Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 2015 Recap

As I reflect back on this month it has been fantastic. Like every other Saturday morning, I am here at work getting ready to finish off what will be a record month! I just looked at the clock and it is 7:25 and many people are at home sleeping or just starting to read the morning paper drinking coffee (actually I probably am one of the few who still likes a traditional newspaper). I envy you, but right now I must continue to build my passive income for the future. My focus is on finishing strong at work today and every day for the next several years so that one day, my Saturdays along with my Tuesdays, and really every day looks no different than my Sundays (relaxed and with limited obligations).

February was also a great month for passive income as my dividends keep increasing on a year over year basis. Maybe by this time next year, 3-digit months will be a just a memory. That would be nice and quite honestly I think it is realistic.

Anyway, here is the passive income that I received during the month of February.

Taxable Account

  • AHITX --- $245.97
  • T --- $166.86
  • HCP --- $118.65
  • KMI --- $105.19
  • APU --- $66.61
  • VZ --- $65.10
  • PG --- $59.99
  • CLX --- $39.71
  • PAYX --- $35.04
Total taxable passive income is $903.12.

New Capital Invested

  • JNJ --- $1100
  • CAT --- $800
  • BAX --- $500
  • PG --- $500
  • XOM --- $300
  • WM --- $300
  • KO --- $300
  • T --- $300
Total new capital invested is $4100.00

Friday, February 27, 2015

DLR raises dividend 2.4% --- New yield is 5.17%

DLR announced that is will raise its quarterly dividend by $.02 from $.83 to $.85. This represents a 2.41% increase and the new yield is 5.17%.

Digital Realty's board of directors authorized a quarterly common stock dividend of $0.85 per share to common stockholders of record as of the close of business on March 13, 2015. The common stock dividend will be paid on March 31, 2015.

Since I currently own 100 shares, my yearly dividends will increase by $8.00

Yesterday's ESV news obviously sent a shockwave through my portfolio and it will take a lot more raises from other companies to fill the void. Actually looking across the board, I don't know that raises from every company I own can make up for that catastrophe. The fallout is going to be felt for several quarters until I can replace the lost income.

But only a fool trips over what's behind him, so it is time to brush myself off and get moving again!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ouch!! ESV cuts dividend 80% --- New yield is 2.33%

Surprise, surprise. ESV announced they are reducing their quarterly dividend $.60 from $.75 to $.15 which is an 80% reduction. The new yield will now be 2.33%

Since I own 263.62 shares, my yearly dividends will decrease by $632.69.

Holy shit that is going to leave a mark! I just did a preliminary check on my forward dividends and they will drop from around $15,500 to $14,800 and some change.

Anyway here is a cut and paste statement from the company.

"To improve capital management flexibility in light of the market downturn, Ensco’s Board of Directors declared a $0.15 cash dividend per Class A ordinary share payable on 20 March 2015, a $0.60 reduction from the prior level. The ex-dividend date is expected to be 5 March 2015 with a record date of 9 March 2015."

In other news, WM is increasing its quarterly dividend by $.01 from $.375 to $.385 which is a 2.66% increase and will increase the yield to 2.82%. The record date is March 9th and the pay date is March 20th. I currently own 25.4 shares so my yearly dividend will increase by $1.02.

Obviously I have a lot of work to do in order to get my yearly dividends back on track. I don't plan on selling any ESV right now, as this probably is the bottom. A lot of times these type of events allow companies to regroup, clean up their house and begin marching forward again. We'll see. I don't need any tax losses right now, but if I do in the future I will use the opportunity to sell off part of my position.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • T:  8.82 shares @ $34.02 --- Yield  5.53%
  • CAT:  3.55 shares @ $84.10 --- Yield  3.33%
  • XOM:  3.36 shares @ $89.60 --- Yield  3.08%
  • JNJ: 2.97 shares @ $100.66 --- Yield 2.78%

Total capital invested this week is $1200 ($300 in each company). The combined yield is 3.68% and will add $44.16 to my yearly dividends.

Another week is in the books and the snowball is bit larger than last week. This is a pretty boring group of companies, but that is ok. Sometimes boring can be good. I plan to continue slowly adding quality names at this pace and then hopefully ramp up purchases sometime around May.

Other companies on my radar include BAX, PG, PM, NOV, KO, and HCP.

Stay relentless in your pursuit of FI!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

KO raises dividend 8.2% --- New yield is 3.15%

Today Coca Cola (KO) announced that it is raising its quarterly dividend $.025 from $.305 to $.33 which is an 8.2% increase from last year. The new yield for KO increases to 3.15%

The record date is March 16th and the pay date is April 1st.

