Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weekly Purchases

Here are my automatic purchases for this week.

  • KO:  6.35 shares @ $39.37 --- Yield  3.35%
  • JNJ:  2.54 shares @ $97.93 --- Yield  3.06%

Total capital invested is $500 ($250 in each company). The combined yield is $3.21% which will increase my yearly dividends by $16.03.

My original intent was to add KMI, CVX, PM, and JNJ. I guess that I forgot to hit the save button. Oh well, I will gladly add to these two positions regularly.

Stocks on my radar for next week include the six mentioned above along with UNP, SO, WMT, and WPC.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Falling knife, meet hand....UNP purchase

Today I decided to pick up some shares of UNP.

  • UNP:  20 shares @ $95.68 --- Yield  2.30%  (initial position)

Total capital invested is $1920.55 and my yearly dividends will increase by $44.00.

The markets are really going crazy today. It continues to amaze me how a country like Greece has so much impact on not only the Euro markets, but the world markets as well. I guess it's the domino theory in action. If the first domino falls the 20 behind it will fall as well.

I am actually pround of myself with this purchase. My mouse kept gravitating towards Shell, CVX, XOM, BBL, PM, and GM. They all really look like good buys to me. Of course they always look like good buys to me. In spite of that, I changed directions and decided to go the route a lot of bloggers have gone recently. Hopefully UNP can get things back on track. :-)


Thursday, June 25, 2015

VZ option closed

Yesterday I decided to close my VZ covered call.

As you can see from the photo above (actually not the greatest quality) I was able to pick up $86.60 from the transaction.

Just for comparison purposes I will receive about a $75 quarterly dividend in August from Verizon. This option remained opened for about 2 months.

Total option premiums earned (closed transactions) so far in 2015 are $321.30. I am certainly pleased with the results so far especially since my first options trade was in April. Another $300 in premiums this year will offset the $600 dividend income loss from ESV. That would be a big win!!!

I also should note that I still have 3 open call options in BP, GM, and BBL. If I hold those to maturity I have the potential to earn an additional $250.00.

I guess I probably should work on an Options Page pretty soon.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Weekly Purchases --- The long march continues

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • SO:  5.93 shares @ $42.17 --- Yield  5.15%
  • KO:  6.19 shares @ $40.37 --- Yield  3.27%

Total capital invested is $500 ($250 in each company). The combined yield is 4.21% and my yearly dividends will increase by $21.05.

I would like to thank everyone for the encouraging comments on last week's purchases. I have been going over things in my mind during the last few days and have decided to continue ascending the mountain. The relentless climb can be lonely, tiring, precarious, and in many instances overlooked or discounted by others (especially family and friends), but it can also be equally exhilarating and rewarding as hell. There is no rest for the weary and fortune without a doubt favors the bold.

Stocks on my radar for next week include SO, KO, JNJ, KMI, PG, WM, and WMT.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Stock purchase: WPC

Well the CAG proceeds didn't last very long. Today I added to my WPC position.

  • WPC:  25 shares @ $61.41 --- Yield 6.21%

Total capital invested is $1542.20. This puchase will add $95.40 to my yearly dividends. This will probably conclude my REIT buying spree that I have been on during the last month or so.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Stock sale: CAG

After a pretty big spike in price today, I decided to sell all of my CAG shares. As you can see in the photo above, it was a relatively small position. I was able to make three weekly purchases, two under $30, one just over $30 last summer.

The dividend hasn't been raised for a couple of years, but ironically the stock performance has been very strong. In fact between KRFT and CAG, the food companies have been two of my better performing companies in the last year.

Including the four dividends I received I will clear $2756.57 on an investment of $1850.

I haven't decided what to do with the proceeds yet. I may add to my KO or PEP positions and keep the money invested in some type of food company.

Also CAG was paying a $.25 quarterly dividend, so my yearly dividends will decrease by $63.84.

What do you guys think of my decision to dump CAG?

ESV Option closed --- With Pictures

Eleven days ago I sold 1 ESV covered call and received a $112.30 premium after fees.  Today I went ahead and closed the position which cost me $58.70 after fees. Essentially I have earned 50% of the premium in under two weeks. Not too bad!!

So I ended making a net of $53.60 for less than two weeks of work.

I also received my quarterly dividend from ESV today in the amount of $39.72.


