Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Review / December Preview, 2016

Mountain Climbing Gremlin here to talk about this past month and the future.  My ankle is doing well, well enough to climb a mountain?  Probably, but this mountain I am referring to is Financial Independence, or FI.  Today that mountain has gotten a little smaller, as I (we) have extinguished the last remnants of student loan debt.  Bye bye, no one will miss you.  In addition, I made three buys of which two were sizeable.  Then to top it off, November had Thanksgiving, which is a great time to see family.  Sure there are always negatives, and shocks (like that crazy relative of yours).  However, nothing is crippling me from earning that FI a little faster.  In fact, even negative situations provide opportunity.  So lets see how I did. 

November:

I bought three stocks this past month across my Loyal3, regular taxable, and Roth accounts.  In all, a total of $762.01 was invested, and that money should generate around $27 next year.  It is pretty nice to acquire securities like that.  In addition, YUM split off its China division, giving me a new position in YUMC.  YUMC will likely be sold at some point, but when is the real question.

Last month I brought in a total of $235.86 in dividends ($39.34 taxable, $58.71 Roth, and $137.81 in my IRA).  This is an increase from last year ($82.13 total) by 187.2%.  My SEP IRA really adds a new dimension, and its almost making this month apples to oranges in terms of a comparison.  I plan on keeping my method the same and recognizing that the SEP IRA has a big impact on total numbers in the short term.  Overall, not including my SEP IRA I am still up over last year.  Either way, over $200, sweet.

In terms of dividend increases, I realized two this month from YUM and American Express (AXP).  Both raises were around 11%, which is solid. 

Next month I will realize five raises, from McDonald's (MCD), Microsoft (MSFT), Union Pacific (UNP), VF Corp (VFC), and Emerson Electric (EMR).  The increases range from less than 1% for EMR to 10+% for MSFT and UNP. Thus far for 2016, I have realized 29 dividend increases!

December:

Things are getting exciting.  As I stated, student loans are trashed, all that remains are extremely low interest auto loans.  Looking ahead, I will be to saving a solid amount of cash.  This is related to the fact that my wife and I will look to get a house sometime in the next 2 years.  I want to go in with a decent down payment to make sure we get what we want.

Since I did not post a beers of Thanksgiving, just a simple review, perhaps I will do a beers of Christmas.  Wintertime has the best seasonal stuff in my mind.

Next month should produce around $240 in dividends, which is a 136% YOY increase, most of which is attributable to my new IRA. I am now ahead of last year, and I need to remain focused.

My portfolio page is currently up to date.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Recent Buys, November 2016

Thanksgiving Come Early Gremlin here to talk about some more recent buys.  I hope you all, at least those of you in the USA, are ready for a day of cooking, turkey, and fun.  I sure am, and the plan is to get into pure relaxation mode for that whole weekend.  To be fair, Thanksgiving is probably my 4th or 5th favorite holiday (blasphemy, I know), but I can still crush stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all the fixings at will.  I hope all of you are as hungry for turkey as I am and for pushing forward with FI!  This month, I made three purchases in three different accounts.  They were all small, but also fee free, which is super cool.

First, I added shares of Ameriprise Financial (AMP) in my Roth account, this is an addition to an existing position.  I bought 5 shares, with a total cost of $437.07 ($87.41 / share).  The current yield is 2.63%, but when I purchased it the yield was closer to 3% (on current cost).  That difference between the yield now and then is due to a massive, almost $20 / share, run up in cost immediately following our recent election cycle.  Needless to say, its cool and mind boggling.  The P/E ratio for AMP sits today at 15.53, but it was closer to 12 when I made the purchase.  I am generally interested in asset managers and other financials, and this seemed like a nice opportunity to increase an existing position.  This purchase will add $15 to my Roth totals next year.

Second, I added a share of VF Corp (VFC) to my Loyal3 account.  The current yield is 3% (on current cost).  The P/E ratio is much better than it has been around 21, but the payout ratio on the yield is a sweet 35-ish-%.  That leaves a lot of room for growth, and it is a company I really like so this just another brick in that wall.  This purchase will add $1.68 to my Loyal3 account totals next year.

