Monthly Archive: January 2016

To achieve my goal of investing $15,000 this year, I’ll need to invest at least $1250 each month (on average). So let’s start this year with a bang! I was able to invest $2000 for January. The 3 stocks I was considering were IBM, MMM, and WFC. So I thought I’d share with you my decision making process for this process.

First of all, These 3 companies each match my basic criteria of a solid history of dividend growth, a PE ratio under 20, a payout ratio under 60%, and a yield over 2.5%. All three are also in short term dips (or long term in the case of IBM).

Next, let’s look at past performance and dividend growth history. 10 years ago, $1000 invested in IBM would be worth $2334 today, in MMM would be worth $3288, and in WFC would be worth $2925. IBM’s dividend grew 18% last year, and on average it grows 23% per year. MMM’s dividend grew 19% last year, and on average grows 9% per year. WFC’s dividend grew 7% last year, and on average it grows 4% per year.

In terms of price growth, they each have grown an average of about 8 to 10% each year in the past. However, the price of MMM and IBM went down 7% last year, where WFC grew 4%. Price trends usually don’t affect my long term investment decisions, but it’s interesting to note the similarities.

Right now, the thing that appeals to me most is the dividend growth potential. So I went with IBM and MMM.

I bought 7 shares of IBM at $135.29 adding $36.40 to my yearly dividend income
and 7 shares of MMM at $144.35 adding $28.70 to my yearly dividend income.

This puts me at $485.94/$600.00 for my annual passive income goal for 2016, and $40.50/$100.00 for my average monthly passive income long term goal.

I’m excited to be doing some serious damage on my goals at the start of the year.

I think it’s important to celebrate wins on the path to your ultimate goal, no matter how small. Sharing my dividend income results with you readers gives you some insight to what is possible as you begin your journey.

My ultimate goal is to be able to live off of the passive dividend income from my investments, so I can just stay at home and play video games. Here is the money I made in December 2015 without lifting a finger.

WMT – $6.00
CVX – $9.97
EMR – $7.80
MCD – $10.05
BP – $31.38
LMT – $8.44
KO – $8.46
JNJ – $7.50

Total: $89.60

Compared to the dividends I earned in September ($71.41), I earned almost $20 more due to compounding, dividend raises, and KO’s dividend being paid out in December rather than . What’s even more exciting is that I can compare this to the results from December 2014. One year ago, I only earned $18.98 for the same period. I’ve quadrupled my December dividend income and then some, after a year I don’t even consider to be that successful.

So, as much as I hate to, I need to keep myself accountable for the goals I set last year. Let me start by saying “GOOD RIDDANCE” to 2015. This was a rough year, so while I didn’t achieve my goals, I still feel like I gave a valiant effort given the circumstances.

2015 Goals Review

1. Achieve 50% savings rate for one month
To be honest, I’m not sure if we did this or not. We might have had a month where our expenses were only 50% of our income, but for the most part, 2015 was a rough year with many unexpected expenses. Believe it or not, December was a really good month for us, so I’m going to call this one a “Maybe” because any success would have been offset by other terrible months.

2. Save $18,000
Not even close. However, we slightly changed this goal half way through the year to be me maxing out my IRA contribution (which I ended the year $1000 short) and paying off my wife’s student loans. We haven’t fully achieved those goals either, so this is still a fail.

3. Try cooking a new healthy dish every month
I experimented a little in the kitchen, but really didn’t achieve this goal to its entirety. I’m beginning to feel a lot like the person that makes their goals and doesn’t follow through on them, but I honestly did put in a reasonable effort throughout the year.

4. Lose 10 pounds by June
I’m pretty sure I didn’t achieve this in June (or since). However, I did successfully establish the healthy habit of working out every morning before work. There is the possibility that I have lost 10 pounds of fat throughout the year, but I’m still pretty heavy. I did a lot of experimenting throughout the year on portion sizes and workouts, and I believe I have the ammunition to make this goal a reality going forward (holidays excluded). So I’m still going to call this a pseudo-success, because while I didn’t lose the weight, I have establish habits and have a plan that I know works going forward.

2016 Goals

Now, it’s time to outline my goals for 2016. I have a good feeling about this year.

1. Save $15,000 in our Joint Account
Last year, I had a lofty savings goal, and life required that I change that. This year, our goal is a little more reasonable. It will still take work to achieve this, but I think this will be a good year. This means saving an average of $1250 per month, which should be quite achievable on our usual budget. A lot of the big stressful expenses of 2015 are behind us, so 2016 should be a good year.

2. Break $600 in annual passive income
If I’m sticking to my valuation standards and achieve the $15,000 goal, this one should be easy. This will mean we’ll have an average of $50 per month in dividends, and that will continue to grow.

3. Try a new brown bag lunch every month
I have been making burritos for lunch for the past year, and in the interest of variety, I’d like to try some different options. This is basically the same goal as last year. I’ll also be cutting portion sizes and making changes to lose some fat in 2016.

4. Reach a zero margin balance in my personal investing account.
I have been doing more speculative trading lately than I should be, and I’ve been risking money I don’t have by using margin debit. My goal for this year is to cut that crap out, and either inject more cash, or sell the speculative trades to bring down my margin debit. This is basically a gambling problem backed by debt, and I’m getting to old for that kind of behavior. It only started being a problem last year, and I’m looking to make that the end of it too.

5. Place in the top 500 in a Diablo 3 Season for one class.
At the end of the last season, I reached rank 846 on the Hardcore Crusader leaderboard. In 2016, I want to finish a season in the top 500 on the hardcore leaderboard for whichever class seems the most fun. The first season will start on January 15, but I’m going to miss a few key weekends, so I’m aiming for the second season of the year, most likely starting in April.