Thursday, December 29, 2016

Recent Buy: GNC

You want to talk about a stock that is down and not yet out? Let's talk about the newest addition to the dividend scythe - GNC. GNC if you don't know is a supplement store that is primarily based in the US. While it has taken a massive hit in the last couple years, the stock is not yet done for. The stores themselves are profitable, the brands they carry work (first hand experience), and they have a customer base that won't be filled by online shopping until the kinks of online shopping can be worked out.

For the typical body builder, online is the way to buy supplements. Unfortunately, bodybuilders are also huge procrastinators. That means when it comes time to buy, they usually find themselves trucking down the neighborhood GNC and buying a quick fix to get them to their next online order. While this isn't primary, it does serve a much needed purpose. I myself have been caught in this same trap and I'm not even a body builder! That being said, there are numerous other types of customers that they market to. Specifically, I'm talking about those who are overweight who are looking for an entrance into the world of supplements with the help of a friendly shop keeper.

While their recent past shows continuous decline in sales, the stores just got a much needed change. An internum CEO has been assigned that turned around Petsmart and I have every bit of confidence that he can do the same thing with GNC. Most notably, a full revamp of their stores has just been completed with a 24 closure of all stores. Even though it's a bet, I'll take the bet while I cash in the heavy dividend payment.

Bring. It. On!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dividend Income: November

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. With the arrival of December comes the monthly honor and duty of counting up the dividends received over the past month and recapping the movement that got us here. That being said, overall, the month was a pretty decent month in relation to others. Here's a quick recap of our payers.

  • AT&T - T - $14.88
  • YUM Brands - YUM - $3.57
  • Abbvie - ABBV - $5.70
  • STAG Industrial - STAG - $1.74
    • Total: $25.89
      • Total Dividends for 2016: $269.08
I know it doesn't look like much in the grand scheme of the portfolio but it looks like a lot to me because it shows the building block style of investing. Only a year ago I was looking at less than $100 total dividends for the entire year (it was actually only barely over $50. That means that this year alone has already completely shattered last year's results. If I can continue that trend, the additional investment income that dividends provide start to become a snowball that rolls itself. 

With kids on the horizon, it's important for me and my wife to put away as much as possible right now so it's locked in during the months/years that it will be even harder to find the additional income to invest. Although we have yet to be successful in having kids, it's an almost certainty in the near future and I would be an idiot to not prepare ahead of time for that life adjustment. Anyway, that's all I've got for today. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Recent Buy: Verizon

I've added another great company to the Dividend Scythe! This time around, I've chosen to add Verizon to the portfolio. What attracted me to this company was the seemingly overzealous and breeding type of business that Verizon runs. One has to respect a company that thrives to be the best, even if it means having to charge customers a premium to do so. In addition, I can't over look how many people I know who have the service and have no other complaints that aren't related to the price that is attached to their service. That's saying a lot in the world we live in today. It's a fine product that they market - both telephony and internet services.

Although Verizon has been going through some changes inside their enterprise, functionally they are still the same great company that has taken off through the years. This should therefore solidify them into the future and make it another great company to hold in the portfolio. It was basically as no-brainer to add Verizon alongside the already well performing, AT&T inside the Dividend Scythe. Now let's look at the final compilation of the purchase.

Purchased: 25 shares of VZ @ $49.07/share
Total purchase: $1,236.74
Annual dividend added to the Scythe: $57.75
New Projected Annual Dividend Income: $505.37

And with that, the Scythe has officially passed the $500 mark for annual income. All I have to do is keep the train rolling. Thanks for reading, everyone. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Dividends Overtime

After making my monthly update post for October's dividends, I realized that I hadn't posted an update showing the dividends received over time in quite awhile. That being said, I've compiled an updated graph and it's quite exciting to look at!

As sad as it is to put into perspective how small the dividend payments were in 2015, it's an increasingly obvious boost to the confidence that 2016 has been a much better year for dividends over time. All in all, it means I'm heading in the right direction. As long as I keep grabbing up companies and not being afraid of what the market may hold tomorrow, the trend should continue.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dividend Income: October

Moving on to November means that it's time to tally the dividends received in October. It also means that we'll very likely be seeing a huge shift either up or down as the next President of the USA is elected in this next month. Whether that means good things or bad things is up to the votes. Regardless, I can't let myself get clouded with wondering. 

Whether it moves prices up or down, I need to keep the dividend train moving forward. That's why I grabbed up Coca Cola (KO) when I did. It's a huge company that regardless of the election should find a place to land. I'm just hoping that my strategy moving towards the election holds up. Let's calculate the income for the month of October. 

RAI: $14.26
RCL: $5.28
STAG: $1.74
GE: $5.75

Total October Dividends: $27.03
2016 Total Dividends: $243.19

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Recent Buy: Coca Cola Co.

October has been a very slow month for my blog. Not just slow, but deathly so. I want to make sure you all know however that rest assured, I am still here and stocks are still bouncing their way into the dividend scythe. Work has just gotten to the point where it takes all of my energy and leaves me with very little that I am able to pour into much else when it's all done with for the day.

That being said, I have added another great company to the dividend scythe. This month's grab is a new position in Coca Cola Co. (KO). I have been wanting to open a position in Coca Cola for a very long time but I had a few other companies that I wanted to grab first while the price came off the high that it was sitting at for the last few months. Now that it has positioned itself much lower, it was ripe for the picking. It's a household name that would be very tough to dethrone. Even though Pepsi Co. (PEP) is in my opinion, a better holding, I had to work with what was timed right for purchase.

Here is a summary of the purchase:

Purchased 23 shares of KO @ $42.71/share
Total Purchase: $992.53
Additional Dividends Produced: $32.20

New Projected Total Annual Dividend Income: $447.62

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Dividend Income: September

Money, money, money, it's time to count the money! With the end of the month of September comes the chance to count the dividends that have been issued. That being said, September was an awesome month for historical dividend income! Let's count them up:

WFC - $8.36
LB - $4.80
WMT - $8
EMR - $7.60
STAG - $1.74
GME - $7.40
ARII - $6.80

Total: $44.70
Current 2016 Earnings: $216.16
Total 2015 Earnings: $62.25

I think that the most motivating thing about dividend growth investing is seeing the difference between the yearly earnings. So far in 2016, we have completely destroyed the earnings that were taken back in 2015. Because there is such a mental aspect to investing, it's so important to keep track monthly. One or two slips can make it seem like you're not gaining speed. If you feel like you're not gaining speed, you just get more and more discouraged. 

Thankfully, I'm good at keeping track of nearly everything in my life. Watching my investment income is no different than anything else in my daily life. Keep track and you will be rewarded. Let's just keep the train moving forward and on track. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Recent Buy: Target

I've added another new company to the growing portfolio of stocks in the Dividend Scythe! Reaping and reaping and reaping! I'm really happy with this new addition because I was raised in a "Target Household". By that I mean that my mother was and still is obsessed with Target or as we love to call it, "Tarjay".

I've had my eye on the stock for a very long time and it was about time that it made it's way in. What I really like about Target is that they are a progressive company that has shown a consistently impressive track record of paying dividends and simply operating at a surplus. Those are two of the most important things that can be had in a company when I'm looking for one to add to the books. If a company continues to bring in more business or make more money off of existing business while still staying in a positive light, that company is a great buy in my book.

Let's review the final purchase:

Purchased 15 shares @ 68.38/share
Total Purchase: $1,035.76
Total Additional Annual Dividend: $36
New Total Project Annual Dividends: $415.42

All and all, I'm very happy with this purchase. The price was as close to the 52 week low that it has gotten in a little while during times where I've had the chance to invest in it. It will help the Dividend Scythe reap that much more which will in turn propel the new acquisitions that much further. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I'll Start Saving Tomorrow

It's a statement that I feel that a lot of us hear quite often from those in our company. I'll start saving tomorrow. It's easy to say, isn't it? And it sounds good! If only it were true.

What is the difference between us and them though? Why were some of us actually successful when we put our saving ahead of our over indulgences? It's a tough question to answer but I've been thinking about it a lot lately because in the recent past I have been approached by a much larger handful of people than normal that have asked me how I have been doing it.