  • ESV Covered Call (11 days) --- $53.60
  • ESV Dividend (90 days) --- $39.72
  • Total ESV Income --- $93.32

I'm also excited about posting my first ever photos from my phone.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Weekly Purchases: Elevation $17,000 Getting Tired

Here are my purchases for this week.

  • WPC:  3.24 shares @ $61.64 --- Yield  6.18%
  • BBL:  4.87 shares @ $41.07 --- Yield  6.04%
  • BP:  4.94 shares @ $40.46 --- Yield  5.93%
  • SO:  4.73 shares @ $42.31 --- Yield  5.13%

Total capital invested is $800 ($200 in each company). The combined yield is 5.82%% and will add $46.56 to my yearly dividends.

$17,000 Forward Dividends/Interest

It's not really an even milestone like 10k, 20k, or 25k, but it still feels pretty good. I was just looking at my portfolio and noticed that the balance is now a shade over $410,000 in my taxable account. I have never climbed a mountain, but I'm sure the first few thousand feet probably are no big deal. You are energized, well fed, warm, and eagar for the journey. Confidence, drive, and desire are at peak levels!

No doubt as the climber reaches new heights, certain fears start to creep into his mind. Can I make it? Will fatigue take its toll and cause me to lose focus or worse make a critical mistake? Is the end game worth all the effort, risk, and time? Will a random weather event cause me to turn around or perhaps perish?

Right now I have roughly 14 years worth of living expenses ($30k/year) invested in the market (stocks and bonds). On top of that I currently have a job that allows me to save rought $100k per year. So in theory, I could have 20 years worth of expenses covered (assuming no increase in expenses) within another two years. I am currently 44 years old which means at age 46 I would have the next 20 years covered. That is assuming a 0% return. Realistically over the next 20 years a 2-3% interest rate isn't unreasonable and that would actually add tens of thousands to my withdrawals over that time period. $600k could actually result in $800k in expense coverage.

In addition I have approximately $250k in my 401k (65/35 Index 500/bond mix). Finally I would receive some unknown amount from Social Security at age 62 or later. I may have actually oversaved and just haven't realized it yet.

Right now $17,000 would cover just over half of one years expenses. In time this amount would increase along with the capital base, but it could also get cut int half (1973-1975, 2000-2002, 2007-2009). $410,000 (bird in the hand) or $30,000 a year from dividends ten years from now (2 in the bush).

Right now I am enjoying the view from my current location, but these are things that I have been thinking about recently. I might just relax for a bit here and catch my breath.

Keep climbing or accept that I may have already reached my destination?

This is NOT meant to be a downer post

Sometimes when you are in the heat of the battle, you lose track of the bigger war. I have been in full battle mode for many, many years and I don't think I realize how much progress that I have made. At the same time, if I stray too far from the castle, I could potential lose a lot of the progress that I have fought like a Mother Fucker to gain. The only difference is fighting at age 30-45 is much easier than fighting the same battle from age 45-60.

I am just documenting some of my recent thoughts.


Friday, June 12, 2015

CAT raises dividend 10% and TGT raises dividend 7.7%

It's been a few days since I checked my personal email and I just noticed that I have not been receiving Seeking Alpha updates. So when I logged into SA, I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of recent dividend increase announcements.

CAT announced that it will be raising its quarterly dividend from $.70 to $.77. This represents a 10% increase over the last raise and the new yield 3.51%

The ex-dividend date is July 16th and the pay date is August 20th.

Since, I currently own 71.93 shares my yearly dividend will increase by $20.14.

Also TGT announced that is will be raising its quarterly dividend from $.52 to $.56. This represents a 7.7% increase and the new yield is 2.80%

The ex-dividend date is August 17th and the pay date is Sept 10th.

Since I currently own 145 shares, my yearly dividends will increase by $23.20.

In other words, I will receive an extra $43.36 each year for doing absolutely nothing. I'll take it! It would take approximately $1500 invested at 3% to generate that kind of incom.. The good news is I didn't have to do anything to receive the extra money.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Time Machine Flashback --- MDP at 30

Warning: Longer than usual post.

As all of you know I normally just write condensed posts that typically highlight a buy/sell or a dividend update of some sort. The reason for the concise posts is that I can easily bounce around from topic to topic without warning or organization. I also find that I tend to add a few profanities, non PC statements, and other potentially offensive content. Quite honestly, I really don't care and I will most likely ramble on. Consider this your warning.

