Friday, May 3, 2019

Recent Buy, May 2019

Outdoor Gremlin here to discuss a recent buy.  The weather has finally started to give us some beautiful spring weather in the DC area, which means of course sudden down pours and two weeks before the humidity becomes intense.  In the meantime, I hope to soak in as much of this perfect season as possible.  Luckily, my son loves to be outside as much as possible, so it will not take any arm twisting to get people outside for hikes, runs, etc.  Anyways, good weather and improving my financial portfolio always puts me in a good news so... what did I buy?

Today, I added shares of Evercore Inc. (EVR) in my taxable account.  I bought 11 shares, with a total cost of $1,052.22 ($95.02 / share, plus commission).  The current yield is 2.45%. For a detailed summary of their history, etc. please visit: EVR's Seeking Alpha Profile.

EVR joins my positions in Eaton Vance (EV), Amerprise Financial (AMP), T. Rowe Price (TROW), the big 5 Canadian banks, American Express (AXP), Discover (DFS), and Prudential (PRU) in my financial and asset management sector.  The financial sector has been and continues to be one of my main target areas, as they say follow the money.

What I like most about EVR is how they are involved in a lot of private and specialty transactions.  They provide advisory services relating to "mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, leveraged buyouts, restructurings, shareholder activism and defense, and related corporate finance matters; and services related to securities underwriting, private placement services, and commissions for agency-based equity trading services and equity research" - from the Seeking Alpha link (Evercore's website also says it nicely).  That is an interesting line of work that most of the other financial companies I own.  Yes, many of those other companies are undoubtedly involved in lots of those lines of business, however that advisory services group is uncommon.  So part of what I am buying here is ownership of those consulting style skills in a somewhat niche industry.  What I like about that, is it adds to my financial sector diversity with a repeatable service.

This purchase will add $25.52 to my forward 12 month dividend income.

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

What do you think of EVR?

- Gremlin
- Long EVR, EV, AMP, AXP, DFS, TROW, PRU, and the big 5 Canadian banks

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April Review / May Preview, 2019

Sneezy Gremlin here to discuss how I did for this past month, and what is ahead in the next.  It is allergy time, and the sneezes are strong with me.  I have found that caffeine and an allergy pill seem to be the best cure.  I never really had bad allergies, then I moved to the DC area where something in the air haunts me for a couple of weeks each spring and fall.  For the record I am getting my caffeine from 'bad' work coffee.  I never used to drink coffee, then I became a parent...  Also of note, I don't know what is good or bad coffee, which is for the best.  I like to save my taste buds for more refined purposes.  Anyways, between sneezes I was lap up some nice dividend stocks and increases.  Lets see how April was crushed.

April:

This month I made three purchases, acquiring shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and Matthews International Corp (MATW) in my retirement accounts and acquiring shares of WestRock Company (WRK) in my taxable account.

Last month I brought in a total of $102.76 in dividends ($82.96 taxable, $9.50 Roth, and $10.30 IRA).  This is an increase from last year (75.85 total) by 37%.

In terms of dividend increases, I realized* seven (7) raises from the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM), Coke Cola (KO), Realty Income (O), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), WalMart (WMT), and Kimberly Clark (KMB).  The increases are from about 0.2% to about 10%.  I have now realized 25 raises thus far this year.  I also realized one cut of approximately 33% by KHC.

Next month I will realize five (5) raises from the Apple (AAPL - forthcoming shortly...fingers crossed), Royal Bank of Canada (RY), Ameriprise Financial (AMP), Kinder Morgan (KMI), and General Dynamics (GD).  The increases are from about 6% to about 25%.

* I only count increases when realized, because until that money is delivered any statements or declarations are simply conjecture.

May:

The mortgage continues and I am putting a little extra cash towards the principal monthly - not a huge number, but every little bit counts. Our debts currently outstrip our assets (I choose not to count the house or cars as assets).  Outside of our house, we still have very low interest auto debt (1.5% for our car).  Debt is being eliminated, and we are aggressively building and assets.

My next purchase will be in May, which will make for 11 consecutive months of buys across all accounts.

Next month should produce around $304 in dividends, which is a 13% YOY increase.

My portfolio page is currently up to date.

