Category: Uncategorized

Where The Hell Have I Been?

I know it may seem like I have disappeared from the face of the earth. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought I gave up on the dream of living off of dividends. If that’s the case, then you are so very wrong.

I haven’t had the time to keep up with my blog lately because life has just been very busy between work, social life, and gaming. I have also been busy building my portfolio though. In fact, I’ve probably saved and invested close to $8,000 in that time. This is something I never would have thought was possible while I was still living in Florida.

Since June I have made the following investments:

  • 14 shares of AFL (Aflac) @ $73.21 per share
  • 19 shares of EMR (Emerson Electric) @ $53.25 per share
  • 20 more shares of EMR (Emerson Electric) @ $51.70 per share
  • 20 shares of RDS.B (Royal Dutch Shell) @ $51.64 per share
  • 15 shares of TGT (Target) @ $67.64 per share
  • 13 shares of WMT (Walmart) @ $71.92 per share
  • 40 shares of T (AT&T) @ $37.82 per share
  • 18 shares of SBUX (Starbucks) @ $53.54 per share

This investment activity has also helped me make a killing on my goals for 2016. I know it’s a little early to talk about my 2016 goals with the Holidays around the corner, but I’m just so damned excited!

One of my goals was to save and invest $15,000, and so far I have already saved a little over $20,000. In other words, I did to this goal what Negan did to Glenn (too soon?).

The next goal was to achieve a forward annual dividend income of $600, so the average monthly dividend income would be $50. Thanks to all of these investments, my forward annual dividend income is just a little over $1,000, which achieves one of my long term goals as well. When I realized this, you can bet your legendary bracers that I celebrated with a bottle of wine and some Taco Bell like a boss.

My final financial goal for 2016 was to reduce the margin debit in my personal account to zero. Through selling some of my big bets (that didn’t pay off) and saving some extra money, I was able to get rid of this debt. This wasn’t hard, but I want to put this out there as a cautionary tale, because it’s really easy to dig yourself into a hole and try to get out by digging deeper, and this is far riskier of a strategy than I condone as an investor.

I am not a financial adviser, and this content is all for entertainment purposes. However, I urge you to learn from my mistakes. Using margin to make speculative trades is essentially putting yourself into gambling debt, and when that doesn’t pay off, you can end up trying to use more margin to try to win your way out of debt. This activity is very dangerous, and it’s best to just stay away from it if you can’t trust yourself to be responsible.

The best way to stay disciplined is to always plan your investment strategy and strictly stick to that strategy.

Anyways, I hope you all didn’t miss me too much, I’m hoping to put out some new articles for you in the upcoming holiday season!

I love playing games, but I also love saving money. So obviously, I like playing “Free2Play” games. Last time, I talked about Blizzard’s Hearthstone, but now I’d like to talk about my favorite of Blizzard’s free games and share my tips for Heroes of the Storm for free.

Heroes of the Storm is a top down competitive game where you pick an iconic character from one of Blizzard’s franchises. So whether you’re a fan of Warcraft, Diablo, or Star Craft, they’ve got you covered. You are teamed up with 4 other characters and are facing off with 5 more. Your goal is to destroy the structure on the opposite side of the map called the “Core” while making sure the enemies don’t destroy your Core. Minions from both teams spawn periodically at their respective Core and march across the map towards the opposite Core. Killing these minions and the towers and structures on the way to the Core earns experience for your team allowing you to level up and gain more power.

Unlike Hearthstone, you can be on even footing with other players the instant you log in. Blizzard tries to keep the cast of Heroes pretty balanced. Each week, you will be able to play 10 heroes for free. The free heroes typically span across all 3 major franchises and cover the 4 major roles in the game: Warrior, Assassin, Support, and Specialist

Warriors are the tanks. They have a lot of health and survival. They also tend to have control oriented abilities like stuns to create opportunities for the higher damage characters to secure a kill. For example, Diablo can lift an enemy up and slam them on the other side of him dealing damage and stunning the target.

Assassins, as you would expect, excel at killing other heroes. To make up for their talent in dealing damage, they typically have lower health. Zeratul is an excellent assassin who can traverse the map unseen and deliver big damage when you’re least expecting it.

Support heroes are everyone’s best friend. These heroes typically have heals, shields, and/or buffs to keep their teammates in the battle. For example, Uther has 2 healing skills for keeping his team alive.

Specialists are typically best at handling the non-player characters and structures. For instance, Anub’Arak summons beetles to help push forward. Sgt. Hammer can attack towers from outside of their firing range, and Sylvanas can disable towers and minions so that they do not fire back at all.

If you really like a hero, you’ll want to buy them so you can use them even when they’re not in the free hero rotation. This (and cosmetic skins) is where Blizzard makes money on this game, however, you can use in game gold to buy heroes as well. You earn gold a number of different ways, so if you want to buy your favorite heroes, just follow some of these tips:

1. Level up your free heroes. After every game, you’ll gain experience for the hero you played (this is different from the in match experience that adds power to your team). At level 5, you’ll earn 500 gold. This means in any week, if none of the free heroes are level 5, you have the potential to earn 5000 gold.