I also am going to do my best to write these posts from the point of view I had at the time. We all change and evolve as we get older and I know that I certainly have. At the ripe old age of thirty I am sure that my attitude was more confident (cocky), somewhat more reckless, bold, and in many instances less tactful. As the years have passed by a lot of the rough edges have become smoother as the need to "prove myself" has diminished. Don't get me wrong, I still have a fierce competitive desire and at times a win at all costs/excuses are for losers attitude.

One of several Flashback posts....Marty (I mean MDP) fire up the Delorean

For some strange reason, I feel the need to reveal my life at several different points in time. While many years of my life seem like a blur, a few stand out from the rest. Since this blog mainly covers financial information and strategies, I will do my best to keep the car between the lines so to speak. As mentioned above there will be several detours and unexpected course changes along the way. The years that I will be focused on most likely will include 1987, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. The posts will not be chronological and could take years to cover each year mentioned.

Why do this? Mostly it is for my own benefit, but I would also like to fill in some of the void from before 2014 when I started the blog. Seeing the result of my life's efforts without seeing the process that I went through mentally, financially, and emotionally really doesn't paint the whole picture. It's like turning on a light switch and seeing the bright lights without seeing the effort and time that it takes to create and distribute electricity. Watching me document purchases and dividend payments without seeing my early life jouney minimizes both the difficulties and triumphs that I have experienced along the way.

Sometimes as life is happening, we don't even understand the significance of the events we witness or are a part of until many weeks, months, or perhaps years after the fact. Often times I am amazed as I watch athletes give interviews immediately after accomplishing a great feat like a world title.Inevitably some reporter will ask the question "How do you feel right now after accomplishing (insert spectacular achievement)?" On many occassions the individuals are unable to describe their emotions very well in a two or three sentence sound bite and justifiably so. Just a few day ago Lebron James was asked a similar question after the Cavaliers win at Golden State and his answer was simply "It means everything."

How can you effectively summarize 10,000 hours in the weight room, practice field drills, team meetings, countless competitions, wins & losses? How to do you describe doing the same things over and over again often times with no visible results in sight? How to you describe working at 5:00 am and 11:00 pm while others are sleeping?

How can you describe wanting to quit many times, yet picking yourself up off the ground knowing soon enough you will knocked back to the ground yet again? How do you continue to attack hurdles while those around you are tapping out and going back to an easy life? How do you ignore your family when they say "Just do what we did for 45 years? or better yet take the safe secure route?"

What do successful people do that average people don't. They FORGE AHEAD regardless of their short term discomfort knowing a better life awaits them and they alone have the power to make it so.

The say FUCK SAFETY!!!

MDP, what about don't bite off more than you can chew???? Make the decision to CHOKE on GREATNESS rather than NIBBLE on MEDIOCRITY!!!

Despite all of these sacrifices you know the likelihood of reaching lofty goals is very small....that may be true, but regrets later in life suck far worse than failure.

How do you save $450 (10%) of a $4500 monthly paycheck when you have car loans exceeding $40,000, a mortgage exceeding $75,000, and credit cards exceeding $32,000?

How do you spend your life working for bill money??? Even worse, how do you spend your life year after year building other people's dreams while looking at your wife/kids/parents and knowing you are seemingly helpless to change your course?

Sometimes you just have to rediscover your backbone. It's there for a reason.

Self pity is for losers.

Those are a lot of question to ponder. When life feels unbearable and totally overwhelming, it can become easy to shrivel up in a ball and crawl into a hole. Many have done this including myself at various stages in my life. It feels good in the short term, but DOES NOT solve any problems and unfortunately very weak people tend to follow this pattern over and over throughout their lives.

This is a very brash and in-your-face statement. I know. There are obviously many reasons physically, emotionally, and pychologically that can cause people to feel self pity. When I feel self pity I don't believe that I am suffering from anything other than  a TEMPORARY weakness in mindset. This is something that I and I alone have the power to correct.

While I am certainly not an avid reader of poetry, I am very familiar with this D H Lawrence poem. When I see my salespeople with their heads hanging low, seemingly dejected, I remind them of the words below. I remind myself as well.