Hope everyone has a great May.
- Dividend Gremlin
- Long all stock tickers

Friday, April 26, 2019

Gremlin Talks Wedding Attire

Teachable Gremlin here to discuss wedding attire, specifically for the groom's side.  Recently, I was in a wedding and that was a trip, a very fun expensive trip.  My mind was made up going into this week that I would discuss some measure of how to save money while hosting a wedding, while still managing to get all those great beers.  That could go one of a hundred ways, so I have decided to focus on just groom side wedding attire.  This is specific because I was in the wedding and I have experienced it now in multiple times.

Bridesmaids dresses can be expensive, and often are not worn multiple times, which is silly considering how expensive and nice* they are.  Luckily, groomsmen don't get those.  However, groomsmen attire can still be very fancy, expensive, and ridiculous.  Having been a groomsman 5 times and married just once, I can relate.

The key with groomsmen clothing is twofold: 1 make sure whatever you get is approved by your future spouse, and 2 make sure that what you get can be worn again.

1- This item should seem pretty straight forward, why wear something that your spouse would not like?  So get that approval first when looking at what clothing you are going to have don along with your 1-12** closest friends.  Now this item may seem straightforward, but for saving money it is not.  There should never be any reason that the groom has to buy a bunch of shirts to see how they fit and look - just go to the store together or the internet and decide together.  No one should be doing this charade more than one time.  Save money and time by making sure you don't make a wrong decision, and by letting the real decision maker help you make the right call (hint for all you future grooms out there).  Side note - for all guys who are really into fashion, cool, just still listen to your spouse unless you are told otherwise.

2 - This one is not as easy.  People live all kinds of varied lives with different types of work and social structures.  Some might need to dress fancy on a weekly occasion, some might do it once a year.  Try to make sure that any shirts, pants, and accessories be useful to those people.  That means if you are given the latitude to pick shirts and patterns, please don't make them stupid or ridiculous.  For instance, I have a shirt from a wedding that is so bad I refuse to wear it at work (and my sense of style is terrible per my wife).

Weddings don't need to be expensive, though some families will hop on that train the instant a wedding is announced.  Wedding attire is one of the many things people blow money on, where there is no need to.  Renting suits? Don't, buy one - it will pay you back after wearing it 2 or 3 times instead of renting more crap later.  Got a nice shirt? - great they likely will be able to use it at work or social functions after.  If people are going to pay a lump of cash to be in your wedding party, the least that you can do is make sure their wedding attire is not full of single use items.

Final note - if people are expected to spend more than $150, stuff better be useful...

* well they can be really weird too, I am going off my wife's judgments here.
** for the record I have never seen more than 8 groomsmen, but I have seen 12 bridesmaids...

Do you suit up all the time or just when you have to?  I only do it when I have to.

- Gremlin

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Recent Buy Part 2, April 2019

Worker Gremlin here to discuss another recent buy.  Its been a busy couple of weeks at work, and my work is not always enjoyable or exciting.  Indeed, if I suddenly had the money I would totally change what I do entirely.  So this purchase, like all the others before it, furthers my quest for financial independence.  In other news, I am headed to a wedding this weekend, which will likely be my next "Gremlin Talks" subject of discussion.  Frankly, this upcoming wedding has been and will be a shitshow - in both good and bad ways.  Yea, Marriage!  So, what did I buy?

A few days ago, I added shares of WestRock Company (WRK) in my taxable account.  I bought 30 shares, with a total cost of $1,094.95 ($36.27 / share, plus commission).  Once again, had I waited a single day my yield would be higher.  The current yield was 4.82% at the time of purchase. For a detailed summary of their history, etc. please visit: WRK's Seeking Alpha Profile.  Side note, SA's dividend evaluation is off, looking at the historical information elsewhere - I find they have approximately 10 years of growth and payments.

The materials sub-sector that WRK lives in - packaging and paper type products - is one that will grow with the human population.  They will also likely be at the forefront of creating better and smarter waste / recycling solutions.  Those will likely include reduction is material usage, which will lead to shipping cost savings and better efficiencies.  Those efficiencies and improvements still cost money, and groups like WRK will be there to soak that up like a sponge.

