Monday, September 4, 2017

Dividend Income August 2017

Hi Everyone,

Overall a pretty solid month of income due to our OHI holdings.  This past month we received a total of $382.75!

ABT:  $4.02

VZ:  $74.90

OHI:  $303.83

The amazing thing about DRIP when you have a large position in a company that routinely raises the dividend every quarter and has a high starting yield is the increase in dividends every quarter.

In February, our OHI holding was bringing in a total of $283.27.  May's total was $293.58 and now this month at $303.83.

From the beginning of the year till now, we are picking up an additional $20 per quarter and are buying over 10 shares  more each quarter as long as the share price stays around the $30 level.

In an update from last month, the move to buying more healthcare related stocks seems to be paying off.  VHT, CELG, BIIB are all up nicely from where they were purchased. 

If I had to make a prediction going into next month, my UVE stock will go down.  If hurricane Irma does not impact Florida, this could present a buying opportunity for investors out there.  They are continuing to reduce their exposure to Florida and seem to be running on all cylinders.  Hopefully a hurricane Harvey situation does not happen and if so, insurance claims won't impact operations that much.

With that said, my heart goes out to all of the victims who were affected by Harvey.  The pictures are truly astonishing and I cannot begin to imagine how it must feel to lose everything. 

How was your August?

ADD


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dividend Income July 2017

Hi Everyone,

Quick post on the income this past month.  Not much to write home about but here you are...

UVE:  $14.27

VHT:  $17.43

CSCO:  $87.00

Money Market:  $0.13

Total:  $118.93

In an attempt to maximize gains, most of the portfolio has been placed into healthcare right now.  As such, dividends will continue to trend down.  The only bright spot with regards to healthcare is VHT pays a dividend.

Overall, pretty happy with the performance of my portfolio right now.

Still no consistent purchasing into the account because my wife and I are maximizing 401Ks and a big surprise in the near future!

Stay tuned.

Hope your July went well.

ADD 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Most Expensive Meal of my Life

How much would you pay for a meal?

Yesterday, my wife came to me and said that her cousin who lives 12 hours away from us will be stationed at port just 35 minutes from our house for the weekend.  As such, time off the ship is few and far between and my wife really wanted to see her.

So we settled on breakfast.  The perfect comprise of spending as much time with her cousin as possible and what I thought would be a cheap meal.  I mean, come on, its breakfast after all...

So this morning, we drove the 20 miles to the restaurant, paid $4 for parking, $3 in tolls each way and met her cousin at the restaurant. 

All morning I had been craving an omelette.  As we waited for the tables to clear, I browsed the menu, came to the omelette section, and can you believe they wanted $17 ...  you heard it...   SEVENTEEN dollars for some eggs and vegetables.  This omelette contained no meat, was not served with sides and stalking other customers plates I could tell there was no more than three eggs to make it with. 

At the grocery store, you can get a dozen eggs for $1.  I can get tomatoes and green peppers from my garden and all the other ingredients in large quantities for very cheap.  Did I mention that this was the cheapest option of all the omelettes? 

That's right, you want sausage in that omelette - $22.  You want bacon - $21.  You want a side of home fries - $4.50. 

This entire meal could have been bought at the store and made for probably less than two dollars. 

So instead, I settled on the cheapest meal offered.  Two eggs, Two slices of meat, Two Pancakes....

THIRTEEN Dollars!!!

Ouch.

Now, I had a great time.  The happiness on my wife's face.  The happiness on her cousin's face.  The conversation that was had.  All these will stay with us much longer than eggs and bread for $13.

But the whole time I ate, I couldn't help but think about how insane these prices were.  The even crazier part was just how many people were there eating as well.  The wait time was 45 minutes!

So this got me thinking on the way home about what the most expensive meal of my life ever was.  And this one ranked up there, especially in terms of breakfast.  All told, driving, tolls, parking, breakfast for my wife and I plus tip added up to a grand total of...

$85!!  FOR BREAKFAST!!

If you make $25 per hour, an average wage for most Americans, you will have to wasted 3.4 hours of your life working to pay for one meal.  Accounting for taxes/etc. and make your take home pay $16.25 and the average American wastes 5.23 hours slaving away to pay for one meal. 

