Monday, September 19, 2016

Recent Buys, Sept. 2016

Retirement Gremlin here to talk about some recent buys.  In the last few months I switched jobs, which freed up my old 401k money, which was promptly deposited into a new IRA with my broker.  I am contemplating moving some of the money to my Roth IRA via the backdoor conversion process, but a big slice of the money was going to be invested right away.  So last week I watched the market like a hawk, especially since it seems to be in a weird mood where it goes up on one day and down on the next.  No point in timing the market, but if a few dollars can be saved up front that will work.  If every dollar can be stretched out to provide a few more pennies, well then that could add up to a significant long term amount of money.  So just be aware these purchases were all made when stocks were generally trending downward for that day.

Anyways, there will be no individual listing about these stocks that now comprise the core of my new IRA.  These are all stalwarts; of the six stock purchases I made five are Dividend Champions and the other one is a Contender.  Some of them do share sectors, but none of them entirely share industries (though their is crossover).  Of the six, three are generally viewed as industrial.  The others are one in each of these spaces - consumer staples, healthcare, and telecommunications.  Enough blabbering here are the stocks purchased.

Thanks to My Dividend Pipeline for the idea of using screenshots for posting buys; I like it for big moves.
As you can see these are all big players in their respective industries.  My goal is to make this a very strong defensive account that will be ready and waiting for future 401k capture.  As noted above a decent amount of money is still available in this account.  The question becomes do I move it to my Roth after a time or invest it right away.  For now what is most important is knowing that my retirement is in my hands exclusively - and that is a freedom that is totally worth it.

Thanks for reading,
Long all stocks above.

Friday, September 2, 2016

August Review / September Preview, 2016

Getting back to business Gremlin here.  So this past month I started a new job.  One that I already know will have a measure of interest significantly greater than my last job.  It will involve some travel, in fact I've already been out on one trip to Kansas City, but not the life robbing travel I had before.  Also the money is way better, which is the key thing.  This month somewhat normal investing and debt squashing activities will resume.  Next month those will be ratcheted up in intensity.  No I did not build a gaggle of wealth in my 20s, but I am going to make up for that right now.


I bought no new stock of any sort, but much financial reading was done.

Last month I brought in a total of $95.21 in dividends ($36.50 taxable, $58.71 Roth).  This is an increase from last year ($67.45 total) by 41.6%.  The march forward is truly accelerating.

In terms of dividend increases, I realized one this month from from Discover Financial (DFS), which was really cool because I expected to have none.  The raise was around 7%. 

Next month I will realize four dividend increases.  They will be from Hershey's (HSY), Kellogg's (K), Realty Income (O), and Target (TGT).  The increases range from around 1% to above 7%. Thus far for 2016, I have realized 21 dividend increases.  Boom.


Things are about to get exciting.  To start, sometime between October and November I will clear out my wife's student loans.  Since last December (when I first looked into this) we have plowed $7.2k into her debt and now just $1.25k remains.  Its a drop in the damn bucket.  This reinforces my belief, along with my extra salary that my car can be paid off by the end of next year.  On top of that more money coming in means more investing.  Its exciting times to be sure.

Next month should produce around $114 in dividends, which is a 43% YOY increase.  I will almost have made as much already as I did last year.  On top of that due to my work change I have some extra retirement money to play with; my 401k is being migrated as we speak to a new Sep IRA with my broker.  That is about $31k, and once that comes online my dividends overall will rocket up (though I will not count them towards my goals until next year).  .

My portfolio page is currently up to date.

Hope everyone has a great August!
- Dividend Gremlin
- Long all stock tickers mentioned

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summer Travel, 2016

The London Shard...
Travel Gremlin here.  Its been about a month since I went on vacation, and all I can say is that it stinks that all of us don't get more time for stuff like this.  Such is the world.  Anyways, I've been busy since I got home, with a job transition currently underway and all the usual stuff on top of that.  So for starters, my plan for upcoming months will be to have three (3) posts each month.  I used to aim for four (4), but with new responsibilities and the course of life it is clear that will not remain nominally feasible.  Still, this is a post that I am extremely excited to write because it is about the fun stuff in life.  Do not worry though, I will begin with a little financial recap.

