Investment Income Updates – January 2015 through December 2015

January 2015

January 2015 Inv Income ChartThe investment Income/Portfolio page on my blog has been updated as of January 31st, 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis. Also included is a chart with a historical look at my investment income since October 2003.

January is typically a slow month for dividends in my portfolio. Most companies I own pay them out before the end of the year, leaving this month light.

The S&P 500 was down 3.1% during the month. While not terrible, the loss took a hit on my retirement accounts which make up a big chunk of my net worth. But the downward movement in stocks opened up some value and opportunities, compounded by the recent volatility.

To reach my 2015 goal of $6,700 in forward 12-month investment income (F12MII), I’ll need to aggressively buy the dips. I can’t afford to sit around always waiting for a bigger dip. My aim is to buy individual stocks on large dips, as long as the fundamentals are strong and the dividend remains safe.

For the month, I made four purchases in my TD Ameritrade account, to go with my regular monthly DRIPs and Loyal3 buys.

Here is a summary of investment activity for 01/01/15 – 01/31/15:

By adding $6,168.10 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, my F12MII increased to $5,342.01, averaging $445.17 per month. This was a $219.27 and 4.28% increase over the 31st of December, and a $1,471.00 and 38.0% increase year-over-year. I consider the $5,342.01 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

TD Ameritrade
Most of the action this month occurred in my taxable brokerage account. I made four purchases, and closed out one option position. The first buy, Dover Corporation (DOV), was the only new holding. Click here to read my recent post about the DOV purchase.

The other three purchases added shares to existing holdings. On the 27th of the month, I bought 20 shares of Phillip Morris (PM) at $81.66 per share. This doubles the number of shares I own in the cigarette maker, also adding much needed beef to my January dividend income. Last March I bought my first 20 shares of the stock, and since then I’ve been looking to add more. I finally got my chance this month and bought some, only to see the price fall further. However, the $80 floor held, which is about where I bought my first lot. Right now the stock yields 5%. The 20 shares add $80 to my F12MII.

Next up is Helmerich & Payne (HP). In the last investment income update, I disclosed the purchase of three lots of the stock. After earnings on the 29th, the stock experienced significant volatility to the downside. I was lucky to grab another 15 shares at $54.90, adding another $41.25 to my F12MII. That price level was right around the 5% yield mark for the stock. Less than a week later, the stock was already back above $67 (as I write this). Man, this thing is a bumpy ride, and really sensitive to the daily oil price fluctuations. However, this is a falling knife I don’t mind catching. The company has increased its dividend for the past 42 years, and they have nearly no debt on the books.

While short-term oil price trends may impact the stock this year, I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to buy a great company for the long-term. Since my investment horizon is at least 15 years, I am patient and can wait for the stock to recover. And they pay me to wait. My cost basis for HP now sits at $66.65.

Also on the 29th, I bought 10 shares of Caterpillar (CAT) at $79.05, adding $28 to my F12MII. Earnings did not go so well for the company, something most talking heads predicted. I’ve been dripping into the stock since August of 2013, and with the stock trading in the low 80’s, the DRIP strategy for this stock has proven to not have been so successful. However, as I mentioned in a recent post, I’m moving away from DRIPs in favor of Loyal3 for dollar cost averaging. In fact, I had my old CAT shares transferred into TD Ameritrade from the Computershare DRIP this month. With this new purchase, I now own 30 shares of the heavy equipment maker at a cost basis of around $89. Had I stuck with the DRIP for a longer period of time, I’m confident my cost basis would have balanced out over time.

Lastly, on January 15th, I bought back a Mattel (MAT) put option that I had sold for income. The stock had been behaving poorly prior to earnings, and pre-announced that the CEO was stepping down and business was in a world of hurt. Instead of being called to buy 100 shares at $31, I chose to buy the put back for $317.77 with fees. When I sold the put in November, I gained $125.22 (with fees). My loss on the failed transaction ended up being $192.55. I decided I’d rather take the loss than own more MAT shares. I’m still holding onto 100 shares, hoping for a frozen dividend. Should the dividend get cut, I’ll reevaluate.

DRIPs
In addition to CAT, this month I transferred shares of Clorox (CLX) and CSX to TD Ameritrade, as part of the broader move away from DRIPs, and to help simplify my finances and consolidate my accounts. The transfers were mostly smooth aside from some cost basis reporting that did not get transferred accurately when CSX left Computershare for Broadridge. This was a bit of a headache last week, but it’s been straightened out thanks to helpful customer service at TD Ameritrade (no thanks to Computershare and Broadridge, they just pointed fingers).

Other than those moves, I’m still adding funds to the Proctor & Gamble (PG) and Aqua America (WTR) DRIPs, building those positions. Other DRIPs remain with Computershare, but I’ll likely be moving more out later this year.

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

My no-fee Loyal3 account now has eight stocks. I’m adding $50 to each every month, and more than that if I see significant price dips. Dollar cost averaging over time has been a good strategy for me, and it’s a great way to always be active in the market. Earlier January, I published a post about my five new holdings. To learn more about Loyal3, click the link below (affiliate link).

IRA Investments (Fidelity)
In December, I transferred my wife’s TSP government retirement account into her traditional IRA. I put most of our IRA money into index fund ETFs. With the energy sector getting hit recently, I took two-thirds of this transfer and bought an ETF called the Vanguard Sector Index Fund Energy Viper, symbol VDE. 

In her Roth IRA, I added $5,500 for the tax year 2014. $3,000 of that went into the Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU) on a price dip below $46. European and international stocks have not had the best previous 12 months. But I’d rather buy when markets are down instead of up.

The rest of the money in her account will likely go into the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) on any significant dips in the market. A good chunk of money is already in that ETF and others. For the long-term, I prefer ETFs in retirement accounts because I don’t want to actively manage that money. Vanguard has the lowest fees so I usually stick with them.

Real Estate
Nothing new to report about my rental property. The HOA fees went up in December and I’m expecting a friendly neighborhood tax increase in April. While currently profitable, I’m starting to envision myself selling this property in the future to free up the principle. I’m formulating a plan for this transaction that will hopefully come to fruition in about 18 months.

Since my failed investment property attempt, I’ve been deploying the money I had saved for a down payment into stocks. Some of this money helped me add around $40k to stocks and P2P lending last year.

P2P Lending (i.e. Marketplace Lending)
The interest rate return in my Lending Club account is slowly moving downward due to a few defaults and lower rate loans being available. The rise of automated investing is making manual selection of notes more difficult. I need to jump on the automation bandwagon or expect lower returns into the future. Setting this up will take a time commitment that I haven’t allocated yet. Lending Club’s own automation tool has not worked for me to this point.

I mention the changeover to the term marketplace lending in the paragraph header because there is a change in the industry. Big investment firms have noticed the reliable returns from these loans and want to take part in funding notes. Therefore, lending money to certain borrowers has become more competitive. Automated investing will help smaller investors, but when the big guys get involved, the little guy gets shoved out of the way. I’m feeling a bit like the little guy right now and need to make some adjustments, move aside, or just accept lower returns.

BlogFeed
Lastly, I want to direct you to a page I created called BlogFeed. Twitter can be overwhelming and posts disappear too quickly. Tools like Feedly surely suffice, but I’m not crazy about the user interface. So I came across a way to automatically put the new articles from writers in my Blogroll onto a webpage soon after they are posted. Up to three posts per site will show for up to seven days. The feed is updated every 30 minutes. If you’re looking for great content from other like-minded bloggers and investors, check it out.


February 2015

February 2015 start of blogThe investment Income/Portfolio page on my blog has been updated as of February 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

After January’s 3.1% decline of the S&P 500 Index, February finished the month with an increase of 5.5%. That was quite a turnaround and brought the market back to a positive return of 2.2% year-to-date. I pay attention to total market return because much of my retirement investments are in index funds and ETFs. For my taxable accounts, I’m more concerned with dividend income.

Investment Income Received In February 2015

As I first mentioned in my 2015 financial goals post, I’ve started tracking both investment income received AND forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) each month. Prior to 2015, I only tracked F12MII.

I forgot to add the new received number in last month’s post. January was slow, so you didn’t miss much. From now on, I’ll specifically address income received backed up with a few helpful charts.

This month my dividend income came in at $397.43. In February 2014, the comparable number was $195.98, so I’ve doubled my dividend income year-over-year. The biggest payers in my portfolio this month were Verizon (VZ), Apple (AAPL) and Abbvie (ABBV). I’ve owned Verizon for more than ten years. Pair that with a high yield, it makes up 12% of my yearly dividend income. One of my 2015 goals is to spread my money out better so that no one stock dominates my portfolio income. More work to do on that front.

From other income sources, I received $15.71 in interest on cash, $83.59 positive cash flow from my rental property, and $36.39 of income (net of charge-offs) from my Lending Club investment account. The Lending Club income took a hit this month due to a freshly charged-off loan. That should be the last one for a few months so I expect this income source to recover in March.

Notably, I’m earning slightly more money on my rental cash flow because I found a new rent payment product that eliminates a $3.95 fee. That alone adds $47.40 to my F12MII.

Last month I received $160.43 in total investment income. So two months into 2015, I’ve received a total of $693.35. That’s 12% of my goal of earning $5,750 for the year.

Summary of Investment Activity for February 2015

By adding $4,203.97 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, my F12MII increased to $5,521.60, averaging $460.13 per month. This was a $179.60 and 3.36% increase over last month, and a $1,552.12 and 39.1% increase year-over-year. I consider the $5,521.60 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

In order to reach my goal of $6,700 in F12MII by year’s end, I’ll need to average a $131.44 increase in F12MII per month this year. So far I’m on track to meet this goal.

Here’s a brand new chart tracking my investment income received and F12MII.

February 2015 F12MII

A shout out to Write Your Own Reality for the chart format.

Also here’s a look at my current sector weightings.

February 2015TD Ameritrade

I made three purchases in my taxable TD Ameritrade account in February. Despite the market highs, I still found a few stocks I was comfortable opening positions in.

The first needs no introduction. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is always on the radar of most dividend growth investors. I opened a position at just shy of $100 per share. The investment amount was only $1,000. Usually I try to invest in $1,500-$2,000 increments. However, since the market is near new highs, I’ve taken smaller opening positions in recent stock buys. Additionally, my stash of cash is dwindling. I’m still allocating money that was meant for another rental property down payment, but it won’t last forever. Now I’m considering selling my original rental property to free up more cash to invest in stocks and a different property.