Is some eggs and bread worth 5.23 hours of your life?

But like I said, this was not the worst meal I have ever paid for/had in my life.  Things get worse.

The worst meal I have ever paid for were two Filet Mignon's and accompanying sides.  The occasion was once in a lifetime and I have no regrets.  My wife passed her clinical social work licensing test and received a $20,000 pay raise. 

The meal cost a total of $225.  Holy shit.  That's rough to type.  But, like I said, a once in a lifetime meal for a once in a lifetime occasion and $20,000 pay raise helped ease the burden.

Now, using the average American take home pay of $16.25 per hour, that fancy dinner of ours cost us 13.84 hours of our lives.  Essentially, my wife and I each had to work an entire day of our lives paying for one dinner.  Was it worth it?  Yes!  Will we do it again, No.

But finally what you all have been waiting for...

A common birthday present I think for most households is to go out to eat for the occasion.  I mean, why not, this was the day you were born.  The day you first graced the world with your presence.  You are worth every penny!  Or are you...  

How does that one meal a year affect your net worth?  Lets find out.

My girlfriend in high school loved a restaurant called the Melting Pot.  For those readers who do not know what its all about, here is a quote from her dad: 

"Your telling me we are going to that place again where I have to cook my own food, it costs an arm and a leg and afterwards I'm left wanting to order pizza for carryout?" 

Yea, that's the place!  Every year, the same thing.

Basically, their family would order the 4 course option, and everything is cooked in a fondue pot.  First course; salads, second course; melted cheese, third course; meat and vegetables, fourth course; melted chocolate/dessert.

You put all the food on your skewers and cook it in the fondue pot.  You cover the food in cheese or chocolate to your desire and indulge.  You put the meat in the steaming spice filled water and cook it to temperature. 

And did I mention this meal usually takes 3 - 4 hours?  Yea, insane!

Now, I have never paid for one of these meals.  Her parents would pay for this meal as her present for turning one year older.  And how much does this 3 - 4 hours of food bliss that leaves you just as hungry as when you arrived?

A typical bill (6 people - 2 parents, girlfriend/me, sister/boyfriend) costs $400.  Holy shit again.

Now you tell me if that is worth it?

Hell No!  I get that your birthday only comes once a year and if you were not born, this day would be meaningless to your family but, the same conversation can be had around that delivery pizza in front of your TV or at a park enjoying the outdoors.  

This $400 would cost the average American 24.61 hours. Let that sink in.  Four hours eating cost you three, eight hour days of working.  THREE days!

What could you accomplish in three days?  Poof, gone, all for a dinner.

Going out to dinner at this restaurant for 10 years (age 15 - 25) and you spent 250 hours working, or 31 days, A WHOLE MONTH of your life for 10 meals.

Sadly, this is the way for many Americans. 

This morning as I sat eating breakfast with my wife's cousin who she has not seen for two years, there were handfuls of 20 something year old kids piling through the doors after a late night of drinking.  Gobbling down mounds of greasy food to ease the pain of hangovers, not realizing that the biggest hangover is the one their bank account will see when the bill comes due.

If those same 20 year old's are going out to breakfast every weekend to nurse hangovers, the $25 a meal will add up to $100 a month.  $1200 a year!

I cannot assume that all of these kids will be eating breakfast every weekend but the sheer number of them means that it must happen often enough.

I feel sorry for these individuals.  The same meal that they received this morning can be had for just $2 at home.  Saving $23 a week or $92 a month, $1,104 per year.

I don't claim to be perfect.  Clearly I have spent my fair share on meals in my day. 

But being aware of what this costs you in work hours might just change your mind when deciding to order between the Omelette or the Pancakes. 

I know my life is more valuable then some over priced eggs and bread.  Yours should be too.

So the next time you head out for breakfast, get the cheap pancakes.  When your kids want to have a birthday dinner, make them something nice and head to the park.  Time and conversations with the ones you love are far more important than those fancy meals.

ADD

What was the most expensive meal you have ever paid for?  Would you do it again?  What was the occasion? 