Lastly, I added shares of Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) to my taxable account.  I bought 5 shares, with a total cost of $264.94 ($52.99 / share).  The current yield is 4.22%.  The P/E ratio is around 12.69, which is very good.  The payout ratio is approximately 47-50%, which still leaves room for growth.  In general the big Canadian Banks provide a lot to love.  I plan on adding to my other Canadian Bank, CIBC (CM), next month.  This purchase adds about $11 to my totals next year, pending foreign exchange valuations.  

I have two more free purchases to use before the year is up, and I plan on putting those to work next month.  These investments are made with an eye on 2017 and beyond.  All of them are in great companies that have excellent histories.

What do you think of AMP, BNS, and VFC?

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

- Gremlin
- Long AMP, BNS, CM, VFC

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November, 2016 Brewery Review

Patriot Gremlin here on Election Day!  Now I know, and hopefully you do too that all of the USA's founding fathers were either brewers (well Sam Adams and T. Jefferson were) or enjoyers of the craft (Now that is definitely true - though wine, applejack, and cider were the top drinks).  So in honor of the national history I will do a quick review of a local brewery to honor their legacy.  The brewery in question is located in the DC area and is named Denizens.  Their layout is nice, with an upper and lower area plus they do have bottling services so you can find their creations outside of their main location (which is important).  However, it will be hard to find anything they make outside of the general DC area.

So in running through their beers, there were four main candidates.  Each was very different from the other and I would argue that these are the best four they had out of the 9 or 10 they had on tap.  So here they are below on a scale of sip, sample, half pint, and full glass (not displaying their branded names).

Sip - Porter: Not my favorite breed in general, but among those who do prefer the more coffee or chocolate-centric flavors, this is the one for them.  Having tried it I would say that it is not too heavy on either flavor and is fairly light as it goes down.  This is what I would recommend for staying in near a fire during a snowstorm.  3.2/5

Sample - Rye IPA: In general I drink a fair amount of IPAs, but I prefer those more with a floral flavor versus the very bitter.  This was not too bitter, which can be common with rye types, but it did have a nice floral finish.  This is a summer and early fall drink right here for me.  3.5/5

Half Pint - Belgian Triple: Do you like sledgehammers?  Because this is a sledgehammer.  Most people will only need one glass of this before they have to hail a taxi to get home.  Still, it had a great taste with a great spice mix, and it was light going down.  I have to say I would have drank more of this, had I not known it was a trap with its 10% alcohol (A. By Volume) content.  4.2/5

Full Glass - Kvass: This is a sour beer, so if you don't like sour beers then quit right now.  I love sour beers, even though they are hard to find.  Kvass is an Eastern European style drink, which has morphed here into a beer.  Typically low in ABV (normally kvass is 0.5-1% ABV, this one is 3.5%), this sour is loaded with flavor.  This is my top by far and the one I would most consistently return to.  4.8/5

Happy / Hoppy Voting!

Gremlin 4 Pres:

Monday, October 31, 2016

October Review / November Preview, 2016

Almost Healthy Gremlin here to talk about this past month and the future.  So far my ankle's recovery has gone well, though its still not at the point where I can run at a meaningful pace or distance, and I look as graceful as a baby deer.  Still, its better and continues to get better so hopefully that is finished soon.  On the home front the household student loans stand at less than $1k, which means they are almost over.  In addition, my new employee stock program and 401k have started accumulating.  Looking around at everything else I can say I am excited for winter, hockey, and for fantasy football to end.  I have got to learn to do a split football team in the future, and by split I mean just show up for the draft party but not draft... 

October:

I bought two new stocks in my new SEP IRA, however due to my lack of paying attention I neglected to post those buys so here I go.  I bought 30 shares of HCN for a total cost of $2,101.13 and 75 shares of OHI for $2,497.95.  Those are two huge purchases and round out the SEP IRA investments for a long time.  Only a negligible amount of cash remains in that account, and I will probably not be deploying that plus new dividends until next fall.  In the meantime I will soak up those dividends!

