Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The End of 2014 / The Start of 2015

Christmas and Holiday Gremlin here to talk end of year results and future stats.

Before I get into that, I would like to  talk some sports; let me begin by expressing my supreme disappointment that the Dallas Cowboys will be in the playoffs.  Hopefully they fail miserably, but in the meantime at least the Barclays Premier League will keep me entertained until next year and then the Winter Classic will take over!  The Winter Classic should be awesome, always love those.  Stupid football though...

Review of 2014:
This December I received $78.11 in dividends.  That is the most I have ever received; not counting two months when I had a junk stock with high yield, which I sold at its annual high in May.  A total of $378 of new capital, along with dividends, was invested in Loyal3 this month, buying between 1 to 3 shares of each of the following stocks: AAPL, KO, MCD, MSFT, PEP, and UL (3).  This has been one of the slower months in terms of investing because of Christmas (I have a huge family) and since I am coming off a wedding.  Still it was nice to round out some shares and increase other positions.

In 2014 I received a total of $793.95 in dividends from my stock investments between my taxable and Roth accounts.  This represents the most I have ever received in a year, and it comes the year after I completely refocused my investing to a DGI focused strategy.  In fact that total is more than the last three years of meager dividends I received combined.  Switching to a DGI approach has already started a small snowball, and it shows that with just one year behind it how powerful it can be.

In 2014 I also managed to contribute a mediocre $4,800 to my 401K.  That is well below the maximum, which I expect I will not hit for a while, if ever.  I do not have plans to increase my contribution rate due to a variety of reasons.  The plan is to proactively roll it into a Roth over time.

Preview of 2015:
At this time, I am projecting around $930 in dividends for next year.  That number is based upon a few things: minor investment increases in Loyal3, no new dividend increases, no new major investments in Sharebuilder, and foreign currency exchange rates remaining the same (CM, PGH, and UL due depend on the value of the Canadian Loonie / $ and Pound Sterling).  Two things I can influence, and that is the plan.

In Loyal3 the plan is to round out positions one or two at a time, depending on the best values.  The first stock in my sights is UL.  Currently it is very attractively valued, considering its yield and wide product reach in terms of geography and brand.  The goal is to finish that position by early February.  Once that is done the next target is KO, which should be finished by April or May.  My next choice will be one of DIS, K, MCD, MSFT, and PEP.  It is possible that a significant change in valuation will push one of those stocks to the front of the line.  Loyal3 shall briefly become its own snowball, before it gets merged into Sharebuilder.  Loyal3 positions yielded me $73.30 this year and next year is projected yield of $185 - a big increase to be sure.

My Sharebuilder taxable and Roth accounts will receive a boost at some point next year, despite the focus on my Loyal3 account.  I plan to make a minimum of 3 purchases between both accounts, with my stretch goal being 6 major investments.  I am already increasing my bi-weekly contribution rate for next year to push investments up faster.  I will also likely see a small pay increase at my day job and that should aid my efforts.

Sectors I am currently focused on are energy, insurance, healthcare, transportation, and basic materials / industrials.  Those sectors are all have excellent prospects for growth and or excellent valuations.

Big Goals:
The true big goal of 2015 is $1000 in dividends across all accounts.  It is possible, it requires patience and dedication - bring on 2015!

Another big goal is to find a good side hustle.  I can be a bit of a busy-body always doing stuff.  No reason I cannot translate into something solid.  Currently I ref sports, but that just breaks even for me to play sports.  I want a real side hustle!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to everyone.
- Dividend Gremlin

Long: All stocks mentioned.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Final Loyal3 Credit Buys

Investor Gremlin here, to talk about the last buys using a credit card on Loyal3.  I set up several buys last month as reoccurring monthly purchases using my credit card, to attempt to max out the offering, which ends next week.  Those had to be set up prior to mid-November.

My buys included increases in six positions: AAPL, KO, MCD, MSFT, PEP, and UL.  Each purchase either added one more share, or rounded a share out.  In retrospect, I could have set up four more and it would have been nice going into the new year.  Alas, its Christmas season and that money might go towards presents anyway.

