Friday, December 15, 2017

WE ADOPTED A CHILD!!!! - Part Two, Meeting, Birth, Florida

Continuation from last post

After we were chosen, my wife started chatting, through text, with the birth mom.  At first, the birth mom was very shy.  Only ever texting when we texted first.  This is to be expected as we are complete strangers and are looking to adopt their child.  So the conversations start small.  How is she feeling, what are her hobbies, etc.

Before we knew it, she wanted to meet with us.  So at the end of July we took a trip down to Florida to meet the birth parents, both mom and dad.  The meeting as you can expect was challenging.  Both families shy, anxious, nervous, hoping things go well, but overall... grateful.

And after the initial jitters wore off, both families opened up about their histories and talked as we had been friends that we hadn't seen in year.  We elaborated on the texts that had been sent back and forth like how they met, hobbies, family, future plans, you name it.  The conversation never felt awkward and there was never any hostility towards the situation we were in.  Both families were grateful that each other had come in to their lives.

So after the meeting, the birth mom continued to text back and forth with my wife.  The conversations growing deeper and more elaborate with each passing month.

The process was going as smooth as it could go...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WE ADOPTED A CHILD!!!! - Part One, Background

Hi Everyone,

For those of you following along with the blog, you might have noticed that I have been a bit vague with upcoming (read: historic) news and how it relates to our financial situation.

I have been putting this news off for quite some time because I just was not ready to put it out there.


With this blog starting as a financial independence blog, I want everyone to know that -  Our financial landscape has changed so drastically that it is hard to be on the path of financial independence any longer.

I hope this does not push any readers away from the blog, but it is the truth.

Kids, especially the cost of adoption, change things.

So here is how it all went down...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


And just like that, the next purchase is under our belts..

38 Shares of British American Tobacco (BTI) were purchased at $66.90.

Using a dividend of .57, this should add around $85 to the income total for next year.

Although not at its lowest level of the year, it is about 8% off of its highs set back in June.  They are still trying to absorb the RAI purchase and they recently announced that they will be moving to quarterly dividend payments.

I like tobacco/sin stocks and MO took off and I already went down the PM road for a while with lack luster results over the course of 3 years.  Therefore, it was time to give BTI a try.  I loved my LO and RAI positions and this company has parts of both! 

What do you think?  Good Purchase?


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dividend Income November 2017 - My birthday & Spending $10,000

Hi Everyone,

With 2017 coming to a close quickly, its time for another dividend income post for November!  Short and sweet income statement this month because I only had two companies paying me, OHI and ABT.  A change from the previous quarter because I no longer have my Verizon position.  That was liquidated a while back to help pay for BIIB, CELG, LL and VHT. 

For those of you following along, it looks like the bleeding is done for CELG and BIIB has been holding steady as well.  Looking forward to them resuming their climb in the new future... fingers crossed!

Even though this month only had 2 paying companies, the total was quite large!

My OHI holding is butting right up close to 500 shares now...  at 495.69.  The payout in November provided another 11 shares so the next payout will put me over the 500 share mark!

My ABT holding is too small to sell (fees) and to be honest it is one of my better performing holdings so there is no reason to sell.

With all that being said, the totals are as follows:

OHI  $314.98

ABT  $4.04

Money Market:  $.16

Total:  $319.18

Since last quarter, OHI has fallen pretty significantly and unfortunately there are definite merits to this fall which scares me a bit.  Hopefully they will be able to weather the storm of tenants going bankrupt and not being able to pay them rent and stay with companies that are best of the best and slowly work their away from tenantss such as Orianna. 

At this time, there are no worries about OHI paying their dividend as they have a very comfortable safety margin, but should more tenants experience issues, this could be a problem in the future.  I will continue to monitor this situation over the next few quarters and make a decision on whether or not to cut and run or hold out.  For right now, picking up 10 shares more each quarter is a truly remarkable thing to watch.  I'm a bit in awe of the compounding nature of this holding. 

