Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • BP:  6.51 shares @ $38.42 --- Yield  6.25%
  • RDS-b:  3.56 shares @ $69.94 --- Yield  5.38%
  • CVX:  2.21 shares @ $112.94 --- Yield  3.79%
  • XOM:  2.68 shares @ $92.92 --- Yield  2.97%

Total capital invested is $1000 ($250 in each company) and the combined yield is 4.60%. These purchases will add $45.98 to my yearly dividends.

Three yards and a cloud of oil.....and a very looooong YAWN.

After last week's minor mishap with Sharebuilder I am back on the oil train.  I must admit that I am getting a bit tired of buying energy companies, but that is where I believe some great long term value lies.

Building my positions in these companies and dripping them should create some serious long term wealth along with a great source of future dividend income. It's kind of like a boring offense in football that just keeps grinding forward, moving the ball down the field a few yards at a time with each play. Slow steady forward progress is what these companies should deliver over time. There will probably be some more bumps and bruises along the way, but I will continue with great resolve going forward!

At the end of the day, putting points of the board (ie dividends) is the name of the game. There may not be much excitement from a fan's/investor's perspective, but I will patiently await the results that will take place over the next 30-40 years.

Could these companies be trading 20-30% lower over the next several months? Obviously I don't have any crystal ball, but if they are I plan on continuing to "hold my nose" and keep buying. The thought of someday receiving $5000-$6,000 a year in dividends from these companies is incredibly exciting.

Stocks on my radar for next week include the four purchased this week along with VZ, T, IBM, BA, and PM.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Lending Club is a no-go in Texas

One of my goals for 2015 is to diversify my income streams. After seeing many bloggers report their peer to peer lending successes, I thought it might be a good idea to jump in the waters as well.  There are many bloggers out there who are exceeding 10% in interest returns which I find very exciting. I actually set up a LC account back in 2007, but I never entered my banking information and for whatever reason I didn't  pursue the matter further.

After spending a few hours browsing through many different types of loans, I finally went through the different application pages and set up a transfer. The whole process was incredibly easy and I was certainly excited to make my first loan.

While browsing through the many types of loans, I noticed that the credit scores were all over 680 and I was also surprised to see some individuals with high 700s and low 800s credit scores who were prepared to enter into loans in the 6-8% range. I actually find this difficult to believe because people with credit scores in the high 700s and above have a virtually 0 percent default rate. While many investors might chase some of the high risk borrowers, I would probably stay with the more stable loans and could live a 5-7% rate of return.

Once my initial transfer of $500 went through, I saw the standard "Welcome to Sharebuilder" acknowledgement, but they also mentioned that due to restrictions from the state of Texas I could not initiate any loans right now. I find it funny that in Texas, which probably has the fewest number of business regulations in the country, one cannot enter into LC transations. I guess it is easier to erect an oil derrick in your back yard than it is to loan money in Texas.

LC did say that I could purchase existing loans on another website called Foliofn I believe. At this time I will probably pass on this option. Hopefully sometime during the next few years LC will become available in Texas.

It has been almost a year since I have purchased any high yield bonds, so I might start adding to my bond positions as an income alternative. Also I have noticed that many BDCs have been dropping in value recently. I may investigate this option as well.

If anyone has any other ideas, I am very interested in hearing about them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases DJIA--18K

Here is my automatic investment for this week.  S&P 500:  2083

  • PAYX: 10.52 shares @ $47.55 --- Yield  3.20% 

Total capital invested is $500 at 3.20%. This will increase my yearly dividends by $16.00.

I was planning on investing in oil companies again this week, but apparently my purchase was locked in on Friday instead of Monday. Sharebuilder highlights the day that the investment choices have to be made (which is usually Monday) and I don't remember last Friday being highlighted.

Luckily I saw that PAYX had dropped a bit after earnings and I at least requested that purchase last Friday. In the future, I will have a generic order ready every Friday to make sure I make some kind of purchase.

While oil prices continue to stay at depressed levels, the broader market is soldiering its way up to new all time highs. This has been a strange year to say the least. I can't wait to see what next year brings!

Companies I have on my radar for next week include CVX, XOM, BBL, RDS-b, IBM, PM, and T.

Friday, December 19, 2014

AT&T raises dividend 2.17% --- New yield is 5.61%

Today AT&T announced that is will be raising its quarterly dividend from $.46 to $.47 a share. This represents a 2.17% increase over last year's increase. It is also the 31th consecutive year of dividend increases. The record date is January 9th and the pay date is February 2nd.

Since I own 355 shares, my annual dividends will increase by $14.20.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases


And upon closer inspection, much of it is within my energy positions.

Here are my automatic purchases for this week.  S&P 500: 1998

  • BP:  8.33 shares @ $36.03 --- Yield  6.66%
  • BBL:  7.29 shares @ $41.17 --- Yield  6.02%
  • RDS-b:  4.56 shares @ $65.75 --- Yield  5.72%
  • CVX:  2.88 shares @ $104.05 --- Yield  4.11%

Total capital invested this week is $1200 ( $300 in each company) and the combined yield is 5.63%.  These purchases will add $67.53 to my yearly dividends.

Needless to say the bloodbath continues in oil and commodity names. How low can oil prices go? I don't know, but the WTI price this morning has been hovering around $54 a barrel.

I certainly am not advising anyone to buy energy companies, especially if you have limited liquidity within your portfolio. However, I think this is a fantastic opportunity to start or like me continue building your energy positions. If the idea of having a stock lose 30-50% of its value over a relatively short period of time too difficult for you, stay away from this sector. There are plenty of less volatile companies out there.

I plan on continuing to swim in the deep end of the pool where both opportunities and risk reside.

Stocks on my radar for next week include the four listed above along with T, GE, IBM, XOM, KO, BA, and PM.

Monday, December 15, 2014

PFE raises dividend 7.7% --- New Yield is 3.61%

Today Pfizer announced that it will be increasing its quarterly dividend from $.26 a share to $.28 a share. This represents a 7.7% increase and the new yield currently is 3.61%. The ex-dividend date is February 4th and the pay date is March 3rd.

Since I have 186.5 shares, my yearly dividends will increase by $14.92.

After last week's disappointing news from GE, this is very welcomed news. Pfizer has been a pretty steady performer this year and the dividend increase certainly reflects this.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2015 Goals

Here are few of the goals I would like to achieve during 2015.


Create a strong hybrid FI plan incorporating
  • Dividends/Interest
  • Safe withdrawal plan (SPY and cash)
  • 72T early distribution from my 401k
  • Side hustles that do not include a traditional W2 job
Open a Lending Club account and build up $10,000 in loans
Reach $18,000 in forward passive income in my taxable account
Receive $16,000 in passive income in my taxable account
Avoid more speculative investments with unstable dividends (this will be difficult)

Build the following positions by year end
  • 100 shares of Exxon
  • 400 shares of Coke
  • 150 shares of Procter & Gamble
  • 700 shares of AT&T
  • 800 shares of General Electric
  • 100 shares of Chevron
  • 100 shares of Johnson & Johnson
  • 100 shares of Pepsi
  • 300 shares of Altria
  • 100 shares of Caterpillar
Reach 100% savings rate during at least 2 months this year

Health goals

Run a half marathon
Run at least 20 miles each week
Buy a bike and start riding (pretty vague I know)
Eat more grilled chicken and fish
Kayak on the lake more often

Education goals

Read at least 30 books on various business topics investing, retirement, sales, real estate, passive income, motivation, personal improvement

Start seriously researching side hustles in case I unplug from the work force prematurely
Read past Chapter 1 in my Microsoft Office 2013 manual
Take a couple of college courses on any subject excluding math, physics, chemistry, or any other subject that is subject to cause long term psychological damage (maybe photography, marketing, real estate, or stock market analysis)

Fun goals

Attend all 8 Houston Texans home games (I used to go to every game for 8 years)
Attend at least 2 Longhorn football games in Austin
Attend a weekend baseball series at Disch Falk field in Austin
Take a long road trip through Colorado with the wifey
Take a long road trip through California along the PCH (again with the wifey)
Learn how to play guitar
Transition back to a 5 day workweek
Spend more time drinking cold beer in my hammock (Must achieve 5 day work week first)
Build a new deck for the backyard
Learn to play golf
Install indirect lighting throughout the house
Enter 20 different 5K and 10K runs in different cities

Professional goals

Continue to build a world class and dominant sales team
Promote at least two of my hand picked sales proteges into management
Increase sales by 10% and net profit by 25%
Increase Linked In contacts to at least 1500 people
Earn $250,000 from my day job
Spend more one on one time with sales associates (Not a negative like many may think)

Blog goals

Create an About page
Learn to create graphs (without throwing the monitor through the window)
Use the HTML button without destroying the blog
Add more information to the month end summary (Income, expenses, networth)
Create a few more entries each month

Friday, December 12, 2014

GE raises dividend 4.54% --- New yield is 3.66%

Today GE increased its quarterly dividend from $.22 a share to $.23 a share. This represents a 4.54% from last year's increase. Since I currently own 411.4 shares of GE, my yearly dividends will increase by $16.46.