 I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
 A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.

It is only two sentences, but it is very powerful. Self pity is destructive and must be avoided at all costs. We have all been through difficult circumstances, life struggles, losses, and catastrophic failures. Many times particularly difficult events force us to make a choice between two crossroads. You can tap out or continue fighting!

Wandering aimlessly in the wilderness

The year 2002 was a very interesting. We were in the early aftermath of 9/11, the war on terror was commencing, and the painful reminders of the Dot Com bubble were still fresh. In fact the S&P 500 was still working on a 50% correction from the 2000 highs. There was also a small company with 20,000 employees that was sending shockwaves all across Houston. Can anyone say Enron??

Why was this year (2002) important for me? For many different reasons. Hopefully I get to all of them.  I was thirty years old and I was drowning in debt, working long hours at a job I supposedly hated. On top of that I felt that I was falling behind many of my peers both at work and from college. I know I know I know...Don't compare yourself to others. Focus on reaching my potential....blah blah blah. Again, I am writing about how I felt back in 2002. When you first graduate from high school or college you still feel equal in many ways to friends and classmates. As time goes by however, separation starts to take place between people. Sometimes we grow, sometimes we stagnate, and sometimes we fall behind the pack.

Around 6-8 years is more enough time for two people to have very different looking lives on a number of fronts including careers, health, finances, debts, spiritual changes, and even general attitudes about life and what is important. If you don't believe that, just look at the difference between someone who started dividend investing yesterday versus someone who started six years ago in 2009. Night and Day!

I started my career making about $50,000 a year in 1994. I was miles ahead of most of my friends and classmates. As time ticked by we drifted, interaction and communication diminished and eventually all my friends now were my coworkers. This tends to happen more often that we would like. Unfortunately my new friends prided themselves on making a lot of money, spending more money, and doing whatever it takes to advance regardless of collateral damage.

It was a new and exciting world to me, but I often regret some my earlier friendships that slowly faded as time went by. My world was much different that when I graduated college and I was getting a bit lost in my way. Was I having a mid-life crises at 30? Maybe.

Are you building a brick house MDP? It seems rather straw-like.......Where is the wolf anyway???

In the spring of 2002, I honestly believed having a house (albeit modest), two large V8 vehicles, numerous credit cards totaling the aforementioned $32,000 was the definition of success. Don't get me wrong, I did not like the way it felt and the pressure that accompanies debt, but all my coworkers and their families were in the same boat. My income unfortunately had grown only slightly because I became complacent with my career. There were a few high achievers around me, however I started associating with the average achievers.

I also started noticing how I was becoming older than a few of the managers around me and several of the newer associates were 7 or 8 years younger than me. Just two years earlier I was considered one of the "Young Guns" and now I was becoming the 30 year old guy that hasn't lived up to his potential. Ouch, that hurts! Don't become THAT GUY!

Talk about a panic attack!!! I felt that I had totally lost control.

So my friends and co-workers were (in my eyes) progressing and I was drifting with no rudder and no sail. Helplessness was starting to permeate within my psyche. I really hate when shit like this happens and I felt that I had no help or guidance to fall back on.

What on earth was I doing? I felt as if I made a wrong turn on the road of life and I couldn't turn things around. Frustration was another emotion that had a stranglehold on me. I kept asking myself "How the fuck did I get here and more importantly....How the fuck do I change course?" Hell I didn't even know where I wanted to go.

What I did know was that I was hemorrhaging cash and had nothing to show for it. Also I was tired of getting passed over for promotions even though I knew that I wasn't upping my game enough to warrant consideration for more responsibility.

It was time for a complete lifestyle change.

Here is a general summary of my early 2002 finances.

  • House ---- $90000    Loan ---- $78000
  • Auto 1 ---- $22000   Loan ---- $28000
  • Auto 2 ---- $10000   Loan ---- $12000
  • Cash ---- $0
  • 401K ---- $30000
  • Credit cards ---- $32000
  • Student loans ---- $4000
  • Wife braces ---- $3500

Total net worth ---- ($5500)

That it painful just typing it out. Wow! 30 years old and living on the edge. Thankfully I at least had the 401k as a safety net.