I also rounded out my position in YUM on Loyal3.  This is the final purchase I will make into YUM for a while, and I am deciding what action I will take on the YUM China (YUMC) stock, which  I will receive in November.  Exciting times over there at Loyal3 to be sure.

Last month I brought in a total of $81.58 in dividends ($61.22 taxable, $20.36 Roth).  This is an increase from last year ($53.45 total) by 52.6%.  Next month my SEP IRA will start to kick in distributions, and it will probably annihilate prior totals I have posted before.

In terms of dividend increases, I realized two this month from Realty Income (O) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS).  The raises ranged from 0.2% to 3% (approximate in $USD from $CAD). 

Next month I will realize two raises, from YUM and American Express (AXP).  The increases are around 11% each. Thus far for 2016, I have realized 27 dividend increases!

November:

Things are getting exciting.  As I noted above, one of my wife's student loans is gone.  Looking ahead two months, I will start to save a solid amount of cash.  This is related to the fact that my wife and I will look to get a house sometime in the next 2-3 years.  I want to go in with a decent down payment to make sure we get what we want.

I will post a Beers of Thanksgiving article, which will highlight my favorites for this time of year.

Next month should produce around $200 in dividends, which is a 426% YOY increase, most of which is attributable to my new IRA. I am now ahead of last year, and I need to remain focused.

My portfolio page is currently up to date.

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Loyal3 Buys, Oct. 2016

Fall Gremlin here to talk about how I've been improving my portfolio via Loyal3.  Things have been coming along pretty well for the past few months, and I added a few shares to in Loyal3 as noted on my monthly updates.  Finally, I got my position in YUM up to a point I am satisfied with.  YUM is about to spin off YUM China (YUMC) at the beginning of November so it is easy to understand why I pursued YUM.  Once the deal is completed I will own shares in both, but YUMC will clearly be its own animal.  Part of me would still like to have seen YUM carry on as is.  There is a strength in companies like Johnson and Johnson (JNJ),  where width of their brands and innovation complements their depth.  Hopefully, after the spin off the two YUMs both do their thing and do it will.

I bought 3.2654 shares of YUM for $290.  This will add $6.66 to my forward annual income, considering the recent dividend raise.  More importantly, my total number of YUM shares now stands at just above 12, and I am happy with the size of the position currently ~ enough to start buying other things.

YUM has been the focus of this account for much of the past few months.  With other finances back in order and a slightly larger free hand, I will be able to tackle other Loyal3 stocks moving forward.  It is still my plan to fill up positions to a specific point, then merge them with my regular account.  This will create a lot more buying power concentrated in one place, which is the ultimate goal. 

Either way, have a great rest of October and enjoy the start to fall!
- Gremlin
- Long YUM and JNJ

Saturday, October 1, 2016

September Review / October Preview, 2016

Hobbling Gremlin here to talk about this past month and the road ahead.  The road ahead starts with a twisted ankle, which will slow up my personal progress, but not my FI progress.  As I write this I know that one of my wife's student loans is gone (the highest interest loan which was at 6.8%).  There is still a 2.8% loan out there for her education, and that one is looking like it will be done next month.  Otherwise the normalcy of life has started again with the school year restarting.  This also means two paychecks back in the house, time to make these next few months count.  Though that normalcy is also to be short-lived, when you live in the DC area, election time should fill you with dread.  Not the dread of whoever wins, rather the dread of road closures and stupid rules for traffic. 

September:

I bought a bunch of new stock in my new Pre-Tax IRA account, which was funded with rollover money from my old 401k.  This was done in two phases; phase 1 and phase 2.  I will begin count these dividends along with others, but they will not be counted towards my year end goals. In addition, I added one share of YUM in my Loyal3 account, but only one so it was not worth an article. 

Last month I brought in a total of $115.43 in dividends ($75.50 taxable, $39.93 Roth).  This is an increase from last year ($79.91 total) by 44.5%.  Growth surely cannot maintain such high percentages, but with the new pre-tax IRA counting in the future surely the numbers will begin to balloon.