The ex-dividend date is December 18th and the pay date is January 26th.

I must admit this is not overly impressive in my opinion, but I will take a pay raise regardless of the amount. I am glad that I waited for this announcement before I added more shares. I will probably wait to add more GE if the yield gets closer to 4%.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.   S&P 500:  2042

  • RDS-b:  2.93 shares @ $68.21 --- Yield:  5.51%
  • MCD:  2.19 shares @ $91.31 --- Yield:  3.72%
  • IBM:  1.24 shares @ $161.43 --- Yield:  2.73%

Total capital invested is $600 ($200 in each company). The combined yield of these purchases is 3.99% and will add $23.94 to my yearly dividends.

Energy companies continue to fall so I will keep adding to these positions. Energy currently represents 12% of my overall portfolio, therefore I still have room to expand these holdings. I would ideally like to be around 15%. If I am temporarily out of balance that is ok. I believe 20% of my portfolio in any one sector would be too high.

Also, I have noticed that Canadian banks have been taken to the proverbial "woodshed" in recent week so I may start to take a closer look at some of these companies. I have a strange feeling that the falling energy and commodity prices are starting to spread to the banking sector. Hopefully their loan portfolios aren't over-exposed to unstable energy companies. Significant problems could start to arise if that is the case. I will do some more research, but most likely I will continue to stay away from the banking sector. I really hate to rule out any sector, but as a whole this is one that has not had a very good track record in my view.

Stocks on my radar for next week include T, VZ, IBM, CVX, RDS-b, BBL, GM, and GE.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • RDS-b:  4.16 shares @ $72.12 --- Yield  5.21%
  • BBL:  6.27 shares @ $47.83 --- Yield  5.19%

Total capital invested is $600 ($300 in each company) and the combined yield is 5.20%. These purchases will increase my yearly dividends by $31.20.

As tempting as it was to go stronger into the energy markets, I decided to just nibble a bit this week. I have lost a couple of fingers already trying to catch falling knifes (more like flying battle axes in some cases). Hopefully the bottom for oil is somewhere in the 60s. If oil continues its descent down into the 50s or worse down to the 40s, things could get a bit dicey to say the least.

Stocks on my radar for next week are T, MCD, IBM, GE, BBL, RDS-b, XOM, GM, and PM.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Random Blog Charts

Last week Asset Grinder posted some of his blog stats.  That got me to thinking what do my blog stats look like? Quite honestly I really never expected anyone to stop by. But I certainly am glad people find some benefit to my weekly posts. Anyway the last month, last week, and the YTD charts are shown below.

Why are my charts blacked out? Who the hell knows. Other than a few random "cut and paste" codes that I copied from a Google search, I have not made any technical adjustments as those  could prove fatal to an already fragile blog structure. :-) Copying and pasting these charts along with trying to write on the side of the charts was a chore in itself. This may be the first and last time I ever do this. And why is the word time in the last sentence out of line???? 

Graph of Blogger page views
What happens when Dividend Mantra mentions you on his blog? That big spike up over 2,100 page views in one day is what happens. That is like a giant steroid boost!

Graph of Blogger page views

My typical week normally looks like the chart on the left between 400 and 600 views a day.


Graph of Blogger page viewsAfter a rather slow start back in January, My pageviews have increased each month. In November I had 17,950 pageviews for the month. Will I ever reach 20,000 pageviews? Odds are probably better that I hit $20,000 in forward dividends first.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 2014 Passive Income

Here is the summary of my passive income and purchases for November.

Taxable Account
  • AHITX --- $268.14
  • T --- $162.95
  • HCP --- $114.45
  • KMI --- $102.40
  • APU --- $65.35
  • VZ --- $64.40
  • PG --- $59.81
  • CLX --- $39.42
  • PAYX --- $30.80
  • ARCP --- $15.97
Total passive income for November is $923.69

Capital Invested
  • ESV --- $3400
  • RDS-b --- $1700
  • BBL --- $1250
  • BP --- $1200
  • BAX --- $1000
  • XOM --- $700
  • CVX --- $700
  • IBM --- $500
  • GM --- $500

Total capital invested during November is $10950.00.

Note: Oil is currently trading at $66 a barrel causing many energy stocks to hover around their 52 week lows and some oil services companies are at multi year lows. Conversely, the broader stock market continues to march its way forward to new all time highs.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Stock Purchase: Ensco (ESV)

Today I added shares of Ensco (ESV) to my portfolio and it is now a full position at 260 shares.

  • ESV: 100 shares @ $33.80 --- 8.88%

Total capital invested is $3400.00 including commission and will increase my yearly dividends by $300.00. Oil prices continue to plummet and anything even remotely associated with energy is getting decimated.

Please note this company is considered highly speculative at this point and the recent news of SDRL's dividend being eliminated is concerning. I personally feel that ESV's dividend will be covered, but a prolonged depression in oil prices could result in a dividend cut or outright elimination.

ESV's dividends are now responsible for about 5% of my total dividend income. This is about 2% higher than what I consider safe. Because I have the ability to equalize my dividends through rapid purchases in other companies within other sectors, I am not overly concerned with my portfolio being out of balance during the short run. In fact during the accumulation phase of a dividend portfolio, this is a pretty normal event. As of this purchase, energy/oil companies, including ESV and KMI, now represent about 11.7% of my portfolio. This is still within my tolerance levels.

Late last year when REITs and companies like TGT were being left for dead, I took opportunistic positions in them knowing there would be short term pain but long term benefits. If I did not have adequate liquidity or needed the money for normal living expenses, I would not have made those decisions then or this purchase now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here is the automatic investment that I made for this week.  S&P 500:  2069 (Another record)
  • BBL:  4.96 shares @ $50.22 --- Yield  4.94%

Total capital invested is $250.00 and my yearly dividends will increase by $12.29.

I must admit it feels a bit strange only adding $250.00 to my portfolio this week. I think that I may be suffering from withdrawal (no pun intended) symptoms. I must admit I am pleased to have my savings account exceed $2000 for the first time in many months.

Even better is the fact that this week's purchase was entirely funded courtesy of accumulated Sharebuilder credits. Throughout the year Sharebuilder gives certain cash incentives if you transfer or invest X amount of dollars within a certain time period.  I originally received $100 after I surpassed the $10k mark.  Later this year, Sharebuilder was promoting a three month "contest" to add funds and in return they would deposit additional money in my account. Because of bad timing, I typically don't do well with these types of promotions. I can't even count the number of times I have ignored retailers that promise X% off your purchase if you open a store credit card. I usually dismiss the offer simply because I don't want 10 extra cards to keep track of. Even bank cards are a pain as they usually require to make purchases from different merchants during select months to qualify. I find that just paying cash is the simplest method.

Anyway back on topic, I received an additional credit from Sharebuilder in the amount of $200 this month which brings my yearly total to $300. Again this may not seem like a lot of money, but it essential covers all my transaction costs for the year as I have currently made 184 weekly stock purchases at $1 per transaction. Additionally if I go back to only 12 purchases per month I can almost cover the transactions costs for all of next year.