2. Play games against A.I. opponents. Unlike Hearthstone, you can complete gold rewarding daily quests by playing against A.I. opponents, as long as your team mates are real players. This will also get you comfortable with how a hero plays before you take them into a more competitive match.

3. Spend gold on low cost heroes from each hero type. If you have a Warrior, Assassin, Support, and Specialist you’ll have more variety for completing multiple daily quests at once. The daily quests are as follows:

Play 8 games – 800 Gold
Win 3 games – 600 Gold
Play 3 games as a specific Hero type (i.e. Warrior) – 300 Gold
Play 2 games as a Hero from a specific franchise (i.e. Warcraft) – 200 Gold

You can complete 3 quests in 3 games if you have the right hero and the right quests. This is great if you can’t play a lot during the week.

4. Just keep playing. Your account also levels up, and there are gold rewards for specific levels. (See Bottom of Post)

5. Make sure you have a lot of time to play before your account hits level 10. At level 10, you will be given a free 7-day stimpack. Stim packs increase the experience you gain by 100% and gold by 150%, this only applies to the rewards given at the end of a match. This 7 day period will start the instant you hit level 10. I unfortunately ended up going on vacation right after hitting level 10 and ended up wasting my free stimpack.

6. Pay attention to special events. There are occasionally special events like the Diablo event and the Lunar festival where there is a mini-objective at the start of each match which will give you an extra 100 gold. You can get these once per day during the event.

7. Start with some help. If you click this link, you’ll get Jim Raynor (normally costs 2,000 gold) for free and a 5-day stimpack to get a head start on leveling up. Once you reach level 10, you’ll get Sylvanas for free too! Syvanas is an amazing hero and normally costs 10,000 gold, and you’re getting her for free, so you’re welcome :)

Heroes of the Storm is one of the most rewarding games you can play for free while not being at a disadvantage against paying players. The more you play, the more gold you’ll get to unlock your favorite heroes. Here’s a breakdown of the rewards you’ll earn while leveling up your account:

Level 2: 1,000 gold
Level 4: 1,000 gold
Level 5: Hero Rotation Slot
Level 6: Daily Quests unlocked
Level 7: Hero Rotation Slot
Level 8: 2,000 gold
Level 10: 2,000 gold, 7-day stimpack
Level 12: Hero Rotation Slot
Level 15: Hero Rotation Slot
Level 20: 2,000 gold
Level 25: 2,000 gold
Level 30: Ranked Play unlocked, 2,000 gold
Level 35: 2,000 gold
Level 40: 2,000 gold

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 February 2016 without lifting a finger.

VZ- $12.43
AAPL- $4.70

Total: $17.13

Compared to last year, I earned no dividends in February, and compared to November 2015, I made $12.45 more. Verizon has a great yield, so that was a big help. So far this year, I am a little bit behind on my savings goal, but I am flush with cash until I know what the last of my wife’s dental work is going to cost. However, I just freed myself of my margin debt in my personal account, it feels good to be free from that.

Those of you that know me are aware of my love of Taco Bell. My greatest loss in a zombie apocalypse would be no more Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunches. So it should be no surprise that I took advantage of YUM Brands’ recent price dip and made myself an owner of my favorite chain. YUM Brands also owns Pizza Hut and KFC, a couple other college favorites.

I bought 13 shares of YUM at $75.95 per share.

At the time I made this purchase, their PE Ratio was about 26. Which is a little high by my standards, but relatively low for YUM. YUM has a 10 year average dividend growth rate of 25.99% and dividend increase of 12.20% just last year. This is pretty nice considering the entry yield is over 2.3%. Their payout ratio is around 63%, which is within my safety margin, but a little on the high side, so it will need to be watched.

This puts me at $514.72/$600.00 for my annual passive income goal for 2016, and $42.89/$100.00 for my average monthly passive income long term goal.

I’m very excited to own the company that provides a majority of my weekend food.

Are you into investing and have a friend that is on the fence. Maybe this holiday you’d like to help them make their first step into the stock market. I recently found out about a company called “Stockpile” that allows you to buy someone a stock “gift card.” This idea has crossed my mind before, and I think it’s a really cool idea.

For many people, there is a mental barrier to entry in investing (on top of the financial one). It’s actually incredibly easy to open an account with many of the big retail brokers like Fidelity or Etrade. But for an outsider, it can seem like a daunting task. So a stock gift card is a huge incentive to get someone started.

What’s even better is that you have a chance to win a $100 stockpile gift card. A fellow dividend investing site is running a contest with 3 gift cards as prizes. The site is suredividend.com, I haven’t seen a ton of content on the site yet, but I like their 8 Rules of Dividend Investing. If you just want to enter the contest, Click Here.

I’m not affiliated with Stockpile.com, I just think it’s a cool idea. Happy Holidays!

This has been a rough year financially for me, so I haven’t paid as much attention to this blog for the past several months. I just went through and back filled the dividend income posts since March. We’re all caught up now, so without further ado, here’s September!

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 September 2015 without lifting a finger.