In terms of dividend increases, I realized four this month from Hershey's (HSY), Kellogg's (K), Realty Income (O), and Target (TGT).  The raises ranged from 1% to 7%. 

Next month I will realize two dividend increases.  They will be from O and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS).  The increases range from around 0.2% to above 2.8%. Thus far for 2016, I have realized 25 dividend increases!

October:

Things are getting exciting.  As I noted above, one of my wife's student loans is gone.  Since last December (when I first looked into this) we have plowed $7.6k into her debt and now just about $850 remains.  It may seem like a small drop in the bucket, but it is a huge stride forward.  Within a few months our savings will be bouncing along with more investments.  This is the start of something big, I can feel it.

Next month should produce around $80 in dividends, which is a 51% YOY increase. At this point I will already eclipse last year's totals, which is just great.  .

My portfolio page is currently up to date.

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Recent Buys Part 2, Sept. 2016

Relaxed Gremlin here to talk about some more recent buys.  Before I get started, let it be known that the reason I am relaxed is because I did a good number on one of my ankles recently, I won't be moving at a pace faster than a hop for a little while.  So, after much deliberation and thinking I have decided to keep all of my old 401K as pre-tax money.  I view my future retirement as something best dealt with by attacking from multiple angles, akin to a Hydra.  The cool thing is that one day my other retirement accounts will need to be dumped, and they will have a home waiting for them.  So let's get to it, what did I buy and why?  For starters these are definitely different companies than I bought in my last round a little over a week ago.  They are strong, but as I said different.

First I added shares of Westlake Chemical Corp. (WLK), which is a new position in my IRA account, and it is my first Basic Materials sector stock.  I bought 25 shares, with commission.  The current yield is 1.50% (on current cost).  I like WLK a lot, they have been aggressive in expansion and done a nice job at growing the dividend over the past few years with a growth streak of 13 years.  They have low P/E and payout ratios compared to the rest of the industry, 12.3 and 18% respectively.  These are excellent numbers.  To build on that they just acquired rival Axiall.  From what I read about them I see they have good leadership, an eye on growth and they exist in a boring - but needed - industry.  Here is a brief description from them:

"Westlake Chemical Corp was founded in 1986. It is a manufacturer and marketer of basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers and fabricated products. The Company's products include some of the chemicals, which are fundamental to many diverse consumer and industrial markets, including flexible and rigid packaging, automotive products, coatings, residential and commercial construction as well as other durable and non-durable goods. The Company operates in two principal business segments, Olefins and Vinyls, and it is one of the few North American integrated producers of vinyls with downstream integration into polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, fabricated products."

Second I added shares of CVS Health Corp (CVS), which is a new position in my IRA account (note they will be classified as Healthcare in terms of sector, because that is their largest segment).  I bought 25 shares, with commission.  The current yield is 1.90% (on current cost).  The P/E ratio is just around fair to slightly high at 20, but the payout ratio on the yield is a sweet 35%.  CVS needs a lot less of an introduction, though it should be said it has paid dividends at an increasing rate for 13 years too.  CVS is almost on as many street corners as Starbucks these days.  They also just inked a huge deal to manage and run Target's (TGT) in store pharmacy.


What I like most about CVS is just that, their pharmacy department.  The amount, type, and reliance on certain types of medicine seems to only be trending in one direction, and that is higher.  Few others are poised to do this at the capacity of CVS (though RiteAid and Walgreens certainly can).  In addition, that income is augmented by strong retail and consumer staples sales.  What is even crazier is how much room they have to grow and it does not even touch the amount of sales growth that their division of TGT pharmacies can bring to the table.



All in all, both buys are not going to be golden eggs layers today, but they may be tomorrow.  They also represent growth in the face of economic downturn.  After all both increased their payouts during the recent recession.

What do you think of WLK and CVS?

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

- Gremlin
- Long WLK, CVS, and TGT
- Fuller disclosure, my first part time job was at a CVS many years ago.