So if you see me making smaller purchases and are wondering how I overcome the fees, this pretty much summarizes how I have been able to invest essentially for free.

Stocks on my radar for next week include CVX, BP, RDS-b, BBL, ESV, ITW, PX, and XOM.

I hope everyone has a safe, fun, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

For those of you who will spend the holiday weekend grinding away, I will be right there with you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Goal reached: $14,500 Forward Passive Income


Warning:  Longer post than usual ahead!

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • BP:  16.96 shares @ $41.28 --- Yield  5.81%
  • RDS-b:  9.55 shares @ $73.16 --- Yield  5.14%
  • CVX:  6.06 shares @ $115.42 --- Yield  3.71%
  • XOM:  7.36 shares @ $95.03 --- Yield  2.90%

Total capital invested is $2800 ($700 in each company).  The combined yield of this week's purchases is 4.39% and will add $122.92 to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge --- Week 30 (Final Week)   S&P 500:  2048 (Another all time high)

Since this is going to be the last week for my $100/week challenge I decided it might be a good idea to actually hit the mark. Energy stocks have been the focus of my purchases for several weeks and continue to be.

Thank God this gauntlet is over!

Why did I decide to tackle this challenge 30 weeks ago? I really don't know. It's kind of like asking Forrest Gump "Why did you starting running across America?" I woke up one day laced up my shoes and started running. I knew that I had written down a high passive income goal for 2014 and I was way behind. It just seemed like a good idea at the time to test my savings ability and more importantly my resolve. Win, lose, or draw I was going to give it my best effort.

Stretch goals OR just an alligator mouth overloading my hummingbird ass?

Back in April when I started this challenge I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I may as well have said that I plan on running a marathon by then end of the year (but enough about next year's goals). Immediately after I made the post I realized that it was going to a sonofabitch and almost deleted it because of the extreme work commitment it would take to follow through with this goal. I had some cash in the bank so I knew that I could probably make it a month or two without too much difficulty. Not surprisingly, it didn't take long to burn through what little cash I had in reserves and by July I had exhausted all of my savings. Couple that with my wife wanting a new $4000 fence for the backyard and I was pretty much toast.  LET THE REAL CHALLENGE BEGIN!

It sounds a bit crazy but there were a few times that I actually had less than $50 in my checking account. I'll never forget the time I tried to pay the bill at a Mexican restaurant a few months back and my debit card was declined.  My first reaction was "Oh shit, I overcontributed to my Sharebuilder account and now I can't pay for a $7.99 tacos al carbon lunch special. Mr. Waiter will you take an IOU?  After all I will receive a $10 dividend check from Pepsi in the morning. Better yet, how a about one share of ARCP!" Luckily the waiter re-ran the card and to my surprise and relief, it went through. At this point in my journey I knew things were starting to get a bit ridiculous and perhaps unsustainable. Ultimately these types of minor nuisances were not going to deter my efforts.  I did make sure to carry cash with me when I went out to eat from that point forward.

Fortunately, I only experienced a few more inconveniences like this along the way. I guess I never was really in a dire situation as my credit card could have been used if there was too much of a financial pinch.  Also I suppose that I could have stopped the investments, but I really wanted to accelerate my FI goals so failing was not a reasonable option for me. In the end, I am so glad that I didn't use any safety nets during this period.  Investing while simultaneously accumulating consumer debt is not part of my investing or FI plans.

On the other hand, 70 hour work weeks were an unavoidable part of the equation.

Is it a good idea to work 301 days in one calendar year?

Hell no it's not! While many people have worked this many days and more, I sure as hell have not and don't plan on repeating this behavior again any time soon. If my calculations are right, by year end I will have worked the entire year except for 52 Sundays, 10 vacation days, Thanksgiving and Christmas and no sick days (knock on wood).  Strangely enough, even though I am whining about this year's schedule, I have actually always worked long hours and working weekends is nothing new.  In fact, I have always believed that the slight difference that exists between successful people and everyone else is what they do in their spare time. With that said, I am certainly not trying to win The Employee Who Worked the Most Hours and Still Lived Award!  It was simply a means to an end for me....nothing more or less. Once emotion was removed from the equation things become more bearable.....for a while at least.

While I am glad that I was able to make enough money this year to reach this goal, I don't recommend this type of work schedule for many people. I am really lucky that I have a wonderful wife who fully supports our long term goals and makes many sacrifices herself so that we can continue to make progress with our dreams. Support from family and friends is certainly important when trying to achieve a difficult goal.  However, many times while they can be supportive but I'm sure they are also thinking "What an kind of idiot would continue in that type of career situation?" 

Haven't you ever heard about the frog that was placed in a pot of cold water before the burner is slowly turned up?

What did I learn during the last 30 weeks?

Nothing worthwhile comes easy.

While my savings rate has been high over the last 10 years, the past few and this one in particular have been insane. I really cranked things up reaching 87% in September which also happened to be my largest dividend month. While I still haven't had a 100% savings rate in any month and most likely won't for another year or so, it was awesome to be so close. After all if I can hit 100% consistently for twelve straight months, I feel highly confident that I will have reached FI.

I also learned that I will probably stick with more conservative companies going forward.  I have a few holdings in my portfolio that are somewhat questionable.....ARCP anyone? I simply refuse to get emotional or sidetracked because of any one good or bad investment decisions. If I make a mistake I choose to learn from it and change course if necessary.

John Maxwell once said "It is easier to move from failure to success than it is to move from excuses to success." Sitting on the sidelines watching others play the game will not help your build your own dreams. While someone may never get burned with a  bad stock selection they never make, they probably also will never experience the joy of the good ones. Ultimately this will lead to many regrets later on in life.  Regrets suck!

$10-12k per month invested month after month......how is this even possible???

As recently as 2009, I would have said "Get the F$#% out of here with that S!@#."

Until four years ago, at age 39, I had never earned over $100k in a single year. In fact, the first 10 years of my career I averaged about $55k gross salary and the next five I averaged about $85k. So the idea is saving this much seems just as jacked up to me as it should to anyone else.

Having a relatively normal income for most of my career is the reason that I have been able to save as much as I have this year. I simply have avoided lifestyle inflation to the best of my ability. You see I had been trying to devise an exit strategy from the Rat Race much like Andy Dufresne was trying to exit the Shawshank prison. Similar to Andy, I was patiently using my little rock chisle to slowly dig myself out. Four years ago unexpectedly my mini rock chistle was replaced with a huge jack hammer. This past year a Caterpillar bulldozer was my digging machine of choice. If I can expedite my progress due to a substantially higher paying job so be it. In the future I may end up with that mini rock chisel again and so I will start digging with it no different than before.

While I have typically made above average income during my career, in 2009 (peak of the crisis) my income was back below $60k (don't get me wrong, this is still really good especially in Houston). That year provided the wet blanket to my otherwise happy go lucky life. Suddenly I realized that LIFE CAN BE DAMN TOUGH!

In 2009, while many people across this country were losing their jobs, losing their homes, and making less money (me too), I made the crazy decision to pay off my house. Talk about The Road Less Travelled. Again, with all hell breaking loose around the country and my income falling 35% I decided to put every dime I had towards paying off my house.

From March 2009 through September 2010 I literally kept no money in my checking account the entire year and a half while I cleared my mortgage. The economy obviously was very fragile (if not totally collapsing) at the time, but I knew FI can only truly begin when debt is 100% eliminated. Even though the market was climbing during the end of 2009, paying off my house was the best decision that I have ever made regarding financial independence. I was truly expecting to live through tough times for the next decade or so and wanted to lower my expenses and reduce all of debt to zero. After all, who cares what the economy is like if you don't have to worry about bills?

Amazingly enough, just as my mortgage was paid off at the end of 2010, the economy was rebounding here in Houston and I found myself with a great and unexpected job promotion. Over the next three years, my income has more than tripled.  Here is the weird part, while it is nice that I was making more a lot more money, I never anticipated is lasting very long so I continued to spend very little.  Now four years later everything at work is still in humming along and is even getting better except for the hours.  Maybe I can summon my inner-Peter from Office Space and convince the higher ups that I need a 4 hour work week. :-) Very low probability

Moving along, in 2011 with a paid off house and a rapidly rising income, I was still preparing for the worst and focused on building up a cash reserve.   I'm sure many people were doing the same as the coast was not completely clear at the time. Since the worst of the recession seemingly was in the rear view mirror, it was time to go on offense and start building my own dreams.