For me, the answer is simple. Living at a deficit is what creates wealth. It's been proven time and time again by those who stay wealthy. The way that I myself create this deficit for my wife and I is that anytime we are about to buy something, I ask both of us,

"will we actually use this or will this be used once and then forgotten?"

One would think that it would be easy to overcome this statement. After all, you can justify just about anything if given enough time to think about something. The very act however seems to bring out a purpose for not buying. This is the purpose that I am forever grateful for. Where buying gives the purpose of gaining something new, the act of asking whether or not you should seems to give a greater outlook.

I ask myself again then, how am I any different than so many others who have asked for my help but ultimately failed to apply it? Is it a change of mindset brought on by the consumerism that has been bred in them their entire life? Or is it something different that I just can't seem to see? The fact of the matter is that it seems to work for me. Then why should it not work for others? 

I then pose this question to my readers; why is it that others find it so incredibly hard to live at a deficit? Do people internally just not want to retire? Are they running away from their mortality? Can they really not stop themselves from over indulging? Why do you think this is the case? 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dividend Income: August

The best time of the month has finally come. It's time to compile all the dividends received and see just how much is sitting at the bottom of the passive income coin jar. Although this month was not the most extravagant that the blog has ever seen, it wasn't exactly dead either. Let's see what we brought in this month:

Dividend Income: August

STAG - STAG Industrial - $1.74
ABBV - Abbvie - $5.70
YUM - Yum Brands - $3.22

Total: $10.66
Total Dividends in 2016: $171.66
Total Dividends in 2015: $62.25
Increase YOY at Present: $109.41

Alright, so it's not the most that we've ever seen the Dividend Scythe pick up but it's still moving us forward on our way. Like I remind myself every month, it's the sum of the smaller parts that make up the great whole in the end. It's best not to lose sight of that.

That being said, I wanted to make sure to include the difference in this month's tally from the prior year to show just how far the portfolio has come from the year prior. This serves as a good indicator of whether or not we're heading in the right direction and I'm happy to say that it confirms good things. There is at this time a difference of $109.41 over the entire last year's passive income (and we've still got a few months to go!). Even though the $10.66 of income this month may seem small, it is a small piece of a much larger puzzle that is being put together.

Moving forward this month I really want to hone in on a good high yielding dividend stock. I know that there aren't many out there that have solid numbers but the portfolio has reached a point where it can take some chances to further fuel the ship into outer space. If you've got any ideas of where one might find this fuel, please leave your comment in the section below.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Recent Buy: Royal Caribbean

There comes a point in the history of a portfolio where it has to move past the safer bets and move on to picks that are outside of the normal channel or realm. We move to a point where bets are on and the market and humanity will guide our next move forward. That being the case, I’ve differed to the judgment of my grandparents.

I know this isn’t always the immediate gut reaction when it comes to investing but sometimes it’s a great move when you’re stuck on what to dip your portfolio into next. I have been feeling a bit jaded lately and that has spilled over into having very little to write about. This has also made it tough to think of companies to evaluate. That’s why I moved to the preference of a generation that is removed from my own to see from a different angle what I may not be seeing.

One could argue that I should have seen their answer coming but it was an immediate gut response from them that I should look at cruise lines. In the past I have hurried past these stocks as they seemed all to cyclical and as we are in an upswing, overpriced. Regardless, I paid them a look – Carnival, Royal, and Norwegian. All three stocks actually showed way more promise than I had initially thought. One clear winner however emerged from the pack. That winner was Royal Caribbean. Let me share why.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Dividend Income: July

It's the beginning of another month and that means that it's time to tally the dividend payments from the previous month. All in all, it was a great month. I find that pretty much any time there is a payment incoming from AT&T (T), I can expect a fairly decent payment. It definitely helps boost the confidence moving forward that the strategy of dividend investing is a good strategy.

Where it may still not seem like a whole lot at a total of $28.25 for a whole month of dividends, it actually is a big enough amount to do something with. Hell, for a good portion of my portfolio, the stock price per share is less than that. That means that this last month provided for me the opportunity to add even one more share (theoretically) to the portfolio. With one more share there comes one more payment of dividends that further propels the snow ball forward.

I also want to remind myself with another month past that it is important to not bench mark your portfolio based on other investor's portfolios. Even though this can sometimes be a great motivator for future success, it can also give an unfair view of things as investing in dividends can be a very skewed curve when graphed out. The more dividend payments coming in, the faster the trend line goes up so it does not accurately represent a slow and steady trend upwards but more an increasing stream that will eventually become a roaring river. I just have to keep my eye on the prize moving forward and have faith that the small stream of income I've built will eventually pick up more and more speed. Anyways, here is the breakdown for the month:

July Dividend Income

RAI - Reynolds American Inc. - $5.88
STAG - STAG Industrial - $1.74
GE - General Electric - $5.75
T - AT&T - $14.88

Total July Dividends: $28.25

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Recent Buy: Reynolds American Inc.

I talked about it and I wrote about it on my blog here just a few days ago. Just as a predicted, the price would be too good to pass up on Reynolds American Inc. That being the case, I had to pick up a few more shares for the Dividend Scythe portfolio. I was able to pick up a total of 17 more shares at $50.11/share which came to a total purchase price of $861.94.

This addition added a sizable amount of projected dividend income to the portfolio. At $1.68 per share in yield, this added a total of $28.56 to the projected annual dividend income. With this addition, the total projected annual dividend income moving forward is a solid $362.92. This should propel the portfolio much further as it will add further capital to future investments and further grow the snow ball.

This acquisition also helped me pass a major milestone. The portfolio is now officially over $10,000! It's taken a little while to get here but it's nice to see it finally hit five figures. I have my increased saving habits and better financial handling skills to thank for this milestone. Without them I would still very likely be in the four figure range and very likely still at the bottom or mid range at that!

I know this isn't a huge milestone compared to some who have been investing for a long time but for me this milestone is huge. It shows that I am capable of making the money add up. I look forward to the newer, bigger snow ball effect that will be seen in the future. Onward and upward is the way to go!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chance to Buy More Sin Stock

As earnings were just released for Reynolds American, a cry was heard across the land as numbers missed for one of the first times in a very long time. Investors have started to run away from the golden pony that they once swore their allegiance to. This however is not the case for some that have their eyes on the longer game.

Yes, earnings were released for Reynolds American. Yes, they did miss what was expected of them. No, the stock is not suddenly a turn around in the wrong direction.

One must make sure to keep a level head in times such as these. It's easy to get caught up in the quick nightmares that the market decides to deal out. Many investors are keeping their eyes on single stocks and large caps, waiting for this so called recession to hit us. I do admit that I myself am in this boat but do I think that it has come and started with Reynolds American? Hardly.

The initial expectation for the stock was right in line for what they should have been expected to reach. However, they did have an acquisition that made their EPS drop just be a hair. Whenever this occurs, it is natural to assume that earnings would feel the hip check that is money moving from one to another to grow for the future. There is of course also talk about movement in the company with BAT - the Brits! This however I feel is a good thing. More heads in the game, more control, more money.

With that said, I feel that there is now another buying opportunity into the stock. As I have just moved my funds into the account to trade for the month of July, I may have to turn my eyes away from a new company acquisition and instead move to up my stake in Reynolds American so that I can profit more from the upswing that is almost certainly to come by either a take over or further expansion.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Savings Down, Spirits Up!

Some months are better than others. That month is not this month. I've just finalized the budget from June so I could see how much could be transferred to the various accounts that the wife and I hold and let's just say that this month was a little slim on the transfers. That's life though I suppose.

We can't go backwards in time currently so I have to simply accept that we had a bad month and analyze why and how we came to be where we are. Once the analysis is complete, we can attack the problem and hope to change some habits so that moving forward we do not find ourselves in such a position. That being said, there were quite a few problems this last month when it came to saving money.