The second stock I bought was ITC Holdings (ITC). This company is a mid-western utility that focuses on transmission of electricity. It’s a utility growth stock (oxymoron?), that still manages to pay and grow its dividend. ITC has paid and raised its dividend for each of the past ten years, since its IPO. You may remember this stock as a new holding in Santa Claus’s portfolio. ITC yields just 1.7%, but has a three-year dividend growth rate of 10%. The dividend payout ratio is 39% and earnings are estimated to grow at nearly 12% over the next five years.

Lastly, I opened a brand new position in Donaldson Company (DCI). Donaldson is another industrial goods company that has seen a recent price decrease. The company specializes in filtration products. I know, not sexy. But it is a Dividend Champion having raised its dividend each of the past 28 years. The ten-year dividend growth rate is a whopping 19%, and the next increase should be announced in May. While it only yields 1.8% now, I expect that number to be greater than 2% by summer. Some things I like about this company are its low dividend payout ratio (37%), low beta (0.86, meaning low price volatility), and its good balance sheet.

Other recent industrial goods stocks I’ve bought include Parker Hannifin (PH), United Technoloies (UTX), and Dover Corportation (DOV).

All three of these stocks are starter positions. I expect to add to each in the coming months and years.

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

I continue to add $50 per month to eight stocks through the Loyal3 platform. I wrote about the first three in this post, and the other five in this post. Every time I buy or sell stocks at Loyal3, I pay absolutely no fees. This makes buying small lots of shares (with as little as $10) economical, and keeps the cost basis very simple.

This month I added one new stock to my no-fee portfolio at Loyal3, Microsoft (MSFT). I’ve picked on MSFT here and there about the Zune and their iPa… I mean Surface tablet. MSFT isn’t writing the future of technology anymore, but the company prints cash through their Office and Windows products, not to mention the Xbox. Earnings disappointed and the stock traded as low as $40.23 not long ago. The stock has recovered above $43, and now yields a healthy 2.80%. Since my primary investment objective is to receive growing dividends from reliable payers, I think this is a safe use of funds. MSFT has paid and increased dividends each of the last 12 years, raising dividends by an average increase of 22% over the past decade.

DRIPs

Since learning about Loyal3, I haven’t opened any new DRIP accounts. I recently wrote about a broader change in strategy where I’m not dripping as much and pooling dividends instead of reinvesting. This is a slow transition. I still hold stocks in Computershare including Bank of America (BAC), Chevron (CVX), Coca-Cola (KO), Aqua America (WTR), Emerson Electric (EMR), and Procter & Gamble (PG). Of these, I’m only currently adding new funds to WTR and PG. Both of those DRIPs are mostly free of fees, and WTR even has a 5% reinvestment discount. I’ll continue to build those positions until I think they are big enough to transfer to TD Ameritrade.

As for the other DRIPs, I’m continuing to reinvest the dividends. I will eventually transfer them to my full-service brokerage, however, I had some issues with the cost basis being transfer for both Verizon (VZ) and CSX. So I’m a bit apprehensive now until Computershare sorts out a few bugs. However, my Clorox (CLX) and Caterpillar (CAT) transfers were smooth.

When cost basis isn’t transferred correctly (as required by law), it has important tax implications upon selling the stock. I believe I was able to sort these problems out with my broker, but it’s another consideration before transferring shares again.

Watch List

I constantly monitor and modify an informal personal watch list that contains about 30 stocks. The most prominent addition this month was T. Rowe Price (TROW). On February 19th, the company announced an 18% dividend increase and a special dividend of $2. This was music to my hears. Upon further research, I realized this company has zero debt and 31% profit margins. On top of that, the company is a Dividend Champion having increased its dividend each of the past 29 years, with a ten-year dividend growth rate of 16.6%.

The price action on this stock has frustrated me on a few occasions, missing my limit price by pennies at least two times. Hopefully in March I’ll be able to buy at a reasonable price. Investors have until April 9th to participate in the special dividend.

A few other stocks on my watch list include ADM, CB, NDSN, MMM, BAX, MO, and some of the Canadian banks.
Disclosures: Long all stocks mentioned in this article, except those in the above watch list.


March 2015

Mar 15 start of blogThe investment Income Portfolio page on my blog has been updated as of March 31st, 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

One of the big attractions of running a blog is that I am my own content editor. I write about whatever I want, answering to no one other than my readers (and occasionally my wife). Freedom to write what I want is a great thing, even if it comes with an occasional typo. There’s no picky wordsmith telling me the NSFW headline is stupid or that the content needs to be more narrowly focused or consistent. I do, however, try to stay within within the Invest, Retire, Travel motto.

As the sole editor here, I can assure you this blog lives up to no journalistic standards whatsoever!

Looking back at March, my articles covered a wide range of financial and retirement topics. First, I wrote about saving for my kids’ college education and how that is the greatest risk to my retirement. Then I told some old travel stories about getting robbed and scammed on the road. That era in my life is what drives my desire to fully retire so I can travel uninterrupted once again. Then last week, it was back to stocks with a brand new sale, finally dumping a portfolio dog.

A really cool thing came out of publishing that travel post. Another traveler who was robbed in Guatemala very close to where I was ambushed, stumbled upon the post and commented about her experience. She and her boyfriend were stopped at gunpoint while riding a motorbike, then frisked. The crazy thing is, it was all captured on a helmet cam. Click here to read the article about the ordeal and to watch the video. The first dude pops out at 12 seconds. They made it through the robbery safely, and surprisingly with the helmet cam and GPS intact.

This is actually quite similar to how it happened to me. Except no gun thankfully, no masks, and four guys instead of two.

Investment Income Received in March

After February’s increase of 5.5% for the month, March brought us a -1.7% loss in the S&P 500 index. The index is up just 0.4% since the start of the year. The Federal Reserve made a lot of noise recently that had Wall Street’s attention. I read the headlines about that stuff and sometimes catch it on CNBC, but rarely does it effect my investment decisions. I do think we’re in for some volatility with this rate increase stuff, so I want to be ready to buy some bargains when they become available.

This month my dividend income came in at $351.48. The biggest payers in my portfolio were Chevron (CVX) and Helmerich & Payne (HP).

I received my final dividend from Mattel (MAT) in March because I sold all of my shares a few weeks ago. That sale caused my forward 12-month dividends to decrease by $152, hurting my overall forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) numbers this month.

From other income sources, I received $15.64 in interest on cash savings, $83.59 positive cash flow from my rental property, and $38.18 of income from my Lending Club investment account. The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $488.49.

This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $1,182.24 as of March 31st. That’s 21% of my goal of earning $5,750 for the year.

Summary of Investment Activity for March

By adding $2,626.66 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, my F12MII increased to $5,566.58, averaging $463.88 per month. This was a $44.98 and 0.81% increase over last month, and a $1,374.20 and 32.8% increase year-over-year. I consider the $5,566.58 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

In order to reach my goal of $6,700 in F12MII by year’s end, I’ll need to average a $131.44 increase each month this year. So far I’m on track to meet this goal, although this month I fell short of my target increase due to the Mattel sale.

Here is a chart tracking my progress for 2015:

Mar 15 Received vs F12MII

TD Ameritrade

I made three big lot purchases in my TD Ameritrade taxable brokerage account. The first was T. Rowe Price (TROW) which was brand new to my portfolio. As you probably know, TROW upped its dividend by 18% in February, and announced a special $2 dividend to be paid in April. To get the dividend you need to be in before April 7th. The increase, the special dividend, plus a balance sheet with zero debt made me a buyer of this stock. I’ve been looking to add more, but each time I get close to pulling the trigger, it jumps up again. My current target purchase price is $80.90.

The second purchase was ITC Holdings (ITC). This is the second lot I’ve bought for this electricity transmission growth utility.

Lastly, to help alleviate the loss of F12MII from the Mattel sale, I bough 20 shares of dividend bellwether Phillip Morris International (PM) at $76.86, yielding 5.2%. The stock keeps going down on currency concerns. However, with a history of commitment to the dividend, I’m confident this company will ride out the currency storm, paying me cash along the way.

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

I’m a big fan of the no-fee brokerage Loyal3. Each month I buy small amounts of stock in eight different companies. You can see the companies I’m investing in by reading this post, and this post. I’ve also recently added Microsoft (MSFT) to the mix, buying periodic $100 increments, and adding $50 monthly purchases going forward. MSFT has been beaten down, but it’s rock solid in terms of its long-term ability to pay and grow the dividend.

The biggest news of the month was the deal between Kraft (KRFT) and Heinz. Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) and Brazilian private equity firm 3G are behind the deal. I own a little stock in Berkshire Hathaway, and just four shares of Kraft. Kraft shareholders will get a special dividend of $16.50 in the deal, if approved. I’m continuing to buy more Kraft shares in Loyal3, even at elevated prices, and I expect the new combined Kraft Heinz company will continue to be available on Loyal3. I was previously a Heinz DRIP shareholder until it was bought out in 2013.

If you’re not aware, Loyal3 is also a place where you can participate in IPOs before they hit the market. I invested in the Dave & Busters (PLAY) IPO and wrote a review about it. This past week Loyal3 announced open participation in the GoDaddy (GDDY) IPO slated for today (April 1st), and a follow-on offering for a previously successful IPO for Globant (GLOB).

Watch List

With all the hubbub over the Federal Reserve interest rate hike on the way, I expect to see some kind of downward volatility in the coming months, exacerbated by high-frequency trading and actively managed funds. The key for slowpoke investors like me is to have cash ready to deploy when the market falls, and the patience to wait and pounce.

So I’ve been somewhat apprehensive about buying stocks. I did add funds to my holdings this past month, but I really want to be ready for a large-scale pullback. The market seems ready to overact to the next jobs report or the inevitable rate increase.

That said, I’m looking at add to a number of holdings, and open some new positions if the opportunities present themselves. On top of my list is more TROW before the April 7th special dividend date. Other stocks I want more of include UTX, ACN, IBM, DCI, and my DOV holdings.

I’m also waiting for a T put option expiration on the third Friday in April. A while back I sold one T put at a $33 strike price. If the price of the stock is below $33 at expiration, I’ll be called to buy 100 shares of of the stock at the strike. I’m surprised after so many months that the price is so close to my put price. If I’m called to buy the stock, I’ll be happy to add it to my portfolio, comfortably yielding more than than 5.5%.

Other potential new holdings that I have my eye on include ADM, CB, NDSN, MMM, BAX, MO, BNS, TD, and FUL.

I hope you had a successful month of dividend investing. As always, keep some dry powder just in case we get a pullback!