Since I currently own 204.63 shares, my yearly dividends will increase by $20.46. This is a really solid raise from KO and the stock still looks attractive to me. In fact I picked up a few shares on Tuesday.

Hopefully DLR and WM will make official dividend increase announcements in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • KO:  7.19 shares @ $41.72 --- Yield  2.92%
  • WM:  3.02 shares @ $53.85 --- Yield  2.82%
  • JNJ:  5.57 shares @ $99.40 --- Yield  2.79%

Total capital invested is $900 ($300 in each company). The combined yield on these purchases is 2.84% and will add $25.59 to my yearly dividends.

This is a relatively uneventful week as I am slowly adding quality companies to my portfolio. JNJ continues to hover around $100 so I will keep adding at these levels and lower. KO has drifted down a little over the past month and looks decent here as well. It has been almost a year since I have added to WM. My cost basis is $41 and the stock has headed straight up over the past year.

Last week the company received a downgrade so I thought I might be able to pick up some shares under $50. Unfortunately the combination of an earnings beat and a subsequent upgrade has sent the shares back up to new highs. Oh well, I have a very small position and will probably add more hopefully at lower levels.

Companies on my radar for next week include KO, JNJ, PG, XOM, CAT, NOV, MCD, BAX, and MSFT.

Friday, February 13, 2015

January 2015 Income and Expenses

Here is the summary of my income and expenses for January 2015.

Day job (take home pay) --- $11,896.95
Dividends/interest --- $786.40

Total net income --- $12,683.35

Expenses --- $6757.12  (ouch!!!)

Savings --- $5926.23   Rate --- 46.72%

January usually is one of the slowest months at work, but we increased sales by 7% and net profit by over 20%. So while my income was lower than most months, it was higher than last January. Dividend income was good and continues to move in my favorite direction up.

At first glance my expenses were way out of whack! I hate explaining away certain outlier expenses because there are always seemingly special circumstances each and every month. With that said, included in my expenses are my property taxes for the entire year, my auto insurance paid through June, and finally $500 I paid back to my savings account for a fence I had installed last summer.

Removing these three irregular yet necessary payments would lower my January total down to $3554.12. Obviously these expenses are real and therefore I listed them above, but the next several months should be (hopefully) more normal. Oh, except during April when I have to pay income taxes....see what I mean, there are always expenses that can be explained away but are real nonetheless. One more thing, our Christmas expenses (presents, dinners, etc) charged in December were paid on Jaunuary's credit card statemtent and is also included in the above expense total.

Also, when calculating my take home pay, it is net of my health insurance, HSA, and my 401k contributions. I could probably filter all these different deductions, but I'm not going to hassle with it as I like to keep things relatively simple.

My wife also works and has her own checking and savings accounts (so she claims). She has a pretty good and simple strategy for keeping her expenses down. She simple lets me pay for all the household, food, car, medical, animal, insurance, and other life expenses we incur. :-) Like I mentioned her plan is pretty solid and seems to work well for her.

So I don't appear totally p*ssy whipped subservient, when we were younger and had income amounts closer together we would pool our incomes and share expenses. However as my income increased over time, this was not a strategy that we could or should continue as it would not be fair to her. Plus I don't like sleeping on the couch.

Anyway since our house and cars are paid off, our (my) expenses right now should stay around $3,200 a month. In time I hope to drop these expenses to around $2500.

It is amazing how many job related expenses occur each month. Between work lunches, dress clothes and shoes, frequent hair cuts, dry cleaning, gas, and auto maintenence I know that I could eliminate around $300.00 a month at least.

In addition to these work related expenses, it seems like there is always a cause (employees fundraising for kids, random solicitors, high school coupon book, food drives, etc.) that sucks $20-$50 a month from me. I have to admit I usually fall prey to these types of things. Last month I think I contributed $50 to a fundraiser for the local animal shelter. While these are worthwhile donations that I don't mind helping out with, it is unlikely that I would spend money on these things outside my workplace....or at least less frequently.

Anyway, my plan is to continue posting these results in a general, non itemized form each month and hopefully this will increase my focus on making improvements in both income and expenses. I had no idea that I spent this much money last month until I went down my bank statement just before making this post. It certainly is an eye-opening experience.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cisco raises dividend 10.53% --- New yield is 3.12%

Today Cisco (CSCO) announced it will be increasing its quarterly dividend from $.19 to $.21 which represents a 10.53% increase. The raise brings the new yield up from 2.82% to 3.12%.  This certainly is a great raise after very strong quarterly results. Last year Cisco gave an equally impressive 11.18% dividend raise. I know there are always some risks investing in technology companies, but it appears that Cisco is firing on all cylinders as of right now.

