Friday, December 22, 2017

December 2017 Review / January 2018 Preview & End of Year Review

Happy End of Year Gremlin here to talk about December and the end of this year.  This December has been very busy.  I have completed another professional certification (CSP), dealt with Christmas shopping, run the holiday party gauntlet, and delivered a work presentation.  All while changing diapers and doing all that good dad stuff.  Most positive things should be challenging, so it makes sense that December has indeed been a splendid month.  I expect the hard work to pay off strongly in a monetary, professional, and social fashions.  Part of getting better opportunities are the credentials you have and putting forth a good personality along side of it.

It is also the end of the year.  2017, for all its hubbub and commotion, was good year for me.  Bought a house, had a baby, etc.  My investments and life have a lot of momentum, and the goal is to keep that going into 2018.


This month I added one new position, Leggett and Platt (LEG), in my Roth IRA. 

Last month I brought in a total of $349.36 in dividends ($135.59 taxable, $80.64 Roth, and $133.13 in my IRA).  This is an increase from last year ($262.32 total) by 33.1%.  This total is my new highest ever.  My IRA is now a year old, and my percentages will not look as ridiculous, but the totals will continue to look juicy.

In terms of dividend increases, I realized five this month from McDonald's (MCD), Microsoft (MSFT), Starbucks (SBX), Union Pacific (UNP), VF Corp (VFC), and Emerson Electric (EMR).  The increases range from 1.3% to 20% - most being in the 6-10% range.  This brings my total raises to 50 on the year, with 1 cut and 1 initiation.

Next month I will realize two dividend increases from Realty Income (O) and Disney (DIS), at 0.2% and 11.5%, respectfully. Also one cut from General Electric (GE).

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


The mortgage continues, so at least part of our 'rent' counts towards our house. Our debts currently outstrip our assets.  Outside of our house, we still have very low interest auto debt (1.9 and 1.5% for our cars).  Both my car and house are receiving slightly out-sized payments monthly.  We are effectively eliminating debt, while still building and assets.  Even with a new Gremlin in the lair. This is a long game, and I am nothing if not patient.

I should be making another buy in January in my taxable account.

Next month should produce around $73 in dividends, which is a 3% YOY decrease.  This decrease is thanks the the excellent leadership at GE.

My portfolio page is currently up to date.


What a year.  So let's look at how I did last year compared to the goals I laid out for myself.

(Results in RED):
  • Break $2500 in total dividends.  Fail. $2481 - Ugh dammit.
  • Achieve forward dividends for taxable accounts of $1000.  Fail. $926 - Dammit, again.
  • Get back into shape, specifically workout 5 times a week.  Mostly a success, I am about 5lbs lighter than I was at this time last year.  Even with the baby I am able to workout 3/4 times a week, so thumbs up.
  • Bike to as many local places as possible, do less driving (already half way there as I do not drive to work).  Success.  I usually bike to the train station from my new house (but my bike seat was stolen recently, sigh).  I have biked and walked to the store bunch to do shopping too.
Overall that is a 2/4 success rate.  Not the best performance overall.  2017 had a lot of challenges, a new baby, a new house, etc.  I came pretty close to what I wanted and that is a success itself.


So the question becomes what do I attack for 2018?  My main goal is to achieve the biggest swing in net worth overall.  There are two facets to that, first targeting debt and second adding wealth.

  • Invest a total of $8000 next year, $6000 in taxable accounts, at a minimum.
  • Achieve forward total dividends for all accounts of $3000.
  • Keep getting into shape - lifting 2x and running 2x / week and bike to the train station + other places.
  • Reduce total spending (after debt payments) by at least 10%.
A huge goal for 2018 will be to invest more and spend less.  This is a bigger challenge than it seems because my wife will not be working in any capacity until August.  We have decided it best for her to stay with the baby for the 1st year of his life, before he gets to spend his days with Grandma.  We both strongly believe this is in his best interest for healthy development.

We are admittedly boring these days, and that is fine by me.  Its cheaper and honestly, I do just as much enjoyable stuff without blowing loads of money.  I believe 2017 was a turning point and 2018 will reflect that.

Hope everyone has a great January and a Happy New Year!
- Dividend Gremlin
- Long all stock tickers mentioned


  1. Grem -

    You have had quite the year. I like the 2018 ring to it so far: Spend Less, Invest more. Get after it!


    1. Lanny,

      Thanks for the comment. I agree it has been a banner year, and 2018 should be more of the same.

      - Gremlin

  2. Any time you can get your highest ever is awesome. 349 is killing it way to go keep it up.

    1. D and H,

      Thanks for the comment. I like to think 349 is killing it, however my near term goal is to get my taxable up closer to that amount so I can really have some FI money. Still any record is a record, and cheers to that!

      - Gremlin

  3. Gremlin,

    I'm really digging the goals here for 2018. Sure there is some red for 2017; however, you are in much better financial position now than you were entering the year. Take care and best of luck here. You're going to crush it!!


    1. Bert,

      Thanks for the comment. I agree, things are looking good and better all the time. 2018 will be a great year!

      - Gremlin