In 2012 with a pile of cash and no interest on savings from the banks, I decided to invest in mutual funds that focused on income and started making monthly contributions that would help alter my beliefs on total return investing, passive income, and early retirement. If you look at my 2012 dividend/interest totals, you can see the slow but steadily increasing income stream that was forming. Truly awesome stuff in hindsight! I am so glad that I took this path a few years back. By the middle of 2013 after experimenting with mutual funds I decided to buy shares of industry stalwarts like Microsoft, Intel, Atria, and AT&T.  The rest as they say is history.

So now what?

Not surprisingly my first thought is to just suck it up and hit the $15k mark by January. After all it's a nice round number and it wouldn't take too much effort at this point in the journey. But then what? Do I give everyone $2.00 Christmas gifts, so that I can finish the year with a nice round number?  I dunno....maybe! Wouldn't that be fun trying to explain to my nephews and nieces...."Uncle MDP is giving you a nice fruit cake instead of a cool Wii game because he needs to hit $15k in passive income."   While I am frugal by nature, I am not interested in becoming the family Scrooge. There is plenty of time in the future for that. :-)

Ideally, I plan on cutting my current weekly investments by around 60-70%. My cash balance is way below my tolerence level and this became increasingly evident during last month's pullback.  Don't get me wrong, I am very pleased that I was able to add to positions at lower prices. In fact, the reason why I wish to rebuild my cash position is so that future opportunites will not be missed.

Also, it is almost time to start planning for tax season (property and income).  This past year I was not able to fully take advantage of the big Jan/Feb decline in the markets since I was in the process of paying 2013's tax bill. I want to be in a better position for next year.

If you thought the public library was great, try browsing DGI blogs.

I would also like to thank all the many bloggers that I visit regularly. Y'all are great researchers, educators, stock evaluators, and motivators. I do have to admit that I have ridden the coat tails of many of your purchases.  Only the good ones though :-)  In all seriousness, the DGI and FI community contains a wealth of knowledge that hopefully more people will take advantage of in the future. I know that I will! If I had stumbled upon some of the FI blogs 10 years ago...it would game, set, and match.  Anyway, better late than never.

This rant has gone on long enough. Now back to business...

Here are some of the stocks that I will be considering for next week:

PX, ITW, PG, XOM, UL, GE, CVX, and KO. 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • RDS-B:  6.78 shares @ $73.74 --- Yield  5.10%
  • BBL:  9.50 shares @ $52.63 --- Yield  4.71%
  • GM:  16.00 shares @ $31.24 --- Yield  3.84%
  • BAX:  7.06 shares @ $70.87 --- Yield  2.93%
  • IBM:  3.06 shares @ $163.55 --- Yield  2.69%

Total capital invested is $2500 ($500 in each company).  The combined yield on this week's purchases is 3.85%  and will increase my yearly dividends by $96.35.

$100/week Challenge --- Week 29   S&P 500: 2040 (New all time high)

I fell just a bit short of $100 this week.  The good news is that I am on track to reach $14,500 in forward passive income with next week's purchases.  This has been a grueling, meat grinder of a year for me, but I am pleased to be closing in on this milestone much earlier than anticipated.

Any evidence of the recent market correction has not only been erased, but it appears that the bull market is back and breaking through new all time highs. I am not going to lie...this is a bit frustrating.

While it is tempting to jump into some more aggressive companies like V, AAPL, SBUX, and MSFT, I will probably continue a more contrarian investing approach and focus on my energy positions along with out of favor companies like T, PFE, GE and IBM.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • BP:  12.03 shares @ $41.56 --- Yield  5.77%
  • RDS-B:  7.01 shares @ $71.31 --- Yield  5.27%
  • BBL:  9.70 shares @ $51.54 --- Yield  4.81%
  • GM:  16.26 shares @ $30.76 --- Yield  3.90%
  • BAX:  7.28 shares @ $68.64 --- Yield  3.03%

Total capital invested is $2500 ($500 in each company).  The combined yield on this week's purchases is 4.56% and will increase my dividends by $113.90.

$100/week Challenge --- Week 28   S&P 500:  2004

Energy companies continue to fall along with oil prices.  This morning oil was trading around $76 a barrel.  This is creating a tremendous amount of pressure within the broader energy sector. On the other hand, I noticed Clorox was trading over $102 and Procter is close to $89.  This may be related to the recent Ebola outbreak.  In any event I am glad that I own both. 

I should reach my goal of $14,500 in forward passive income within the next couple of weeks.  It should be noted that about $200/year comes from ARCP so I may actually still be short.  Regardless of what happens to ARCP, I will still hit the goal even with smaller weekly investments especially with raises still to come from T, GE, and PFE.

Stock on the radar for next week include the above companies along with IBM, GE, XOM, UL, and COP.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October 2014 Passive Income

Below is the summary of my passive income and purchases for October. 

The market has been very volatile during the past month with extreme moves in both directions.  During the middle of the month, the S&P 500 was trading in the mid 1800s and then rallied strong to finish the month at a record high of 2018.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to move as quickly into some positions as I would have liked to.  I was hoping for more than a two week correction as we all were. It is interesting to note that there was a major correction within the overall market correction that was very exciting to dividend investors.

Oil prices plummeted to $80 a barrel which crushed the shares of many oil and oil services companies. My portfolio was certainly wobbling quite a bit while this adjustment took place.  Despite the uneasiness in this area of the market, energy is still an area where I will continue to fish when making purchases. Hopefully other opportunities will present themselves for us in November.

Anyway here are the results from last month.

Taxable Account
  • AHITX --- $291.66
  • PM --- $115.58
  • GE --- $78.75
  • MO --- $78.00
  • KO --- $55.81
  • CSCO --- $45.60
  • KRFT --- $41.25
  • BAX --- $14.32
  • ARCP --- $12.39
Total taxable income is $733.36.

New Capital Invested
  • XOM --- $2100
  • RDS-b --- $2100
  • CVX --- $1000
  • BBL --- $1000
  • GE --- $1000
  • IBM --- $600
  • BAX --- $600
  • ESV --- $550
  • APU --- $500
  • PEP --- $500
  • GM --- $500
  • ARCP --- $500
Total capital invested is $10,950.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BP and AFL raise dividends --- New yields are 5.54% and 2.60%

Yesterday BP raised its quarterly dividend from $.585 to $.60.  This represents a 2.56% increase from last quarter and a 5.26% over last year.  Since I own 225 shares, my yearly dividends will increase by $13.50.

Aflac also announced that it will increase its quarterly dividend from $.37 to $.39. This represents am increase of 5.4%.  This is a rather unimpressive increase in a relatively low yielding stock, but I suppose any increase is better than no increase. I currently own 67 shares so my dividends will increase $5.36.

The combined increase in yearly dividends is $18.86.

Other news:

ARCP has seen its shares collapse today with shares trading as low as $8.93.  Apparently there are some accounting irregularities that have surfaced.  When I first started buying shares, I mentioned that this investment should be viewed as speculative.  My current share count is only 191 shares and this represents less than 0.6% of my portfolio.  The yield is now in excess of 10% and should be viewed as unsustainable in my opinion.  While I have no plans to sell right now, I will be watching it closely.

This is a classic example of why we should always remember to diversify across sectors, companies, and asset classes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • ESV:  6.50 shares @ $38.33 --- Yield  7.83%
  • RDS-b:  6.74 shares @ $74.07 --- Yield  5.08%
  • GM:  16.13 shares @ $30.94 --- Yield  3.88%
  • CVX:  4.31 shares @ $115.85 --- Yield  3.69%
  • XOM:  5.27 shares @ $94.68 --- Yield  2.92%

Total capital invested is $2250 ($250 in ESV and $500 in the others).  The combined yield on this week's purchase is 4.33% and will add $97.43 to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge --- Week 27   S&P 500:  1973

I missed my $100 goal this week, but my forward passive income is around $14,140 so I am ahead of schedule with my year end goal of $14,500 in passive income.  I plan on keeping up my current pace through Thanksgiving and then I will slow down the puchases for a while.

