Category Archives: Dividend Stocks

Losing the Lottery and Updated March Goals

This morning after I awoke to my alarm, as my ritual, I checked my email as my blurry eyes adjusted to the new day, and there it was much earlier than expected. The official results to my lottery entry from The Chicago Marathon. My heart jumped as I opened the file, but alas, it was bad news, I did not make it in to the event. Now my only chance is through my good friend M. M works for a non-profit and when I told her that I was trying to get an entry to the Chicago Marathon through the Lottery, she said her non-profit has a few entries available. I am waiting to hear what that involves.

It seems kind of funny that I am just now listing Updated March Goals, because I never posted initial March Goals. I guess they were just in my head. So here we are almost ½ way through the month and I’m getting around to posting them, oops! Better late than never, right?

1. Run/Walk 60 miles (originally this was 90, but I know that’s just not doable, given I only ran about 20 last month)
2. Read the Bible every week (daily is still a goal, but doesn’t always happen, I have a set schedule, and as long as I keep to the weekly schedule, I should finish the Bible in 3 years, kind of a snail’s pace)
3. Lose weight! Get back in the 140s, how did I get so off track! (Running should really help, also trying the 5:2 diet)
4. Organize portfolio and figure when to sell a couple stocks that just haven’t been performing for me (they lowered their dividends, but I just didn’t pull the trigger and sell them, now I regret it. Regret to the tune of about 6K in loss, ouch, that’s a big oops!)
5. Research some new more stable dividend stocks (don’t get greedy, that is my downfall, steady, long term 3-4%, nothing too crazy)

B is traveling a lot this month, so I will have quite a bit of time to myself. I should be able to eat pretty light and have plenty of time to exercise. Right now he is gone until 3-22, so my mini goal is to lose 5# by the time he comes home.

Portfolio bumps: $’s vs %’s

As our portfolio grows, which we are incredibly thankful for, I am getting a little more anxiety. With the ups and downs of the market, 1-2% fluctuations that were once just a couple hundred dollars, are now often over five hundred dollars. This makes me a little nervous, having more means having more to lose. How can I stay the course and stay calm?

One thing I do when looking at my portfolio when noticing a loss, I switch my format from $ to %, for me when I see the percentage is small, it makes the loss easier to accept. I realize that this is normal, some days are up, some are down, as long as we’re ahead for the long haul, that is all that matters.

With a larger portfolio, I am constantly aware of the need for research and cautious strategies. We’re saving for early retirement, and not just trying to make a quick few bucks. Plus I have become more aware of tax ramifications of investing. Our goal is to keep stocks longer than a year, so we can benefit from the current 15% capital gains tax as opposed to the normal higher income rate.  I am a little concerned about how the election might change the tax on capital gains. Time will tell. Either way, we will stay the course, but if we see a nice big bump in our stocks (like over 30%) we might SELL! I’m closely watching AT&T (T) and Abbott Labs (ABT). I might sell these two stocks before the end of the year to lock in the gains, then invest somewhere else more attractive.

I am so happy that I sold MCD in February when it was $99.75 I had bought it at $70.00, only 30 shares, but I held it over a year (that was just a fluke, I wasn’t concerned about tax consequences at the time, just wanted to lock in profits). I wish I had held onto TJMaxx (TJX) I sold it at $34.55 (after a 2/1 split) I had originally purchased at $44.99, so I had a nice gain on that stock too, but now I believe it is at up about 10pts from where I sold it. Oh well, hindsight!

Still kicking myself for not purchasing Walgreens (WAG) around $30.00/share, but maybe it will go down after quarterly earnings report, then we can jump into a few hundred shares?

We are currently sitting on about 10K cash, and I’m just not sure where we should put it. We also may add 5K before the end of the year, as our Emergency Fund is getting fat.  I really hate our money sitting idle in the bank earning money for them and nothing for us!

Our goals for the next 8 years are to add 40K/year to our pre-retirement  (non-401k) portfolio each year. I think this is completely reachable because B and I earn nice salaries and although we like to travel we don’t get caught up in lifestyle inflation. We are in the same house I’ve had for 14 years and it’s mortgage free. I realize we are in a unique situation, and we are thankful for our blessings every single day.  Have a great weekend!