First off, we were part of a wedding. Normally this doesn't mean too much but my wife was the matron of honor. This means taking the bride to be out on her bachelorette party (funded by us) and of course hosting the bridal shower, and not be forgotten is the task of buying the necessities such as a dress for each occasion and bringing food as well. Couple this fact with the fact that June was my birthday month where I bought an electric guitar (used - that way I could save money and get more for my purchase) and also that I was a groomsman for the very same wedding and you've got some money flowing out of the bank account.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Buying Useless S#$%

In our lives, we can find ourselves buying a lot of stuff. We buy groceries, gas for our cars, electricity for our homes, and yet a lot of us still find a lot of spare cash to buy things that are for all intents and purposes very expensive paper weights. In this case, I'm talking about big ticket items, small ticket items, and generally anything that we spend money on and only use a few times.  In my own case I'm talking specifically about things such as my Xbox One.

Where the purchase was initially made because I thought that it would provide a good hours of entertainment, it instead has become a $450 paper weight that is effectively used for the same purpose as a $100 Apple TV display unit. Granted, I thought initially that I would be using the Xbox One for a more gaming oriented goal but that has seldom been the case. 99% of the time that I have spent on that thing since I have purchased it has been streaming video or watching DVDs one it. It's hardly what I paid the difference in price for.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Watch List: Cal-Maine Foods Inc.

If you haven't heard of them, Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (CALM) is in the egg business. They produce, sell, and distribute the eggs in a variety of different forms. A company has to be able to do so in this day in age. That means distributing cage free, organic, brown, and other forms of eggs to make sure that all market points are hit for the different customers that desire eggs. They do so under the names of Egg-Land's Best, Land O Lake, Farmhouse, and 4-Grain. Although the most recent review by analysts suggests a hold on the stock, I instead believe that the stock is a hard buy. Here's why:

First off, the current price is right at the bottom of the 52-week low. It currently trades for $45.53/share which is right above the 52-week low of $39.60. The current price would yield a 3.86% dividend with a very good margin for safety as the beta is a comfortable 0.84. As this is the case, there should not be much movement coming from it. Couple this with the very safe 32.06% payout ratio and you've got a dividend payer that is hardly in trouble of cutting their dividend.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Saving Saving Saving

The other day I was reading an article on my blogging pal, DivHut's site about money and savings hacks and it got me to thinking about how I haven't talked a lot about saving in the last few months. I used to be so efficient about posting in a good cyclical manner about saving, investing, and life but I've strayed a little further away from that trend lately. Lucky for you, I'm not too far away from it where I can't go right back to the trend! Today I want to talk about some tips on saving that I myself try to use in my everyday life that weren't mentioned in DivHut's article.

Number One: 
The number one way that Mrs. Dividend Reaper and I save money is by watching for deals on eating out at various restaurants. I know that many frugal investors say that you should avoid eating out as it can very easily destroy a budget but I would argue that the long term effects have not eating out a fair amount can sometimes be a bigger detriment on the budget than finding smarter ways to eat out. As it is an important part of the wife and I's social life, we make it a point to simply eat out but do it through deals that are found.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Holdings in a Bear Market

In a bull market most investors find wins in every shape, size, and sector. That’s just the way it goes when the economy is up and the market is running on highs. In a bear market however, the gains are far fewer and far between. At those times, it becomes increasingly harder for investors to find value and protect their equities. Some sell short, some trade options, others such as myself build a portfolio that has built in stocks that weather bear markets better than others.

There a few qualities that I look for in stocks that I feel can bolster themselves against a bear market. First off, I want to aim for stocks that have a history of weathering bear conditions. Secondly, I want to choose companies that I feel fit that mold but that also have a product that couldn’t just as easily be wiped away. We are still aiming for longevity of course. Lastly, I aim for stocks that are talked about are debated a lot on message boards.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Las Vegas on a Budget

I feel that most of the posts that I make on this blog are dedicated towards the stock market and the inner workings of my portfolio but I want to remind myself that the blog wasn’t just meant for that purpose. It was also made to discuss topics of personal finance that can lead to better money handling which then translates to more to invest with. That being said, there was a post on Mr. Money Mustache’s message boards today that was discussing frugal people’s views on Las Vegas.

Most of the replies were centered around “oh my God, I hate Vegas! (insert silly reasoning about how expensive it is or how bad some of the people can be there)”. On the other hand, there were a few who replied that saw it in a different light – a much more positive one. I myself am of the positive stand point on Vegas. In fact, in the last year, the wife and I have been several times (me three times and her twice).

Where some have found the city to be a money pit and the land of bad decisions (the capital?), I have found Vegas to be one of the most unique cities in the United States and I think that it would be a crime for anyone to not experience it at least once. I write this post today then to describe how one can go about visiting and enjoying Las Vegas without dropping thousands of dollars on the trip.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Investor's Code: Buying and Selling

Having a code is important in life. A personal code can help you determine what you yourself view as an easy moral choice and what you will help you sleep better at night. Whether this be a moral code that acts when you have to stand up to a bully who is taking advantage of you or someone you know or maybe it’s just returning a lost wallet that has a huge amount of cash inside, a moral code is a requirement in life.

Now, investing may not require as much of a moral code. I myself have a few investments in “sin stocks” that may be a little more against a moral code than others but my moral code isn’t what we’re talking about here. The reason I bring up having a code is that I believe that investors must have their own code that corresponds just with investing. It’s a code that defines what stocks are worthy of a buy and which are worthy of a sell. Without a code an investor can find himself in an awkward spot and without a direction.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Dividend Income: June

Dividends, dividends everywhere! That’s how I feel looking back at my dividend income for the month of June. Wow, what an incredible turn out for the stocks that I own. It’s really great when all the chips come down at almost the exact same time. Pair this month’s huge amount of payouts with the current upward trend of all my stocks now that everything is rebounding from the Brexit news and my week has been nothing short of incredible to watch.

Months like these remind me just how far I’ve come from the start of the portfolio. When I first started I was barely getting anything out of each month’s dividend payments. My eyes would get tired just thinking about how long I thought it might take to finally see some noticeable movement in my portfolio with dividend payments alone. I was seeing the good capital gains in the portfolio (unrealized) but I wasn’t seeing the true power of the dividend payments. I was simply believing that one day they would start to roll in at a more noticeable rate.

That month has finally come even though the total payment is still only just barely a drop in the bucket when you think about it. Regardless, it makes me feel so much better to see months like this when everything happens all at once. It gives support to the future vision of what the payments will be in the future when I collect even more companies that I love and invest even more in those that I already own that I wish to hold more of. With that being said, let’s compile them together and show what has come in for the month of June.

American Railcar – ARII - $6.80
GameStop – GME - $7.40
L Brands – LB - $4.80
STAG Industrial – STAG - $1.74
Emerson Electric – EMR - $7.60
Walmart – WMT - $8.00

Total Dividends Paid in June 2016: $36.34

What a year I’ve had so far in 2016. It’s completely crushing the previous year of 2015 and we’re only barely over halfway through the year! This month’s dividend payments have come together to equal the highest monthly pay out that the Dividend Scythe has seen to date. It also serves to breach the $100 total dividend income for the year which helps to shatter the goal this year of breaching $100 total in dividend payments. I can’t wait to see where it will be at the very end of the year when all the payments are in. I know that I shouldn’t wish for time to go by quickly because time is valuable but it’s so hard not to wish to be there already when you’re seeing progress and growth.

Anyways, onto bigger and better things in the future! Hope to continue to see all of you in the comments section of my various posts through the next month. Let me know how your own portfolios did this last month in the comments section of this post. I’d love to see where my readers are with their own goals.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stop Fight a Losing Battle

The stock market is a brutal beast of lessons that will be forcibly learned. These lessons can defy what kind of investor you may become and how successful you may end up in the long term. One of the most important lessons that has to be learned is to sell when a stock has become a losing battle that may never be a success story.