The recent market pullback certainly has been short-lived which follows a similar pattern over the last couple of  years.  It seems like we go through a quick 5-10% drop and then immediately recover. In any case, energy continues to be attractive so I will focus on building up that part of my portfolio.

Stock on my radar for next week include CVX, XOM, BP, RDS-b, COP, GM, UL, KO and IBM.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • ESV:  7.79 shares @ $38.40 --- Yield  7.81%
  • RDS-b:  8.19 shares @ $73.12 --- Yield  5.14% 
  • BAX:  8.81 shares @ $67.99 --- Yield  3.06%
  • XOM:  6.48 shares @ $92.47 --- Yield  2.94%
  • IBM:  3.70 shares @ $162.10 --- Yield  2.71%

Total capital invested is $2700 ($300 in ESV and $600 each in the other four).  The combined yield on this week's purchases is 3.95% and will add $106.50 dollars to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge --- Week 26   S&P 500: 1933

IBM, KO, and MCD are taking a beating after showing lackluster earnings as well as unimpressive future guidance.  The market as a whole however, seems to be back on the upswing as energy has stablized and bargain hunters are jumping back into the waters.  For the remainder of this year, I am going to continue building up energy positions as well as completing underweight positions.

Stocks on my radar for next week include KO, MCD, GM, VZ, IBM, XOM, and RDS-b.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

KMI raises dividend 2.3% --- New yield is 4.99%

Today KMI announced a quarterly dividend of $0.44 per share, or $1.76 annualized. This is a 2.3% increase from the prior dividend of $0.43. The dividend will be payable on November 17, 2014 with an ex-dividend date of October 29, 2014.

Since I own 232.72 shares this will increase my yearly dividends by $9.31 assuming no further increases for the next year.

The market continues to be highly volatile which means better opportunites for long term investors.  I almost pulled the trigger on TD and UL today but held off.  I plan on making weekly purchases and will try to avoid catching falling knives.  My fingers already have enough cuts on them . :-)

In all seriousness, I feel good about this pullback and will continue to average down in positions that I feel are undervalued. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • APU:  11.77 shares @ $42.48 --- Yield 8.29% 
  • RDS-b:  6.91 shares @ $72.31 --- Yield  5.20%
  • BBL:  9.25 shares @ $54.05 --- Yield  4.59%
  • CVX:  4.46 shares @ $112.07 --- Yield  3.82%
  • GE:  20.41 shares @ $24.50 --- Yield  3.59%
  • XOM:  5.46 shares @ $91.61 --- Yield 3.01%
Total capital invested is $3000 ($500 in each company).  The combined yield on this week's purchases is 4.75% and will add $142.50 to my yearly dividends.

100/week Challenge --- Week 25   S&P 500:  1895

Well we have all been waiting for a long overdue pullback and it may finally be arriving.  However, even with the drop in the markets in recent weeks, we are still hovering around the breakeven line for the year so I don't know if it can be considered a legitimate correction yet.  What I do know is energy continues to get hammered so it appears to be the obvious choice when making stock purchases. 

Stocks on my radar for next week include COP, BAX, ESV, BP, KMI, CAT, MCD, XOM, CVX,  JNJ, and GM.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Kraft raises dividend 4.76%---New yield is 3.95%

On Tuesday Kraft (KRFT) announced that is will raise its quarterly dividend from $.525 to $.55 which represents a 4.76% increase.  Since I own 75 shares, my yearly dividends will increase by $7.50.  While this isn't the biggest dividend raise, it is good to see a strong company will an already high yield give its investors a pay raise.

There has been some churning in the markets recently which is a good thing.   Since I am still in the accumulation phase of the FI journey, this means I can achieve greater future cash flows with less current capital investment.  Energy, heavy machinery, autos, and commodities continue to take the brunt of the market's fury.  GE, DE, CAT, GM and <Name your oil/energy company here> are becoming more attractive by the day.  Hopefully a little more blood will hit the streets during the rest of this year so we can take advantage of some quality companies with very attractive yields.

Record date is October 17th and the pay date is October 31th.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • ARCP:  41.97 shares @ $11.91 --- Yield  8.40%
  • RDS-B:  6.54 shares @ $76.36 --- Yield  4.92%
  • BBL:  9.27 shares @ $53.95 --- Yield  4.60%
  • GE:  19.91 shares @ $25.11 --- Yield  3.50%
  • XOM:  5.28 shares @ $94.71 --- Yield  2.91%
  • PEP:  5.37 shares @ $93.05 --- Yield  2.82%

Total capital invested this week is $3000 ($500 in each company).  The combined yield for these purchases is 4.53% and will add $135.75 to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge --- Week 24   S&P 500:  1948

I am still working on equalizing my positions.  RDS has come down quite a bit along with most energy names.  GE is drifting near its year low and BBL continues to sit in bear market territory.  I plan on adding to XOM until the end of the year and hopefully can reach 100 shares.  ARCP is one of my smallest positions and looks reasonable at these levels.  PEP is on the other end of the spectrum as it along with KO are sitting near the year highs.  I wish I had picked up more shares early this year when it was in the 70s.  Oh well,  I am going to add to this position until it reaches equal weighting with KO.

Other stocks on my radar for next week include DE, ESV, CVX, WM, CAG, and PAYX.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September 2014 Passive Income

Here is the summary of my passive income and purchases that I made during the month of September.  Beginning this month, I will only list my taxable dividends and interest as this will be what funds my FI.  Dividends and interest from my retirement accounts will be logged on my dividend spreadsheet and income tabs.  Eventually I will use the income from these accounts, but that will occur many years after I leave the workforce. 

All in all this was a good solid income month.  My forward dividend/interest is now approximately $13,200 so I am pleased with my progress.  I now feel confident that I can reach my year end goal of $14,500 in forward passive income.

Taxable Account
  • CAIBX --- $546.40
  • AHITX --- $287.59
  • ESV --- $91.01
  • DLR --- $83.00
  • TGT --- $75.40
  • BBL --- $67.05
  • BP --- $66.12
  • DVY --- $58.72
  • CVX --- $45.24
  • PFE --- $43.09
  • MSFT --- $42.00
  • IBM --- $30.80
  • AFL --- $24.79
  • MCD --- $21.49
  • GM --- $16.63
  • RDS-B --- $15.05
  • ARCP --- $12.30
  • PEP --- $10.95
  • WM --- $7.32
  • RDS-A --- $.14
Total taxable passive income is $1545.09.

New Capital Invested
  • MAT --- $5024
  • BP --- $4596
  • MCD --- $3100
  • BBL --- $2900
  • GM --- $2300
  • KO --- $1600
  • XOM --- $1400
  • ESV --- $1000
  • PM --- $600
  • VZ --- $500
  • BAX --- $500
  • GE --- $300
Total new capital invested is $23,820.00.

Note: This month's capital includes most of the funds received from my mutual fund sale that took place in August.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.  S&P 500:  1982

  • BBL:  5.38 shares @ $55.61 --- Yield  4.46%
  • GM:  9.34 shares @ $32.02 --- Yield  3.75%
  • GE:  11.66 shares @ $25.64 --- Yield  3.43%
  • XOM:  3.16 shares @ $94.64 --- Yield 2.92%

Total capital invested is $1200 ($300 in each company).  The combined yield on this week's purchases is 3.64% an will add $43.53 to my yearly dividends.

Stocks on my radar for next week include the four listed above as well as PEP, CVX, MCD, and BP.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Stock Purchase: MAT

Today I added another company to my portfolio.