To give readers the full history, I bought my final tranche of OHI back in May of 2016.  In total, I have personally bought 428 shares of OHI.  I now have 495.  A difference of 67 shares.  In August 2016, I received $264 in dividends from OHI.  Through strictly reinvestment and OHI raising the dividend by a penny each quarter, I just received $314.  $50 more each quarter!! and it is only continuing to increase.  Like I said, I am a bit in awe.  Now lets just hope they can manage their tenants and the stock and dividend keep performing well.

As for new updates...   My birthday was yesterday, the 8th.  I told my wife I wanted absolutely nothing for my birthday and she did it!!!   So proud of her.  She was feeling a bit weird (as I'm sure most people would) not getting me anything as it was a pretty big birthday..   30...  but, getting me nothing was the best present I have received in a long time.  Just spending time with her and knowing that $50, 100, 250, etc was just saved on gifts was great!  Knowing that there was no stress trying to figure out what I wanted but didn't really need makes me feel happy.  We have so much stuff already, just give me time! 

What she does not know is that I spent $10,000 dollars yesterday!! hahaha

I bought 182 shares of Realty Income Corp.  at $55.15.  I missed the opening price $54.93 by .03..  had a bid at $54.90.  Oh well...   if this holding performs in the future like it has in the past, .25 is not going to make much of a difference.  This purchase adds $40 per month to my income!  All total, with reinvestment, I should earn more than $500 next year with this purchase. 

Talking about time..  $500 more a year is essentially one entire week of work I know longer have to perform.  Talk about a birthday gift! 

So, depending on the 401K payouts, I am looking to receive around $2,750 in dividends this year.  With another $500 from O next year, I am back up to around $3,250.  Moving back up finally!   $3,250 should pay for 1.5 months of all expenses.  With no mortgage, my wife and I are around the $2,000 mark each month for all expenses, including taxes/insurance on cars/house. For proof, my expenses spreadsheet has an average of $2,087 over the last 6 months.  To get below $2000 we only have to not eat out twice or combine more shopping/grocery trips so we fill the gas tanks up a little less.  Can't beat that!

I have a little bit more money to invest...  I wanted DPS and MO but I did not transfer money in time so I will look for them to pull back a bit after nearly a straight line up.

In other news...   how do you like the new google finance? 

Personally, I think it was a giant step backwards.  I wish they would have kept the recent stocks and chart page all on the same page.  It was so nice to click back and forth and not have to jump to a new page each time.  I also liked the way the charts were set up.  The rigidity (is that a word) of the chart was nice.  Now, they have moved it to look more like other finance pages and I don't like it. 

Thanks for reading!  Have a great Holiday Season.  Save money, Invest and Spend more TIME with family this year.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Dividend Income October 2017

Hey Everyone!

I write this post to you coming from Jacksonville Beach Florida.  We have been in the Florida area now for just over two weeks with probably another two weeks left on our trip.  More on this trip to come in the future.

For now, lets talk dividends!

This was a rough month for the portfolio to say the least. But, I did manage to pick up some dividend income so not all was lost.

I had four payments into the taxable account:

VHT                          $18.09
UVE                          $14.34
CSCO                       $87.78
Money Market          $0.16

Total:                        $120.37

This was a small gain from last quarter of $1.54.  All of that was due to reinvesting those dividends.

The chart should start to level out I would think around here for a while.  Still no new capital to place into the market quite yet.

Hope you had a great October!


Friday, October 27, 2017

From Stock Market Hero to Dud in less than a Month

Hi Everyone,

After investing in the stock market now for roughly 8 years, I thought I was starting to get the hang of things.

I read earnings reports, check companies financials, predict future growth, look for undervalued companies based on those prior factors and for once, I was confident!