Failure is never easy. Admitting that a stock that you invested in is a losing stock is never easy. Whether it be mental or psychological, many investors fall into the trap of buy and hold forever regardless of the losses that may occur. Stock dropped 50%? Sounds like a good hold strategy. It’ll come back someday - won’t it? Possibly.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Importance of a 401-K

Often times in the dividend growth investing community, new investors find themselves throwing a ton of their cash at their dividend growth portfolios to increase the dividend payments as fast as possible. This is a great idea – it adds fuel to the fire and makes it burn that much faster until it’s a huge flame. However, sometimes these investors forget about the all too important 401k in lieu of simply adding to their own dividend portfolios first. This can be a huge mistake.

The stock market as a whole is a giant financial plan. Without it, retirement would be but a dream for a few and most would simply have to rely on meager savings that couldn’t grow even half as fast. Hell, even banks would have a hard time surviving without making money off of their investments. One of the best financial plans that utilizes the strength of the market is a company 401-K or stock purchase plan. If you have one offered at the business that you work in, this is one of the best places to stack your money, especially if the employer offers matching in any way to your contributions.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Recent Buy: Wells Fargo

After what seems like forever, I've finally added a new position to the Dividend Scythe portfolio. Today's new position is in none other than Wells Fargo Corp. (WFC). I've had my eye on this gem since what seems like the very beginning. All it took was the perfect entry thanks to all the Brexit hooplah.

Wells Fargo Corp. (WFC) is a great company. They have a huge moat, they take care of their customers, manage their debt, and most importantly they still make money. These are all the qualities I look for in companies that I want to add to the ultimate legacy portfolio that I'm piecing together.

As pictured above (myself and some guy dressed as "pedo-bear"), I have simply been watching and waiting for this moment. Sometimes that's all it takes. There's a good metaphor in there but I can't quite grasp it right now. I'll simply put it this way, if you wait long enough, what you want will eventually find its way to you. Let's sum up the purchase then:

Purchased 22 shares of WFC on 6/28/2016 @  $45.47/share
+$9.99 trade fee
Total investment cost: $1,010.33
Total annual dividend added to the Dividend Scythe: $33.44

I know this purchase isn't exactly what I had planned. I had been keeping my eye on Boeing (BA) for a time there as well but I didn't have enough capital to bring in a solid position into Boeing (BA) like I wanted so I opted for Wells Fargo Corp. (WFC) instead. Also, with the Brexit news I highly anticipate that Wells Fargo Corp. (WFC) will see a sizable bump in the future. I take this as a sign of a rate hike and I hope that I'm right as they generally play very well for those who own banks in their portfolios. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit Deals

Brexit this, Brexit that, blah blah blah! It's all hearsay that is all together a scare tactic that has definitely made a huge impact on the market. Granted, it does have some effect in the overall scheme of things but it doesn't really effect the market as a whole. That being said, a smart investor must look at the long term outlook. There are deals to be had!

It's hard though isn't it? It's hard to think about anything other than the huge amount of money being lost in your own portfolio while all of these changes occur in the market. I know my own portfolio has seen a huge drop since the announcement of Brexit. I can only imagine how some other portfolios look.

As this is the case, I write this post if only to remind those with larger portfolios to look at the larger picture. We need to remember to look past the current loses and look at the further gains that could be made by buying in while prices are low. And prices are certainly a lot lower than they have been for the last couple months with the news of Brexit. While I don't believe that this is the bottom just yet, I know that I myself will be prepared when they do hit bottom in what I would guess will take a few weeks time to come.

If you've been following my last couple posts, you've seen that I've been keeping my eye on BA. Thanks to the news of Brexit, my entry into BA should be at a much lower price. Just got to keep my eyes on the prize and then jump on in! Happy hunting boys and girls!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Triple Worth YTD

Hello everyone! What a beautiful day it is to have a birthday! While I'm busy waking up and getting ready for work, I can't help but reflect that as of a few days ago when I put the next stack of cash into my investing account, I have now officially tripled the amount of money that is in the portfolio since the start of the year (or basically tripled, not exactly!).

It feels great to hit milestones. Whether it be a birthday where you celebrate that many years of life lived and experienced or it be a milestone number for your portfolio, it's important to reflect and let it sink in. Only a year ago I would have thought it a near impossible task to put away as much as I've put away in the portfolio so far. Even though it is a small amount compared to a lot of other portfolios that I follow from other bloggers, it's impressive to me because I was able to put away that much and still live life to the fullest.

To date, the wife and I have achieved the level of saving that we have been able to reach by simply making good decisions on a daily basis. Whether that mean cutting down on Mountain Dew Kick Starts or ceasing the habit of eating out nearly every night, small decisions have led to big changes in our portfolio. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was a legacy portfolio.

Moving forward I plan to make the same and better choices to further the savings rate in our household. By doing so, the portfolio should generate even more steam moving forward. Whether a market drop hits or a stock choice turns out to be a terrible one, it should go through its own stages of life as we all do. We can only hope that the great majority of picks end up bringing about positive change.

I hope all of you are having a good day and that all is well with you and your families. Take care everyone!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Update: Currently Stacking Cash

Sorry to go dark on communications and posts for a while, followers. Life has been quite crazy for the last couple weeks as they transition me to a new position at work. With the move comes a whole new set of rules, information, and of course training. That being said, it’s been very time consuming and my brain has been less than capable of writing or reviewing much in the way of stocks.

This won’t be forever however as there is always an end to whatever hardship comes at us in life. Such is the way of things! You have to be ready to tuck and roll at any time. Looking forward however, I will admit that I’ve had a hard time of things looking at potential stock buys for the month of June. I’m sitting on my investing cash for now and just eying out the different options.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Selling: The Emotional Response

What is it that makes us human? One could argue anything really. It could be our ability to adapt as mammals to new situations. It could also be our ability to feel emotions beyond that of the initial origin. The point is that being human comes with many advantages but also with some clear disadvantages. Sometimes however, they can be one and the same.

One of these advantageous disadvantages is our ability to feel emotions on a higher level and to learn from them on an IQ level that is above that of other species on the planet. By having this ability we can think, reason, and make judgement calls based on it to predictably influence our future course or direction. When this is applied to stocks our minds can play tricks on us. Did you know that the human brain can experience pain much stronger than it can experience happiness?

The feeling is a gut response by your sympathetic nervous system that makes sure that if something bad happens in your life, you may be smart enough to avoid it next time. This is a serious advantage when it comes to learning lessons in the stock market. If we make a bad pick, we can learn from that pick and how to avoid it next time (to a certain degree). This however is also a double edged sword, as I motioned to earlier in the article. By having this ability, we can also be tricked by our own minds.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Volume as a Buy Indicator

Many different investors use many different types of data to qualify a stock for purchase. If you’ve read my investing essentials series, you know a lot of the figures that I myself use. One figure however that was not listed is one that I use to determine whether or not I may be buying in at the right (or best) price. This figure that is relied on is more on the technical analysis side of analysis. What I’m referring to is one of the market itself. It’s a number so valuable that it can be seen as one of the largest indicators of what the market truly values at stock at. I’m talking about volume.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Dividend Income: May

Another month has come and gone and now it's time to collect the dividend payments that were made to my account in the month of May. All in all, it's been a great month for dividend income. My key player, AT&T (T) has made a payment and some of my other holdings have as well. I was also able to make a great collection of new buys that supplemented income in the future.

Unfortunately however, May did hold a sell off. It was only one but it's very unfortunately whenever even one needs to happen. As you all know, I like to hold my stocks as long as possible (forever if possible) but sometimes it's just not possible. The sell off was of course the sell off of Kohl's (KSS) as it had not even mildly performed as I would hope and there numbers were showing that it did not seem that would be changing any time soon.

This did come with the chance to buy new holdings. In the Month of May I was able to purchase three new holdings - RAI, LB, and GME. Granted, I never thought in a million years that I would be adding GME but it came at a time where I had been proven wrong. The company appears to be doing much better than my initial take on them and I have high hopes for them in the future. With all of this being said, let's compile the dividends for May and see how it all stacks up.