Our Journey:

We (my wife, I, and a friend) ventured to sunny - sorta - England to visit some friends.  We stayed in the UK for a week seeing parts of England and Wales.  Afterwards, the three of us hopped a flight to Italy, then met back up with our friends in Pisa and scooted around that part of Italy.  Our total time in Italy was around 7 days, for a total journey of around two weeks, and now my wife is staying she wants to travel again.  Traveling once makes you want to go again (having perfect weather helps too).

My favorite part about this journey is that we were able to go at all.  Our flights cost (my wife and I) $360 round trip.  That included flying to the UK from the US, to Italy from the UK, and back.  This was done using points transferred from my Chase Sapphire credit card to my United Frequent Flyer number.  Had we just purchased tickets it would have been over $3k.

When we went to Wales, I used hotel points through Hilton to acquire us three rooms in a hotel for three nights, with the final cost being $20 - just taxes.  Plus we stayed with our friends in England.  In Italy, we used AirBnB and found some real steals in the heart of a bunch of cities.  I am not promoting those products, but merely stating if you look hard enough (not that hard), you can find these deals are rampant.  The point here is most people can travel, if they are willing to listen and learn from pros online or in person who do this all the time.  I am far, far from an expert - so don't just take my word for it.

The United Kingdom:

Well for now it is anyway.  We went to two parts, England and Wales.  Also we benefited from a deep monetary discount, thanks to the Brexit.  30 year low in the Pound to USD.  Simply stunning.


Tower Bridge.
It is hard to describe any place, when you only see fractions of it.  Those parts we saw were really fun.  We spent most of our time in London and Cambridge, both gave a very unique cosmopolitan feel.  In some ways it reminded me of the USA (not just cause of the language), but the demeanor of the people.  They were hard working, but matched that with a hard play attitude.  That is right up my alley.  In addition, we saw some of the old towns in the Cotswolds  that sometimes show up in movies.  Among those was a town featuring the oldest 'inn' in England, and yes we got a beer there.  Favorite drink: Speckled Hen - cask. 


The view from Pen-y-Fan, Southern Wales' highest peak.
If the UK has a West Virginia, I've been told its Wales.  Of all the places in the UK I saw, I liked Wales the most.  Why?  Mountains.  We only saw the southern range, but those views and the effort to get there are some of the things that I enjoy the most.  We also sampled Cardiff, which is a nice small urban contrast to the mountains nearby.  Of extreme note, amazing Indian food was had in Wales - by far the best I've ever had.  Honestly it might have been my favorite food from the whole trip.  Favorite drink: Brains Amber cask (I don't remember the full name).


We arrived in Venice, made our way to Pisa, saw the Cinque Terre, and ended in Florence.  So many wows, oohs, and ahhs.  Places I likely will never see againMy favorite drink was red wine: specifically any house wine and definitely those 'Supertuscan' wines.  Though there was a microbrewery in Pisa that was excellent, so look for that if you are ever there.

A view of Venice from the Tower of San Marco.
Venice: This city has intrigued me for a long time.  As a person who thinks a lot about engineering, science, and urban planning - this city is a model in so many ways.  It is south of mountains and on the sea (near to the Adriatic), which are my two favorite types of places.  The streets are small and old, but it is a feel that cannot be replicated.  Of all the places in Italy we visited, this is the one I feel I need more time to see (not to belittle other places).

The Dolomites
One tour we did in Venice that I would recommend heavily, is to see the Dolomites.  Or if you are in Slovenia their mountains count too.  The Alps in general are gorgeous, and the Dolomites and the towns among them have their own outstanding charm. 

The Tuscan Countryside.
Tuscany: After Venice we went to Tuscany, and some neighboring areas.  We started in Pisa, went to Cinque Terre, and ended in Florence.  Of those three places I thought Pisa had the best nightlife for hanging out and mingling with locals.  Cinque Terre is well and beyond the most scenic.  Florence reigns in architecture.  The best food went to a few small places in both bigger cities, a fried seafood place in Cinque Terre, and to the Tuscan countryside where we went on a wine tour.  If you could only see one of the three, the answer is Cinque Terre its so unique and despite the crowds it feels more open than Florence.  In Cinque Terre you must hike the trails, but they are not easy.  The second one to see is Florence, which despite its architectural works, is just so crowded during the day.  I have no desire to be surrounded by 100 person tour groups, fair warning.