That will likely be my last set of large buys this year.  There will probably be a few smaller purchases via Loyal3 as dividends come and they get turned around quickly to buying a little more stock, however those likely will not be worth writing about.

Going forward I plan on writing a little more about sports and beer, my vices, until the new year.  That is unless there is a large increase or unexpected windfall of cash for me.  Both of those would be truly great gifts to come across.

In the meantime, a new page will be going up featuring investment blogs that rule.  There might also be links to sports, beer, and travel stuff too.  Those will probably take a lot longer to weed out and will likely not be blogs or online journals.

Did anyone else set up automatic buys to make final purchases at Loyal3 with a credit card?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November Review / December Preview 2014

Sit back, take a seat, and relax because November was one hell of a month.  Hello, Gremlin review here to talk about last month.

First, I got married and went out of the country.  That is pretty big.  Second, I put a bunch of money into the market due to the end of the credit card usage at Loyal3.  Finally, with the exception of my fantasy hockey team all of my fantasy football teams have been eating it, but one should make the playoffs.  My real football team is doing good, and my hockey team in real life has started to win.  It was also a good international soccer month, but I digress.

I initiated three new positions on Loyal3 - Disney (DIS), Pepsico (PEP), and VF Corp (VFC).  Of those positions, DIS and VFC at growth stocks with lower yields.  PEP is a great balanced company and will very well over the next few years.  PEP is one of those companies that people talk about breaking up all the time, if that's the case then how come no one talks about DIS.  Talk about a truly diversified company - they have theme parks, movies, television (ESPN anyone?), and all of the products that go with those things.  Want your kids to like Star Wars?  Take them to the movies and buy them a plush Wookie.  So that talk will ever bother me.

I also pumped up my positions in AAPL, DPS, K, KO, MCD, MSFT, TGT, and UL.  Of those, I will not be adding any more to AAPL or TGT for a while.  Those balances are where they need to be, and their stock prices are high for the moment.  Over the next few months KO, MSFT, and UL are my targets for growth, especially UL because it is favorably priced as of now.  It is my hope that I can make each position worth at least $1,000, and move the Loyal3 account over to my Sharebuilder account by end of next year.  That is the goal.

In total over $700 was invested on Loyal3.  I did not follow my original plan, because of the monkey wrench that Loyal3 added.  Dividend wise, between Roth and taxable accounts a total of $61.99 was received.  Not bad considering second months are currently my off months for dividends.  I am projecting approximately $911 for forward year dividends, which I want to get up to $1,000 in total.

That is all for reviewing November, now investment gremlin will discuss December's expectations.

Next month there will be no new positions initiated, rather I will be building existing ones, specifically the ones listed above - KO, MSFT, and UL. I have a few credit card monthly buys on Loyal3 to go through as well, a last gasp.

Next month is also Christmas, which means presents.  I have a lot of nieces and nephews, so my investing will be slower as I work to accommodate and awesome holiday season for one and all.

Overall next month will be the start of big changes heading into 2015.  My wife and I are merging our finances, and part of that will where we put our money.  I expect to have a little more change set aside for investing, and we will see how goes.

As for now thanks for reading!

Long - all stocks mentioned.  The portfolio page is updated in accordance with last month.

Happy Thanksgiving!

- Gremlin

Friday, November 21, 2014

Loyal3, Thanks for the Credit Card Bonus

Investment Gremlin here, to thank Loyal3 for allowing the use of credit cards for the last year.  Effective early December monthly buys with credit cards will cease to exist.  In addition, one time buys were scrapped last week.  Oh well, it was going to happen at some point and I am glad I got in on the craze before it was dropped.  In that time I invested approximately $4,500 in total capital via the site.  No fees, plus the points were well worth it.

With the deal coming to an end I decided to act.  I added a share or two in every position I have, and I started three new positions in Disney (DIS), Pepsi (PEP), and VF Corp (VFC).  My portfolio will be updated at the end of the month to reflect all these shenanigans. Below are the receipts from the website:


Grand total: $670.00

All in it is a nice early Christmas present to myself.  I almost put more money in, but I want to save for some bigger buys in my other account.  However, I also set up several monthly buys that will soak up a few more shares or round shares out next month.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vacation Review - St. Kitts and Nevis, West Indies

Travel Gremlin here.  Like my tan?  I knew you would.  Anyway, as promised here is a review of St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN), which has the distinction of being smallest country in the Western Hemisphere.  It is also a beautiful country, with crystal blue waters, nice beaches, and mountainous scenery.