Monday, July 3, 2017

Dividend Income Update - October 2016 through June 2017

Hey Everyone,

Happy Fourth of July to all the readers out there.  As we celebrate United States independence, it is time for us to reflect back on Dividends!

From November 2016 till now, my wife and I have experienced many ups and downs but through thick and thin, the dividends kept rolling in.  So without further adieu, lets get down to some numbers...

October 2016 - 10 different stocks/funds totaling - $352.25
November 2016 - 3 different stocks/funds totaling - $348.00
December 2016 - 6 different stocks/funds totaling - $228.47
January 2017 - 4 different stocks/funds totaling - $224.51

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

And All the Little Ants are Marching...

Kids have a tendency to spill things.  

Well, lets be real, everyone has a tendency to spill things....  Especially after one too many drinks at the bar.

But as a kid I remember food falling to the patio and in the summer months, without fail, thirty minutes or so later you would see a line of ants marching back and forth to the spill.

I would look down at them thinking how simple their life is.  What "losers" to be marching in a straight line to get food and then back down into the ant hill they go.  Each ant tearing off tiny pieces of food and carrying it all by their lonesome.  Never stopping.  This would go on for hours until the food is gone.

As I drove home from work the other day, the Dave Matthews song, Ants Marching starts playing on the radio.  Towards the end of the song, the lyrics state:

Monday, May 29, 2017

Never pay off your Mortgage - The second $100,000 is the hardest!

Hello Everyone,

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.

This is a post directed to myself years from now when I buy another home or rental property.  Never pay off the mortgage!

It was around this point, one year ago when my wife and I made the conscious decision to pay off our primary mortgage on our home.  I eventually ended up selling most - $100,000 of our stocks around the September 2016 time frame.  I sold another $20,000 around December and then another few chunks around the January time frame.  Looking back at this post: http://americandividenddream.blogspot.com/2017/03/im-still-here.html
and also this post:  http://americandividenddream.blogspot.com/2016/10/financiallife-update.html
you can see most of the information there.

From September when we took out roughly $100,000 to today, the S&P has rallied 13%.  Imagine that... a straight line up!



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

What do you consider an appropriate emergency fund?

Hi Everyone,

If you had no debt, no one taking money from you every month, what would you consider as an appropriately sized emergency fund?

This is exactly the situation that my wife and I are in.  We have just recently paid off our house, we have no car payments, no student loans and no credit card debt.  If we were to run a lean month, I firmly believe we could be at the $2,000 level for spending.  I completely understand that we could trim some fat but here is what our monthly expenditures look like:

Real Estate Taxes - $215
Homeowners Insurance - $75 - I should really shop around for this
Car Insurance (two cars) - $95 - And this.
Cell Phones - $100 - And this.
Gas & Electric - $120
Cable & Internet - $120 - We should definitely get rid of this! Or at least just have internet!
Water & Sewer - $30

Total for all *mandatory bills:  $755 per month

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Portfolio and Dividend Income Pages - Up to date

Quick post:

Just wanted all the readers out there to know that the Portfolio, 401K portfolio and Dividend Income pages are up to date!

You will notice the drastic changes from the August 2016 time frame to the current month. My wife and I paid off the mortgage and did some extensive remodeling to our home which put a pause on investments for a while.

The 401K did not suffer from these financial changes however.  The portfolio is being maxed out every paycheck which is why there has been such an increase.  In a couple months, I believe my wife and I will start back on the investing trail! We need to build up the emergency fund a little bit to make us feel comfortable and then investing will commence!

At the current time, we are looking at about $2,000 a year in dividend income.  This should theoretically pay for one month of expenses if we keep things under control. 

Basically, every dollar we save from this point forward is one step closer to retirement.  We do not owe anyone any money so there is no guessing from this point. 

We save money, We invest money, We retire...

Its as simple as that!

ADD

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I'm still here

Hi Everyone,

It has been a wild few months since my last post.  I am still lurking around the interwebs, reading all blog posts that Dividend Diplomats, MMM, Mr. Free at 33, Captain Dividend, etc have been publishing.