April 2015

Apr 15 Start of Blog

The investment Income and Portfolio page on my blog has been updated as of April 30th, 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

Thanks to everyone who has found this blog and keeps coming back. I very much appreciate the readership and all the comments I receive. If you’re not familiar with my posting schedule, most weeks I post one new article on Wednesday morning. If you haven’t yet, please check out the blog posts I wrote in April.

I also maintain a page called Blogfeed featuring brand new articles from similar blogs. It’s updated every 30 minutes and highlights some great content if you’re interested in income investing, financial independence, retirement and travel. Please contact me to suggest an addition to the list.

Investment Income Received in April

After March’s decrease of -1.7% for the month, April brought us a small gain of 0.85% for the S&P 500 index. The index is up just 1.3% since the start of the year (believe it or not).

This month my dividend income totaled $215.93. The biggest payer in my portfolio was T. Rowe Price (TROW) which paid me a special dividend of $80. Second was Coca-Cola (KO), a company I’ve owned since 1997, which paid me $73.53. See all the dividends I received in the table below.

From other income sources, I received $17.00 in interest on cash savings, $83.67 positive cash flow from my rental property, and $62.16 in interest income from my Lending Club investment account. The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $378.76.

This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $1,561.00. That’s 27% of my goal of earning $5,750 for the year.

Summary of Investment Activity for April 2015

By adding $5,895.98 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, my forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) increased to $5,875.42, or $489.62 per month. This was a $308.84 and 5.55% increase over last month, and a $1,567.99 and 36.4% increase year-over-year. I consider the $5,875.42 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

In order to reach my goal of $6,700 in F12MII by year’s end, I’ll need to average a $131.44 increase each month this year. So far I’m on track to meet this goal. AT&T (T) added $188.00 in forward dividends this month alone. Adding $308.84 in F12MII this month give me some wiggle room for the rest of the year. I’m now 48% of the way to reaching my year-end goal of $6700.

Here is a chart tracking my progress for 2015:

TD Ameritrade

On the first of April, I purchased a second lot of 20 shares of T. Rowe Price (TROW). As you probably know, TROW announced a dividend increase AND a special dividend of $2 per share in February. I was able to buy a total of 40 shares before the ex-dividend date. The special landed in my account on the 23rd. Sweetness!

The second purchase I made was 100 shares of AT&T (T). This was actually an option assignment that started with a put sale in December. It turned out to be a good buy since the option lowered my cost basis to under $31 for the lot. Not long after, the stock is trading above $34 again.

I’ve been investing with TD Ameritrade for more than a decade and have always been a very satisfied customer. As such, I’ve initiated a new affiliate partnership with the company. TD Ameritrade is an excellent brokerage for novice and experienced investors. They’ve invested heavily in their technology platform and customer service over the years, and are consistently rated as a top US online brokerage house. The customer experience on desktop, mobile, and the telephone have all been top notch for me.

If you’re interested in learning more about TD Ameritrade, please click the banner below. As always, I only endorse products and services that I use and would highly recommend to friends and family. If you sign up through the link below, I may be paid a modest commission. Thanks for the support!

 

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

Another brokerage I invest with and endorse is LOYAL3. I use this account to dollar cost average into several stocks on a regular monthly basis. I recommend Loyal3 for beginner investors who want to start slowly. TD Ameritrade is more for novice to intermediate investors looking to take their investing to the next level.

This month, I’d like to highlight two stocks I’ve been adding to more aggressively. The first is Microsoft (MSFT). By all accounts, MSFT is a rock solid dividend growth stock. The company has been paying and increasing dividends for the past 12 years, and the ten-year dividend growth rate is nearly 22%. During the past few months it was trading in the low $40s and I was picking up a few shares here and there, $100 at a time. Its earning report was quite positive on April 23rd, and shares are now trading around $48. I still like it yielding 2.5%, and intend to keep adding $50-$150 per month.

Another intriguing Loyal3 stock is Kraft (KRFT), the big news being the merger between KRFT and Heinz facilitated by Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian private equity firm 3G. When the merger is complete, KRFT shareholders will receive $16.50 for each share and the combined company will be called Kraft Heinz. I owned Heinz before the buyout and consider both companies to be American staples. If Warren is behind this move for the long haul, then I like it too.

So I’m buying more shares of KRFT, even after the huge move. I only owned about four shares before the announcement. I’ll keep adding $100 here and there as the price goes downward. That way I’ll have a larger position when the transaction is complete, I’ll get the $16.50 per share payout, and I’ll own shares in the newly merged company.

Fidelity IRAs

Income investors love a market downturn. In that sense, it’s been a difficult seven years as we’ve had very few extended discount buying opportunities. To reach my year-end forward income goal, I need to be consistently investing on a monthly basis. However, I’d still like to be positioned for an opportunistic market downturn. To be ready, I’ve freed up some money in my retirement accounts.

This month I sold out of my Hasbro (HAS) shares in my Roth IRA to free up about $3,000. In less than a year I scored a 30% gain on the stock. My broader strategy in retirement accounts is to invest in low-fee index funds and ETFs. Most of my money is already in those types of assets, but I’d like it all to be. Soon hopefully, I’ll add the HAS proceeds to either one of the Fidelity Spartan index funds or another Vanguard ETF.

My wife’s spousal Roth IRA has $5,000 in cash waiting for an opportunity, and both of our Roths are eligible for another $5,500 to be added for 2015. So that’s about $16,000 of index investing I’m hoping to get to once we get a downturn.

Of course, what if we don’t get a downturn?  That’s the dilemma. I feel I’m kind of trapped here, waiting for a downturn, but missing out on gains when the market goes higher. What I really should do is automate these investments into a total market index fund and forget it. But alas, I’m not a perfect investor.

Watch List

I keep a watch list handy on my TD Ameritrade mobile trading app which links back to my online account. This list is constantly changing as prices fluctuate and earnings reports arrive. After I wrote about six debt-free dividend stocks, Thor Industries (THO) is now near the top of my most wanted list.

Two other stocks on my watch list that I nearly bought this month were Cummins (CMI) and 3M (MMM). Both had nice dips but I was too patient and missed the boat. I have my eyes on both going forward. Check out some other stocks on my watch list at the end of last month’s income update.

I’ve also created a must own list of great companies that I feel need to be in my portfolio sooner than later. However, those stocks usually trade at a premium. Previously on that list were Disney (DIS) and Nike (NKE), both of which I now own in my Loyal3 account.

The new must own list includes Costco (COST), MMM, Ross Stores (ROST), Altria (MO), and Visa (V). I don’t think I need to explain why these are included, they’re all great companies with excellent dividend policies. I’ll be adding more to the list and buying positions in the stocks when I have the cash and feel I can get them at a relative discount.

Disclosure: Long AAPL, DIS, NKE, HAS, KRFT, MSFT, T, TROW, BRK-B, KO, UL, VFC, YUM, PG, WTR, BAC, PM, IBM, CSX, JNJ


May 2015

May 2015 Start of BlogThe investment Income and Portfolio page on my blog has been updated as of the May 31st, 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

Thanks to everyone who has found this blog and continues to return to read my new material. I very much appreciate the readership and all the comments I receive. If you haven’t yet, please check out the blog posts I wrote in May.

May was a record month for this blog. The Chevron (CVX) article was an editor’s pick over at Seeking Alpha, staying in the top ten list for more than 24 hours. I don’t consistently write articles at SA due to lack of time. But when a unique investment idea or story comes to me and I have the time, it’s cool to get that added exposure.

Another part of what’s driving the success of this blog is a page I maintain called Blogfeed, which features brand new articles from similar blogs. It’s updated every 30 minutes and highlights some great content if you’re interested in income investing, financial independence, personal finance, retirement and travel. Please contact me to suggest an addition to the list.

Before I move on to the numbers, I want to mention a few things about capital. Since backing out on an investment condo deal last summer, I’ve been reallocating a good chuck of capital from cash savings to dividend stocks. My emergency stash is now about where I want it to be for the long-term. So it looks like I’m not going to have as much cash to put to work each month since I’ll be relying only on cash flow from my daytime job and modest dividend income.

On top of that, I have a few large house expenses approaching. I need to divert some cash flow to savings, more-so than I would like. Hopefully, this won’t put a damper on my 2015 goals. The second half of the year is when I typically make more money from my day job. So I might invest less this summer unless we get a big pullback. In the fall, I should have more money coming in, and the big purchases should be in the rear view mirror.

Investment Income Received in May 2015

After April’s increase of 0.85% for the month, May brought us another gain of 1.05% for the S&P 500 index. The index is up 2.36% since the start of the year.

This month my dividend income totaled $444.07. This is the largest monthly dividend total so far this year. I expect to set a new record every three to six months going forward. The biggest payer in my portfolio was Verizon (VZ), which paid me a healthy $106.70 dividend.  See all the dividends I received in the table below.

From other income sources, I received $17.21 in interest on cash savings, $70.08 positive cash flow from my rental property, and $61.95 in interest income from my Lending Club investment account. The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $593.31.

This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $2,154.31. That’s 37.5% of my goal of earning $5,750 for the year.

Summary of Investment Activity for May 2015

By adding $4,497.40 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, minus a significant real estate income adjustment, my forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) decreased to $5,850.14, or $489.62 per month. This was a –$25.27 and 0.43% decrease over last month, and a $1,640.48 and 39.0% increase year-over-year. I consider the $5,850.14 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

The real estate income adjustment was due to a $163 increase in annual property taxes. That mostly negated any overall gains for the month. Going forward, the real estate numbers should be stable until the end of the year, unless I raise the rent.

In order to reach my goal of $6,700 in F12MII by year’s end, I’ll need to average a $131.44 increase each month this year. Despite the real estate hit this month, I’m still on track to meet this goal. I’m now 46% of the way to reaching my year-end goal of $6700.

One significant milestone this month was surpassing the $4,000 forward 12-month dividend income threshold. It always feels good to pass a round number like that, but there’s a lot more work to do!

Here is a chart tracking my progress as of May 2015:

may 2015

TD Ameritrade

I made two purchases in my TD Ameritrade account this past month, and sold one put option for income. Early on, I added 40 shares to my Donaldson (DCI) holdings. Unfortunately, the company announced a disappointing 3% dividend increase at the end of the month.

Next I sold one put option contract on Whole Foods (WFM). I like this company and stock, and had already bought some in my wife’s retirement account. I wouldn’t mind owning some more in my taxable account for the dividend and capital growth potential. By January next year, I’m essentially betting that the price will be higher than my strike of $42. If not, I’ll either need to buy back the option before expiration, or get assigned 100 shares at expiration.

