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.