Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Review and 2016 Preview

Letchworth State Park and the Genessee River.
Travel Gremlin here to review the past year and talk hopes for new one. This past year, especially the second half, saw a lot of travel for work.  That I something I aim to improve upon (decrease) as the possibility of having a family gets more real.  Yes, I see some cool things like the image of above from Letchworth State Park in New York State, but often there is little time for anything beyond work.

The USA is huge, even without the non-continental states or territories...
In fact it is difficult to express how many places I have been this year without looking at graphic representation. As you can see on the map, I have been to a lot of states, with each pin representing a place I have spent a night.  It totals 16 states (Maryland and North Carolina are hard to pick out), and no less than 31 different locations.  I've easily traveled 10,000+ miles for work in a car and hopped on airplanes as well.  Don't get me wrong, I like traveling, but I do have a limit.

In spite of that, 2015 was a remarkable year in terms of pushing for financial independence (FI) and in my life in general.  I turned 30, and bought my first ever car from a dealership - instead of a family friend.  There have been several ups and downs, but I see a good path forward and have a plan to follow it.  So without further procrastinating lets take a look and see what happened and where I go from here.

Review of 2015:

In 2015 I received a total of $878.54 in dividends from my stock investments between my taxable and Roth accounts.  This represents a 10.67% increase YOY, with my taxable declining by 0.62% and my Roth growing by 31.18% YOY.  I had projected $930 in total dividends, and I missed that mark by less than $60.  I should be disappointed by this, but I am not.  My downturn in my taxable accounts is because my stock PGH has cut dividends (twice in fact).  This stock was from my early years, and provided a high yield, but I am no longer in that game and it still makes no sense to sell.  The lost income has now been made up and will grow faster with my current mix of stable stocks that are strong dividend growers.  Those stocks also represent more stable companies.  I see compounding interest as a reality going forward with my portfolio.

My dividend stocks gave me twenty-two raises in my taxable account and nine in my Roth account, as opposed to two cuts from the aforementioned PGH.  I will experience a cut from KMI in 2016, however despite that one cut I already know my income will increase due to multiple dividend raises.  I'm putting the 8th Wonder of the World to work.

In terms of account values; my accounts ended the year with the following totals: $19,235 in my taxable accounts and $11,150 in my Roth account.  These represent increases of 39% for my taxable accounts from $13,782 and 25% for my Roth account from $8905.  Fun fact for my taxable accounts is that at the end of 2014 my Loyal3 holdings represented just shy of 40% of my taxable assets; at the end of 2015 that number stands at over 50% and includes the majority of my taxable positions.  Loyal3 has gone from a minor position building tool, to the main weapon in my arsenal.  One day it will be merged into my regular account, but for now it will continue to grow independently.

In 2015 I also managed to grow my 401K by $4,400.  I remain below the maximum, but my goal is to first fund my Roth then the 401K.  However, I would be foolish not to take advantage of the extra money my company matches and use the 401K as a way to lower my immediate tax exposure.
Sometimes he sleeps with a toy in his mouth and he snores like a bear

2015 has seen a lot of change in my life beyond my investment accounts and turning 30.  We acquired a dog, who requires my time and is work, but I must admit he is an awesome pal.  My car engine decided to put in its 6 month retirement notice, so I got a new car.  Then my wife's car decided it was time to be pain, so that process was repeated.  I got a great deal on a new Honda Civic, trading in my old Accord.  My wife's old Nissan Xterra was exchanged for a Subaru Forester.  My car was just a deal I could not pass up, her car was a compromise of what we (she) wanted.  Both cars should last 15+ years and deliver us hundreds of thousands of miles, and both are wildly more efficient on gas.  I know we will deal with that debt now, but the goal is for those two cars to last a long long time.  Also we like the fact that no one else has owned them before; our metro area (DC) is known to have horrible drivers and any way to avoid them driving our cars would be great.

All of this equals a lot of debt, which when coupled with my wife's student loans means were are at a much smaller net positive.  However, 2016 will change that.  I achieved my Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) accreditation and my wife finished her masters and has started bringing in a good deal more cash.   These positive changes will overrule the past costs, coupled with smarter home life and more savings allow us to push together into FI.

For further review my goals from last year were:
$1000 in dividends - goal failed, see above.
Get a side job - I continued reffing, but that has slowed down due to travel.  I have made extra cash from work travel, passed the CHMM, and do Inbox-Dollars emails, so that adds some change.  I feel less need for this with my growing list of professional certifications.
Loyal3 $185 dividends - goal failed, I hit $176.66, so darn close!

Preview of 2016:

For 2016 I have set up a list of goals I hope to achieve:

  • $1100 in total dividends in 2016.  Currently I am projecting $1040 in dividends for next year, so there is work to be done.
  • $250 in Loyal3 dividends in 2016.  Currently, I am projecting $235, so I need push.
  • End the year with a forward-12 month dividend estimate of over $1200.
  • Pay off my wife's student loan debt of $5,500 (ish).
  • Continue to pay her car as scheduled.  My car will remain slightly ahead of schedule, with that picking up after her student debt is erased.
  • Get a raise at my current or another job.
  • Continue to exercise 5 times a week at a minimum, and ride my bike places when possible.
Whew, those are some much better and clearer goals for myself than last year.

Happy New Year to everyone!
- Dividend Gremlin
- Long all stocks mentioned (KMI and PGH)

No comments:

Post a Comment