STAG: $1.74
ABBV: $5.70
YUM: $3.22
T: $14.88

Total for May 2016: $25.54
Total for 2016: $96.21

Unfortunately it just wasn't enough to break the $100 total for the year but it's still on track to do very well for the total of 2016. With a few big payments coming next month, there is almost no way that the portfolio won't break $100 for the year by the end of next month. Moving forward, I hope to continue making great stock choices, collecting dividends, and x'ing out any companies that decide that they know better what to do with their money than to pay dividends. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Recent Buy: Reynolds American Inc.

I'm like a kid on Christmas morning this week. My budget finalized, I sold a stock, and I obtained my revenue from SA published articles all in the same week. That means there is moolah (money?) to invest in all that I wish (if only that were really the case)! Therefore I have purchased another holding for the portfolio.

Today's purchase was in Reynolds American Inc. This is the holding company that brought Camel, Newports, and Pall Mall to your friendly neighborhood gas station and Walmart (WMT). They are even responsible for American Spirit (if you smoked that natural stuff). I may no longer be a smoker but I once was and my brand of choice was Camel. Without trying to sound too big on advertisements and plugs, the reason that I chose Camel over the other brands was for the taste and the price in relation to it. The taste was just perfect for the budget that I was looking to buy my smokes for. On the other hand, when I had very little available for smokes, I would reach for Pall Malls. It was no different for all of the friends I hung out with that smoked. Everyone preferred Camels or Pall Malls - not a single one smoked Marlboro. Maybe this was a case of you are who you hang around with but all the same, it all just seemed to depend on how much cash you had at the time of purchase.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that these two brands alone made up the bag or pocket of almost everyone I met who smoked. After taking a look at the numbers released in both Reynolds American Inc.'s 10-K and Phillip Morris's (Marlboro), it appeared that I was not far off. The two makers comprise almost 100% of the market of cigarettes in the United States. The big difference between the two was that Reynolds American had a far greater profit margin (just above 55%) and their P/E has been on the rise rather than falling. Pair this with a better PEG ratio (1.73 for RAI) and a more comfortable D/E ratio and you've got yourself a better bet in the tobacco industry.

I may not smoke anymore but because I have in the past (a little more than I would care to admit), I have a great background for the product and the market they are trying to appeal to. This gives me a pretty good level of confidence that this will be a good long term investment. Granted, it's definitely not the healthiest or society friendly stock but I believe the company still has quite a future ahead of it and that makes it a good buy for the portfolio. Final compilation below:

Purchased 14 shares of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) on 5/20/2016 @49.71/share
**This adds $23.52 in annual dividends to the Dividend Scythe

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Avoiding Investing Stasis

Investing stasis - it's what happens when all investors reach a point where they are burnt out looking at a portfolio that is moving... but maybe not moving fast enough. Don't worry, it happens to all of us (or at least everyone that I've talked to about investing who manages their own investments). It's a natural way to feel when you put as much work as most of us do into researching the companies we invest in.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New SA Post: Macerich Company

I've published another premium article with Seeking Alpha. This time I have posted my review of the retail REIT, Macerich Company (MAC). I really enjoyed reviewing it. 

They are one of the better retail REITs in my opinion. Even though they have had some downs in the last few years, they have brought themselves back up. It appears largely due to the fact that they have been selling off various parts of their holdings for what I can only expect are future troubles. 

I like to see this with REITs because it shows that they can take initiatives when cuts need to be made through their holdings. There is not a whole lot of point in keeping around a dying calf. If it needs to be shot or sold, it's got to be done. Regardless, take a look if you're interested in a retail REIT for a tax-differed account. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Recent Buy: L Brands

Back to back buys! Yeah baby! Very groovy! I love Mondays because they bring together quite the great storm of great stocks that offer themselves up for purchase. This morning I have finalized my purchase of now two different stores that I feel have gone on discount and will very likely continue to be on discount for at least a little while. The first was Game Stop Corp Com (GME) and the second is my purchase of L Brands (LB).

I've already spoken about Game Stop Corp Com (GME) in my last post that was centered around the purchase of their company so I want to use this post to exclusively talk about L Brands (LB) and why the buy signal has flashed in my head. The reasoning for the purchase of L Brands (LB) centered around the psychology of the current dip in price. Where only a short few months ago the brand was trading for over $100/share, a change in management and direction has left a lot of investors running for the hills. I would argue however that a shift in management in this case is hardly reason to worry.

L Brands (LB) holds so much attractiveness that I believe it's hard for anyone to really put a price tag on it. I imagine going up to my wife and telling her that she will no longer be able to buy anything from Victoria's Secret. I feel like I would sooner have something chucked at my head than be successful in telling her to avoid the store. Women (and men for good reason!) have a great view of the store because it has such a great history of providing wear that makes women feel sexy. For women (largely due to society being a douche and training them to be this way), feeling sexy is of great importance. Since Victoria's Secret does such a great job at it, seldom would their sales drop unless they were to completely turn away from the styles that they have been so successful with in the many years they have been in business.

Granted, this is only half the business - there is the Bath and Body Works side to the business as well. I don't know about you but I work in an office building. I would be lying if I said there were ever a single day that I've walked about the office and not smelled at least a handful of their products floating around the office. That side of the business is alive and well.

This was an easy buy. Their brand has an incredible name for recognition and a simple change in management and styles of advertising will hardly impact what they take in on the bottom line. I simply have to wait for the next earnings release to confirm this. Q2 has historically been very good for L Brands (LB) and then a small drop in Q3 before a HUGE jump in Q4 thanks to a certain holiday that would be a lot less amazing without Victoria's Secret. The final summary is below:

Purchase of L Brands (LB) - 8 shares @ 66.943 points - total price: $545.534

Recent Buy: GameStop Corp Com

There are going to be a lot of folks who ask me immediately after posting this as to why I finally cracked and grabbed up a piece of Game Stop Corp Com (GME). Quite simply put, I could no longer continue wasting time continuously doubting myself as to whether or not the company was a good use of my money. Where the core business I feel is moving out the door a little (selling used games), I feel that the board is moving the business in other directions that so far have proven to be excellent for income.

Where there is excellent income, there is seldom much reason for worry. There are few of life's troubles that cannot be purchased by good old fashioned cash. As you all know, I like to aim for companies that have very little debt or at least enough capital to pay off that debt if the worst were to come. GME is not unlike these past picks. Their current debt is 350.40M and they have a working cash flow of 450.40M - more than enough to cover if they needed to use it.

A lot of their new income comes from their telephonic branch off. Where GME game stores have taken a hit as of late and slowed sales, their telephonic business is booming. This should help to buffer their game stores while they move those to a more merchandise based model. With this being said, I will summarize my purchase below:

Purchased GameStop Corp Com - 20 shares @ 28.81 points - total investment: $586.19

Friday, May 13, 2016

Life: Container Garden Update

It's time for the second update to the container garden. I'll admit, after a few weeks of absolutely nothing coming from the seeds I put down, I was beginning to worry. My worries were however unjustified as the saplings suddenly sprung from the seed starter only two weeks ago.

I'm now happy to announce that I've obtained almost 100% germination in the seed starter this year. The only one that has yet to come up of my original set is the basil that I put down. For whatever reason, it's being stubborn and not wanting to break the top soil. I don't know if it's a case of putting too much soil on top of it or just maybe not providing enough moisture or what but it's just not giving in to the growing season!

With what I have already sprouting however, the harvest this year should easily dwarf what I put down last year. Even though this year I've only been aiming at a few species of plant, I think this year I have properly put down what will actually be used in abundance rather than only really eating the jalapenos that I put down last year. There were far too many unused plants last year.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Investment Essentials: Starting Your Portfolio

Now that you've gotten 90% done with the essentials, it's time to start thinking about starting your own portfolio. In order to start a portfolio, you will have to open a brokerage account with one of the many brokers that are available to you either at your bank, online, or at trading manager offices. The most popular however is the online brokerage because they are the least likely (in my opinion) to charge you various fees. They can also be best used through online management so you don't need to pay someone else to do any of your investing for you.

Investment Essentials: Fundamental Analysis

Now that we are making our way to the end of the investment essentials series, we can now get into the best part - picking stocks to purchase. One of the best ways to do so is by using a process that is referred to as fundamental analysis. It is probably one of the most widely accepted ways of evaluating a stock.