Walgreens WAG

Walgreens WAG has been on my watch list for a few months, it has a nice little divi, 3.55%, falls around the price range in my comfort zone $30 ish, in fact for a little while there it was under $30/share.

It was a tempting play. However, it isn’t having a great year so far, YTD earnings are negative and I wonder Why? There could be so many reasons. Then earlier this week, I saw an announcement that former McDonalds CEO, James A. Skinner was named as non-executive chairman, does this mean he will have more power and influence more positive decisions for the company to move forward, be more competitive and also more profitable? The stock started to rise, was this real or my imagination. Was this announcement related to the rise? I put an order in to buy just under $30/share, well that never happened. Here we are just 4 days later, and the stock has jumped to $34/share! I missed the boat on that one. If it comes down, I’m going to make a trade. I have to remind myself to be patient. I jumped on Heska, and I’m not really happy that I was so quick to pull the trigger on that one. Ahh, live and learn, and hopefully the smart moves outweigh the stupid. We all pay a little stupid tax (as Dave Ramsey would say) once in a while.

Recent Buy – Heska Corp. (HSKA)

D When I first look at purchasing a stock, I make sure I at least understand what the company is doing, making or selling. I thank Buffett for that little tip.

This is a little company background from Scottrade.

Heska Corporation, incorporated in 1988, develops, manufactures, markets, sells and supports veterinary products. The Company is focused on the canine and feline companion animal health markets. It operates in two segments: Core Companion Animal Health and Other Vaccines, Pharmaceuticals and Products. The Core Companion Animal Health segment (CCA) includes diagnostic instruments and supplies, as well as single use diagnostic and other tests, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, primarily for canine and feline use. These products are sold directly to veterinarians by the Company, as well as through distribution relationships. The Other Vaccines, Pharmaceuticals and Products segment (OVP) includes private label vaccine and pharmaceutical production, primarily for cattle but also for other animals, including small mammals and fish. All OVP products are sold by third parties under third-party labels.
 
I’m a pet lover, and I know in a down economy people stay in more, focus more on family and pets. People love their pets.  My picture for this post is my dog, isn’t he the cutest! 
This company just started giving a modest dividend 3.35% and from an article on SeekingAlpha could make some significant gains this year. I am excited to watch and am pleased to have purchased 430 shares at $11.90. Of course I would have loved to have purchased in the single digits, but well, I was a little slow on the trigger.
 
I really want to analyze companies and not just chase dividends. I know that is not a good long-term strategy. But for the short-term, it’s just so enticing! What can I say, I’m young and impetuous! Easily excitable, prone to optimism. Currently my dividend portfolio is about half long-term holds (dividend rate of 5% or less) and about half short-term watching (probably too high but just so darn exciting). Hopefully by watching closely I won’t get burned. I know as I get closer to FI, I will be less risky. But honestly, if I wasn’t saving this money in this after tax investment account, I would probably be buying frivolous things like overpriced trips to Europe or a sports car to drive in the summer.
 
How you determine stock picks? What are your strategies? I’m always interested in hearing what my readers have to say, even if it’s critical, I appreciate the feedback.

Recent Buy – Atlantic Power (AT)

Last week the market took a little dip and I was able to pick up 500 shares @ $14.03 of a stock that had been on my radar for a while, Atlantic Power (AT). I had been looking at mining or power or oil and gas, as a new category to add to my small (but growing) portfolio. AT had lots of factors in its favor.

1) After listening to a recorded conference call, I see the company spent much of 2011 developing partnerships that will allow for increased income and maintain their high dividend. Even though they recorded a loss for 2011, they were building partnerships so their funds were well spent, IMO.

2) They have a decently high dividend, 8.05%, and they pay monthly. Woo hoo! For anyone who is keeping track, we now hold three stocks that pay monthly dividends.

3) This will probably not be a long term (probably not over 5 years) hold for me. I think high dividends are great, but I don’t want to hold more than half of my portfolio in what I would consider high dividend stocks (over 5%). I just don’t want the risk if dividend announcements go down and I feel I have to scramble to sell. Which makes me realize that my next buy should have a lower dividend rate.