Long story short  --  We took extended vacations, Enjoyed time with family and friends, renovated our house and most importantly for a financial blog....

We are completely debt free!!!

My wife and I took a 15 day roadtrip from Seattle to San Diego in early December which was incredible.  The only thing I can say is that I now completely understand why people who move to the west coast never move back.  Oregon was by far my most favorite location.  The redwoods, the driftwood on the beaches, the shear size of the wildness, was breathtaking.  I could easily go back there for an extended stay.

San Francisco was by far my most favorite big city we visited.  I cannot understand why anyone would have a car in LA.  It took us 35 minutes to go 1.5 miles EVERY single day when we headed out sight seeing.  San Diego was nice, but the weather was not ideal so it was hard to fully appreciate the area.  My wife's family lives in Seattle and that would be one of the only reasons why I would return to that city.  I would love to slow travel the Pacific North West one day, because I think I would enjoy the scenery around there but I would not want to be in the big city.  Other stops along the way included:  Monterey, CA, Grover Beach, CA, Arcata, CA, Williams, OR, and many more.

After that trip, we did five days in New Hampshire/Maine with more of my wife's family.  Once again, the scenery, the outdoor lifestyle, the closeness of friends and neighbors are all incredible.

From all of our travels, I have definitely figured out that I am an outdoors, slow travel, scenery loving type person.  I loved being able to drive 10 miles without hitting a traffic light.  I loved taking hikes through the woods. I loved the simplistic lifestyle that comes with living outside the city limits.  If I had to do it again, I would love to buy a camper, tow it with my truck and slow travel from San Francisco to Seattle.  Primarily staying in Oregon and the Islands around Seattle.

Switching gears - after traveling for about a month, my wife and I did some pretty extensive renovations around the house.  Such renovations include: ripping up all the old carpet, refinishing wood floors underneath, ripping up all the trim around doors, windows, baseboards and putting up brand new trim including crown molding, all new windows and doors, new - white outlets and switches and I think that's about it.

With all that being said, you can understand why the blog has taken a back seat.

I know I know, I put the only thing you came for till the end...

We are debt free!  It's true, but unfortunately it has currently turned into a great mistake...

In September 2016 my wife and I made the decision to sell about 75% of our stock holdings and pay off our mortgage.  At the time, it appeared to be a wise thing.  Market was up for 7 straight years, and a new president was going to be elected in the US.  Who could have ever imagined that voting in Donald Trump would make the stock market go in a straight line up for all of these months.

We sold half of our holdings in September, more in October and November and finally a bit more in January.  Due to the aforementioned traveling and renovations, we were not able to sell everything in September and pay off the mortgage all in the same month.  Therefore, we made the final payment of our mortgage in the middle of February.

All told, my wife and I would be roughly $25,000 wealthier had we not sold our holdings when we did.  But, we have no debt.  The only bills we have to pay now are self imposed.  Things like food, water, cable/internet, phone, taxes, insurance.

I have not had the time to update the portfolios but the taxable account is at $62,000 and the 401K is at $65,000.  We have zero in savings so stock purchases will still be a couple months out.

Unfortunately, my company has changed the funds that are available for purchase from Vanguard and they do not give out dividends like they did before.  Everything is "reinvested" back into the fund instead.  Not sure how much I like that but not much I can do.  Therefore, we are only looking at about $2,000 in dividends per year right now.

With no mortgage, $2,000 should cover a full months of expenses if we stay lean.

The great thing about not having any debt is that literally from this point forward, every single penny we save is going strictly towards retirement.  There is no guessing, there is no large bill looming over us at this point.

Every $50,000 we save, is one month closer to retirement at 4% yield at current spending levels!!

Now that we have no mortgage, please send in suggestions to save on taxes next year!  We are going to max out both of our 401K's, our HSA, and I will open an IRA this year.  Are there any other suggestions?

So that's about it.  You are all caught up.  I can't guarantee I will be blogging more regularly now but I will try my best to get something posted occasionally.

How was your winter!?  Let me know!

