Follow the dividend investment decisions of a person who has no background in financial investment and wishes to take control of their financial future to retire from their full-time job at 60.

Computer Update - 21 Sep 2020 22:06

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Finally got my new computer and it feels great to have a fully functioning machine. I settled on an HP X360 Envy and its spec'd out with a Ryzen 4500u, 8gb RAM, 256gb SSD, and Wifi 6. Definitely more horsepower than I need but want this to last as long as my last computer which lasted just over 7 years.

I was actually struggling to find this particular laptop as there is a shortage on these new AMD CPUs which by the way is amazingly fast. I paid $80 more than I wanted to but at least this upgrade is finally over.

Now my next attention will be focusing on moving my blog over to WordPress which looks to be early October. Unfortunately there is no export capability from my wikidot platform so no plans on migrating all my past posts. In some ways it will be like starting over and it will definitely be a bit cleaner and lighter than before.

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- Comments: 0

New Investors and Valley of Disappointment - 19 Sep 2020 13:02

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For anyone just starting out with investing you will struggle early on with results. It takes years of investing patience before your portfolio starts to show signs of life and the snowball effect kicks in showing large increases. Don’t be discouraged, all experienced investors have gone through this at one time or another making us question our decisions.

The time period from when you start investing to the beginning of the snowball effect is a period that can make or break an investor if they are not prepared for the time investment and patience required. James Clear defined this period as the “Valley of Disappointment” in his book Atomic Habits.

I found this video on Youtube and this young man does a wonderful job explaining the concept. He puts a lot of thought and effort into his videos and the quality of work shows. I invite you to take a few minutes and watch this video, I am sure you will enjoy as much as I have.

- Comments: 0

Buys and Sells for the Week - 12 Sep 2020 11:53

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While tech stocks continue to cause market gyrations for the week I continued to nibble on stocks that pullback in price. For the week I had no sells and just buys. Two of this week’s buys were new positions while the rest were increasing existing positions with most of the activity occurred at the end of the week. With that said here are my buys for the week:

1. Allete (ALE) – new position – This small utility company has been pushing into wind farms and when prices retreated below $51/share I jumped to get the 4.9% yield and 10 years of dividend growth.

2. Avista (AVA) – increased position – When prices dropped below $35/share I saw this as an opportunity to lower my average price per share for this 18 year dividend grower and the 4.5% yield isn’t too shabby either.

3. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) – new position – This one brings a little risk but the dividend looks safe and the reward will come in the form of an equity pop in value from a post COVID recovery (looking 12-18 months out. In the meantime a 6.5% yield will fill my pockets.

4. Kimball International (KBAL) – increased position – Every time this small cap dips below $11/share I’m buying. Only 5 years of dividend growth but I love companies with little to no debt and growing earnings.

5. OGE Energy (OGE) – increased position – 13 years of dividend growth and a 5.1% yield. Each time the yield hits 5% or more I will nibble on a few more shares

6. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) - increased position – 45 years of dividend growth and a 5.3% yield is hard to ignore. - Comments: 0

Need a New Blogging Platform (and a laptop too) - 07 Sep 2020 21:48

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Fun While it Lasted

I have been using the Wikidot platform since 2006 for various projects including this site which I started in 2013. At the time this was the most free robust site available and allowed for a lot of freedom to manipulate pages. Unfortunately, base code for the platform has changed little since 2006 and what was great then is looking pretty old and dated now.

To make matters worse, the site owners have abandoned maintaining the base code and now the site is slowly breaking down. Even simple search functions are no longer working. I have no second thoughts about choosing the platform as it has been a wonderful outlet for creativity & expression but it just no longer fits in the modern world and alas it is time to move on.

Choosing a New Platform

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In the hunt for a new platform I wanted to keep it simple. I have never made money off of a blog nor do I need to. I also have no need to worry about a "brand" or "image". I just need a simple and free hosted platform that allows me to create some pages, embed HTML, and load images & videos. My hunt has led me to just two hosted sites Google's Blogger platform and Wordpress.com.

I've played with both over the last two weeks and I am leaning towards Wordpress.com. It has a bit a bit more syntax to learn than Blogger but it just feels cleaner and has a very large community of users. While I'm still struggling to learn the syntax there are quite a few Youtube videos that shortcut things for me and if I get too frustrated I just resort to using HTML to solve a problem. So far so good but if anyone has another suggestion I am open to other platforms.