Sold: Kohl's

I'm always sad when I have to sell a piece of the portfolio but sometimes you need to know when to get out of a losing battle. If you remember, I acquired Kohl's when I moved out of my position with The Gap a few months ago. Thankfully I dodged the huge bullet that hit The Gap just a few days after I sold it but I was not as lucky with Kohl's.

I had thought that even with the weak Q1 results that even if they were marginally higher than their previous results that it might drive the price up and it would preserve the dividends but I was wrong. The stock has gone the complete opposite direction with the horrid Q1 results that were released. As the dividend appears that it may be in trouble soon, I sold my position at around a 25% loss this morning to preserve what was left of the stake.

At this time I am unsure where I will be putting the left overs from the sale of the stock but I will make sure to do just that much more homework on my next pick to try to ensure this doesn't happen again. However, as an investor it is very important to learn from the losses more than you learn from the gains. If there is no learning, one can hardly hope to get better for the future. The final results are as follows:

Sold Kohl's (KSS) - 12 shares - @35.21 - total price: $412.52

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Investment Essentials: Stock Splits

Stock splits are something that I have been burned by in the past. That being said, I want to make sure to share what information I have about them so that all of you can learn what to look for when one is announced in a stock that you may own. Overlooking one could mean losing a large chunk of money in the future if you're not careful about what type of split is happening.

Investment Essentials: Diversification and Specialties

I have written about this many times in the blog before but I cannot state just how important diversification is and why it should also be taken with a grain of salt when you yourself have an expertise. Diversification, if you don't know, is the idea that you are better protected if you spread out your investments into many different areas. This could be diversification through different stocks, different sectors, or even different investments such as mutual funds, ETFs (exchange trade funds), or others.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Investment Essentials: Dividends

Income stocks are the bread and butter of any defensive investor's portfolio. When I talk about income stocks, I of course point towards dividend paying stocks. If you don't know what dividends are however, you may be a little confused.

Dividends are payments that are made to investors on behalf of the company they invest in. These payments are paid to the investor without the investor having to actually sell any part of their shares. By collecting these dividends, your portfolio can grow without having to worry about making capital gains. It can make gains just by the dividend payments that are issued.

How To Be Great At Anything

My wife knows that I love podcasts. They are definitely my newest obsession. My morning workouts just aren't the same without them. This morning I was listening to the Freakonomics Podcast that was reviewing the idea of talent - whether it really is a God given thing or if it is something that can be acquired. More specifically they discussed the idea of deliberate practice and how it can create what others see as talent.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Investment Essentials: Market Cap

Stock can be classified further than simply growth, value, etc. Most of the time, they are also classified by their market capitalization. It's a fancy term that means size. If you ever hear someone talking about a large cap or a mid-cap or even a small cap, this is what they are referring to.

A large-cap stock is a stock in a company that is worth over $10 billion. These are generally harder stocks to get a piece of for a value because they are generally stocks of well-known track record proven companies. Most believe that because a company has been around for a long time and because they are a large-cap, they are unsinkable. However, one only need remember the history of the Titanic to know that there is no such thing as unsinkable. I would however argue that they are harder to kill than a small-cap.

Investment Essentials: Stock Types

It is quite often that stocks will be categorized as either growth stocks, income stocks, or even value stocks. What these terms mean however can be quite confusing for someone who thinks that stocks are simply just stocks. That being said, let's go over what they are and how to use the terms if we want to use them in the future to describe prospective stocks.

A value stock is essentially a stock that is currently selling for far less than it is actually worth. Keep in mind however that this term can be used loosely as each stock is evaluated differently by each type of investor. What I may deem as a value stock may not necessarily be what another investor who has looked at the stock deems to be a value stock.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Investment Essentials: Market Directions

Bull market, bear market, sideways market - terms that are often referred to when investors are trying to describe what the market is doing. Like with all activities, terms that are unique to that specific activity are created over time. That is exactly where bull, bear, and sideways have sprung forth. 

When someone says that the market is very bullish, they are stating that we are in a bull market. This generally means that prices are going up and "charging" forward like a bull. Investors are throwing more and more money into the market. By doing so, the market goes up and investments generally look really good. This is a great time to already have your investments in place because you can simply watch your money go up, seemingly with any investment. Even the bad investments can still see small upward mobility in a bull market. 

New SA Post: GGP REIT Review

Another post has been made by yours truly on Seeking Alpha. This time I chose to review a competitor of my last review. In this article, I review General Growth Properties (GGP).

General Growth Properties (GGP) is another retail REIT that could potentially represent a future investment. They are a much smaller scale operation than Simon Property Group Inc. but with the smaller scale can come a price advantage when buying into it.

The stock unfortunately offers a smaller yield than the REIT that I last reviewed but remember that diversification is the name of the game if you don't want to get stung.

If you don't want to read the full article, understand the General Growth Properties offers a solid purchase idea if you are looking for a retail REIT with a much smaller NAV ratio than Simon Property Group Inc. (SPG). As the yield is lower than SPG however, it would be important that the investor who chooses to add GGP to their portfolio would probably best find it used in a tax differed portfolio as the tax advantages would be well used with a yield as small as SPG offers at current rates. Full article linked below:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Investment Essentials: Status of the Market

We know what the market is and we know that stocks are sold there but how does one actually gauge how the market is doing? And what are points? Aren't we trading dollars? 

These are common questions for new investors. Just like anything else, there is a score kept on Wall Street. One just needs to know where to find it. For Wall Street, the easiest way to find your gauge of how the market is doing is to look towards the Dow Jones Industrial Average - often referred by the acronym DJIA. Or, if you don't like the DJIA, you can look towards the S&P 500 (which is what I like to use instead). The DJIA includes some of the most well known companies in the United States. There are 30 companies in the DJIA all together. It is a collection of these stocks that are brought together to tell investors how the market is doing on any given day as it is supposedly seen as an average. 

New SA Post: SPG REIT Review

I have made another post recently on Seeking Alpha. As it is an exclusive article published through their site, I will simply leave a link below.

This time I have chosen to write a full review of Simon Property Group Inc (SPG). The RIET is intriguing and my review goes into good detail of the entire business as whole. I go over their price, yield, net asset value, funds from operations, and of course debt to equity ratio.

If you have ever been interested in owning a piece of a retail REIT, it may be good to become aware of Simon Property Group Inc (SPG) as it is one of if not the biggest of them out there. This does of course come with a premium price but the stock still does boast some good FFO. Full review at the link below:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Investment Essentials: The Stock Market

It has come to my attention through emails that were sent to me that my investing 101/102/103 "courses" that I put on the side of my page weren't quite basic enough for a starting investor to learn bit by bit. That being said, it appears that I really need to back up to square one - the basic of the basics. If you have absolutely no interest in knowing the basics step by step, I will label them as "investment essentials" when a post is going to be discussing them. I will also be removing the investing 101/102/103 series and replacing it with a much smaller link that will contain a page for investment education specifically.

**Note: please read the disclaimer listed before continuing**

Investment Essentials: The Stock Market

What is the stock market? The stock market for all intents and purposes is a place where traders and businesses buy and sell stocks and other forms of investments. Different stock of different companies are listed on the exchange under ticker symbols which are basically just short forms of the company name in most cases so that buyers can locate them. For example, General Electric trades under the ticker symbol of GE. If you were looking to buy a portion of GE stock, one only have to search GE on a stock exchange and place a bid for however many shares you want.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Dividend Income: April

Well folks, it has now come to my favorite time of the month for investing. That's right, it's time to count the dividend payments for the month that has now passed us. 

What a month it has been! The Dividend Scythe continues to see YOY growth as we move forward through the second year of its life as a dividend growth portfolio. The growth is at current very small but the most important thing to remember is that the growth is much like a game of "frolf" (pictured here - my friends and I playing a round - me at the tee off about to drive that sucker into the sun). 