  • MAT:  165 shares @ $30.45 --- Yield  4.99% (Initial position, somewhat speculative)

Total capital invested is $5024.25 and this will add $250.80 to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge --- Week 23  S&P 500  1971

I will add some capital tomorrow to my Sharebuilder account, but it will be much lower than usual as this purchase will be the bulk of my investments for this week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • ESV:  11.40 shares @ $43.76 --- Yield  6.86%
  • BBL:  8.75 shares @ $57.06 --- Yield  4.35%
  • MCD:  5.32 shares @ $93.78 --- Yield  3.63%
  • GM:  14.97 shares @ $33.34 --- Yield  3.60%
  • BAX:  6.94 shares @ $71.91 --- Yield  2.89%
  • XOM:  5.16 shares @ $96.65 --- Yield  2.86%

Total capital invested is $3000 ($500 in each company).  The combined yield on these purchases is 4.03% and will raise my yearly dividends by $120.87.

100/week Challenge---Week 22   S&P 500:  1989

MCD and BBL are close to reaching full positions.  I am slightly overweight in ESV and have been adding more shares on continued weakness.  BAX and XOM have come down quite a bit in the last month and look good around 3% yield.  GM still looks solid and I think it is undervalued in the low 30's.

Stocks on my radar for next week include MCD, XOM, CVX, BBL, GM, GE, KO, HCP, and CAT.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

McDonald's raises dividend 4.94%---New yield is 3.64%

I am happy to report another dividend raise today.  This time McDonald's raised its quarterly dividend 4.94% from $.81 to $.85.  Since I currently own 49.34 shares, this will increase my yearly dividends by $7.89.

Microsoft raises dividend 10.71%---New yield is 2.66%

Yesterday Microsoft (MSFT) raised its quarterly dividend 10.71% from $.28 to $.31.  The ex-dividend date is November 18th and the pay date is December 11th.  Since I currently own 150 shares this raise will increase my yearly dividends by $18.00.  Last September I received $34.00 from MSFT then it raised its dividend 21.74% and I received $42.00 during the last four quarters.  Starting in December I will be receiving $46.50.  I have not dripped or added to my position during this time. This is a perfect illustration of the power of dividend growth and I am glad to own shares of this fine company.

Microsoft has been a top performer within the DJIA trailing only Intel for the year.  This is a bit reminiscent of 1999.  Hopefully Microsoft will continue to deliver value for shareholders by continuing the yearly dividend increases.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • PM:  7.09 shares @ $84.45 --- Yield  4.74%
  • BBL:  10.07 shares @ $59.56 --- Yield  4.16%
  • MCD:  6.40 shares @ $93.54 --- Yield  3.46%
  • KO:  14.48 shares @ $41.44 --- Yield  2.94%
  • XOM:  6.18 shares @  $97.16 --- Yield  2.84%  (Initial position)

Total capital invested is $3000 ($600 in each company).  The combined yield on this week's purchases is 3.63% and will add $108.84 to my yearly dividends. 

$100/week Challenge---Week 21   S&P 500:  1996

BBL continues to drift lower and really looks good over 4% yield.  I wanted to buy shares of MO, but it keeps surging so I opted to add to my PM position.  MCD is getting close to a full position and should receive a nice dividend raise in the next couple of weeks.  To balance out the high yielders I added some more shares of KO and started a new position in XOM.  I plan on adding more to XOM until it gets close to equal weight with CVX and ultimately with BP. 

Note:  Several months back I mentioned that I wanted to reach $14,500 in forward dividends by the end of the year.  At the time I was tracking for maybe $12,800, so I needed to really ramp up purchases.  I am currently tracking $14,500 but I must continue increasing each week by at least $100.00.

I have been working six days a week, 10-11 hours a day for the past year.  I checked the math and I just realized that I will spend over 300 days this year at the office.  Hopefully the sacrifice will continue to pay...well you know....dividends.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Philip Morris raises dividend 6.4%---New Yield is 4.77%

Today Philip Morris (PM) raised its quarterly dividend 6.4% from $.94 to $1.00 per share.  This makes the new yield 4.77% as of yesterday's close. The ex-dividend date is September 23rd and the pay date is October 10th. Since I own 108.49 shares my yearly dividends will increase by $26.04.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • ESV:  10.55 shares @ $47.38 --- Yield  6.33%
  • VZ:  10.22 shares @ $48.94 --- Yield  4.50%
  • BBL:  8.26 shares @ $60.51 --- Yield  4.10%
  • GM:  15.08 shares @ $33.17 --- Yield  3.62%
  • MCD:  5.45 shares @ $91.66 --- Yield  3.53%

Total capital invested is $2500 ($500 in each company).  The combined yield of these purchases is 4.42% and will add $110.40 to my yearly dividends.

100/week Challenge---Week 20   S&P 500:  1994

I continue to like BBL, GM, and MCD at these levels and will add until I reach a full position in each.  Other companies on my radar for next week are MO, DE, PAYX, GE, KO, PEP, AND KMI.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

August 2014 Passive Income


Here is the passive income I received during August.

Taxable Account
  • AHITX --- $277.38
  • T --- $150.80
  • HCP --- $114.45
  • KMI --- $99.64
  • PG --- $54.79
  • VZ --- $50.66
  • APU --- $44.32
  • CLX --- $34.02
  • PAYX --- $30.52
  • CAG --- $15.52
  • ARCP --- $12.23
Total taxable income is $884.33

Retirement Account

  • AHITX --- $111.55
  • ABNDX --- $102.92
Total retirement income is $214.47

Total passive income received in all accounts is $1098.80.

New Capital Invested

  • MCD --- $2400
  • BP --- $1100
  • BBL --- $900
  • KO --- $900
  • T --- $900
  • CLX --- $600
  • PM --- $600
  • PG --- $600
  • ESV --- $500
  • BAX --- $500
  • CVX --- $500
  • APU --- $500
  • PFE --- $500
  • GM --- $500
  • VZ --- $500
  • ABALX --- ($15088.34)
Total net capital invested is ($3588.34).  September should offset August's net loss.

Verizon raises dividend 3.8%---New yield is 4.42%

Today Verizon announced that it is raising its quarterly dividend from $.53 to $.55 per share.  This is an increase of 3.8% and the yield is now 4.42%.  Since I own 106.87 shares, this will increase my yearly dividends by $8.55.

Stock Purchase: BP

Today I added shares to BP and now it is my second largest holding behind T.

  • BP:  100 shares @ $44.86 --- Yield  5.22%

Total capital invested is $4496 and this will add $234.00 to my yearly dividends.  This may be a bit premature and has "value trap" written all over it, but I will be content to collect dividends while BP sorts out its continued legal issues.

Note:  This is not part of my Weekly Sharebuilder purchases.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • BBL:  15.75 shares @ $63.49 --- Yield  3.91%
  • MCD:  10.72 shares @ $93.32 --- Yield  3.47%
  • GM:  28.57 shares @ $35.01 --- Yield  3.43%
  • KO:  24 shares @ $41.67 --- Yield  2.93%

Total capital invested is $4000 ($1000 in each company).  The combined yield on these purchases is 3.44% and will add $137.20 to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge---Week 19   S&P 500:  2005

This week I am adding to some underweight positions.  BBL, GM, and MCD continue to show weakness in an otherwise strong market.  I will continue adding to these positions if they pull back further.

Other stocks on my radar for next week include BP, GE, CVX, BA, ESV, CLX, T, and DE.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • T:  25.99 shares @ $34.60 --- Yield  5.32%
  • BBL:  13.94 shares @ $64.48 --- Yield  3.85%
  • MCD:  9.5 shares @ $94.64 --- Yield  3.42%
  • KO:  21.58 shares @ $41.66 --- Yield  2.93%

Total capital invested is $3600 ($900 in each company).  The combined yield on these purchases is 3.88% and will increase my yearly dividends by $139.68.

100/week Challenge---Week 18   S&P 500  2003 (NEW ALL TIME HIGH)

Well so much for the much anticipated correction.  I have not added to T or BBL since the beginning of the year.  They both have come down in price recently and look good at these levels.  MCD is still out of favor and provides decent value at these prices.  KO is not cheap, but is worth adding pretty much anytime. 

Note:  This week's purchases are higher than normal and will continue to be higher during the next couple of months.  The additional funds are coming from my recent mutual fund sale.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The S&P 500 reaches 2000!!!