The most obvious problem was the credit card debt. In my opinion I was about to reach a critical mass of the negative variety. If this balance had reached $40k, I would probably have "unhitched the wagon" (just stopped paying....this did not happen and over time I paid every last fucking cent off) Luckily I had held the line from 2001 through 2002. My credit card balance wasn't dropping but at least it was stabilized around the $32k area.

To steal a line from The Water Boy, credit cards are the DEVIL!! I was essentially paying $1000 each month, but due to interest charges I was only knocking $500 a month off the balance. If I charged $300 the next month (out of necessity usually) then I was only $200 to the good. Basic math told me that I was going to spend decades just to pay off the credit cards.

To make matter worse, my wife wasn't totally on board with the extreme measures necessary to get our financial house in order. I'm sure many people are in the same boat. You know the boat I am talking about. The one where I am not necessarily asking my wife to put her oar in the water and help row....but at least stop dropping the anchor off the back of the boat while I'm rowing. :-)

It was time to take extreme measures in another area of my life.

A brutal July run and a trash bag full of khakis

The 90s were a badass decade. One of the biggest changes I noticed around the work place was the introduction of business casual attire. People traded their suits and ties for Dockers and company polo shirts. This was great. It was strange in that sometimes customers, vendors, employees, and even the top bosses at times were indistinguishable. I didn't have to use the dry cleaners although I still had my pants pressed. In Texas casual attire is a big hit during the summer months. It seems like many companies in many different industries were all jumping on board with this change in acceptable business attire.

If you ever want to visit Houston, don't come in July, August, or September. The only thing worse than the heat is the humidity It was a typical July day in Houston when I decided to leave work at 2:00 to go for a long run.  I went home put on my running shorts and shoes and headed for the high school track. The last time I ran further than a few hundred feet was in 1996 on Thanksgiving and it was unseasonably cool (around 40 degrees). That July day I went to the track was seasonably hot around 100 degrees (the heat index was around 105-110).  No matter. I felt the need to run and clear my mind.

After one lap I was dying. The great thing about running is your mind really clears out the noise and you can really think and focus on important things. That day I was trying to figure out how to seriously change my life's course. Working just to give the money to banks each month was not an acceptable option for me.

I needed to form a plan of some sort even if it was rudimentary, I needed to take action immediately.
Here are some of the ideas that I came up with during the next 30 minutes.

  • Go to work everyday and take no days off (except Sundays) until you make $6000 for the month. If you can make it by the the 15th of the month great. If is the 31st and it's 8:00 pm and you have only made $5900, then keep hustling. This is scorched earth old school motivation than has rewards and punishment built into it.
  • Never borrow money for a car again once I can get out of the two I am "upside down" in.
  • Advance your career!!!
  • Throw away every pair of Dockers you own. From now on it's black dress pants, starched white shirts, and solid color neckties for as long as you are in the work force.

After 30 minutes and 3 miles I was dehydrated, exhausted, extremely focused, recommitted, and had a fierce attitude that would make a hyena proud.

I went back home put all my khakis in a trash bag and proceeded to dump them at the clothing donation bin. To this day I still wear a shirt and tie with black pants each and every day I go to work. If you are going to be in the business world, don't look and dress like you should work in the produce department at a grocery store. That tie (noose) around my neck was going to be my "scarlet letter" a constant reminder that I am going to get myself out of this hole I have put myself in.

I must have stuck out like a turd in a punch bowl when I came back to work that afternoon. Hardly anyone wore dress shirts and ties and certainly not in July. No matter. I had a mission and was determined to succeed. There were several months when I worked over 80 hours a week over and over again. Hell there still are. As the year continued the results soon followed.

To this day I still marvel at the rain as it hits my office window at night. There is nothing like working when it is pouring down rain and you know the easiest (most comfortable) thing to do is go home and start over tomorrow. That is what most of our competitors do.....There is no tomorrow only today! This is the mantra of a hustler!

By the end of 2002, I reached a career high income and made over $9,000 in the month of December alone.

By no means was I out of the woods, but I was accelerating hard and closing the gap on my perceived life and my coworkers/friends/rivals.

Two years later in 2004 I still had a mountain of credit card debt, but my cars were free and clear, I was advancing into management, and forming the foundation for a 2004-2014 run that would see my net worth grow from $0 to $700,000.

Sorry about the rambling, but I hope at least one person can benefit from this post. Several choices I made in this episode were bad, some good, and in some cases in order to turn my life around I had to make very painful choices.


Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • PG:  2.56 shares @ $78.25 --- Yield  3.39% 
  • JNJ:  2.03 shares @ $98.34 --- Yield  3.05%
  • WMT:  2.76 shares @ $72.58 --- Yield  2.70%

Total capital invested is $600 ($200 in each company). The combined yield is 3.05% and will increase my yearly dividends by $18.28.

Back to a slow and steady pace adding powerful mega cap companies. It's good to see Walmart yielding 2.7%, I will continue adding to all three at these prices and lower.


Monday, June 8, 2015

ESV Covered Call

Today I sold an ESV covered call and collected a $112.30 premium for the right to sell 100 shares at $30 a share. This is below my basis, but I would not mind selling off part of my position and replacing it with a more stable company. If I lose the 100 shares I will still hold around 160 shares.

ESV Covered Call

Action: Sell to open
Description:  ESV JAN 15 2015 $30.00 CALL
Quantity: -1 contracts
Execution time: 06-08-2015 (today)
Price: $1.20
Total Proceeds $112.30 ($7.70 in commissions)

This increases my open premium total to around $415.00 plus I already closed a GE option trade that added an addional $181 dollars for a total of around $600.

Below are some other covered calls that are still open. I have actually earned quite a bit of the premiums as the strike price is quite a bit higher than the market prices right now. I may close out a couple or all of the positions soon. The reality is I don't want to sell any of the shares listed below. I guess I should have thought things through before selling the options to begin with. While I am earning premium money, which is cool, I don't like worrying about whether I am going to lose the shares. I keep bouncing back and forth with whether or not I want to continue doing these.

I guess I am greedy and want to collect the premiums and keep the shares. :-)

BBL Covered Call

Action: Sell to open
Description: BBL SEP 18 2015 55.00 CALL
Quantity*: -1 contracts
Execution time: 05-11-2015 10:19 ET
Price: $0.98
Total Commissions & Charges: $7.70
Total Transaction Amount: $90.30
Trade Settlement Date: 05-12-2015 

GM Covered Call

Action: Sell to open
Description: GM JAN 15 2016 40.00 CALL 
Quantity*: -1 contracts
Execution time: 04-27-2015 15:07 ET
Price: $0.98
Total Commissions & Charges: $7.70
Total Transaction Amount: $90.30
Trade Settlement Date: 04-28-2015

BP Covered Call

Action: Sell to open
Description: BP JAN 15 2016 47.00 CALL 
-1 contracts
Execution time: 04-09-2015 11:35 ET
Price: $0.76
Total Commissions & Charges: $7.70
Total Transaction Amount: $68.30
Trade Settlement Date: 04-10-2015

VZ Covered Call

Action: Sell to open
Description: VZ JAN 15 2016 50.00 CALL 
-1 contracts
Execution time: 04-09-2015 12:24 ET
Price: $1.75
Total Commissions & Charges: $7.70
Total Transaction Amount: $167.30
Trade Settlement Date: 04-10-2015


Saturday, June 6, 2015

May 2015 Income and Expenses

The amounts below are cash amounts and are net of taxes, insurance, 401k contributions, HSA, etc. In other words, the amounts are what get deposited and withdrawn from my accounts.

Day job (take home pay) --- $12,889.45
Dividends/interest --- $1,110.96
AdSense (deposit) --- $114.25

Total net income --- $14,114.66

Expenses --- $3,991.24

Savings --- $10,123.42  Rate --- 71.72%

Sometimes you just have to expect the unexpected. As many know, Houston as well as much of Texas was inundated with rain last month. I can't honestly remember a month where I saw so much rain day after day. Here it is June 4th and I have yet to water my yard this year. For those who live in the south, you know that never happens. Usually the sprinklers fire up in late April and stay on through November.

In spite of the rain, I actually had my second best paycheck total this year and I only trailed March's total by around $20. I feel very fortunate to live in a state like Texas and more specifically a city like Houston. We may not have the great tourist attractions that many cities can boast about, but we are designed to do business and those who have dreams of making their fortunes and building empires should put Houston at the top of their list.