Each year we find ourselves at the tee off, hoping to get an incredible score by the time we hit the chains and sink our frisbee into the stand. It may have crushed the score of our last hole or it may have come a little short. The larger picture however is that there is a whole round of frisbee golf to complete before the day is out. Whether one year is better than the next or not, as long as you keep playing, the accumulation of your shots at the end of the day will yield a tremendous amount of points.

This is how I like to picture my dividend yields. One year I may do extremely well. Another year I may fall short or flat line basically across the income sector if something is to come up that would stall my ability to invest. However, as long as I keep playing, the income will continue to grow at a rate that is moving upward and onward. That is the most important thing to remember. But enough talk, Let's get into the nuts and bolts of this thing and start seeing some real numbers!

April shows us a big milestone for the portfolio. As of April dividends, we have officially driven past the total dividends received in all of 2015! This has been achieved in only four months. In 2015, the total amount of dividends received was $62.25. In April alone of 2016 however, we received $13.75 in dividend payments. This is added to the already collected dividends from 2016 and we come to a grand total of $70.67 collected so far this year. It's so great to see how far the portfolio has come in such a short amount of time. Even though the amount feels very small in relation to how much the wife and I make on a daily basis at our jobs, it's almost more amazing to see this passive income stack up because we haven't had to left a finger to generate the passive income. It's very cool!

With that being said, I have huge expectations for next month as a few of my key holders such as AT&T (T) issued their dividend for the quarter in May rather than in April. That means that instead of having an expected three to be received in April, we'll be gaining four payments total(of stocks currently owned). That being said, my expectations for the payout for April are set very high. I hope to see the portfolio break through the $100 mark but I am certainly not holding my breath. Things can change at a moment's notice and as investors we always need to be prepared for that to happen. 

Lastly, I want to talk quickly about my moves heading forward into May. Heading into May, I see a few good discounts in the market. One of the most notable is a huge discount in L Brands (LB). They are the spearhead for Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works (LB). Their yield is fantastic, their business is solid, and they issue special dividends on an almost annual basis. What's not to like? My eyes are set on acquiring a piece of their company or as a secondary option I will try to grab a piece of Starbucks (SBUX) or Apple (AAPL) while they are deflated as well. I just love how these deals were hardly there a few months ago but now they are all ripe for the picking. Let the games begin!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Budgeting: The Gaps

If you're anything like me, you've got a budget to stick to each month so that you can have enough left over at the end to invest with. That some times can feel so straining that you feel like you have almost no air to breathe. It can feel utterly suffocating.

In times like that, I like to remind my wife (and myself when I have these moments!) that we simply need to find a way to have both a good savings rate and a good time. There are numerous ways to make this happen but I'll go over the most notable way we've conquered this in our lives.

Prior to taking on a budget, the wife and I would have a good time almost non-stop when we weren't working. We had a good amount of money coming in and we saw no reason that we couldn't use a ton of it. One of our favorite things to do was to go to a restaurant in the city called Old Chicago for their beer tour. The beer tour is a beer drinking challenge where those who wish to take it on have to drink 110 different beers in the restaurant. This can be achieved through up to four beers a night and has no expiration date. In fact, it took me a good three years to complete my first tour through it.

Dividend Employees

Do you remember when you were young and you made minimum wage at your first job? I do. I was making almost nothing working at my old football coach's dive of a laundry facility. Every day for four hours a day I would make my way to the shop, tag people's dry cleaning, and bag it for the facilities crew to complete over night. It wasn't much but it created a wage that I was able to live off of at the time (under my parent's house). Imagine if we could create a copy of ourselves to work another job for us? Wouldn't that be great? Even if they could only ever hope to generate a minimum wage, wouldn't it be great to have that has supplemental income? This is how I like to think of my dividend investing.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dividend Growth Investing: Quality Over Yield

What is it that makes dividend growth investing so attractive to investors? Is it the excitement we get out of payments without having to sell our beloved stocks? Is it the growth that we get to see out of the companies we invest in much like watching seeds sprout from a well manufactured garden? Or is it something more devious? Cash, money, the green stuff! And more of it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Re-Review of Ford Motor Company

Today, as I was adventuring across the internet, I came upon an article that was posted about Google (GOOG), Ford Motor Company (F), and Uber's attempt at forming a coalition to aid in self-driving cars being pushed forward faster. This coalition has come about because of debates on road rules for self-driving vehicles which can be an insurance nightmare. It brought up the question as to the current status of Ford Motor Company and it got me to thinking, where does Ford stand currently?

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Hello readers,

Today I want to talk about diversification in your portfolio. I bring this up because I have noticed that I myself have been guilty of not diversifying enough. This is why it's always important to keep a watch however on what you're buying.

Monday, April 18, 2016

REIT: How to Evaluate Them

REITs are typically seen as the dividend cash cows for a portfolio much in the same way the golden snitch is seen as a win for Harry Potter in a quidditch game. These massive dividend payers are a dime a dozen however and their metrics seem to be all over the place. Why, you might ask? This is because of a number of factors.

The most important factor is that an REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is a unique type of investment that is forced by law to pay out 90% of their income received as dividend payments to shareholders. This causes your typical method of evaluation to fail. This is because the P/E ratio and subsequently most other common ratios become affected by the fact that the net income is slashed due to those dividend payments. How then can we tell if the REIT in question is worth our investment?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up

What a week it has been. I managed to acquire two great companies, post quite a few paid articles on Seeking Alpha, and I also managed to come in above budget to provide that much more steam into the portfolio. That means that it's ultimately time to look back and see how I feel about it all now that it's all said and done. Let's first look at the articles that were posted on Seeking Alpha:

Hold GameStop - Unclaimed Future Opportunities

AT&T: The Future Is Here

Home Depot: The DIY Dividend King

All in all, I'm happy with the articles that I've posted this last week on Seeking Alpha. I was able to have the chance to have articles on three big companies that I really enjoyed taking a look at. GameStop (GME) was ultimately a hold while AT&T (T) and Home Depot (HD) were buys. At this time, if you've already looked at my portfolio, I only own AT&T but in the future I plan to pick up HD if I can get in on a great price for it. The company has such strong fundamentals and it's ingrained so perfectly into the American household that it would be hard to topple it. As for GameStop (GME), I'll be holding off for awhile. Their core business in gaming stores is definitely threatened with the growing digital game market and I want to see where that business model ends. Also, I fear what the economy taking a fall off the side would do to the business profits. If there are only a few dollars left on the table for an American consumer, I somehow doubt that it would go to used video games at GameStop (however much I'd prefer it to).

As for the budget, paying off the student loans for the wife has freed up a lot of cash flow in our household. Instead of having to spend half of our left over funds at the end of the month on student loans, we can now have that cash as free spending for more investing or for grabbing a few things that are needed. I'm excited to see where future prospects take these funds. I'd like to say that it would go towards paying off the last car loan that we have but quite honestly, the interest rate is so low that it's hard to justify it. I think the money would be a better use in the market where I can make more than what the interest rate charges me in capital gains and dividend payments. This is obviously where the Dave Ramsey school of thinking goes off the deep end in my mind. Why would anyone want to pay off a loan that has an interest rate of less than two percent when they can make three percent or more on the market at any given time.

Anyways, that's all I've got.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Recent Buys: ABBV, STAG

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I love the smell of purchases in the morning. This morning I woke up and after finalizing my budget for March I was able to move a good amount into the investing account. This allowed me to quickly grab a few stocks that I've been looking at for some time now. These two stocks were ABBV and STAG. The purchases are as follows:

New Purchases:

ABBV - 10 shares - $586.90 - 3.90% annual dividend 

STAG - 15 shares - $300.90 - 7.02% annual dividend 

With both of these being added to the portfolio, the portfolio gains an additional (potential) $43.60 in annual dividend income. This gives it a huge boost in payouts for the year as I race towards crushing last years dividend payouts. As this is very important to keep my eyes on, I've also gone back and compiled the monthly payouts for 2015 so that I can better understand not just the YOY growth of the totals throughout the year but also through the month. That is as follows:

As you can see, I've already crushed January, February, and March's last year payouts. I hope that this trend can continue into the rest of 2016. The only threat to that would be if a cut was presented that would severely limit a payout for any of the next few months. As I don't see that sort of thing coming and I doubt that most people can, I won't bother thinking about it too much. I will simply plan to keep my eyes forward towards the future and hope that these picks further bolster a well run portfolio of dividend paying stocks. 