Lastly, I bought 30 shares of Baxter (BAX). This healthcare company is actually set to split in two on July 1st. They have a history of successful and profitable spin-offs for shareholders, and I have wanted to be a part of it for a few months now. I was able to sneak my buy in right before the ex-dividend date as well, so I’ll get a small payment before the transaction is complete. The post spin-off dividends have not been confirmed yet, so I’ll need to update my numbers when everything is finanlized, and add the new holding (to be named Baxalta) to my portfolio.

On a side note, my account at TD Ameritrade has reached a certain dollar amount threshold where apparently the customer service level increases. A representative from the company called to ask if I was satisfied with their services. I mentioned I wouldn’t mind lower trading fees. Well, they responded and lowered my stock trade commissions going forward to $7 instead of the regular $9.99. Nice! I also mentioned I was considering moving some retirement assets into the brokerage, so that may have helped.

I’ve been a satisfied TD Ameritrade customer for about 15 years now, and recommend them for investors looking to up their game a bit with more research and trading capabilities. If you’re interested in learning more, click the link below:

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

My Loyal3 dollar cost averaging strategy remains mostly unchanged. I’m tempted to cut back on adding to Yum Brands (YUM) because of the recent run-up. But that would defeat the purpose of dollar cost averaging, so I’ll probably let it ride.

A notable addition to my Loyal3 account is The Gap Inc. (GPS). I put $300 toward the stock to start a new position this month. The stock is approaching 52-week lows on a slowdown of sales. However, the yield is now 2.40%, above it’s 2.00% five-year average yield, and the payout ratio is just 31%. The Gap has increased its dividend for the past 11 years with a ten-year dividend growth rate of 25%. I’ve been shopping at their store for years, and they’ve done a good job of providing basic fashionable products to a wide range of ages. This is not a broken company, so I’m adding shares to my portfolio for the income and dividend growth.

I appreciate the ability to dollar cost average into stocks without any fees. The Gap is the tenth stock I’m buying at Loyal3. I recommend the brokerage for beginner investors, and anyone who likes to dollar cost average, buy stocks commission-free, or be a part of selected IPOs.

Fidelity

Mrs. RBD opened a position in the Fidelity Total Market Index Fund (FSTMX) this month. This is similar to the VTI and other Vanguard total market index funds. By opening a minimum position of $2,500, we can now add smaller amounts to the fund commission free. Our IRAs are mostly invested in index funds and ETFs, however I wanted to open this position to make it easy to get broad exposure to the market in the future.

As I mentioned earlier, TD Ameritrade has offered some incentives for me to move over some assets. The cost of a stock or ETF trade is now lower than Fidelity. TD Ameritrade offers a number of no-fee ETFs and funds which are my main vehicles for these accounts. So does Fidelity. I haven’t decided if I’m going to switch yet. It would be nice to eliminate one brokerage and have everything under one account. However, I’m happy with Fidelity too, and think it’s important to diversify brokers. Whether or not I move the assets remains to be seen.

Watch List

I keep a watch list handy on my TD Ameritrade mobile trading app which links back to my online account. This list is constantly changing as prices fluctuate and earnings reports arrive.

One stock that’s been on my watch list is now in my portfolio. I bought Cummins (CMI) on the first of June. The details of that transaction will be included in next month’s update.

This month I’ve added Realty Income (O) to my watch list as REITs in general have been knocked down. O is one of the best out there, and they pay a monthly dividend. The yield is currently right near 5%. Since selling my ARCP position, I wouldn’t mind a replacement monthly payer of higher quality.

I’m also considering a position in the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ) in my taxable portfolio to broaden my REIT exposure, and I can buy it commission-free with my broker. I’ve been burned a few times on REITs, so I see this as a safer way to play them, lowering the yield but also the risk. It still yields a healthy 3.75%

Other companies I watch include 3M (MMM), Ross Stores (ROST), Costco (COST), Altria (MO), Visa (V), THOR Industries (THO), DSW, Southern Company (SO), and Keurig (GMCR).

I hope you had a good month investing. Enjoy the summer!
Disclosure: Long CVX, VZ, DCI, WFM, YUM, GPS, FSTMX, VNQ


June 2015

June 2015 Start of BlogThe income and portfolio page on my blog has been updated as of the June 30th, 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

Thanks to everyone who has found this blog and continues to return to read my new material. I very much appreciate the readership and all the comments I receive.

My family took a week off this past month. The kids kept us so busy that we needed another vacation by the time we returned.

Despite being away, I still managed to make quite a few purchases. I was expecting to slow down some because we have a home repair coming up that is kind of substantial. But I’ve decided to decrease my cash emergency fund and put the cash to work instead, and still have some leftover for the repair. Read on to see what five stocks I bought and sold this month in my TD Ameritrade account. Three of them are brand new positions.

Investment Income Received In June 2015

After May’s increase of 1.05% for the month, June gave us a decrease of -2.10% for the S&P 500 index. The index is essentially flat, up just 0.20% since the start of the year.

This month my dividend income totaled $345.83. Not bad, even compared to last month’s record income. The dividends were well spread out this month, with the largest payment coming from long-time favorite, Chevron (CVX). Second was gas driller Helmerich & Payne (HP).

From other income sources, I received $19.49 in interest on cash savings, $70.08 positive cash flow from my rental property, and $6202.48 in interest income from my Lending Club investment account.

The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $497.42. This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $2,649.73. At the halfway point of the year, I’ve attained 46.1% of my goal of earning $5,750.

Summary of Investment Activity for June 2015

By adding $7552.00 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, my forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) increased to $6,034.46, or $502.87 per month. This was a $184.32 and 3.15% increase over last month, and a $1,696.97 and 39.1% increase year-over-year. I consider the $6,024.97 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

At the halfway point of this year, I’ve reach two significant milestones; $6,000 in F12MII and $500 monthly income. NICE! It’s awesome to see steady progress. In order to reach my goal of $6,700 in F12MII by year’s end, I’ll need to average a $131.44 increase each month. Today, I’m on track to meet this goal, now 58% of the way there. Here is a chart tracking my progress as of June 2015:

June 2015 Received vs F12MII

Lending Club

 

It’s been since September 2014 that I’ve written a quarterly Lending Club investment performance review. Needless to say, these aren’t quarterly anymore. Next week I’ll have a fresh new update with all the details of my peer to peer lending activities. Stay tuned.

During the month, I actually cut back on the amount of money I was putting toward my account because the loan inventory had been low. But then just in the past week, the loan volume spiked. The last few days there’s been more than 5,000 loans to choose from on the platform. That’s more than I’ve ever seen (note: one day later, available loans are below 1000 again 🙁 ). So now is a great time to be investing at Lending Club, either with a taxable account or no fee IRA.

I put an extra $50 into my account this month to take advantage of the great selection. As of this update, I’m earning 11.10% on my invested money which equates to $712 in F12MII. The percentage is down this month due to a few notes going late, but not bad for passive investment returns.

TD Ameritrade

June was a big month for buying stocks. I use a taxable TD Ameritrade account as my primary broker. For the first buy early in the month, I bought 10 shares of engine maker Cummins (CMI). Then on the Greek news Monday, I averaged down with another 10 shares of CMI. The company is expected to announce a dividend increase in July.

The next purchases I made was Thor Industries (THO). Click that link to read all about it.

Then I added to my Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) at $98.20; a dividend growth no-brainer.

Next I purchased a new position in Realty Income (O). Another dividend growth favorite, I was happy to add a monthly paying dividend stock to my portfolio since I sold my ARCP. No regrets on that one.

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

Last week I wrote about Loyal3 IPOs and how the returns are outperforming the S&P 500 as well as IPOs not offered on the platform. Shaq recently invested in the company which led to a lot of search traffic for my Loyal3 previous IPO tracking page.

Today (Wednesday July 1st) is the Teladoc (TDOC) IPO. I managed to grab some shares for the IPO this morning through the platform. We’ll see how this one turns out. Based on my research, I should hold onto them, however, owning a company like this doesn’t fit into my dividend growth strategy. I’m going to see what happens before I decided whether or not to hold onto these shares for a longer period of time.

Aside from IPOs, I’m still putting $500 to work each month, dollar cost averaging $50 into ten separated companies with Loyal3. My holdings there are really starting to compound. Not to mention, some of the stocks have performed very well including Hasbro (HAS), YUM Brands (YUM), Kraft (KRFT) and Disney (DIS), which increased its dividend by a healthy 15% AND made the payment semi-annual instead of annual.

Fidelity

Between Mrs. RBD and me, we have five accounts with Fidelity. I’m considering moving some to TD Ameritrade to consolidate, however I’ve been happy with Fidelity and don’t feel a sense of urgency. I don’t fully report all of my investments in my retirement accounts so this blog doesn’t get too cluttered. But I do like to touch on some moves every month in this update.

For Mrs. RBD’s Roth IRA, I added to her FSTMX which is a Fidelity Spartan total market index fund, similar to the VTI by Vanguard. I can add money to this fund commission free. We made this move yesterday after the Greek debt dip.

Secondly, I strayed a bit from my indexing strategy in my own Roth IRA and bought a more speculative stock, though it still pays a dividend. I bought 20 shares of Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) at $81 per share. It’s since fallen further, now trading in the mid-70’s. I guess I bought it a day or two early.

This stock is down from its 52-week high of $159 because it has delayed it’s new soda beverage device until 2016. I like the coffee business model. I love my Keurig machine. The company sells the devices and the convenient K-cups, which it also licenses to other coffee makers. My only beef is the environmental impact of those cups. The company is working on a solution and should have one in the next five years. Coca-Cola (KO) owns a stake in GMCR, and I think one day it could be a logical takeover target. For now it’s a growth story, out of favor by frequent traders and damaged by short sellers. Longer term, I’m an addict now.

Watch List

In last month’s update, I mentioned I was slowing down my investments due to a large home repair that is approaching. Well, I didn’t quite follow through on that. I saw too many opportunities, and instead further depleted my emergency/opportunity savings. Truth is, I had a very comfortable emergency savings fund for the past few years and can afford to take on more risk. I’m more confident in my job security right now compared to previous years. Plus, I can always sell stocks if it really came to that, not to mention home equity that is available. New real estate investing isn’t in the cards right now, so stocks is the way to go.

I still like THOR, and will add more on a further dip. As I mentioned, LC is on my list as a long-term speculative play. In addition, I could add to my CMI holdings, JNJ, CSX, ITC, TROW, O, UTX, or even HCP at any time. I believe Chevron (CVX) is a buy here, and may add some cash there, even though it’s been one of my largest holdings for the past 20 years.