Anyway enough of the Houston Chamber of Commerce informercial. Despite spending a bit extra on a road trip/vacation, I am happy to report that I was able to keep the expense total under $4,000. The only real outlier expense was the $400 I spent on my tax preparation. Any of you accountants working for a large company, do yourself a favor and start your own practice ASAP!!!!  I can't believe what a gold mine tax preparation is.

I would like to keep my expenses a bit lower than they are so I can reach FI sooner, however how low can they reasonably go? Since I spent $4,000, if I had zero bills (impossible with taxes, utililites and food) the most I could drop is $4.000. On the other hand, income, in theory, has no upper limit. So between the two choices, I must focus on making more money right now. It's like a football team with an offense (income production) and a defense (expense reduction). It's nice to have a great defense and most likely the defense will keep you in the game, but ultimately it's the offense that determines the team's success. Trying to keep a team scoreless each time out is very difficult. I don't know where that analogy came from, however you get the point....hopefully.

So there you have it. A pretty solid month overall and with a few tweaks here and there, I think I can continue to improve my savings rate going forward.

Here are my savings rates for 2015.

January --- 46.72%
February --- 67.78%
March --- 80.00%
April --- 35.97%
May --- 71.72%


Friday, June 5, 2015

Here we go again....HCP Purchase

Today I added to my HCP and it is now my largest individual stock position.

  • HCP:  100 shares @ 37.46 --- Yield  6.03%

Total capital invested is $3752.95 and my yearly dividends will increase by $226.00.

I'm now just under $1000 a year in forward HCP dividends.

Wow!!! Talk about falling knives all over the place. Holy shit between REITs and Oil I am going to have to keep a bottle of Crown here at the office. Well we (we meaning me) all wanted volatility, well here it is.

Oil, REITs, utilities, and tobacco are in my crosshairs....or maybe I'm in theirs???


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Stock Purchase Take 2: VZ

After picking up shares of CVX earlier, I decided to add to my VZ position.

  • VZ:  21 shares @ $48.10 --- Yield  4.57%

Total capital invested is $1017.05 and will add $46.20 to my yearly dividends.

For some reason T and VZ have decoupled recently so I went with VZ. Currently my T position is about 2 1/2 times my VZ position.

Adding heavy hitters like Shell, Chevron, and VZ this week should help me inch closer to $17,000 in forward dividends/interest.....or perhaps back to $15,000. :-)

No risk no reward and I hate fucking safety nets.


Stock Purchase: CVX

Today I added to my position in Chevron.

  • CVX:  10 shares @ $101.66 --- Yield  4.21%

Total capital invested is $1023.55 and will add $42.88 to my yearly dividends.

It was difficult deciding between WPC and CVX this morning. In the end I went with the more powerful company and will continue to monitor WPC as well as HCP.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

When it's time to draft players (stocks) for my team (portfolio) it never hurts to add these guys...

  • XOM:  2.94 shares @ $85.04 --- Yield  3.43%
  • JNJ:  2.51 shares @ $99.61 --- Yield  3.01%

Total capital added is $500 ($250 in each company). The combined yield of these purchases is 3.22% and will add $16.10 to my yearly dividends.

I decided to take it easy today as I made a larger investment in Shell yesterday, not to mention a Trans Am last week. It looks like energy companies are front and center again along with REITS and Canadian banks. The railroad companies are commanding some attention as well.

I looked over my portfolio and aside from the over-exposure in energy, I noticed that my company count is getting a little high for my liking. I am going to focus on the businesses I already own and either maintain or reduce the company count. If I see a new business I like, I will add it to the portfolio with the plan of reducing a position somewhere else. It's getting a bit cumbersome at these levels.

Not that it should matter too much, but I have companies like PM, BP, T, RDS-b, and HCP that pay $600-$850 a year in dividends and companies like NOV, WM, CAG, PEP, WMT, BAX, and AFL that each pay under $150 a year. I guess over time it equalize, but I don't like the balance right now.

Companies on my radar for next week include JNJ, PEP, XOM, NSC, KMI, WPC, and SO.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Stock Puchase: Shell

Today I added to my Shell position.

  • RDS-b:  25 shares @ 59.53 --- Yield  6.32%

Total capital invested is $1495.20. This will increase my yearly dividends by $94.00.

Every time I think I am done with energy purchases, like a giant magnet the sector pulls me back. Maybe I should say like a giant whirlpool. Yikes!!!

Oh well...the music plays on so I will keep dancing!