Phillip Morris (PM) was a stock I had owned since 2011.  After years of doing nothing except paying out a nice dividend, all of a sudden it took off - from $90 to $110 in a span of 2 months.  I looked at this as an opportunity to get out.  The earnings were still deteriorating, and there was only hope from investors that IQOS would save the company.  There was also rumors of a possible merger back to Altria (MO) swirling around.  None of which was based on results from the company.

Well, I like to try and invest more on numbers and not hopes and dreams.

So I sold PM around $110.

It continued its run up to $120.

I want to buy the company back around $100 or less so as of writing, that is still looking good!  PM is back down to $106...  basically still about $110 if you throw in the dividends I have missed along the way.

Now here is the real kicker...

Remember I was saying how confident I was earlier in the post...

Well, I took a look at Biotech stocks.  For a couple of years now they have been under pressure.  Mostly due to drug price concerns and the government interfering.  I look at that as unfounded concerns because it takes a lot of money to develop said drugs.  If you take away the companies ability to make good money off the homerun drugs they create this hurts their ability to do research on new drugs.

Anyway...   after looking through companies I liked two the most...   Celegene (CELG) and Biogen (BIIB).  Both had good earnings, a good pipeline, and were beaten down from their highs.

I took $9000 from the sell of PM, added another $2500 sitting in the accounts for a round number of $11,500 to invest into Biotech - CELG, BIIB.

I now have an average buy price for CELG at $125 and BIIB at $280.

Then they both start to go up!  Life is good!  PM is going down, CELG and BIIB going up!

CELG then hits an all time high! $146 a share!  I'm up over $2000 in a span of just a couple months.

BIIB breaks through the $300 level which was resistance and hits $348!

And then American Dividend Dream bad luck hits home in a hurry....

In the span of less than 3 weeks, CELG hit a an all time high and a 52 week low..   What are the F*($%&G odds!!!!

Now, I'm sitting on a broken stock, a broken company with negativity all around and no path forward.  What should I do?  Sell it and kiss $2000 goodbye?  Hold it for another year most likely, before any positive things happen?  I have no idea.

This just goes to show that no matter how confident you might be about an investment, you are one downgrade from Morgan Stanley, one cancelled phase 3 trial, and one earnings revision down from seeing your stock go from Hero to Dud in less than a month.

BIIB is still looking okay.  Looks like I will have to go another 3 months until another earnings report comes out from that one before seeing which way it wants to go.

I feel so defeated right now its unbelievable.  I almost want to give up on the stock market entirely and try my hand at something else.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Dividend Income September 2017

Hi Everyone,

September is generally one of the months where investors receive a lot of dividend income.  Its really fun to read other bloggers and watch their year over year growth in the "big 4" months of the year.

Unfortunately for me, the "big 4" months are a little light in regards to income. The big reason is because I just do not have that many companies that pay in that month and the companies I do have are not big payers.

Just 4 sources of income this month:

Visa:  $17.50
Pepsi: $34.56
FTSE - Mutual Fund:  $94.92
Money Market:  $0.13

TOTAL:  $147.11

My FTSE holding is my only mutual fund from my 401K that pays out a dividend.  A bit disappointing that the other funds do not, but FTSE has been doing a fantastic job for me all around.  The growth and the income have been great this year.

The prediction last month about UVE came true.  Hopefully someone out there picked it up in the $15's!!!  It has rebounding nicely and the hurricane impact was much less than predicted originally.  Although for anyone in the Keys, and West Florida, hope everything is okay!

I did not have many portfolio changes this month.  Looking into the future, I would love for CELG and BIIB to explode higher.  PM, MO, DPS and O all look really attractive right now.  I'd love to squeeze a few more points out of CELG and BIIB before making a move.  The charts still look good for both of those companies and the overall IBB index is making moves higher.  With healthcare on the back burner in Washington and taxes on the minds of everyone, the healthcare industry might come roaring back.  With some good earnings reports and its a recipe for good things to come!

I hope everyone had a great September and I look forward to reading those big income totals!


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?


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.


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!!!


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...


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.


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:
and also this post:
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!


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!