Almost 15 years after first reaching 1500 points way back in March 2000, the S&P 500 has finally climbed the 500 points necessary to reach its new milestone of 2000.  Will it take another 15 years to reach 2500? Who knows, hopefully the index will trade in a cycle for a while so we can continue accumulating dividend growth stocks.  The last 15 years have been essentially dead with many peaks and valleys during the period.

The Dow has also experienced long periods between major milestones. The DJIA first reached 1000 points in 1972. The Dow then stayed under 1000 during the rest of the 1970s and into the early 1980s. Once it finally broke out of its long trading range, it jumped up to 2000 in 1987. What happened once the Dow surpassed 2000?  Well, I think we all know.

As many of us have seen, the market can stay depressed or overvauled for years even decades.  This is the primary reason why I focus on dollar cost averaging and believe market timing ultimately will cost you money in the long run.

Let the race to 3000 begin!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Altria raises dividend 8.3%---New yield is 4.88%

Today Altria (MO) raised its quarterly dividend 8.33% from $.48 to $.52 per share.  The new yield is 4.88%.  Since I own 150 shares, this will increase my yearly dividends by $24.00.

Mutual Fund Sale: ABALX

I started the year wanting to transition from mutual funds to stocks and today I sold off my shares of ABALX.  I owned 589.16 shares and the sale price is $25.61. The proceeds are $15,088.34 and this will reduce my yearly divideneds by $229.34.  The S&P 500 is current sitting at 1991.

I probably won't sell any more mutual fund shares this year because the taxes from the Intel sale, this sale, and my dividends are starting to become scary. 

There are no immediate plans to reinvest the proceeds.  I certainly want to continue the diversification process going forward.  I will be looking for larger block purchases separate from my normal weekly purchases much like when I invested in KRFT and AFL after selling the INTC shares. 

BBL is high on my radar since its recent pullback and I would also like to buy JNJ and XOM.  I may just pull the trigger on all three even though the market continues to make new all-time highs. 

Again I don't believe in timing the markets because it doesn't seem to pay to wait.  I will continue dollar cost averaging throughout all market cycles until I reach enough passive income to exit the rat race.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • APU:  11.14 shares @ $44.88 --- Yield  7.84%
  • GM:  14.39 shares @ $34.68 --- Yield  3.46%
  • MCD:  5.28 shares @ $94.59 --- Yield  3.43%
  • CVX:  3.92 shares @ $127.42 --- Yield  3.36%
  • BAX:  6.63 shares @ $75.42 --- Yield  2.76%

Total capital invested is $2500 ($500 in each company).  The combined yield of this week's purchases is 4.17% and will add $104.25 to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge---Week 17   S&P 500  1979

Well after dropping the past couple of weeks, I was hoping the S&P would be in the 1800s by now.  That is not the case as it is now marching back up towards 2000.  It has been a while since I have added shares of GM and CVX.  I was hoping to catch these two along with MCD at 3.5% or higher.  

Stock on my radar for next week include BBL, T, MCD, CVX, GE, GM, and VZ.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Liebster Award Nomination

Recently I was nominated for a Liebster Award by four very inspiring bloggers.

Thank you Happy Healthy and Wealthy Girl, Asset Grinder, Captain Dividend, and All About Interest.  I follow all of your blogs and I am impressed and amazed by the progress you guys are making in your quests for FI.  Keep up the great work!

Here are the questions from HHWG:

1. Your favorite vacation spot
I've been to Alaska twice and the scenery and wildlife is magnificent. Hopefully I will someday soon be able to vacation up there for more than just one week at a time.

2. Your first investment
I bought shares of Dell when I was in college at UT in 1994. Sadly, I sold them soon after I bought them in 1996. Yeah, that hurts looking back, but I needed the money.

3. Your best and worst investment
My house is my best investment. I bought it for $84k when I was 25 in 1997, paid it off in 2010, and still live in it today. My worst investment was buying Intel for $71 a share in the year 2000. I later sold it for $35 and was thrilled to get that. Ironically I bought Intel last year for $22 and sold it a few weeks ago for just under $35. 

4. Do you have pets?
Yes, I love animals even though they are expensive. Three dogs, two cats and numerous aquariums full of saltwater fish.

5. What will you do if you win a lottery tomorrow?
Exit the rat race immediately.

Here are the questions from Asset Grinder:

1. Whats your favorite TV show, Movie and why?
I know that I should say something like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Casino, or Star Wars, but no it's a good old fashioned early 70's B movie called Vanishing Point.  If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it. The car chases are badass, but the general mood of the film is about a man searching for freedom from the chaos of the world around him.  Sometimes I feel like Kowalski.

2. What sports or physical activity are you guys involved with or what do you guys do for fun?
I really love running.  There is a great sense of freedom from hitting the open road with nothing but a good pair of running shoes, a nice breeze, and a great set of tunes on my Ipod blasting away. 
3. How has your blog helped you and what have you learned from it?
I think the interaction I have had with other like-minded bloggers has been exceptional.  I really thought that I would just use the blog to record my investing progress.  I am extremely grateful for the advice, encouragement, and information I receive from the many hard working FI bloggers out there.
4. Where do u want to be in 5, 10, 20 , 50 years?
Lying in the hammock in my backyard with a cold Shiner Bock in my hand.  In 10 years I hope to living a state with four seasons.  Houston is awesome, but the heat is starting to wear on me. 20 and 50 is probably too far out to contemplate.  I think that I will be looking back at a full life with no regrets knowing that I took the road less traveled which leads to freedom.
5. What is your biggest strength and weakness in your quest for financial independence?
My biggest strength is my extreme competitiveness.  I simply hate losing.  I will do whatever it takes to reach FI soon. My weakness is my impatience, but I working on it.
Here are the questions from Captain Dividend:
1 - Why did you start your blog ?
I started this blog mainly to chronicle my journey as I fight to exit the rat race.  Seeing my decisions written down motivates me to relentlessly pursue financial independence.

2 - What is your favorite tv series ?
I don't watch much TV, but I really like the HBO series Game of  Thrones. 
3 - What was your favorite car you've ever owned ?
1999 Pontiac Trans Am.  After too many tickets and trips to the body shop, my wife told me it was time to go.
4 - What is your worst stock market or financial mishap?
My worst financial mishap was buying a lot of new cars between 1995-2000.  Nothing destroys wealth like constantly buying new cars.
5 - What if anything do you do for exercise ?
I usually run between 14-16 miles a week.  It is a great way to unwind and clear my mind.  It is hot as hell in Houston, so I usually run between 5 and 6 am. 
Here are the questions from All About Interest:
1.) Where did you grow up and do you still live there?
Houston, Texas and I still live here.

2.) What are your plans once you reach financial independence?
Really the idea of not having to plan for anything sounds wonderful.  I suspect that I will spend time reading, running, building things around the house, playing guitar, cooking, and generally enjoying the small things in life that I have missed over the last 20 years.

3.) What was your best/worst financial decision?
I consider my house my best financial decision, because I bought an inexpensive house and stayed in it.  My worst financial decision was buying too many new cars between 1995 and 2000.

4.) What is your favorite part about investing?
I love the fact that I am building my dreams and not someone elses.

5.) Who’s your biggest idol and why?
My mom.  I know it sounds cheesy, but she really encouraged me to dream big and instilled a competive drive in me while growing up.  She hated seeing wasted potential and encouraged me to tackle things outside my comfort zone.

 And now for my nominees....

Accumulating Assets  I stumbled upon AA's blog a while back and thought THAT is the way I want to invest....RELENTLESS!!! The amount of capital he has been investing over the past several years is jaw dropping.  I have patterned my own investing habits after his and believe me it is a kickass method.

Dividend Growth Journey  DGJ in on a quest to build passive income through dividend growth investing.  I love the aggressive goals and portfolio additions.

A Frugal Family's Journey  I have found AFFJ to be very encouraging and has a great blog.  The collection of stock analyses is awesome and very informative.  If you haven't been over to see it, I highly recommend it.

DivHut  If you are looking for very informative analysis on a vast array of dividend stocks, this is the place to go.  I am constantly finding great little nuggets of info that quite honestly isn't available anywhere else I look.  Check it out!