Manarola, part of the Cinque Terre.
Overlooking Florence.

Wrap up: The biggest mistake of this trip is that we are no longer on it, am I right?  Truly, all of these places hold their own unique charm.  I would gladly venture to any of them, just to get a fuller experience. 

I hope everyone has had or is having a great summer!
- Gremlin
- Long all beers and wines drank
- Sadly Short Pasta Carbonara right now.
*All pictures taken by me or someone riding shotgun.

Friday, July 29, 2016

July Review / August Preview, 2016

Back from vacation Gremlin here to talk about July and the next few months.   So vacation was great, I went to the UK and Italy and saw a lot of cool stuff.  I will put together a post on that soon, just been lazy of late.  I watched the end of the Euros over there and was happy to see CR7 and Portugal win (why? because he is a good player, and its nice to see a new team win, especially from a smaller nation).  Though, Iceland winning would have been cooler.

Now the focus is on my new job, which starts in less than two weeks.  In the mean time I will be wrapping up my current position.  One thing I will note is that my pay schedule will change from once every two weeks to monthly, which sucks.  This will mean cash is tight for a brief period, however my salary increase will really start to fit in quickly, and debts will be punished.


I was able to put $90 and purchased a new share of YUM stock.  It was a small purchase, and I did not feel like it warranted any posting.

Last month I brought in a total of $84.98 in dividends ($65.47 taxable, $19.51 Roth).  This is an increase from last year ($77.69 total) by 9.4%.  Not a bad increase, but it could have been higher had I held onto Chubb stock, but I am happy with my decisions concerning that situation earlier this year.  Those transactions have given my DFS and AMP stock.

In terms of dividend increases, I realized two this month from from Realty Income (O) and CIBC (CM).  The raises ranged from 0.5% to 2.5% (local currency). 

Next month I will realize no dividend increases. Thus far for 2016, I have realized 20 dividend increases.  Boom.


Our only long term debts are our cars and my wife's student loans, and her loan won't last the year.  With my new job rapidly approaching there will be a brief hiatus on putting extra cash towards debts, until I start getting paid.  Once that happens, all bets are off and I will be crushing debts with this extra cash.

Next month should produce around $91 in dividends, which is a 35% YOY increase.  Investing wise this will be a bare bones month or two.  Once my pay period becomes more regular, watch out debt, watch out.

My portfolio page is currently up to date.

Hope everyone has a great August!
- Dividend Gremlin
- Long all stock tickers mentioned

Friday, July 1, 2016

June Review / July Preview, 2016

Summer Gremlin here to talk about June and July.   In less than a week I will be traveling to Europe, and I am very excited.  I have also accepted a new job offer.  Things are really starting to pick up steam in my day to day life.  The goal for the second half of the year is to really annihilate some debt and begin grooming my financial situation towards a house or kids or both.  Such is life.


I was able to put $275 to work in Loyal3 over the course of last month.  I added no new Loyal3 positions this month. I did add a new position in Abbott Labs (ABT) in my Roth account using a free buy to seize the day as much as possible on the Brexit news.

Last month I brought in a total of $116.44 in dividends ($77.13 taxable, $39.31 Roth).  This is an increase from last year ($67.80 total) by 71.7%.  These amounts and the increase is as expected.  This is officially now my biggest month ever, which is really cool.

In terms of dividend increases, I realized four this month from Pepsi Co (PEP), Unilever (UL), Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), and Exxon Mobile (XOM).  The raises ranged from 2.4% to 15%.  Overall this is fairly successful growth.  Those are my favorite kind of raises.

Next month I will realize two dividend increases: CIBC (CM) and Realty Income (O).  The increases range from 0.5% 2.3%.

Thus far for 2016, I have realized 18 dividend increases, and after July it will be 20 total.  Boom.


Our only long term debts are our cars and my wife's student loans, and her loan won't last the year.  I will continue next month to throw some extra money at her student loans and my car.  If we paid her student loans at the minimum rate it would take around 1 year to finish otherwise.  I have already gotten ahead on my monthly payments on my car and that will not stop as well.  Her student loan should be finished around September or October, if everything else remains constant.