And My Laptop is Now Struggling

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Besides changing platforms my 8 year old laptop is struggling to keep up with today's web browsers and latest web page formats. 8 years for a laptop is a pretty good run and as faithful as she has been she is showing her age. My battery used to last 8 hours and now it is down to 3 hours and sometimes less if I use 100% brightness. The lack of additional ram shows when I open multiple tabs they tend to pause or stutter. The audio jack is quirky where you have to apply pressure to make it work. The bluetooth is so old it will not pair to wireless earbuds so no easy solution.

The last issue I have is not my laptop's fault but simply my age starting to show. It used to not bother me using a 10 inch display (you read that correctly), but now I need reading glasses and the small screen is getting to me. There are only so many times one can zoom in and out before it gets old. Time to stop being cheap and buy a new one!

Tough part I am running into is this is the worst time to buy a laptop. Because of the work from home phenomenon store availability of decent affordable 2-in-1 laptops is non-existent. There are quite a few $1,000+ configurations readily available but I am looking in the $500 range and seem to find machines with 2 year old technology. Every time I think I found a decent machine I get the wonderful "Sold Out" notification. New laptops should be coming out next month so hopefully I will find something I like. - Comments: 0

August Dividend Income - 03 Sep 2020 21:41

Tags: monthly_income

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After 33 years of clocking in and out of work and religiously saving 10% annually every year, in good times and bad, I have decided to share my monthly dividend income to show what regular saving and investing can accomplish.

For the month of August I made $2,111; a decrease of -8.4% versus this time last year. This is back to back months of consecutive decreases and is the 4th out of the last 5 months to experience a YoY decrease. I know this is temporary but it does sting none the less.

Obviously some of the decreases are due to COVID but I also sold quite a few positions and finally put all that cash to work. In my previous post I identified 9 different stocks I sold out of (or greatly reduced my position) and in turn bought a total 22 new stocks. I am expecting these new buys to start paying out in the 4th quarter so hopefully these monthly decreases will be coming to an end shortly.

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I continued with my weekly M1 Finance contribution of $120 for a total of $480. The overall dividend yield of my M1 pie slightly decreased to 3.505% as the market continues its recovery.

Overall my M1 Finance accounts contributed $33.23 to this month’s dividend totals. This is my largest monthly contribution and this account is slowly gaining steam.

I also provided a link to my M1 Pie for those interested in seeing all of the individual holdings.
https://m1.finance/iCDyjkqucd1B

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My age 53 goal (I’m 51 for those not in the know) had a huge increase of 7.6%. The big jump was from my efforts of selling stocks from April thru July and then redeploying all that cash in August. I can’t wait for the 4th quarter when these new investments begin adding more income.

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For those not familiar with my Age 53 goal, I plan in 7 year increments and targeted to have 57% of my expenses to be covered via dividend income and to be at 115% for my next 7 year target at age 60. Why 115%? This was based on a multiple bear market/crash analysis I performed back in 2018 that showed my optimal portfolio to withstand a long term bear market with high inflation would be to have dividend income of 115% of expenses and the equivalent of 9 months of expenses in cash. - Comments: 4

Finished Repositioning My Portfolio - 22 Aug 2020 12:43

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The repositioning of my portfolio is finally complete. It took a total of 10 weeks waiting for sell and buy prices but my portfolio for the most part is now repositioned to a level I am comfortable with. However, I will add some of my repositioning is based on my current age (I’ll be 52 in October) and decided to rebalance significantly into Utility & Telcom companies which offer more dividend stability but less dividend growth. It is interesting that the closer I get to my retirement age of 60 I look for more stability and risk becomes less tolerable.

That said, let us dive into what has transpired the last 2 ½ months by starting off my sell transactions:

Stocks I sold completely out of

  • Apple Hospitality (APLE)
  • Chatham Lodging (CLDT)
  • Dominion (D)
  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT)
  • Service Properties Trust (SVC)
  • WestRock (WRK)
  • VEREIT (VER)

Stock I reduced position by 80%

  • General Motors (GM)
  • WalMart (WMT)

After all those sells I also transferred some of my cash position as it increased from 10% of my portfolio to 14% by the end of June. To get it back to a planned 10% I moved 4% and added to my pile of sold stocks.

With a significant pile of investable cash heading into July it was time to start buying and here is a summary of the buys during July & August.