That’s it for now, but I am working on a post where I report on my quarterly results and review. I am really excited about the trend I’ve seen since I’ve been putting more money in this account and investing for serious dividends. At this rate, 2012 is going to be fantastic! How has your 2012 started? Are you as optimistic as me, I hope so! Wishing all my readers a fantastic week. Hope you had a wonderfully and relaxing weekend.

Passive Income – Location Independent

Many people often start a side hustle while they are currently working to get some passive income, or side income that eventually can be their main income. Then Voila! Financial Independence. Sounds easy. It’s not.

Research, hard work, follow through, possible failure, restarts, knock downs, get ups, work. It all comes down to hard work.

I have relatives who have been quite successful in commercial real estate rental. This is appealing because real estate is a physical tangible asset. If the space is rented (ignoring possible defaults) there is an ongoing monthly income stream. However there is maintenance required and therefore you need to stay near the real estate to really make this type of income work, and then it really isn’t all that passive. This could be a viable option for us, as we would have help in finding a property and a possible tenant. It’s just that the down payment would have to come from somewhere and I am hesitant to take it from my current investments as I am pretty loyal to my dividend holdings.

Writing online and earning blog income is something I find appealing, however with my limited website knowledge, this would require additional learning, training and would require time and effort. I am not afraid of either the time commitment or the effort. I just am not sure where to look for this training, and I don’t want to sign up for a costly seminar where I don’t learn what I actually need to know. And of the however many bloggers out there could I make mine stand out and gain followers?

Network Marketing is something that I am interested in learning about. In April, B & I are going to a training conference by Market America, where we will learn strategies to grow our business as well as more about the products they promote. I really see this being something we can use for future income. It’s just a matter of getting out there. I know I will feel more confident and excited after receiving some training.

Finally there is Dividend Investing. I read almost daily about different investments and analysis. I am excited about this path of passive income and I am committed to regular savings and purchases. I think this is one of the best ways to earn passive income that is location independent. All you need is an internet connection, of course research and timing is crucial too. It is really exciting to receive those dividends in your account. It’s a rush to put the orders through and to watch your account rise!

How do you feel about earning passive income? What’s your strategy? How has it been working for you?

Is the RV lifestyle for Us? Or maybe explore Central America?

That might sound like an odd question for a couple in their mid 30s to ask themselves. However, we have the traveling bug and would love to slowly explore the United States once we are Financially Independent (FI).

There are two sites that I enjoy reading. Check them out!

The youngest snowbird is a site where the couple travels in an RV from Canada (where they call home and spend the summer) to different States in the Southern or Southwestern United States. This appeals to me, because we currently live in the snowbelt (althought this winter has been minimal in that respect) and *think* we would enjoy traveling to different warmer states during the winter and exploring national parks and museums and other low cost entertainment, amusement. Even sports like running/hiking/tennis can all be done for minimal cost. This couple is in their 30s and reached FI before I could hope to at 37! I do believe the husband works in the summer at a golf course, so they do have some traditional income, but I think the majority of their living expenses come from dividend income, inspiring! It’s like 50K! They live on about 30K and invest the difference. I read that she made most of her money from real estate in the 90’s Boom, great timing! I’m sure it involved hard work, research and I’m happy for them even though I don’t know them. I’m glad I can learn from their experiences.

Retire Early Lifestyle is a great resource for those who think they would enjoy traveling outside of the United States and explore countries where the US dollar has a higher value.  This site has lots of beautiful pictures and tips and they even sell a book for those who are looking for specific help in traveling in other countries. I have not yet read their book, so I can not provide a review, but as I get closer to my FI number goal I will purchase their book. This site is awesome because as it states on their site,

In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 22nd year of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience. And they are just getting started!

Talk about learning from experience! They have it! I believe they have a home base in AZ in a nice low cost active retirement community.

By reading these sites and really picturing our lives once we are FI, it helps to say no to the little frivolous things that would derail us from our goal of becoming FI. What helps you stay on track? What would you like to do with your life once you reach FI?