysis on Seeking Alpha.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Net Worth Update - June 2014

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 again this time adding 1.9% during June.  Since more and more of my net worth is tied to the markets, there's a larger correlation between my net worth and the markets and for May a rising tide lifted all boats.  As a dividend growth investor I'm not overly concerned with the short-term gyrations as long as the dividend stream remains in tact, but the markets' effect is noticeable.  I had just under $4,000 in after-tax savings from my paycheck, around $560 in ESPP contributions, and just over $770 in 401k contributions counting the employer match.  The rest of the changes were due to dividends received and changes in the stock market.  All in all June saw a $10,723.85 increase in my net worth.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weekly Roundup - July 13, 2014

As most of you know I was on vacation in Nashville over the past 1.5 weeks and it was awesome.  It's always great to get some time to go have fun and see some good friends.  Even better was that we happened to be vacationing over the July 4th weekend which meant there was lots to do.  We went to the hot chicken festival which was good although it did involve standing in a bunch of lines.  It was definitely worth it although I wish we could have tried more than one company's hot chicken.  Hot chicken, for those that don't know, is a local specialty in Nashville that is exactly what it sounds like spicy friend chicken.  We only got to try out Hattie B's and it was delicious.  With July 4th happening we also got to go enjoy the second best fireworks display in the nation as rated by the American Pyrotechnics Association.  There were over 30,000 fireworks set off in less than 30 minutes which is pretty cool if you like watching fireworks displays.  We were also looking for things to do on Monday and for anyone that likes puzzles and is in the Nashville area or where they have other places like this I'd highly recommend it.  We went to the Nashville Escape Game and did the Underground Playground room.  The four of us and 10 other people were locked in a room (claustrophobes don't worry you can leave if you want) and had to solve a series of puzzles in order to try and "escape" the room.  It seems a bit expensive at $28 per person for 1 hour but it was definitely a lot of fun.  We also did a little bit of geocaching (a great cheap entertainment) near our friends house and finished with a trip to Arnold's and the Johnny Cash Museum.  Arnold's Country Kitchen is a meat and three (sides) restaurant that has honestly some of the best chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, green beans and the best collard greens I've ever eaten.  Go there if you're in Nashville for whatever reason.  You won't be disappointed.  But get there early because the line starts forming before place opens.

So I was quite busy with everything we tried to pack into our trip and then coming back home to get a few things done before heading back to work.  Since then I've been back to the grind and trying to find places to invest some capital.  Unfortunately that didn't happen this past week but the markets have been a bit more choppy lately so there's always the possibility for some better valuations on the horizon.  I didn't get a lot of writing done but I'm working on that for the next week or so.  I've got some stock analysis reports to get written up and hopefully posted soon in case we do get that elusive pullback.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Income Update - June 2014

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, July 5, 2014

Weekly Roundup - July 5, 2014

My wife and I flew in to Nashville to see some friends of ours and man the change in weather alone is worth the trip.  Instead of 95+ with 90% humidity we're looking at some mid-80's temperatures.  Perfect weather to be outside.  I'm not really sure what all is in store for our time here but I know it's going to be awesome.  One thing I'm definitely looking forward to is the fireworks display on July 4th.  Back to the future right?  It's ranked the 2nd best in the nation and I can't wait to see it.  Other than that it's going to be relaxing and doing whatever we feel like doing.  Enjoy the time with family and friends this holiday weekend.

I didn't make any purchases this past week, although it was a holiday shortened week.  I came close to making a few buys but we got some good jobs report numbers and a much better mood from Mr. Market which quickly shot some companies away from my buy zones.  Oh well, eventually there will be other opportunities to add to great companies.  I did recently add to my position in both Procter & Gamble (Full Analysis Here) and Deere & Company which you can read about here if you're interested.  The really exciting thing was getting to tally up all of the dividends I received in June though.  I passed the $600 mark for the first time which was awesome.  It's amazing to see the dividends growth month after month.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!



Happy 4th of July to all of you!  I'm so blessed to live in a country where I have the freedom to pursue just about anything that I want to go after.  I'm also so glad to be in a position to pursue financial freedom.

Safe travels to all of those that are travelling.  My wife and I left yesterday to go to Nashville for about 6 days.  It's a very much welcomed bit of relaxation and a chance for me to recharge my batteries a bit.  Enjoy the fireworks if you're checking them out this holiday weekend and have a great day with your family and friends!

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recent Buys

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.  I'm a bit late on getting these out but better late than never.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dividend Update - June 2014


June was a solid month for dividends and pretty much steady as she goes.  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 invest to build a passive income stream.  What you use that stream for is up to you, whether it's to fund early retirement, just provide some FI/FU money, or even to provide for an annual vacation; the key is that it can provide options and opens up all sorts of possibilities.  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 March which is great motivation and helps to keep me on track.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Weekly Roundup - June 29, 2014

I can't believe that we're almost half way done with 2014.  Time is just flying by although that just continues to reinforce my desire to reach financial independence.  This past week was awesome though as we finished up the well we were on and we had also reached a pretty rare and significant milestone.  The guy that's been working nights for me for the last year and I reached one year of having no tool failures.  Essentially this has never happened before or at least very rarely has happened.  So my boss, my boss's boss, and 2 of my boss's boss's bosses took Francis and I out to lunch on Friday.  It was pretty awesome to get recognized for a job well done and even better was that the steak house we went to was absolutely delicious.  As we were leaving I told them that we'd see them again in 6 months.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Semi Recent Buy and Two Recent Sells

Whenever I make a new purchase for my portfolio I feel it's only fair to get a post written giving all of the juicy details. I want to be as transparent as possible with my journey to reach financial independence through dividend growth investing. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around as well as letting me create my own "investing journal" to chronicle why I purchased a company in the first place and that way I can revisit if something changes and make the decision on whether to continue owning the company or not.  I normally try to get these posts out within a day or two but between work and being sick I've had very little energy the past week and a half.  I'll quickly run through these moves and give my thought process on each one.