Utilities & Telcom Buys (11 stocks)

  • Algonquin Power & Utilities (AQN)
  • Artesian Resources (ARTNA)
  • AT&T (T)
  • Avista Corp (AVA)
  • BCE Incorporated (BCE)
  • Duke Energy (DUK)
  • Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OGE)
  • PPL Corp (PPL)
  • Southern Company (SO)
  • Telus (TU)
  • Verizon (VZ)

Dividend Growth Buys (11 Stocks)

  • AbbVie (ABBV)
  • Bar Harbor Bankshares (BHB)
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM)
  • Discover Financial (DFS)
  • International Business Machines (IBM)
  • Leggett & Platt (LEG)
  • 3M (MMM)
  • Pepsico (PEP)
  • Pfizer (PFE)
  • Prudential Financial (PRU)
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)

I did have two casualties on the buy list, I had also targeted Wasted Management (WM) and United Parcel Service (UPS). The two stocks had their share price rocket up and fall well outside my price targets. Still holding out hope for WM but UPS went absolutely nuts from ~$110/share all the way up to $160/share and is completely off the table this point.

And there you have it, I sold 9 stocks, added some cash and bought 22 stocks. Of course to get the prices I wanted the majority of the buys occurred after an ex-dividend date which translates into no significant impact until the 4th quarter. I still have 3 stocks in my portfolio I am not comfortable with and may sell in the future but they are not large positions and in the short term I will hold to see where the go - Comments: 0

Interesting Sector Rotation - 16 Aug 2020 00:41

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Wow is the only way I could describe last week’s market volatility and I cannot remember the last time I witnessed such a pronounced sector rotation and I am sure many of you felt it in your portfolio balance.

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A typical and more common rotation occurs between asset types; bonds to equities, cash to equities, or vice-versa. However with last week’s rotation that was not the circumstance as the S&P 500 eked out a mere 0.64% gain for the week so no large position of cash was entering or leaving equities. The rotation that occurred was money moving out of the technology sector to all other sectors. Sector rotations are not that uncommon and you routinely see them occur during political elections when balance shifts between democrats and republicans. What made this a touch different was how much money left just one sector and funneled into all 10 other S&P sectors.

Since technology stocks are so heavily weighted in the S&P 500 it was pretty easy to monitor and Wednesday was the peak of the rotation as the S&P 500 was down -0.7% but my portfolio was up 4% and every stock in every sector (except tech) was up. By Thursday the rotation finally died and tech was back in the game after Tesla announced a stock split which coupled with Apple’s earlier announcement of a stock split was enough to slow the rotation down. By the end of the week the S&P 500 gained 0.64% and my portfolio trimmed some of its gains closing the week up 2.8% still a respectable gain versus the S&P.

The hardest thing to deal with during this rotation was I was still repositioning my portfolio and these market gains didn’t make it easy. Luckily I started repositioning the week prior to this and already bought 16 of the 21 stocks I was planning on moving into but that left 5 positions caught in the whirlwind rotation. For the first three days all 5 stocks were outside my buy range and by Friday 3 were close enough in price that I was willing to pay a slight premium for; Pepsico (PEP) Discover Financial Services (DFS), and Duke Energy (DUK). I still have 2 buys left to execute which hopefully I can get done between now and the end of the month and get my portfolio repositioning behind me.

In the meantime I just thought the rotation was pretty cool to witness and wanted to share my experience. Hopefully everyone experienced something similar as it always feels good to open the old portfolio and see a positive balance. Considering how tech heavy the S&P has become this may not be so uncommon in the future but for now it was interesting to watch. - Comments: 0

July Dividend Income - 06 Aug 2020 01:18

Tags: monthly_income

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After 33 years of clocking in and out of work and religiously saving 10% annually every year, in good times and bad, I have decided to share my monthly dividend income to show what regular saving and investing can accomplish.

For the month of July I made $2,946; a decrease of -8.7% versus this time last year. The decrease was not a surprise as most of my REITs paid in the first month of a quarter and we are all familiar with REITs and dividend suspensions.

For July I sold my position in Dominion Energy (D), which I just bought in June, over the Berkshire Hathaway deal. This was a one sided deal and I think D just rushed the sale and what little capital the will receive for the deal will be redirected towards stock repurchase which I believe is a terrible use of cash. D management’s inability to adequately redeploy cash to generate more future cash flow was enough for me to question leadership so I sold.

I made no significant purchases in July as I was more focused on enjoying some long overdue vacation time with some fishing, relaxing around the house and catching up on some home projects.

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I continued with my weekly M1 Finance contribution of $120 for a total of $480. The overall dividend yield of my M1 pie slightly decreased to 3.705% as the market continues its recovery.