WRK is not the first materials company I own in the space, I have Sonoco Products (SON) in the same sub-sector.  I also own Eastman Chemical (EMN) and Westlake Chemical (WLK), which are in the broader materials sector.  I am running a bit high on my materials sector allocation, but WRK is sitting at such a good valuation that it was impossible to ignore.  All this means is my next buy will not likely be in this sector.

These purchases will add $54.60 to my forward 12 month dividend income.

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

What do you think of WRK?

- Gremlin
- Long WRK, SON, EMN, and WLK

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Recent Buys, April 2019

Travel Gremlin here to discuss two recent buys. The month is very young, and yet I am already making moves and adding to my accounts.  On top of that work seems to be getting busier, and this includes a brief trip out of town.  Sadly the trip is only for 1 night and I will not get a chance to see much of where I am going (womp, womp).  Also, having a 1 year old can be a challenge, so I do feel bad for my wife having to deal with our little ball of energy on her own.   All of this is a reminder to stay focused on my push to eliminate debt and move towards financial independence. That being said, both purchases are in retirement accounts, but the focus will be back on taxable accounts for most of the remainder of the year.  So, what did I buy?

1st: Yesterday, I added shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) in my Roth account.  I bought 17 shares, with a total cost of $1,093.36 ($63.91 / share, plus commission).  Once again, had I waited a single day my yield would be much higher.  The current yield was 2.77% at the time of purchase. For a detailed summary of their history, etc. please visit: WBA's Seeking Alpha Profile.

WBA joins CVS as the pharmacies in my portfolio.  There is a lot of discussion right now as to how they can both manage to survive with Amazon (AMZN), Walmart (WMT), Costco (COST), and other players competing in the space.  This coupled with the Opioid Crisis in the USA, and there is definite reason to doubt whether there is space for so many players.  Maybe to an extent this is true, and but at its core business mail delivery of medications has some substantial safety concerns that will need to be addressed.

Not just privacy, but the fact is online companies will be held to a much higher burden of proof when checking that no mistakes are made.  This would make integrated companies like CVS, with their purchase of Aetna, have an advantage.  WBA has the ability to match CVS in terms of tracking their patients, and this will be critical as the amount of drugs and their uses continues to rise.  For this reason, I do not fear the AMZNs of the world.  All it takes is 1 mistake by 1 company, and without human interaction the chances of this will likely increase.  Also, WBA is a dividend aristocrat, with 42 years in the bank!

2nd: Today, I added shares of Matthews International Corp (MATW) in my IRA account.  I bought 29 shares, with a total cost of $1,069.77 ($36.65 / share, plus commission).  The current yield is 2.15%. For a detailed summary of their history, etc. please visit: MATW's Seeking Alpha Profile.

MATW is an industrial company company that makes memorialization products.  What are those?  They are mainly gravestones, urns, etc.  This is a bet that current and future generations will not live forever.  The main risks here are 1 - people get buried less, which is fine as MATW has other products; and 2 - people learning to live forever (so far Keith Richards makes me question my original statement about people not living forever).

So far, MATW is a neat purchase with a good growth and dividend histories.  They play in a niche market with the other major player being Service Corporation International (SCI).  It may be a bit morbid to like the stock, but I see that their growth (I say that not in the sense of 'yay more dead people', you know what I mean!) will continue and both will be steady eddies for a while.  MATW has 24 years of growth, rubbing up against aristocrat territory.  MATW also has other smaller lines of business - which are far less interesting!

These purchases will add $53.12 to my forward 12 month dividend income.

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

What do you think of WBA and MATW?

- Gremlin
- Long WBA, CVS, WMT, and MATW

Friday, March 29, 2019

March Review / April Preview, 2019

Busy Gremlin here to talk about this past month and focus in on next month.  The big news for me is that my car has been fully paid off - freeing up a small, but significant amount of cash flow.  It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, but I am still carrying plenty of things, so there is no rest for the weary.  On top of that personal success, an old 401K was rolled over into my IRA account, which will enable me to make an extra purchase pretty soon.  It is a real boon that I found that extra money just hanging around and that I was able to reclaim all of it (I laugh in the face of vesting agreements).

March:

This month I made one purchase, acquiring shares of Eaton Vance (EV) in my taxable account.