New stocks I like include UNP, a stock that many DGI bloggers are buying now. I still want to open a position in MMM, as well as BEN, SO, ADM, and possibly DSW and ROST. I’ve also got my eyes on a few ETFs for my taxable account to help diversify. I can buy them commission free at TD Ameritrade, so I see some benefit to lowering my overall portfolio risk that way.

That’s all for this month. Enjoy the summer while it lasts!

Disclosure: Long or may open a position in all stocks mentioned in this post.


July 2015

July 2015 Start of BlogThe income and portfolio page on my blog has been updated as of July 31st, 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

Thanks to everyone who has found this blog and continues to read my new material every week. I very much appreciate the readership and all the commenting. Also thanks for regularly visiting the Blogfeed! It’s a great place to find related content by my peers in the personal finance and dividend investing blogospheres.

One of those posts above satirically announced the birth of our new baby daughter. That has kept me busy for the past two weeks, and it even delayed things on the blog a few days. I’ll need to open a new Virginia 529 account for her in the coming weeks to start saving for college, a mountainous task that I consider the greatest risk to my retirement. We’re also going to need to up-size a car soon, something I’m not looking forward to.

Investment Income Received In July 2015

After June’s decrease of -2.10% for the month, July gave us an increase of 1.97% for the S&P 500 index. The index is up 2.18% since the start of the year.

This month my dividend income totaled $323.52. The largest payment in July came from Kraft (KRFT) which paid a one-time dividend related to the merger with Heinz. I received $115.47 on that deal, and an additional $4.22 from the newly formed Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) at the end of the month. The second biggest payer this month was Coca-Cola (KO) at $74.12, a perennial payer in my portfolio since 1997.

From other income sources, I received $31.43 in interest on cash savings, $70.08 positive cash flow from my rental property, and $48.52 in interest income from my Lending Club investment account, which was down slightly due to a default.

The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $473.55. This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $3,123.28 which is 54.3% of my goal of earning $5,750 in 2015.

Summary of Investment Activity for July 2015

By adding $6959.90 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, my forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) increased to $6,222.82 or $518.57 per month. This was a $188.36 and 3.12% increase over last month, and a $1,749.61 and 39.1% increase year-over-year. I consider the $6,222.82 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

In order to reach my goal of $6,700 in F12MII by year’s end, I’ll need to average a $131.44 increase each month. Today, I’m on track to meet this goal, now 69.75% of the way there. Here is a chart tracking my progress as of July 2015:

July 2015 Received vs Projected Monthly

TD Ameritrade

 

July was another great month for adding shares to my largest investment account. It has surpassed the $100,000 mark which put me into something they call Apex status. This means I get a little extra attention for being a larger customer.

I made four purchases in this account this month. First, I opened a new position in dividend growth stalwart, 3M (MMM). I plan to add further to this position over time. The second buy was another lot of Cummins (CMI) shares. This was the third and likely the final lot I’ll buy of this engine maker. Cummins heroically increased its dividend by 25% this month.

Another stock holding I added to was United Technologies (UTX). I first opened a position last October in this diversified industrial company. Recently, they announce the sale of its helicopter business, Sikorsky, to Lockheed Martin (LMT) for $9 billion. I like this move a lot, and hope to see UTX pay down some debt with the proceeds, and maybe distribute some cash to shareholders too. It remains likely they’ll continue their dividend growth streak in the future. Currently it stands at 22 consecutive years.

Lastly, I averaged down the cost basis of my holdings of Thor Industries (THO) by buying another 20 shares. This time I invested at $54.05, almost 7% lower than my original entry price. This boring recreational vehicle company has zero debt and a very low PEG ratio of 0.73. I find the valuation here to be excellent, and it now yields 2%. You can read my entire analysis of the company by clicking here.

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

Next up is my Loyal3 account. You know I love this brokerage because I can dollar cost average into a bunch of stocks and pay no fees whatsoever. On a monthly basis, I invest $50 in ten different stocks. I’ve written extensively on these stocks here and here. Since those articles, I’ve also added Microsoft (MSFT) and The Gap (GPS) to my dividend growing machine at Loyal3.

In addition to these stocks, I’ve been participating in IPOs through Loyal3. These transactions are not included in my monthly updates anymore because they don’t fit my overall dividend growth strategy. I update it regularly and I’ve started finding out and posting about the upcoming IPOs before they are announced to investors.

While I’m not a trader or short-term investor, access to these IPOs has made me some easy money. For example, I recently made 40% on my money for the Teladoc (TDOC) IPO in a few days, and another 35% on the Blue Buffalo (BUFF) IPO.

Computershare DRIPS

I still invest $100 per month in the Proctor & Gamble (PG) and Aqua America (WTR) DRIPs through Computershare. Each plan costs little or nothing to invest in. WTR actually offers a 5% discount on shares for dividend reinvestment. Both plans are now around the $2,000 mark, though PG is underwater since I started.

In addition, I added $500 to the Chevron DRIP this month, and $300 to Emerson Electric (EMR). Both are stellar dividend growth stocks at compelling valuations. Chevron, in particular, is really in the Wall Street shitter right now. The dividend is becoming more difficult to pay due to the strong dollar and falling oil prices. But this company has solid management, deep pockets, and plentiful access to the oil that will continue to fuel the world for decades to come.

Lending Club

Note: If you’re not currently investing with Lending Club, you may want to skip to the Conclusion. This section is somewhat long-winded and will need a post on its own to fully explain LendingRobot. If you’re interested in becoming an Lending Club investor, click here to learn more.

I finally got around to updating my Lending Club activity for the blog last month. My account has grown consistently since I opened it in May 2013. I add $200 per month and reinvest all of the interest and principle I receive.

One thing mentioned in that post is the movement toward automated investing. Well, I finally looked into this and decided to open an account with LendingRobot to invest my funds. Yes, I’ve resorted to artificial intelligence to invest my money. Allow me to briefly explain.

The original way to invest in marketplace/p2p lending was to create a filter and invest based on historic data. This involved studying the data and making manual purchases based on the filter. With automated investing, statistical analysis is done on historic data, and purchases are made automatically, immediately when the loans become available. Using this tool, I can get into the best performing loans quickly and automatically, and the historical models are done for me and are updated all the time.

I’m essentially filtering and investing like before, only it’s now a better filter and it happens hands-free and quickly. I’ll eventually pay a 0.45% fee for this service, but the first $5,000 is managed at no charge.

While this subject needs an entire post, I will say that LendingRobot is super easy to to use. Not only that, there’s no obligation to continue to use it after you try it. You can cancel any time. Most of the action happens in your Lending Club account, so your LC account continues to display and track the same as it does. LendingRobot simply makes the purchases for you through the Lending Club API, then shows you its progress on their own website. Very cool, simply, slick, and not bloated at all.

Click the banner below to learn more about investing in peer to peer loans through Lending Club. Once you open an account, you can separately open a LendingRobot account. However, I’d learn the Lending Club basics before getting into automation.

Conclusion

July turned out to be an incredible month. We had our third child, a healthy baby girl. Nothing is better than that.

Nearly $7,000 put to work is a notable month for investing too. Months this big will likely be fewer and further between in the coming 12 months. I’ve just about reached the point where I want my emergency cash level to be. In the past year I’ve been lowering my emergency/opportunity savings account to put more money to work for me after backing out of a real estate deal. Now I’ll only be investing with cash flow from my regular income and dividends. No savings left to put to work.

With the added monthly college savings and increased baby expenditures, cash flow will certainly take a hit. But my portfolio of income continues to grow and the compounding effect is getting stronger each month. I hope your portfolio is doing the same.

Disclosure: Long all stocks mentioned in this article.


August 2015

August 2015 Start of BlogThe income and portfolio page on my blog has been updated as of August 31st, 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

Thanks to everyone who has found this blog and continues to read my new material every week. I very much appreciate the readership and all the commenting. Please take some time to check out my Blogfeed. It’s a great place to find related content written by my peers in the personal finance and dividend investing blogospheres.

The volatility of August kept me busy buying stocks and it was a great month for dividend income. Let’s get right to the details.

Investment Income Received In August 2015

After a 1.97% increase in the S&P 500 index in July, August gave us the worst decline of year so far. The index fell -6.26% in August and is now down -4.21% year-to-date.

This month my dividend income totaled $480.65, the highest monthly dividend amount of the year to date. The largest payers of the month were dueling telecoms Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), paying me nearly $200.

From other income sources, I received $20.13 in interest on cash savings, $70.08 positive cash flow from my rental property, and $42.98 in interest income from my Lending Club investment account, which was down again due to another default.

The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $613.84. This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $3,737.12 which is 65.0% of my goal of earning $5,750 in 2015.

Summary of Investment Activity for August 2015

While high beta months like this past August may cause heartburn for active managers and hedge funds, this is what dividend investors like me have been waiting for; lower prices, higher yields. The fundamentals of the economy remain sound. I used this month as an opportunity to keep buying stocks, despite running low on cash.

By adding $9393.69 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, my forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) increased to $6,437.42 or $536.45 per month. This was a $214.60 and 3.45% increase over last month, and a $1,825.15 and 39.6% increase year-over-year. I consider the $6,437.42 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

In order to reach my goal of $6,700 in F12MII by year’s end, I’ll need to average a $131.44 increase each month. Today, I’m on track to meet this goal, now 83% of the way there.

Wow, with four months left in the year, I’m just $262.58 away from reaching my annual goal. I thought that $6700 in F12MII would be my biggest challenge, but I’ve been aggressively buying stocks this year. Now that I’m within striking distance, I can ease off the gas pedal a bit. However, if September is anything like August, it will be hard to resist buying more.

I’ve added a new fee line to the above view showing how much fees are eating into my trading. This month was particularly high because of the two sales and the many smaller buys I made. However, fees of 0.61% of the total amount traded is reasonable and this percentage should fall significantly next month due to acquiring some free trades.

Here is a chart tracking my progress as of August 2015:

August 2015 Received vs Projected Monthly

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

First up is my Loyal3 account. You know I love this brokerage because I can dollar cost average into a bunch of stocks and pay no fees whatsoever. On a monthly basis, I invest $50 in ten different stocks. I’ve written extensively on these stocks here and here. Since those articles, I’ve also added Microsoft (MSFT) and The Gap (GPS) to my dividend growing machine at Loyal3.

In addition to buying at fixed amounts on a fixed date every month, I put in separate buys on certain days when I see value. Orders submitted before 2pm each day will be executed at 2pm. This is an effective way to get shares at a more predictable price. I added extra funds to five stocks this way, most notably Disney (DIS). I bought an extra $500 in Disney stock this month at costs in the range of $98-107.