 ADD

Monday, October 3, 2016

Financial/Life Update

Good Evening Everyone,

This post is going to be quite extensive so if you do not want to take 10 min to read everything, scroll to the bottom and I'll give you the main points.

So where to begin? First, I would like to apologize to all the readers who have stopped by in the past few weeks and have had no new material to read.  Life is always hectic in the summer time and although we have not had weddings every weekend, something has always seemed to take priority over the blog.

Since my last true post back on August 2nd my life has been quite the whirlwind with regards to everyday life, finances and fun.

My wife and I went on a week long vacation like we do every year in the middle of August.  We had weekend trips to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  My wife started a new job, my work won a much needed contract, the stock market rallied, and dividend checks kept rolling in.  I tried to slow life down a bit by relaxing on the weekends (to no avail), and the blog went silent.  My grandpa past away so the family has been working on his house which took up more time and before you know it, 2 months have passed.

This year has moved faster than any other year previously in my life.  To be sitting here and its already October seems crazy to me.  It still feels like spring was just yesterday, the flowers were starting to grow, the grass needed cutting, and weekends at the pool just around the corner.

With that bit of information out of the way, lets move onto the main topics of the post:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dividend Income - September 2016 Update

Hi Everyone,

Once again another killer month for my wife and I!  I might be jumping the gun on posting these results because it is only the first of the month.  Usually I do not see payouts from the 401K funds until sometime after the 1st of the month even though Vanguard counts it towards the month prior.  Check back again for updates!

Getting to the point, Septembers total came in at $548.75!  which is an increase of just 4% compared to last year$527 and a 19% decrease compared to last quarters $674... Bummer.

In the future, you will see my payouts go down pretty drastically so don't get too excited about the larger payouts.  Which is part of the reason I am not taking nearly enough time to write extended blogs for August and September.

Believe me, I am happier than ever with the decisions my wife and I have made regarding finances but dividend posts are not the place to discuss.  A gigantic blog post is just around the corner that will lay out all of the changes.

Hope you all had a great September!

ADD

Dividend Income - August 2016 Update

Hi Everyone,

Way late on this post.  Too busy living life recently....  Sorry!


However, those big investments continue to roll in the huge payouts!   Augusts total came in at $529.65!!  which is an increase of 60% compared to last year$331 and a 54% increase compared to last quarters $345!

No chart this month as big changes have been made to the portfolio and we will get into those in future posts.

Jump over to our dividend income page to see the increases month after month. There is also a nice chart on that page for all you visual learners out there. On that page, you can easily see dividend income investing at work which hopefully one day will be greater than our expenses and that's what we like to call The American Dividend Dream! Check out our complete portfolio here.

ADD

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dividend Income - July 2016 Update


Hi Everyone,

As Ray Charles once sung, Let the good times roll!!

All those big investments from extra money "laying" around are really paying off!   This months total came in at $425.20!!  which is an increase of 68% compared to last years $252 and a 23% increase compared to last quarters $345!



July Dividend Income:

 

Total: $425.20


Big positives from last year include new positions in: STAG, RAI, BNS, CSCO, STJ, UVE, CAH & PEB.  Holy cow, that's alot!!

Jump over to our dividend income page to see the increases month after month. There is also a nice chart on that page for all you visual learners out there. On that page, you can easily see dividend income investing at work which hopefully one day will be greater than our expenses and that's what we like to call The American Dividend Dream! Check out our complete portfolio here.


How was your July?


Thanks,
ADD

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Recent Buy - Cisco (CSCO)

Good Evening,

After my wife graciously allowed me to invest $16,000 into stocks back around May, we have been slowly building back up cash reserves and slowly buying stocks.  After we updated our 401K investments to lower our taxable income, there has been less money around to invest into the taxable accounts.  Over the past 2 months, we have only made two purchases:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Waking Up Stress Free

Hi Everyone,

As I have eluded to in previous posts, work has been crazy busy recently. 

I just finished helping my company put together a large proposal on work ranging in the $100+ million range.  Unfortunately, this has caused me to work more hours than usual and spend less time doing things that I enjoy.  The stress and long hours put a strain on my physical and mental state.  I was tired all the time and the only thing I wanted to do was ESCAPE!