Next month should produce around $85 in dividends, which is a 10% YOY increase.  On the Loyal3 front I will probably invest $200 on existing positions.  I am trying to pump up our safety net savings a little bit on the side as well, which is the reason for the slight edging down of Loyal3 investing, especially as we head into summer.

My portfolio page is currently up to date.

Hope everyone has a great July!
- Dividend Gremlin
- Long all stock tickers mentioned

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Recent Buy, June 2016

I <3 Travel Gremlin here to talk about a recent buy.  In about a week from now I leave for Europe, which will be great.  In between now and then a month will end and another will start; I will update my holdings and income in that time frame.  In the meantime things are really busy both at work and elsewhere in preparation for July 4th.  Plus I accepted a new job, which will start in August.  Needless to say, there are loads and loads of things going on so I'm going to make this one short.

Recently the "Brexit" gave a lot investors and banks some serious headaches, and people withdrew their money in a fury.  A bunch of people probably lost money and some folks are probably still running around like the proverbial headless chickens.  Long term investors, I hope you all got the memo and a little more of that pie.

Yesterday I added shares of Abbott Laboratories (ABT), which is a new position in my Roth account.  I bought 13.9 shares at $37.41 / share, with no commission.  The current yield is 2.74% (on current cost).

I am not going to dive to heavily into ABT's history, but suffice to know if you had held them and their spinoffs (like ABBV) since the 1980s, you'd be doing great.  I like their current valuation, which momentarily was made sweeter thanks to the voters in the UK, cheers on that.  ABT also is a healthcare stock, and I am really looking to increase my holdings in that sector

This was a rather small purchase, most of my money is currently busy wiping out debt, planning for Europe, or in my taxable investment account.  That account is going through a name transition due to my marriage stuff, so I decided to do what I could in my Roth at the time being.  So, expect at some point this position to be expanded upon.

What do you think of ABT?

I will update my portfolio page at the end of the month.

- Gremlin
- Long ABT

Friday, June 24, 2016

Loyal3 Buys, June 2016

Summer Heat Wave Gremlin here to talk about how I've been improving my portfolio via Loyal3.  It's an interesting time in the world right now, with all of the turmoil and the Brexit among other things.  One thing that I am fairly confident of, regardless of political situations, is that people and markets will continue to grow and expand in the long run.  For that reason I am not in a state of fear like the market was this Friday.  Rather I see it as an opportunity to invest - sadly my Loyal3 investments were done prior to this market upheaval.  Still I plan on putting some capital into the market as soon as possible to take advantage, but that is not what we are talking about here is it?  So let's get to it, what did I do?

I bought 3.2803 shares of YUM for $275, down from $360 or a 23% decrease.  This will add $6.04 to my forward annual income.  Definitely not my biggest investment month recently, but there is a lot going on right now in my life.  Summer is here, things are happening, life is being lived, and so it goes.  I am at moment less than 3 weeks out from a killer vacation and my wife has finished her school year.  On top of that I am looking at switching jobs, which should increase my (our) annual income significantly.  It will be great; debt will be crushed, money will be saved, and investments will be grown.  You heard it here first, really you read it and no one cares, except me.

Now a quick note on the Brexit.  This will effect the economy of the world - in some ways powerfully and others through just tiny ripples, though my advisement is to not trust the 'experts' on this.  Specifically experts advertising gloom and doom on either side of the issue.  Why?  Simple, we are in completely uncharted territory.  As a student of history, all I can say is that an event of this magnitude has not happened in recent history, at least a peacefully.  Truly it is so much more than that.  Sure plenty of times mirror this even in recent memory (S. Sudan, the break up of Yugoslavia, and even the dissolution of the League of Nations).  If you went back further than that to the dissolution of old empires after WWI, the fracturing of empires through the world in India, China, etc.  However, none of those were as all encompassing as the member states' relationship with the EU.

That being said, I would be remiss if I did not mention I still understand the move.  While I think it is shortsighted in terms of economics, it should remind USA folks that it was what we did.  As the phrase goes "don't tell me how to live."  That being said, economics may heal, but I do doubt they will ever be as strong as they were.

Either way, have a great weekend and regardless of wear you stand on that issue do get outside and enjoy the summer!

- Gremlin
- Long YUM