We spent most of our time on the island of St. Kitts and only had a brief visit to Nevis.  We stayed one of the newer hotels there, and to be clear on both islands there are only two large hotels.  Most islands have several, and a third is coming to SKN (who knows how long it will take), but that should tell you just how developed SKN is when compared to some other Caribbean nations.

Now we will do a Con and Pro section.  I always will put the Con first because of alphabetical order and since it clears questions up quickly.  So let's get to it.

There were only two things on whole trip that raised my eyebrows.  Possibly this was due to a little extra insulation our resort gave us, but I do not think so.

First, cab fares seemed oddly priced.  No cabs have a meter, and the charge does not depend on the number of people.  After doing some research we found this is standard practice, but it is sketchy to think that the drivers have to memorize prices.  All in all, it was manageable, and not a terrible experience.  Also they drive on the left, and I was not going to mess with that.

Second, was people selling stuff.  For the most part if you said 'no' they left you alone.  I have heard nightmares from other countries across Central America and the Caribbean, so this is actually a pro.  However, there are still some jerks who do not recognize the word 'no'.  So beware if you visit of people wanting pictures with their monkeys, its a BS scam.  Still, people like this exist everywhere.

Costs were higher than normal, but we knew that.  For those to be my only real complaints is pretty darn good.


I'd like to start this off with some photos.
St. Kitts, view the capital Basseterre from the Caribbean Sea.
Nevis, from the beach by the Four Season Hotel.
As you can see to the left, both islands have mountains, specifically extinct volcanoes.  Geographically St. Kitts is much bigger and has 3/4 of the nations 45,000 people.  St. Kitts also has a large mountainous and undeveloped southern peninsula, with fantastic small beaches and scenery.  Those beaches are not nearly as crowded as others.

On the Atlantic side the water is a little rougher and slightly less clear, but it is still very nice.  If you like surfing or wind surfing you will that there are nice breaks and winds to take advantage of here. For the adventure lovers there is great hiking on both islands, zip lining on St. Kitts, and many other awesome activities across both islands.  Nevis is apparently well known for its mountain biking as well, not that I got to try it sadly.

For the relaxing side in all of us, both islands have great beaches.  They are not huge in terms of sand width, but often long and crescent shaped in the many bays of both islands.  Along those beaches typically are nice bars where you can get a drink and food at a decent price.  I would recommend Cockleshell / Reggae Beach or South Friar's / Shipwreck Beach to any visitors.  Both beaches have monkeys too, which are pretty tame despite being wild.

Food wise; eat conch and local rock lobster.  Good prices can be found local places like those mentioned above.  The local BBQ is very good as well!  Beer wise they have three local varieties, all of which are alright.  At one time I liked each the best, although Carib is probably the best, Stag and Skol are the others.  You really can drink Carib all day long.  Still, SKN is more of a rum drinking country, and I recommend at least trying some if you're there.


I'd go back for sure.  Perhaps I'd look to stay somewhere smaller.  The locals were great 99% of the time.  Their local Creole is hard to understand (their English is very understandable, despite a somewhat strong accent), but that's ok.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it an 8.  Getting there was much cheaper than many other islands, and the stay was either same or a little less in terms of cost.  Now sadly back to the grind.

You go anywhere interesting?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

October Review / November Preview 2014

Travel Gremlin here, partly filling in and partly in charge for the moment.  I have been extremely busy helping plan for a wedding and working away from my office, so the travel moniker is more appropriate.

This past month I increased my positions in K, MCD, and UL.  All using the fee-free Loyal3.  I also 12 shares of JNJ to my Roth portfolio - the portfolio page is updated to reflect this.  I would have liked to put more money in the game, but currently there are DJs to be paid, hotels to be covered, and numerous other things.  I plan on only getting married once so I want to do it right.  We've all seen a few other people think that once or twice before too.  I do not think I am one of those, but either way everyone is a statistic.