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade failed me the morning of Monday August 24th when the markets were down 6%. Since I was not at my computer, I relied upon my iPhone apps for trading. Unfortunately, the apps went down due to the market volatility. So I missed out on the biggest dip that day. At some point I found a link through their Twitter feed that allowed me to make a trade on my iPhone browser.

That purchase was Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). At the open I put an order in at a lower price, but the app returned it in error. I also missed out on buying more Lending Club (LC) that morning in the $10.50 range, though I added a small amount of shares in the first week of the month.

The preceding Friday, the broader markets were also down and I was buying. Since I have no idea when the markets will bottom, I hold my drawers and buy on the way down when markets are volatile. I averaged down my cost on three holdings that day, CSX, United Technologies (UTX), and T Rowe Price (TROW).

In fact, all but one purchase this month averaged down my existing cost basis. The only new stock I bought in August was Franklin Resources (BEN).

Earlier in the month, I also added another 25 shares of Dover Corporation (DOV). All the industrial stocks have been affected by the strong dollar, lower oil prices, and market turmoil. Opportunities are plentiful.

Lastly, I joined the masses and sold both my Baxter (BAX) and Baxalta (BXLT) shares. Both increased rather steeply due to market news and I saw it as a good opportunity to move money into higher yielding stocks. I sold these holdings in the week leading up to the downturn, so I’m happy with the result and don’t miss the disappointing yields.

One consolation to the TD Ameritrade failure on Black Monday is that when I called to complain the next day, they offered 10 free trades. I gladly accepted them, but I really wanted an explanation and assurance it wouldn’t happen again.

Fidelity (Retirement Accounts)

Early in the morning on Monday, August 24th, before I knew that TD Ameritrade was going to fail me, I added $5,500 to my Roth IRA at Fidelity. I’ve been waiting for a market downturn to add funds to my Roth. Seeing the markets down 6%-7% was my opportunity, so I made the transfer and the funds were available for the market open.

At the open, part of my game plan faltered due to the TD Ameritrade apps being down. Fortunately, the Roth IRA funds were also part of the plan. While I was blind and frustrated with the TD apps, I remembered to switch over to my Fidelity account and put an order in for the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ETF (VTI). The order was for 50 shares at $96.08.

One lesson learned this month is to have a backup brokerage account. TD Ameritrade has been trying to get me to move all of my Fidelity accounts over to them. The advantage being having all my accounts in one place, which is appealing to me for simplification. Well, I’m glad I didn’t move them, because then I would have been really screwed. Fidelity has been an excellent brokerage for me over the years so I’ll be keeping my accounts there indefinitely. For now, I’m keeping my TD Ameritrade account since I’ve been a happy customer for about 15 years. But I’m considering other brokerages now too.

Conclusion

In the past few monthly updates, I indicated that my available funds would be lower in the second half of the year because I have invested my remaining cash savings (once reserved for buying a new rental property). This remains true, most of that money is now in stocks, though I still maintain a modest general cash emergency fund. Yet I still managed to invest nearly $15,000 in the market this month. What gives?

It comes down to family cash management. This blog primarily tracks investment income in our taxable accounts. I don’t share the exact details of our retirement accounts, savings or net worth. I keep these undisclosed for a few reasons, but mainly because writing once a week doesn’t allow for time to explain and share everything.

As I wrote about recently, our growing family needs a bigger car. This month we bought an unassuming minivan. I had set aside money to pay cash for it, but chose instead to finance half of the purchase with a 0.9% three-year car loan. That ridiculously low rate was too tempting to decline, freeing up some cash. We also sold our old car for cash, and that money went right into the Roth. In addition, we had some needed masonry work done to our house that I had also budgeted cash for. Instead, I was able to put it on a credit card (for the points) which won’t come due until October. At that point, I may finally tap our home equity to pay for it.

You could say I’m leveraging up now to invest, as I wrote about last month. I see it that way, but I’m doing so conservatively. In the short run, these are smart ways manage my family finances that allow me to invest more while still weathering some large household purchases.


September 2015

September 2015 Start of BlogThe income and portfolio page on my blog has been updated as of September 30th, 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

For the newbies here, I track my investment income (aka passive income) publicly as opposed to net worth. I still track my net worth non-publicly (using Personal Capital, awesome and totally free), but for me, tracking investment income is more aligned with reaching my primary financial goal, which is to retire completely and never work again at age 55.

Thanks to everyone who has found this blog and continues to read my new material. I very much appreciate the readership and all the commenting. Please take some time to check out my Blogfeed too. It’s a great place to find related content written by my peers in the personal finance and investing worlds.

It’s been quite a month for us as our family is still adapting to having a third child. With three, it’s likely that one of them is going to always be unhappy. We were warned of this ahead of time and it’s very true. Someone is always hungry, crying, has a boo boo, or needs help with a poop or “peep” for twelve hours straight every day. The sainted Mrs. RBD handled all three while I was gone at FinCon for a few days.

On the investing front, I reached my 2015 goal of $6,700 in forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) three months early. I’m shocked by this, because I thought it was going to be a stretch to hit this goal. $7,000 may now be possible, depending on my cash flow in the coming months.

Due to some large but necessary household purchases, my cash levels are low at the moment leaving me not much to invest in the next few months. Our emergency fund is now at the minimum I want it to be. To make up for the lower amounts of cash, I’ve aimed for higher yielding stocks to maximize the effectiveness of the dollars I can invest.

Investment Income Received In September 2015

The S&P 500 index continued its slide in September, falling another -2.64% after falling -6.26% in August. The index is now down -6.74% year-to-date.

This month my dividend income totaled $489.17, a second straight monthly record for dividends. The largest payers of the month were the beaten down energy stocks Chevron (CVX) and Helmerich & Payne (HP). Funny how these stocks are totally in the shitter, but the companies still keep paying those dividend. The two companies have been paying and increasing their dividends for 27 (CVX) and 42 (HP) years respectively, both being on the S&P Dividend Aristocrats list. Both are also overdue for an increase.

From other income sources, I received $19.49 in interest on cash savings, $70.08 positive cash flow from my rental property, and $69.41 in interest income from my Lending Club investment account, which was strong in September, but faces a few defaults in the coming months. Read my latest Lending Club update here.

The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $640.75 (also a record). This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $4,377.87 which is 76.1% of my goal of earning $5,750 in 2015.

Summary of Investment Activity for September 2015

By adding $4,195.50 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, my forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) increased to $6,702.44 (GOAL ACHIEVED!) or $558.54 per month. This was a $265.02 and 4.12% increase over last month, and a $1,939.95 and 40.7% increase year-over-year. I consider the $6,702.44 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

Since I wasn’t investing as much capital this month, I picked up a couple high yielders to increase my forward income. This put me over top of my goal, just barely!

Notice this month I paid zero in trading fees. This was due to a three factors. First, buying stock at Loyal3 is always fee free. Second, TD Ameritrade gave me 10 free trades due to the August 24th mishap. And thirdly, I’m investing in two DRIPs that don’t charge any fees either. Sweetness!

Here is a chart tracking my progress as of September 2015:

September 2015 Received vs Projected Monthly

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

First up is my Loyal3 account. My strategy hasn’t changed much as I’m still investing $50 in 10 stocks every month. Occasionally I buy more of certain stocks when its value falls. This month I added an extra$100 to The Gap (GPS).

Many of the stocks I’m buying regularly appear relatively overvalued at the moment, so I may be making some adjustments. However, since I’m investing in some ultra-high quality stocks such as Nike (NKE), Disney (DIS), and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B), I don’t expect them to be near the top. Nonetheless, this tool is helping me to reevaluate my Loyal3 investing strategy. If you’re a Loyal3 investor, I highly recommend you check it out! Please give feedback in the comment section.

TD Ameritrade

I’m nearly fully recovered from my angst against TD Ameritrade. Read why I was so angry in this recent post. One bad day after being a customer for more than 10 years isn’t so bad, I guess. They almost always surpass my expectations. But I’m not closing my Fidelity accounts after that episode, that is for sure.

The first purchase I made in September was 50 shares of REIT favorite Realty Income (O). Known as the Monthly Dividend Company, this is the second lot of the company I’ve purchased. I paid $43.95 per share, averaging down from my entry price of $45.05. The new lot purchase yields north of 5%.

Secondly, I bought another 20 shares of Helmerich & Payne (HP) at $49.90. This purchase likely makes my position full on this stock as I know own 100 shares. This oil and gas drilling rig company is getting tossed out with the energy bear market bath water. I get it, oil prices are down and the dollar is strong. But this company has a stellar history of paying and raising dividends (42 years). More importantly, its balance sheet is quite strong and is built to withstand turmoil.

It’s currently yielding more than 5.5% and the dividend payout ratio is below 50%. Short interest is high around 13% and this stock price really fluctuates day to day, so its not without risk. With a long-term holding period, I was comfortable adding to this position.

Conclusion

Aside from the aforementioned investments, it was all quiet on the money front. Now that I’m beginning to see the light, I have some big decisions to make regarding how I want to focus our finances over the coming years. The two big ones are paying down mortgages or leverage up, or whether or not to sell the condo to reinvest the funds into a better cash-flowing property or elsewhere. Luckily, neither are pressing issues so I can do nothing for now and take time to make decisions.

There’s also some changes on the way for this site. Expect to see an updated look, and even better more focused and useful content in the future.


October 2015

October 2015 Start of BlogThe investment income page on my blog has been updated as of October 31st, 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

For the newbies here, I track my investment income (aka passive income) publicly as opposed to net worth. I still track my net worth non-publicly,  but for me, tracking investment income is more aligned with reaching my primary financial goal, which is to retire completely and never work again at age 55.

Thanks to everyone who has found this blog and continues to read my new material. I very much appreciate the readership and all the commenting. Please take some time to check out my Blogfeed too. It’s a great place to find related content written by my peers in the personal finance and investing worlds.

October was a very busy month. I only wrote three blog posts, but a lot was going on behind the scenes. For starters, the new logo was a big project. If you’re curious, I had it made through a logo design competition at 99 Designs.

I’ve also made some other minor changes and tweaks to the look and feel here and expect more to come. There’s always more maintenance work to do and sometimes that holds up new content.

Investment Income Received In October 2015

The S&P 500 index  recovered big time this month rising 8.30% after a sluggish two months. The index is now up 1% year-to-date.

October was very slow for me for both receiving income and investing. I received just $176.69 in dividend income, the worst month since January. That was expected. The next two months, however, should be the biggest ever.

The largest payer in my portfolio was Coca-Cola (KO), a stock I’ve owned since 1997. Coke paid me $74.74. Fellow addictive products company Phillip Morris (PM) came in second paying me $61.20.