Living A FI  While not a dividend growth investor, he is on the verge of FI and has a fantastic blog.  It's like Office Space in blog form. His work stories are hilarious.  Also he has done some amazing FIRE calc scenarios that everyone should really take a close look at as they prepare for their own FI.

So here are the questions I would like to ask...

1. If you could retire with ONLY 5 dividend stock in your portfolio what would they be?  (Here is the kicker...you cannot choose JNJ, KO, CVX, XOM, or PG)

2. What is the most important thing you would do in your first month of early retirement that you can't do now because of your job commitments?

3. Mentally, how do you prepare for a massive stock market correction/collapse like we experienced in 2007-2009?

4. What one major sacrifice will you make next year to accelerate your FI plans?

5. If you decided to open your own business today, what kind of business would it be?


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • ESV:  10.20 shares @ $49.00 --- Yield  6.12%
  • BP:  10.59 shares @ $47.23 --- Yield  4.95%
  • VZ:  10.27 shares @ $48.69 --- Yield  4.35%
  • PFE:  17.77 shares @ $28.14 --- Yield 3.70%
  • MCD:  5.35 shares @ $93.40 --- Yield  3.47%

Total capital invested is $2500 ($500 in each company).  The combined yield of these purchases is and 4.52% and will add $112.95 to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge---Week 16   S&P 500  1930

ESV, BP, and PFE continue to give me opportunites to lower my cost basis.  The market as a whole however, continues to be fairly resilient as the Dow is dead even on the year and the S&P is up about 5%. 

Stocks on my radar for next week are T, GM, JNJ, XOM, CLX, MCD, BAX, CVX, JPM, and PG.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

July 2014 Passive Income

Here is the passive income I received in July.

Taxable Account

  • AHITX --- $292.81
  • PM --- $82.02
  • MO --- $72.00
  • GE --- $67.84
  • CSCO --- $45.60
  • KO --- $41.86
  • ARCP --- $12.15
  • BAX --- $3.07
Total taxable income is $617.35 

Note:  This is the highest interest payment I have ever received from AHITX.

Retirement Account 

  • AHITX --- $116.67
  • ABALX --- $114.17
Total retirement income is $230.84

Total passive income received in all accounts is $848.19

New Capital Invested

  • KRFT --- $4037.25
  • AFL --- $4014.64
  • PAYX --- $2450
  • APU --- $2300
  • BP --- $1800
  • GE --- $1250
  • PM --- $1150
  • CAG --- $1100
  • ESV --- $650
  • CLX --- $600
  • BAX --- $500
  • VZ --- $500
  • INTC --- (6889.09)
Total net capital invested for July is $13462.80.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • BP:  12.25 shares @ $49.00 --- Yield  4.78%
  • PM:  7.37 shares @ $81.45 --- Yield  4.62%
  • MCD:  6.41 shares @ $93.66 --- Yield  3.46%  (initial position)
  • CLX:  6.92 shares @ $86.73 --- Yield  3.41%
  • PG:  7.56 shares @ $79.31 --- Yield  3.24%

Total capital invested is $3000 ($600 in each company).  The combined yield of these purchases is 3.9% and they will add $117.06 to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge---Week 15   S&P 500  1933

As many of you know the markets have been wobbling recently and many new buying opportunities are presenting themselves to us.  I really like MCD and CLX over 3.4% and PM really looks good over 4.5%.  Hopefully this pullback will continue throughout the rest of this year. 

Stocks on my radar for next week include the five I purchased today as well as GE, PFE, KO, CVX, BAX, JPM, and BA. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Stock Purchases Kraft & Aflac

Well there has been some volatility in the markets today, so I decided to pick up a couple of new stocks.  I am using the proceeds from my recent Intel sale.  These are not part of my weekly Sharebuilder buys.

Here are the two newest additions to my portfolio.

  • KRFT:  75 shares @ $53.83 --- Yield  3.90%  (inital position)
  • AFL:  67 shares @ $59.92 --- Yield 2.47%  (initial position)

Total capital invested is $8051.89.  The combined yield of these purchases is 3.2% and will add $256.66 to my yearly dividends.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investment for this week.

  • ESV:  12.37 shares @ $52.47 --- Yield  5.72%
  • PM:  7.64 shares @ $84.97 --- Yield  4.43%
  • PAYX:  15.43 shares @ $42.06 --- Yield  3.61%
  • GE:  25.37 shares @ $ 25.58 --- Yield  3.44%

Total capital invested is $2600 ($650 in each company).  The combined yield of these purchases is 4.3% and they will add $111.80 to my yearly dividends.

100/week Challenge---Week 14   S&P 500 1979

I was going to buy mores shares of Amerigas (APU), but it has been on a mini run recently and Ensco (ESV) has come down and looked like a better buy.  Phillip Morris (PM) and General Electric (GE) have been lagging all year and still look pretty good at these levels.

For the rest of the year I will be working on improving the quality of my holdings.  This does not mean I won't look at some lower tier companies that have fallen on tough times....Conagra (CAG) and Maxim Integrated (MXIM) are two companies that I will be watching closely.  I also have some smaller positions in Waste Management (WM), General Motors (GM), and Baxter (BAX) that I want to complete positions in. 

Companies on my radar for next week include Boeing (BA), General Electric (GE), Coke (KO), Procter and Gamble (PG), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Altria (MO), and McDonald's (MCD), ExxonMobil (XOM).  John Deere (DE) is also starting to look interesting.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stock sale: 200 shares of Intel

Today I decided to sell all 200 shares of Intel for $34.57 which nets me $6889.09 after commisions. This will decrease my yearly dividends by $180.00.

After yet another $.225 dividend was declared this morning I felt the need to pull the trigger.  Owning a 2.6% yielding stock with no dividend growth does not seem like a prudent decision. 

From a performance standpoint, Intel has actually has dominated the other Dow components so far this year.  It is up an amazing 32% while the next best performer, Microsoft is up just under 20%.  The DJIA has barely moved 3% this year. 

I actually believed Intel would raise the dividend this quarter after a great earnings season with good future guidance.  Intel may very well continue rising to $40 a share or higher, but I am looking to reach FI as soon as possible. This means I will welcome low yielders with high dividend growth as well as high yielders with slow growth.  Low yielding stocks with no growth are classified as speculative investments in my book and are not aligned with my philosopy or long term goals.

I have not decided where to allocate the proceeds, but I still like MSFT, CSCO, and IBM in the tech space and may add to these positions.  I really feel good about their commitment to continue raising dividends going forward.  I also still need to create positions in JNJ, XOM, and MCD.  I will have to think about this for a little while.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • APU:  12.97 shares @ $46.17 --- Yield  7.62%
  • BP:  11.73 shares @ $51.07 --- Yield  4.58%
  • PAYX:  14.12 shares @ $42.42 --- Yield  3.58%
  • GE:  23.09 shares @ $25.95 --- Yield  3.39%

Total capital invested this week is $2400 ($600 in each company).  The combined yield on these purchases is 4.79% and will add $114.77 to my yearly dividends.

$100/week Challenge---Week 13   S&P 500: 1985

I never seem to catch PAYX on a down day.  Whether the market is way up or down it always seems to keep moving higher.  GE on the other hand, continues to be the Dow's bottom feeder.  MCD and KO each had lower than expected sales for the quarter.  These are two companies that are definitely on my radar for future purchases.  I also plan on selling off some of my mutual funds during the next few months.

Stocks on my radar for next week are CLX, GE PAYX, CAG, APU, AND PG.

Stocks that I will be accumulating during the final months of the year include JNJ, KO, PG, MO, XOM, BA, AAPL, CVX, MCD, WFC, and JPM.  A lot of Dow components are included in that list.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

KMI Dividend Increase

KMI raised its quarterly dividend to $.43 a share.  This is up from $.42 last quarter and $.40 last year. The record date is 7/31/14 and the pay date is 8/15/14.  The new yield as of today's closing price ($36.91) is 4.66%

Since I own 213.73 shares, my yearly dividends will increase by $9.27