Onto more fun things, dividend income for the past month was a grand total of $70.52, not the highest ever, but not the lowest.  It is the highest since I sold some high yield risky stocks earlier this year.  A near standard quarterly increase from O and another annual one from KRFT helped push me up to that point.

Looking forward I will be investing this month once again primarily via Loyal3, taking aim at DPS, KO, and PEP.  PEP is a new position for me, and one I have wanted for a while.  All 3 drink makers are worth having, and PEP provides the extra boost of a large snack component.  Soda sales might be down, but these three companies will always have their hands on other products we consume.  Might as well join in the party for the long haul.

Now the real fun stuff!  Like I said I am getting married, so I've been hella busy - including a trip to the store where I filled up my car entirely with beer and wine.  Next week is my honeymoon, to St. Kitts in the Caribbean.  For those unfamiliar with it, its a small little island with a dormant volcano and long, narrow, hilly southern peninsula.  It has tropical forests, and its sister island Nevis is considered one of the most beautiful in the region.  Together St. Kitts and Nevis make up one nation, with most people living on St. Kitts.  Overall, its should be awesome and I am super pumped.  I promise at least 2 pictures afterwards.

See you in two weeks,
Travel Gremlin

Long - All stocks mentioned.

Friday, October 17, 2014

All Around the Craps Table...

Gambling Gremlin here.  So this past weekend I got a taste for life inside a real casino.  Not the kind that every state seems to build these days next to a horse track or a mall, but a real one.  One built for one purpose, and one only: to take your money.  I am not going to lie, it was pretty damn fantastic.  My friends and I were mostly found at the craps table, and we all walked away up!  I've played blackjack and roulette before, but this was a dice game weekend.  I'd play blackjack again, but not roulette - screw that game.

Anyway, what I am here to discuss is dumb betting.  Because it happens all the time, both in casinos and real life.  I am not just talking the people glued to a slot machine or the joker who bets on insurance at the blackjack table, because we all know that is a mistake.  I am talking about chasing high yields and shaky companies.

As far as high yields go, I chased one and did not get burned.  However, people get torched by these sorts of things all the time.  A friend of mine bought some stock in a foreign company, the name escapes me, and told me he was banking a fat 10%+ dividend.  Only to get smoked by it later as they slashed it and the share price fell heavily.  He sold, recovered 80-90% of what he put in and that was that.

With shaky companies I have two good examples, one of me and one of another friend of mine.  The one for me was when I was just starting out.  I've worked in alternative energy (AE) a bit in my career so I figured I would buy some stock in it.  At the time AE was hot in the news following on the heels of the massive bailout funding.  The economy was in a slump, but my company was still installing AE at an impressive rate.  So I bought some stock in CSUN.  A Chinese solar PV manufacturer.  Thank god I only spend $50, and sold it for $39 (includes commissions, ouch).  News has come out recently CSUN might be done and their CEO just resigned.  Over the past few years their stock has gone from $3 to almost $9 to now less than $3 per share.  Really gambling on CSUN would have been quite a ride.  The key here is how I screwed up; I did barely any research and I did not worry about dividends, ratios, or any other indicators of stability.

The second example I have is a friend who bought stock in Sony (SNY).  SNY recently announced they were getting rid of their annual dividend, which was a paltry $0.26 per share to start.  He got lucky and sold after they had some success with their recent PS4 platform release.  If he had held onto it, there would be no annual thank you for owning and a recent loss in share price.

Each of these stories has a element of luck and not losing it all or very much.  Still if you lose 80% of your money often, you eventually have nothing.  Too often people put faith in companies, like dice and expect an outcome.  Good investing avoids that and you bet on solid companies that deliver products and services that need to be use early and often.  These are also good lessons in diversification.  Even if each example was a bet on a blue chip stock, and they all fell apart you will likely still have 20 to 40 other stocks handling the load.

These are a big part of my investing strategy.  I don't like getting torched by a fool, and neither do you.  It happens sometimes, but if it is happening repeatedly what is the point?  All this work is so one day I don't have to work, why extend the working period?

Side note, if you are going to throw the dice at craps, the least you can do is keep them on the table!
- Dividend Gremlin