Other income sources were a bit of a drag this month. I received $10.78 of interest on cash, $70.08 in positive cash flow from my rental property, and $19.74 of net interest investing at Lending Club.

The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $277.29. This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $4,655.16 which is 81% of my goal of earning $5,750 in 2015.

Summary of Investment Activity for October 2015

October was a very slow month for putting new capital to work. In part, the slowdown was due to holding my drawers and aggressively investing more than $20,000 in the previous three months. Some household bills have also come due and cash flow has taken a hit due to the additional saving for college for our new baby girl.

On top of that, many stocks are no longer on sale. Although I do see some good opportunities in industrial stocks like Cummins (CMI) and Parker Hannifin (PH) among others.

By adding $1,100.00 in new working capital to my investment portfolios, combined with some negative fluctuations in interest on cash and Lending Club income, my forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) decreased slightly to $6,696.88 or $558.07 per month. This was a $5.56 and 0.08% decrease over last month, and a $1,775.89 and 36.1% increase year-over-year. I consider the $6,696.88 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

Here’s a chart tracking my progress as of October 2015:

Motif Investing

I opened a new account with Motif Investing this month so I can access future IPOs on the platform. I’ve had some success investing in IPOs at Loyal3, and Motif seems to have the same idea.

The core of Motif Investing’s business allows for investors to invest in themed pools of stocks know as “motifs”. You can invest in a Solar Stocks motif for example, that contains 30 solar energy related stocks. Pay just 9.95 to buy all 30 stocks at once. Pretty cool.

I haven’t invested in an individual motif yet, but I’m working on creating one of my own using a familiar theme. More on that next month.

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

Every month I invest $500 into 10 stocks at Loyal3, dollar cost averaging $50 into each. I’ve been consistent with the ten stocks for a while now, but I think it may be time to switch it up. I created a Loyal Stocks (since  ranking page that automatically values each stock available on the Loyal3 platform in real-time using a Google spreadsheet. Most of the cheapest stocks are not in my portfolio yet (aside from Apple (AAPL) and The Gap (GPS)).

Kohl’s (KSS) is now the top rated stock in terms of value, balance sheet and the dividend. So it’s on top of my radar screen too. Also retail related, I added $200 extra to my GPS holdings in October.

Net Worth

I’ve been calculating my net worth since August of 2004. All these years I’ve used an elaborate spreadsheet to track and chart my progress. With the 8% increase in the S&P 500 this past month, my net worth increased a whopping 4.79%! Stocks really rebounded. Since a big chunk of my assets are in equity investments in retirement accounts, months like this have a huge impact.

Finally, I’ve left the archaic time-gobbling world of using spreadsheets to calculate net worth in favor of Personal Capital.

This tool is awesome. It sucks in all of your account data and calculates net worth on the fly. Now that I have it set up, I can check it every day right off of my iPhone.

Personal Capital is totally free. They do have an advisory side to the business which is how they generate revenue, but that’s only if you opt in.

Since I’ve started using the tool, I save a ton of time every month. Now I don’t need to log into each financial account to find the number for my spreadsheet. And Personal Capital is WAY better than Mint for investment accounts if you’ve ever used that dinosaur. Click the banner below to check it out.

pc_improve_your_investing500x61

Conclusion

I hope you had a kick-ass month growing your income producing portfolios. We’re headed into the home stretch now. November and December should be the two biggest months ever for dividend income for me. Looking forward to it.

I’ve got lots of new stuff in the works for the RBD blog. Getting new content to you will be all about how I prioritize my time. I’ll likely cut back some toward the end of the year to deal with holiday season travel and gift related activities (i.e. the dreaded photo book). But that should help rejuvenate the blog for 2016. Keep an eye out for more featured writing (on other sites), more product reviews, and more posts about whatever’s on my mind.

How was your month? Any big purchases while stocks were headed north? What about other sources of income?


November 2015


November 2015 Start of BlogThe investment income page on my blog has been updated as of the 30th of November 2015. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis.

If you’re a first time visitor, I track my investment income (aka passive income) publicly as opposed to net worth. I still track my net worth (using the free tool Personal Capital), but for me, sharing investment income is more aligned with reaching my primary financial goal, which is to retire completely and never work again at age 55.

Thanks to everyone who has found this blog and continues to read my new material. I very much appreciate the readership and all the commenting. Please take some time to check out my Blogfeed too. It’s a great place to find related content written by my peers in the personal finance and investing worlds.

Every year we put together an all-encompassing photo album to give to our parents. It contains 100 pages of pictures of our three young kids from throughout the year. It’s a great way to keep memories for ourselves and a big hit with the parents.

But man, it’s a massive time suck. So that’s been a priority. We use a product called MyPublisher which has made the process somewhat less painful the last two years.

I’ve started quite a few new posts that just haven’t been finished yet. Hopefully I’ll get most of them published in the next month or two. Stay tuned (the best way is to subscribe to receive new blog posts).

Investment Income Received In November 2015

The S&P 500 index was flat this past month after a big jump in October. The index is still up 1% year-to-date.

After already meeting my 2015 goal of $6,700 of forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) back in September, I’ve slowed my investing going into the end of the year. The slowdown is also a result of some large recent household expenses.

Indices are near all-time highs, but I still see a lot of value out there, particularly in industrial and retail stocks.

Despite the slowdown in new capital, November was a record month for dividends. I received a blowout $532.42 in dividend income last month. Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) took the top spots as biggest payers.

From other income sources, I received $9.11 of interest on cash, $70.08 in positive cash flow from my rental property (but that will go up next month) and $73.89 of net interest income investing at Lending Club (read my latest Lending Club investing review here).

The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $685.50. This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $5,340.66, 93% of the way to my goal of earning $5,750 in 2015. Should be able to surpass that next month.

Summary of Investment Activity for November 2015

November was slow aside from opening a brand new position in my no-fee portfolio. This company has been on my list as a value play in the heat of this retail sell off. Read on to see which one I bought.

I also added to a core industrial holding that I already owned, but it was more of a tax move than a new position.

By adding $1,150.00 (excluding CMI tax loss purchase) in new working capital to my investment portfolios, my forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) increased to $$6,761.36 or $563.45 per month. This was a $64.48 and 0.96% increase over last month, and a $1,908.00 and 39.3% increase year-over-year. I consider the $6,761.36 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

Here’s a chart tracking my progress as of November 2015:

November 2015 Received vs Projected Monthly

Motif Investing

I opened a Motif Investing account last month to be eligible to invest in IPOs on the platform. While the news was exciting, we haven’t heard anything about it since.

Now that I’ve had some time to explore, I’m quite impressed with the investing platform. You can buy both individual stocks or “motifs”. With a motif you create your own sort-of ETF with up to 30 stocks and invest in all of them for one low commission of $9.95. Or you can invest in a motif created by experts or peers in the community. Individual stock trade commissions are just $4.95.

They’ve got a great iPhone app for investing and an easy to use, modern website. I bought my first motif this week. That’ll show up on next months update.

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

My Loyal3 portfolio has surpassed $10,000. Eventually I want this to become a self-contained snowball investment portfolio. I’ve been dollar cost averaging into ten stocks for a while now. In December and beyond, I’m looking to change my strategy a bit.

I’m still going to dollar cost average into some core holdings (BRK-B, DIS, NKE, VFC), but I’m going to start being more selective each month where I put my cash.

The Loyal3 stocks best value rankings page I’ve created has been influential in this decision. Lined up next to each other, I can see I’m not always buying the best stock values out there. The rankings page function as a starting point for more research.

Kohl’s (KSS) has been at the top of the rankings list since I created it. So after looking into the stock further, I decided to open a $250 starter position. Remember, Loyal3 is a no-fee broker, so I can invest small amounts and fees won’t eat into my investment dollars because there are none.

Retail has really taken a beating. Seems a bit overdone going into the holidays. Gap (GPS) is another stock I’ve been adding to each month.

As for Loyal IPOs, November was exciting with Square (SQ) going public. Unfortunately, only existing Square customers were able to reserve IPOs shares. The rest of us were left out. The one day gain for those investors was 45%! That’s why I’ve taken such an interest in IPOs.

TD Ameritrade

I made one trade in my TD Ameritrade account this month. I bought 30 shares of engine maker Cummins (CMI) at $104My intent of this purchase was to replace the first 30 shares that I bought at a much higher cost basis (around $130). 31 days later, the plan was to sell the first 30 shares for tax loss purposes.

If you’re not familiar with tax loss selling, it’s when you sell a stock for a loss to offset gains on your tax return. CMI has been a turkey stock this year so it’s a perfect candidate.

Well, as of the other day, CMI fell well below my $104 averaged down price, into the low 90’s. While I still like the company, the stock is broken. Now, once I hit the 31 day threshold to avoid a wash sale, I may just sell all 60 shares to clear the books of this stock. The capital loss should be around $1,500. Once this all plays out I hope to write a whole post on the transaction, assuming CMI doesn’t recover significantly before I sell. Next year perhaps I’ll attempt to rebuild a position. This year, I was too early.

Gotta fix mistakes and move on.

Conclusion

I hope you had a kick-ass month growing your income producing portfolios. November was another record month for dividends here, and December should surpass November! Last I checked, I’m in good shape to reach most of my stated financial goals for the year.

I’m still beginning to see the light here at the RBD blog, cleaning up the site and applying things I’ve learned over the past two years of blogging. Plenty of new content is on the horizon… just need to survive the holiday season traveling with three kids under the age of four.

How did your portfolio perform in November 2015? Any new holdings? Selling any turkey stocks?

BTW – I’ve been using Personal Capital to calculate my net worth every month. I used to manually update an elaborate spreadsheet every month with all my numbers. But Personal Capital saves me a ton of time now by doing it for me. Totally free and highly recommended. Check it out!


December 2015

The investment income page on my blog has been updated as of December 31st. This page outlines my portfolio of taxable investments and the income they generate on a yearly and average monthly basis. Click here to access all previous monthly income updates.

If you’re a first-time visitor, I track my investment income (aka passive income) publicly as opposed to net worth. I still track my net worth (using the free tool Personal Capital), but for me, sharing investment income is more aligned with reaching my primary financial goal, which is to retire completely and never work again at age 55.

Check out my recent post Goals and Resolutions (Inspired by My Kids). It summarizes my goal performance in 2015 and sets some new goals and resolutions for 2016.

Free eBook – Build Your Streams of Income

Today, I’m excited to announce the completion of a brand new eBook I’ve been working on. This eBook is ideal for investors looking to diversify their income by creating multiple income streams.