The record date is April 2nd and the pay date is April 22nd.

Since I currently own 240 shares, my yearly dividends will increase by $19.20.

I always love seeing my passive income increase without any additional capital being invested. Coke and Digital Realty Trust should be announcing increases very soon as well.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • CAT:  2.98 shares @ $83.84 --- Yield  3.34%
  • PG:  2.95 shares @ $84.89 --- Yield  3.03%
  • BAX:  3.58 shares @ $69.76 --- Yield  2.98%
  • JNJ:  2.50 shares @ $99.93 --- Yield  2.80%

Total capital invested is $1000 ($250 in each company). The combined yield on this week's purchases is 3.04% and will add $30.40 to my yearly dividends.

After a crazy couple of weeks in the market, I am traveling on a calmer road today investing in some relatively boring companies. BAX, PG, and JNJ continue to drift downward so I will take this opportunity to add to these names. CAT after falling hard like many energy names is starting to rebound again. I will probably continue building a position under $90.

While energy companies have been stabilizing somewhat, it appears that interest rate sensitive names including utilities and REITS are starting to fall. While I have a fairly large position in HCP, I would certainly consider adding more around $40-41.

Other names I will be watching closely are PM, MSFT, NOV, XOM, and BBL.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Blog stats update and adsense revenue

The chart below shows a continued upward trend through January.

Graph of Blogger page views

Here are my January daily views.

Graph of Blogger page views

20,000 page views???

According to Blogger I reached 20,852 page views during January which is my highest total ever. I don't know how accurate that number is as I sometimes have a giant spike in the middle of a day that seems like a false reading. In any event, the trend continues to move higher each month so that is pretty cool. Another thing that I have noticed is that my daily views rarely fall below 500 and average around 700 views a day. Again these blogger stats are probably a bit inflated, but the trend is heading up.

U.S. concentrated readership

Recently I I have noticed that most of my visits (about 75%) are from the United States so I decided to add the Translator gadget to my blog so if anyone outside the U.S. stops by they can read it in their native language. This seems to be working as I have noticed Europe is turning greener on my audience map. Surprisingly I have very few people from Canada visiting my site. To be honest I'm not really doing anything to try and increase traffic. I view the visits I receive as random and am thankful to those who periodically stop over.

This was my first full month using AdSense and I had a pretty good month earning over $20 in January. The exact amount was $20.55.

Sometimes I think the amount is too small and insignificant, but then I realize that my first dividends received back in early 2012 was pretty small also. I will probably keep the ads alive as I hate to leave any potential income on the table. After all $20 a month is like a year's worth of dividend income from a $10,000 JNJ position. After thinking about it like that I'll go ahead and keep the ads and hope they grow in the future!

So far in February I've made $7, so maybe I can hit $25.00 in month number two. We'll see.

I have been playing around practicing with the HTML button and now I realize it is not as bad as I kept thinking it was. I try to learn a new function here and there although I noticed my graphs still have a black background, but that is cool. There are more important things in this world to focus on than graph background colors.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Goals Update

Here is a progress report on some of the goals that I created for 2015.


Since I plan on reaching FI within four years I think that it would be good to lay out at least a basic framework of how the next 35 years might look. Even the best laid plans have flaws and need adjustments from time to time. Without a basic plan, success rates diminish so it I at least needed to put the FI ball in play. I think I came up with a conservative, attainable FI plan and will tweak it from time to time. This plan is not perfect, but it's a good start. As always any suggestions or recommendations are certainly welcomed.

Here is my FI Hybrid Model.

The Lending Club plan as I mentioned last month is a no go in Texas so I will look at some other ideas to diversify my income streams. I do qualify as an accredited investor, so that may open my options to some alternative investments. I still hope that Lending Club will become available to Texas residents sometime in the near future.

18K in forward passive income and 16k in passive income received is on track. I will continue to take it easy as I exhausted myself and my a lot capital last summer and fall chasing my 14.5k in forward income goal. It's too early to say, but I think my heavy investment in energy companies is going to work out pretty well. Once I make it past tax season, I will ramp up the purchases and hopefully the markets will provide some good opportunities.