Thanks for following and if you have any feedback, please leave your comments below. I would love to hear from any of my readers, most importantly on such updates as new acquisitions. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Investing Class

Try not to be alarmed when you start seeing me post new pages on the side of the blog that make you feel like you've returned to college. My brother has almost zero investing knowledge and I offered to help by breaking a lot of it down, step by step for him. If you feel like you could gain from any extra knowledge that is presented, please feel free to read it as it is posted. I am hoping to post about one a week as he will be able to use it during his time in the desert (Middle East on deployment). The plan is to go step by step through all of the material that you would have to memorize in order to become a register investment adviser. By presenting this knowledge to him and writing it all myself, both he and I should gain a few things. He will gain a very good base of investment knowledge that spans the most important styles of investing and the terms most used by investors world wide. I on the other hand will gain a deeper understanding of the topics and at the end I should also be ready to sit for the Series 65 as the material will all have been covered other than the most up to date tax/investing laws that have been placed into effect.

Anyways, these articles should start showing up on the side of the blog soon and they will be exclusive to this blog. I won't be posting any of them to Seeking Alpha as they are closer to me and are intended to only be used by my brother to understand the world of investing. Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Moving Forward - Seeking Alpha

Eventually we all reach a point where we have to continue growing outwards to go upward. That moment has happened for me. As of this week, I have started publishing articles for the blog exclusively through Seeking Alpha to expand my audience and gain further feedback on my thoughts. Their reader base is much greater than my own and this should help to breed new knowledge for myself and hopefully that should trickle down further into my readers.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Dividend Investing - Millennials Move Forward

Dividend investing - it's something that most millennials currently don't understand or don't want to understand. To most of them the stock market is a giant jumble of old man funk that shouldn't be touched. In their minds, their money is better served in a savings account before it is more horribly used on a car that they can't afford but at least the payments can continuously be refinanced on. Like it or not though, they're the future of the stock market whether they know it or not.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Positive Net Worth

The road to positive net worth can be quite the trying one for most people. Most of us in this day and age bring on debt into the adulting world. Whether it be from student loans, a bad car choice, or even a bad run in with a roommate that never paid their share, you find yourself deep in a hole that you never thought you would find yourself in. Thankfully, that hole doesn't have to last forever.

You see, I had dug myself into that hole too. I went to college the smart way. First stop was to community college where I paid each semester in full by working as a bartender, model, and bus boy. I was lucky, tuition at the time was a mere $15/credit hour since the schools in my area were restructuring. This saved me a ton of money because it allowed me to focus on passing and not having to worry about any loans as I adjusted to the differences between college and high school. Once I obtained my associates degree however, I had to move to the much more expensive choice that could no longer be avoided. I had to go to a typical four year, rack up the debt, and get out as fast as possible. Even though I did just that, I still eneded up with a sizable debt. Or... I would have if my parents didn't end up paying for it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dividend Income: March

March has come and gone but the dividends go on! With the end of the month comes the collection of dividend payments and the compilation of purchases (2!) made this month. Let's get into it!

March 2016 Dividends:

ARII - American Railcar Industries Inc - $6.80
KSS - Kohls - $6.00
EMR - Emerson Electric - $7.60

Total dividend income for March: $20.40
Total dividend income for 2016: $56.92

Stock purchases for the month of March:

3/4/2016 - KSS - Kohls - 12 shares at $47.50/share
3/14/2016 - ARII - American Railcar Industries Inc - 17 shares at $41.77/share

March was a great month for investing. I came away with two new companies in portfolio and only had to give one of my old companies away (dividend cuts suck!). In addition, I also got to cash in on three dividend payments; two of those payments of course coming from the two newly acquired companies. Although it only totals out to $20.40 in payments for the month and this really just offsets the trade fees, it still ramps up the snowball for more and more payments to come.

With that being said, I've closed in on the amount that was accumulated over the entire year of 2015 in just three months. If you don't remember, in 2015, the total dividend payments were a "whooping" $62.25! I'm hoping that next month, I'll pass this amount and soar on forward! The plan then, going forward, is to add further diversification to the portfolio. I feel like it's a very healthy mix right now but I still feel that it has to gain much further growth outwards rather than upwards.

It's important to always remember to diversify. If there are great companies out there, one should have their hands deep in multiple cookie jars if you catch what I'm trying to throw. This also benefits my intelligence as to invest in any of them, I will have to understand what I'm investing in. This means that I'll have to expand my knowledge base of the industries I'll hope to get into.

That's the plan at least. We will have to see if the plan works out the way I hope it does. I've been keeping my eyes on Wells Fargo and I'm hoping and praying that I can grab a piece of the action while the going on it is good.

Monday, March 28, 2016

W. Buffett and Kinder Morgan Inc.

A lot of speculation has been thrown around lately about Buffett's bet on oil giant, Kinder Morgan (KMI). The bets have been about whether or not he has been profitable on it, whether or not this is one of his few losing bets that he's made, and even if this was some sort of outcome he didn't predict. After all, so many investors wait on his moves and simply follow him on his trades without a second thought. It leaves a lot for the movement of a stock. Therefore, today I want to discuss the bet the Buffett made on Kinder Morgan.

Buffett made his gamble on KMI back when the stock had supposedly hit rock bottom - when it was trading in the low twenties to high teens per share. With that being said, the stock now trades in the high $17 range for the day (currently as I write this article). This means that Buffett likely has yet to make a profit unless he was lucky enough to bag his two million plus shares of the company for a slash off the top. This being unlucky, it's more likely that he had to pay a premium to obtain them as such a large number would not come easy. Buffett then would be said to have to break the low twenties in order to become profitable on his stock pick this time around. If you do the math, that means that Buffett even just currently is down a massive percentage on today's market. Needless to say though, the amount were talking about is such a small blip on the radar of a company as big as Berkshire so the returns are negligible at best.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Life: Gardening

I've spoken before about the unintended knowledge that we all gain by investing. It's important to expand your knowledge to all things around us to better understand the world as a whole. One of those important pieces of knowledge that I've obtained is knowing how to garden.

Prior to last year, I had no idea how to garden. My mother, my grandmother, and even her mother were fantastic at it. The green thumb was definitely there but I had not been taught by any one of them. I had moved away to a different state before any of the knowledge could be passed down to me.

This left me to dig for the knowledge myself. Sure, I could have called any one of them and tried to obtain the knowledge from square one with any one of them but that was just too easy. Sometimes you have to learn on your own and then reach out to your contacts afterwards to hone your skills.

After a quick trip to Walmart, I had everything I needed to start. I wanted to start from square one. Since square one was obviously seeds, that meant grabbing a seed starting kit rather than just buying the partially grown plants and transplanting them. I put the seed starter soil in the pods, dropped the seeds in, watered them a little, and waited. Within a few short weeks, they sprouted from each cell and became little starter plants. Everything looked like it was going according to plan.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Foolish Day Trader

Once upon a time, all of us were opening up our first investment accounts with dreams of making it big. No amount of money seemed to be insurmountable. This was even more so for the folks who had been lured into investing by stories of millionaire day traders. The idea seemed to be so attractive. Invest a little bit of money, multiply that by the amount it goes up every day or short it while it goes down, pull out your money and bam, you’re a millionaire!

Unfortunately, this was not the case for almost everyone who decided to continue to go down the road of day trading. In fact, studies consistently show that a very small minority (some claim less than 1%) are actually successful over the long term. This is due to a multitude of factors that drive the market every day and even more so due to the way the human brain functions. First off, there are big risks around every corner, especially if you’re in the business of shorting. If the profits are big, you usually bet bigger, and therefore can lose that much more on your next bet. Secondly, even when you do win, taxes and commission charges are always knocking on your door to pay up. Because the day trader is taxed at a higher rate because they trade on short term investments, they constantly get hit much harder than those of us who hold our stocks long.