The eBook is completely free for new RBD email subscribers!

It’s called 6 EASY Income Streams You Can Start Building TODAY.

Click here to subscribe and get the eBook!

I wrote this eBook with beginner and intermediate investors in mind. I’ve found success in creating multiple streams of income and want to share tips that will benefit others.

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Current subscribers, feel free to contact me and I’ll send you a copy.

Thanks to everyone who has found this blog and continues to read my new material. I very much appreciate the readership and comments. Please check out the Blogfeed too. It’s a great place to find related content written by my peers in the personal finance and investing worlds.

Investment Income Received in December 2015

The S&P 500 index ended the month of December down -1.75% from the previous month. For the year of 2015, the index was down -0.73%. After all the ups and downs during the year, the market was essentially flat in 2015.

 

December was another record-breaking dividend month for my portfolio. I received $659.68 in dividend income. That’s the most I’ve ever received.

The big payers this month were long-standing holdings Chevron (CVX) and Coca-Cola (KO)

From other income sources, I received $10.03 of interest on cash, $70.08 in positive cash flow from my rental property (but that will go up next month) and $94.61 of net interest income from investing at Lending Club (read my latest Lending Club investing review here). My peer lending account had a really nice bump up this month due to investing in higher yielding notes and avoiding short-term defaults.

The grand total from all of my sources of investment income was $834.40. This brings my year-to-date total investment income received to $6,175.06, surpassing my goal of earning $5,750 in 2015.

Summary of Investment Activity for December 2016

December was a good time to get rid of a losing stock. Cummins (CMI) was one of my big losers in 2015. Instead of holding on in the 80’s, I decided to unload the stock for tax loss purposes. The move will lower my tax bill this year. I may buy the stock again after 30 days.

I added one new holding to my portfolio, Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM), and kept putting funds toward stocks in my no-fee portfolio.

December was also the first month accounting for a new motif I bought through Motif Investing. I created and bought a motif (which is kind of like an ETF that you create yourself with up to 30 stocks) made up of industrial stocks. The yield is kind of low at 1.89%, but it was a quick way to diversify my holdings into many stocks (at one low price of $9.95).

So far I’m a big fan of Motif Investing. In addition to motifs, you can buy individual stocks for just $4.95 a piece. And, they’re planning to offer IPO access to individual investors in the new year.

Here’s a summary of investing activity for December 2015:

Accounting for the CMI sale, new purchases and the rent increase, my forward 12-month investment income (F12MII) increased to $7,227.28 or $602.27 per month. This was a $465.92 and 6.89% increase over last month, and a $2,104.54 and 41.1% increase year-over-year.

I consider the $7,227.28 in F12MII the most important number because it represents an estimated amount of money I would receive via investment income if I stopped working today.

Here’s a chart tracking my progress as of December 2015:

December 2015 Received vs Projected Monthly

Motif Investing

For now, I’ve created and invested in one industrial stock motif. It contains 24 dividend paying stocks that I believe make good long-term investments.

I joined Motif Investing for the IPOs, but wanted to try a motif too. Late last year, the company announced it would be allowing IPO access for individual investors. We haven’t seen an IPO on the platform yet, but IPO investors are eager to get in on the first. I’m tracking upcoming Motif IPOs on a separate web page. Prospects are few at the moment due to lack of IPOs in the pipeline.

Though I opened an account for the IPOs, I’m sticking around for the ability to buy baskets of stocks at one low price ($9.95), and for the low $4.95 trade commissions for individual stocks. Motif has a slick user interface and has given us a whole new way to think about stocks and invest.

Click this link to learn more about investing in stocks and IPOs with Motif Investing. You can also sign up for the IPO email list on that page.

Fidelity

A few months back I mentioned that I made a somewhat speculative investment in Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR). Well, that was quite a wild ride.

In June, I bought 20 shares at $81 in my Roth IRA. Over the next six months, the stock traded down as low as $40/share. Then, as one of the worst stock performers of the year, it was bought out by a German company called JAB Holding Company at a 78% premium.

This dog of an investment was suddenly a winner, up 11% for the duration of my ownership. All along I liked the business (and I’m an avid user). The price action just goes to show how much sentiment can effect a stock. The buyout was a bailout for many of us. I’ll be using the proceeds to buy something more diverse and less volatile.

TD Ameritrade

The big move in my primary taxable stock account with TD Ameritrade in December was the tax loss selling of Cummins (CMI). I was too buying this stock and paid the consequences. The tax loss maneuver will save me about $450 when I file my tax return.

The move opened up the opportunity to buy a new holding. I’ve since purchased 30 shares of Archer-Daniels-Midland, a Dividend Aristocrat that has been paying and increasing its dividend for the past 40 years. The stock is my first foray into agriculture. I feel it’s a good diversification move and excellent opportunity to buy a great company at a fair price.

The 30 shares cost me $34.50 and adds $33.60 to my forward dividends. I’ll buy more if the stock continues to fall, up to 100 shares.

Loyal3

Note: As of May 22nd, 2017, Loyal3 is no longer in business having sold its customer list to FolioFirst. I’ve transferred all of my shares to TD Ameritrade. Read more about the Death of Loyal3 here

I’ve decreased the number of stocks I automatically invest in via Loyal3, from ten down to six. I still deposit $500 into the account each month, so that leaves $200 to invest in whatever stocks are undervalued.

Conclusion

The state of my portfolio is strong. My taxable dividend income account grew nicely this year despite the flat markets. In part, the growth was due to investing cash I had set aside to buy another rental property (that deal fell through). No new rentals are in the works.

Uncertainty may enter the equation in 2016 if I sell my current rental property. That event would unlock some serious cash that could be put to work in more stocks, or be kept in a liquid opportunity fund. Because I want to keep my options open in the next three to five years, I set less aggressive investment goals for 2016.

So far we’ve seen stock markets down because of a perceived (or real) slowdown in China. This could be a great time to get into US equities. Gas prices are low (good for consumers) and jobs are being created. I’ve been adding new capital to accounts and buying. How about you?

Disclosure: Long all stocks mentioned in this article.

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13 Responses to Investment Income Updates – January 2015 through December 2015

  1. JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit January 13, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    The state of your portfolio definitely looks strong. Over $6k in investment income for the year and forward income over $7k. That’s some really good stuff. Great job on getting the ebook out. I hope to get one done myself at some point. I’m very intrigued by Motif and think I’ll be adding them to the mix sometime this year. Instant diversification in 30 companies of my choosing is very attractive. And the $4.95 individual stock purchases is nice as well. Hope you have a great 2016 and I’m looking forward to seeing the progress you make!

    • Retire Before Dad January 13, 2016 at 8:01 am #

      JC,
      Thanks a lot. I like Motif for a lot of reasons. The diversification is great and you can design it yourself(unlike an ETF) The only downside for me is figuring out how I want to account for it in my own tracking spreadsheets. I’m keeping it simple for now as one lump holding. Really looking forward to what they do with IPOs.
      -RBD

  2. brian503 January 13, 2016 at 8:08 am #

    Looks like the end of 2015 was a good one for you. Nicely done. Just riding the wave of the market and hoping to free up some cash to buy some more while things are on sale. 🙂 Congrats on the ebook!

    • Retire Before Dad January 13, 2016 at 9:49 am #

      Brian,
      December is always a strong close in terms on income. That’s when many companies and funds payout. My lending activities were strong too.

      Hopefully the eBook will help investors diversify their income more. I’m always looking for new income sources. Just sold some stuff on Craigslist recently!
      -RBD

  3. Dividend Growth Investor January 13, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    RBD,

    The ability to create your own basket of stocks and buy it with the click of one button is really appealing in Motif.

    Congratulations on your record investment income. Slow and steady is truly the name of the game.

    Good luck in hitting your 2016 goals!

    Dividend Growth Investor

    • Retire Before Dad January 13, 2016 at 9:53 am #

      Thanks a lot DGI. Yeah Motif is an interesting way to invest in smaller ‘ideas’ instead of bigger ETFs. I’m still new, but curious how smooth selling or taxes will be.

      2016 should exciting for a lot of reasons. Good luck with your newly sets goals as well.
      -RBD

  4. BLD January 13, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    Nice job RBD and congrats on a record setting Dec. Appreciate the tips on tax lost harvesting – I took advantage for some QCOM that I had bought in early 2015. This year is off to a bang for me already with the market drops creating what seem to be buying opportunities. I’ve jumped into some WFC and GM already to increase exposure in financials and consumer discretionary. I’m also getting serious about Lending Club after reading your articles on it to create a new income stream. Here’s to a prosperous 2016 for everyone.

    • Retire Before Dad January 13, 2016 at 10:02 am #

      BLD,
      Thanks. Glad to hear you are taking advantage of tax loss selling for QCOM. Another blogger, I think DivGro did the same thing.

      I’ve bought some already too in January. Added some index funds to my wife’s Roth. Also opened a new position in UNP.

      Lending Club is a solid way to increase investment income. This was a particularly good month. After 2 1/2 years, my returns are still above 10%. If the economy goes south, I’m sure returns will take a hit. But over the long term, investing this way will be come more commonplace and risk will continue to be better defined. Online lending is still in the early stages of growth.
      -RBD

  5. Tawcan January 13, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    Looking good Retire Before Dad. $6k of investing income is pretty solid. Good idea on the tax loss selling. Good luck in 2016!

  6. KenK January 13, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

    RBD,

    To start off congrats on publishing your book. To accomplish this while trying to achieve your goals, maintaining family and work life is impressive, you should be proud of yourself.

    When a strategy is working you cannot help but get juiced and keep on the path, kudos to you!

    CMI is a good investment unfortunately you just pulled the trigger to early (I did the same thing in June). But you used to your advantage 🙂

    Looking forward toward your 2016 posts

  7. SavvyFinancialLatina January 14, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    Congrats! Keep on working hard 🙂

  8. Financial Samurai January 25, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

    I’m digging the support for two of my favorite SF companies, PC and Motif! I consulted with PC in their offices for two years and am currently a consultant for Motif if you need me to relay any info or ask any questions.

    It is crazy how much money has flowed into Bay Area companies from investors, and how much PF bloggers are supporting SF. I really want to buy more property before Uber and AirBnB go public!

    S

    • Retire Before Dad January 26, 2016 at 7:00 am #

      Sam,
      Both offer products that consumers want. It’s no wonder money is flowing away from New York to the West Coast. Diversification at one low price and IPOs for Motif. And PC really opens your eyes to where your money is. Keeps things organized, and the net worth calculation is a great tool. PF bloggers are the perfect partner for these companies. Low cost ambassadors!
      -RBD

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