WMT – $5.95
CVX – $9.83
EMR – $7.64
MCD – $9.52
BP – $30.86
LMT – $7.61

Total: $71.41

Compared to the dividends I earned in June ($70.64), I earned almost a whole $1 more just due to compounding. I find this fascinating because none of these companies have raised their dividend, but I’m earning more free money than I did 3 months ago.

March, June, September, and December are my big months, and most of these companies are due to raise their dividends for December’s payout. So I’m really looking forward to seeing what my December income looks like.

Life is full of choices. The choices we make are driven by our desires, but quite often, those desires are contradictory. I want to lose weight, but I also want to eat delicious food. I want to go out for drinks, but I also want to save money and invest it for the future. Unfortunately, we can’t have it all.

It can be especially frustrating when those contradicting desires escalate to actual needs. For instance, needing time away from work to care for your child, but still needing to work to support your family.

As investors, we often find ourselves with competing interests of the long term rewards of buy and hold investing, and instant gratification. Living a completely frugal and spartan life style can take its toll on your mind or those around you.

As you might have expected, my answer is found in games. Games force us to make these choices all the time. Do I risk my safety to get that mushroom? Do I sacrifice my toughness so my Wizard can deal more damage? The magic word is “Balance.”

There’s a saying “Everything in moderation.” To live in any extreme has consequences, so we must always try to reach a balance between our desires.

There is no golden ratio in your life either. Balance is a moving target, and you must constantly re-evaluate. While a 50% savings rate might make sense this month, next month it might only be reasonable to save 20% of your income.

This concept can be difficult because it takes self control. That self control can be difficult to maintain when you look around at others and it seems like they “have it all.”

There’s always going to be that guy or girl that seems like life was handed to them on a silver platter. Money, looks, and time seem to be abundant for them. However, the truth is that you’re just not seeing the sacrifices, or the things that come hard to them. Maybe, they don’t have any meaningful relationships. Maybe they struggle to achieve anything new because they’ve never learned how to persevere through the struggle.

You can’t have it all. There’s always going to be something you need to sacrifice to satisfy one of your desires. This is true for you, and it’s true for them as well.

Besides, other people’s priorities and situations don’t match yours. It’s entirely possible that they’re jealous of you for when you prioritized something they sacrificed. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is who you were yesterday.

Seek balance, and never stop improving yourself. But don’t forget to have fun every once in a while!

This year has been rough, so this is the first purchase I’ve managed to make in a while. For this investment, I bought 9 shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) at $112.13.

I’m back filling my records for this year, so I can’t give a super accurate report of EPS and PE ratio at the moment. But at this time:

AAPL has a PE ratio of 12.54 and a dividend yield of 1.92%. This investment adds $18.72 to my yearly dividend income, and $1.56 to my average monthly income.

Putting me at $305.22/$500.00 for the annual passive income goal and $25.43/$100.00 for the monthly passive income goal.

Apple has dropped a few dollars per share since this purchase, but I still believe it to be a solid and competitive company. Apple is staying on top of the evolving technology world, and I believe there is a lot of growth potential on top of the decent dividend. Also, let’s not forget how many people are addicted to getting new iPhones.

This morning, I’m feeling like Old Snake from Metal Gear Solid 4. “The market has changed,” it follows illogical rules. I remember when I first started out, there were technical traders and fundamental traders. Those that identified opportunities based on price trends, and those that identify opportunities by the quality of the company compared to the current price.

If these were the only people trading, their actions would influence the price in a self-balancing way. Instead, it seems that the majority of the price movement is driven by what celebrity investor is buying what, or short term news with little long term implications to the business.

It can be a blessing when these market mood swings allow you to pick up a quality company at a discounted price, but it’s also frustrating to observe an irrational world in chaos.

For instance, I own YUM in my personal account. I think it’s a solid company, but my main reason is I love me some Taco Bell. Today, YUM’s stock price has jumped up 5% after Third Point announced that they bought a position in the company. This brings their PE Ratio up to 40, which is insane.

It aggravates me because this great company has had such a drastic price reaction to one opinion about the company’s future.

Perhaps I’m ranting over nothing, but as a logical person, these illogical swings shake my faith in the system being steady.

A couple weeks ago I made some new purchases. The market is pretty crazy right now, so it’s hard to say when the best time to buy is. More conservative traders may want to wait a little longer. I try to make new investments every month to sort of dollar-cost average the broader market. For this investment, I bought 5 shares of Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) at $194.39 and 16 shares of Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) at $60.04 per share.

Since these purchases both stocks have had a price drop, so if you are interested in them as well, you can get a better deal than I did.

At the time of writing this, LMT has a PE ratio of 19.07 and a dividend yield of 3.19%. This investment adds $30.00 to my yearly dividend income, and $2.50 to my average monthly income.

EMR has a PE ratio of 18.67 and a dividend yield of 3.3%. This investment adds $30.08 to my yearly dividend income, and $2.51 to my average monthly income.

Putting me at $286.50/$500.00 for the annual passive income goal and $23.87/$100.00 for the monthly passive income goal.

It always sucks seeing investments fall 5 or more percent shortly after making them, but these are long term investments that I’ll see very little difference in outcome by the time I’m living off of them.