Another financial goal I made some progress on last month was to improve the quality of companies I invest in going forward. I think my purchases in TD, CAT, and JNJ will help towards this goal. I plan to continue adding higher quality companies throughout this year. Also I sold my entire position in ARCP and replaced it with NOV.

Health Goals

My largest goals involve running and a lot of it. During the middle of last year, I reached a personal best of 6.2 miles or 10k. Shortly afterwards I suffered a high ankle sprain which sidelined me for two months and when I started running again in September, my right knee started to bother me. That has never happened before and while the pain disappears within a few days it comes back if I try to run over 3 miles.

Recently I decided to just keep running since the pain is more of a nuisance than an injury (so I think) and I felt my left knee starting to hurt. I'm pretty sure that this was caused my trying to compensate for my right knee. The following day both knees were really sore.

I plan on resting them a few weeks and then try a different running pattern. I am beginning to think running exclusively on the track is causing problems because of all of the turns that I have to make. This is just a hunch, but that is why I plan on running straightaways and on dreadmills in the future.

If I see no improvement with my knees, then no big deal. I will swim, bike, hike, or something else. What I won't do is do is give up on cardio as my blood pressure and lower standing heart rates are very important. Nothing can replace good health and of course that includes protecting my knees as well.

Turkey, tilapia, salmon, and a lot of green vegetables are being consumed regularly so without question my diet is improving.

Education goals

I read The Choice by Og Mandino which is about a man who gives up a great career in management for the opportunity to chase his passion for writing and spend more time with his family away from the chaos of the rate race.

Og also wrote an excellent book called The Greatest Salesman in the World which I have read many times and is an excellent book whether you are in sales or not.

I also read The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham which is fantastic as well, but it is not casual reading. Also the copy I read had somewhat annoying commentary from Jason Zweig which I mostly ignored.

I found this website called Coursera which offers free online course covering a variety of subjects from many different colleges and universities. I am currently taking a course on Microeconomics and find it very interesting. There are music courses, computer courses, physics (puke), and many others. I will definitely look into taking a few more throughout the remainder of this year.

Fun goals

Unfortunately I haven't made much progress in this category, but I have reduced my work schedule from six days a week to five and a half. Today I left at 12:00 and spent the rest of the day relaxing and watching movies with my wife who was sick really she was sick not just playing hookie. :-)

Anyway the Horns baseball season starts in a week or so and I look forward to making the short drive from Houston to Austin to watch a weekend series soon. There is nothing like being outside watching or playing baseball in the spring.

Professional goals

Everything is going great at work and the team is kicking ass. We increased sales by 8% over last January and net profit rose by 28%. It feels great getting the year off to a good start primarily because January can be a tough month due to weather, taxes, and possibly some economic problems in Houston due to falling energy prices. I have seen no effects yet.

Overall I think I am off to a pretty good start and plan on reaching a few more goals by the end of this month.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases

Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • CAT:  3.01 shares @ $82.96 --- Yield  3.38%
  • PG:  2.92 shares @ $85.69 -- Yield  3.00%
  • BAX:  3.57 shares @ $69.99 --- Yield  2.97%
  • JNJ:  2.46 shares @ $101.44 --- Yield  2.76%

Total capital invested this week is $1000 ($250 in each company). The combined yield on this week's purchases is 3.03% and will add $30.28 to my yearly dividends.

These are four relatively boring yet awesome companies which should pay dividends for many decades to come. That is so cool to think about.

Oil Rebound???

Wow! The markets have been swinging around over the place during the past week. Each day it seems like the markets have been moving in 200-300 points spurts, sometimes in both directions. Last week I missed a golden opportunity to buy Chevron under $100 on Friday as I couldn't get near a computer.

Now it looks like oil is in BEAST MODE, blowing past $51 today. This is a good thing in my opinion as I feel like I have been drowning with all the energy purchase during the past few months.

Realistically I do have a few larger positions that potentially could some have some dividend risk (BP, ESV, and BBL) so again, this is great news. Also seeing my portfolio rebounding during the past couple of days is good psychologically for me. Ultimately though it is the steady, sustainable dividend income that is the most important consideration, not the daily moves.

Of course oil could easily switch directions back to the downside, in which case I will hop back into the oil well and resume buying. Sometimes I wish I had fewer positions as I feel like I am trying to herd cats keeping track of all these positions.

Anyway, if oil remains at $50 or climbs higher, I will be looking at KO, PG, BAX, MSFT, CAT, PM, and JNJ.

Stay relentless in your pursuit of FI everyone!