Overall my M1 Finance accounts contributed $9.35 to this month’s dividend totals.

I also provided a link to my M1 Pie for those interested in seeing all of the individual holdings.
https://m1.finance/iCDyjkqucd1B

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My age 53 goal (I’m 51 for those not in the know) moved backwards -1.5% due to my sale of Dominion. My plan is to redeploy cash reserves during the month of August so things should be moving forward once again.

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For those not familiar with my Age 53 goal, I plan in 7 year increments and targeted to have 57% of my expenses to be covered via dividend income and to be at 115% for my next 7 year target at age 60. Why 115%? This was based on a multiple bear market/crash analysis I performed back in 2018 that showed my optimal portfolio to withstand a long term bear market with high inflation would be to have dividend income of 115% of expenses and the equivalent of 9 months of expenses in cash. - Comments: 0

Work From Home - Sign of the Times - 28 Jul 2020 23:16

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Here is an interesting news release of Google extending its work from home policy until July 2021. I actually think this is a realistic thing for Google to do when you consider vaccines will not be available until middle 2021. Its a lot easier to just rip the band-aid off, tell the employees, and stop meeting about this every few months and making employees speculate.

The bigger question, is this foretelling where most work from home plans will end up? Probably and this translates to longer loses for companies that haven't adapted well to this new consumer market (or lack of). This article has motivated me to start rotating out of my restaurant stock VEREIT (VER). I understand VER has property diversity but they still have a good size portfolio dedicated to restaurants and specifically Red Lobster locations.

I am a little late on this one as fellow bloggers already sold but I wanted to see how things would shake out before I made any moves.

- Comments: 2

June Dividend Income - 05 Jul 2020 12:27

Tags: monthly_income

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After 33 years of clocking in and out of work and religiously saving 10% annually every year, in good times and bad, I have decided to share my monthly dividend income to show what regular saving and investing can accomplish.

For the month of June I made $2,869; an increase of +13.03% versus this time last year. As planned, my dividend growth was muted due to the dividend suspension of 3 decent size holding and if not for them my growth would have been double at 26%:

  • GM - General Motors dividend suspended
  • EPR - EPR Properties dividend suspended
  • WY - Weyerhaeuser dividend suspended

There was one dividend cut for June and it was Armanino Foods of Distinction (AMNF) who cut their dividend from $0.0275 to $0.0175. I see this as temporary with an expectation that the old dividend rate will return by Q1 2021.

I spent much of June repositioning cash in other equities while also accumulating a cash pile in case the markets give back some of their recent gains from March lows. As the summer rolls on and earnings roll in I still see August as a risky time with corporations and markets starting to get a better grasp of the COVID-19 economic shutdown effects and the recovery will be longer than they initially expected.

For June I sold no stocks and started increasing my position in utilities by buying Dominion Energy (D), Duke Energy (DUK), and PPL Corp (PPL). I did not plan to start rotating into utilities for another 4 years but this recent pullback motivated me to start buying now instead of waiting. With a low rate interest environment and once Covid-19 is behind us I expect income seekers will push prices up again.

One other stock I started a new position in was Kimball International (KBAL). KBAL is an office furniture supplier to government and commercial clientele which currently is 50% off its 52 week high and has a price to book value of 1.7 versus 3.1 a year ago.

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I continued with my weekly M1 Finance contribution of $120 for a total of $600. The overall dividend yield of my M1 pie slightly decreased to 3.837% as the market continues its recovery.

Overall my M1 Finance accounts contributed $19.60 to this month’s dividend totals and is the largest monthly dividend payout to date. I did finish up my Federal taxes and received a decent refund of which I plan to redirect $1,000 to my M1 Finance account and another $1,000 to my wife’s Roth IRA account.

I also provided a link to my M1 Pie for those interested in seeing all of the individual holdings.
https://m1.finance/iCDyjkqucd1B

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My age 53 goal (I’m 51 for those not in the know) has finally begun moving forward again! May marked the last of the large dividend suspensions which stopped the negativity and my recent repositioning of cash to equites has jumped my percent complete up significantly by 7.62%.

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For those not familiar with my Age 53 goal, I plan in 7 year increments and targeted to have 57% of my expenses to be covered via dividend income and to be at 115% for my next 7 year target at age 60. Why 115%? This was based on a multiple bear market/crash analysis I performed back in 2018 that showed my optimal portfolio to withstand a long term bear market with high inflation would be to have dividend income of 115% of expenses and the equivalent of 9 months of expenses in cash. - Comments: 5

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