Last month I brought in a total of $429.55 in dividends ($180.51 taxable, $93.08 Roth, and $155.96 IRA).  This is an increase from last year (380.61 total) by 12%.  Even with the Kraft-Heinz KHC dividend cut, my growth is not stopping.

In terms of dividend increases, I realized* eleven (11!) raises from the Archer Daniel's Midland (ADM), Amgen (AMGN), Canadian National Railway (CNI), Dominion Energy (D), Dunkin Brands (DNKN), Union Pacific (UNP), Waste Management (WM), YUM! Brands (YUM), Prudential (PRU), 3M (MMM), and T. Rowe Price (TROW).  The increases are from about 4% to about 15%+.  I have now realized 18 raises thus far this year.  I also realized one cut of approximately 33% by KHC.

Next month I will realize seven (7) raises from the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM), Coke Cola (KO), Realty Income (O), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), WalMart (WMT), and Kimberly Clark (KMB).  The increases are from about 0.2% to about 10%.

* I only count increases when realized, because until that money is delivered any statements or declarations are simply conjecture.

April:

The mortgage continues and I am putting a little extra cash towards the principal monthly - not a huge number, but every little bit counts. Our debts currently outstrip our assets (I choose not to count the house as an asset).  Outside of our house, we still have very low interest auto debt (1.5% for our car).  My car was paid off in March, freeing up some monthly cash!  Debt is being eliminated, and we are still building and assets.

My next purchase will be in April, which will make for 10 consecutive months of buys across all accounts.

Next month should produce around $105 in dividends, which is a 40% YOY increase.

My portfolio page is currently up to date.

Hope everyone has a great April.
- Dividend Gremlin
- Long all stock tickers

Monday, March 18, 2019

Gremlin Talks Cents

Teachable Gremlin here to introduce a new section and page.  I plan on discussing some of the crazy things I do to save money, some of which are funny, all of which save bottom line cash.  To get this party started, I am going to focus on the value of the penny.  Yes a penny, $0.01.  On its surface it is worth next to nothing, indeed it costs more to make one than it is worth.  Still they have value, even if minimal to the everyday person.  Yet, even things with minimal value can help create something of value.  Take a car, it has hundreds of little screws, bolts, and nuts that on their own are worth very little, but when combined create a very valuable device.  So my first discussion here will be on pennies (really loose change in general).

I keep a penny bank in my house, really it stores all coins, but who cares.  Many of these coins are received when something is purchased in cash - an activity that is rare for me, but much more common for my wife.  In addition to that, I have an eagle eye for anything that is remotely shiny and on the ground.  If I were to say I had a super power, it is finding loose change.  I was blessed with this ability at a real young age, you know when this kind of thing is cute, funny, and seemingly useful.  Fast forward to my early 30s, and its not cute anymore.  However, it is still hilarious.  It has led to so many good jokes at my expense.  The apex of this is an ongoing text conversation where I am asked if I would pick up a coin, and then the picture follows.  Usually the coin is somewhere terrible - in an intersection, urinal, etc.  Often I say no, but sometimes I say yes.  In real life, if there is something socially weird or unsafe, no I touch that crap up, but otherwise - hell yes.  Then that coin along with all the loose change in the house goes into the penny bank.

Once you have all that loose change what will you do with it?  No one is going to roll those coins, no one has that kind of time.  No one is going to go to a Coinstar machine and suffer a 3-6% fee ... OR will they?  The thing I have discovered is Coinstar machines allow people to convert the coins, fee free, to give certificates for companies of your choosing.  These include Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN), and Walmart (WMT).  Since my wife loves AMZN, the answer is clear.  Recently, I tested this out by taking my coins to the local grocery store, and getting a sweet gift code for Amazon.  The timing could not have been better as I had a necessary purchase to make at that time.  Saved me a solid $85 that I would have otherwise had to take out of my bottom line - away from investments.

Coming full circle, one of my friends is the polar opposite with me when it comes to loose change.  He literally throws it away, especially pennies.  Sure maybe over his lifetime that will about amount to $20-30 total of pennies, but that is one extra hour of your life you need to work.  Rather than doing that work, just save it.  Every cent in your pocket is one more you can have working for you.

What do you do with your loose change?

- Gremlin
- Long WMT