May dividend update

Apple’s 10.5% dividend bump was a welcome sight in May. I don’t own a ton of individual shares of Apple but it is represented in a lot of my mutual funds and ETFs so I know that will carry through to those as well.

May is another low month as I get ready for June which is one of the four biggest months for dividends for me as a holder of a lot of mutual funds and dividends.

It’s great to see any stocks you own raise their dividends year over year as it’s a key part of long term returns. I’m not an investor who targets dividends specifically but most of the companies I own and am interested in have excellent and consistent free cash flow which generally leads to regular dividend bumps if the company chooses to return value to shareholders in that manner.

June brings another opportunity for a dividend raises as one of my larger holdings, UnitedHealth Group(UNH) generally announces dividend raises in June. Last year, they bumped the dividend  25% after raising it 33% for two years in a row before that. The company has excellent free cash flow and is growing earnings at a solid pace and even with those big increase, their payout ratio is 33% and that’s off an earnings base in 2016 that’s expected to increase quite a bit in 2017. The yield has fallen recently to 1.39% due to strong performance in the stock so I’m hopeful we see another 25% bump here as the company definitely has the room to keep giving out big increases yearly if it chooses to continue its shareholder return strategy.

I’m excited to see how June looks and am hopeful it’s a bigger month than last September and shows good growth against last June. I saw a 26% bump in March dividends y/y so it’d be awesome to see something close to that in June and would help a lot in getting to my goal of at least 8k in dividends this year.

That’s enough about June. Let’s take a look at how the dividends looked in May and where I sit YTD. Continue reading “May dividend update”

My savings rate and expenses – April update

April was a fun month and included my trip to Nashville which ended up being an absolute blast even if the weather didn’t cooperate every day. There’s a lot of cool stuff to see there and a lot of good food to eat and I highly recommend a visit for a few days.

The March expense update had the first part of the costs for that trip and included the tickets, lodging and car rental but April has the second part which includes some of the entertainment costs, additional travel expenses and the food. I’m a guy that likes some fine dining so whenever I get out to someplace that has some of that, I make sure to visit all the great restaurants in that area which can be costly.

It certainly hit my savings rate this month but the memories I made during the trip were totally worth it and I’ll remember the experiences and meals for a long time to come. I haven’t done a lot of traveling in the past few years one of my goals this year was to change that. I’ve also got another trip to Denver planned towards the end of the year that includes a little day trip north to see the total solar eclipse!

I’m super excited about that trip and am glad I took the trip to Nashville even if it hits my savings rate for these last two months.

Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for April.
Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – April update”

George Risk Industries Inc.(RSKIA) Stock Analysis

I’m always on the lookout for solid values but it takes a really solid value for me to pull the trigger and actually buy something.

I’m also a firm believer that research is the keystone of a good investment and I simply haven’t had time lately to get the research I want done on stocks that look interesting.

That’s one of the reasons why I only own three individual securities and keep most of my money in index funds and ETFs. It’s simply easier to buy ETFs when you have no time to research individual stocks.

Thankfully, I have gotten to a point where my work allows me ample time to do research on individual stocks and plan to start investing more in individual securities. This is the first of what I hope will be many articles that will discuss my analysis of a stock and my decision regarding a potential purchase.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that my asset allocation plan has a 10% allocation to small-cap stocks so I’m willing to take additional risk in search for long-term results. All of my small-cap holdings are in mutual funds that spread the risk across a massive group of securities but that recenlty changed as I initiated a position in George Risk Industries Inc.

Let’s talk about George Risk.

Continue reading “George Risk Industries Inc.(RSKIA) Stock Analysis”

My portfolio – May update

It’s exciting to see how fast a portfolio can grow once you hit a certain dollar amount.

The market still grew this month with the S&P 500 trending up 1.77% which doesn’t sound like a ton but even 1.77% is quite a bit of money when your portfolio reaches 400k like it did for me with the last update

That sort of movement yields almost $7000 in growth at my level and that dollar total is pretty damn exciting. That means that now these types of months and even smaller ones can yield portfolio growth that’s much larger than my monthly contributions.

It’s interesting that now organic portfolio growth through security appreciation is now the biggest driver of portfolio increases rather than additional contributions I can make any given month. I’m not quite sure when that shift happened but I’ve started to notice large jumps in my portfolio size in these monthly updates(I’m talking 10K+) when I don’t contribute anywhere close to even half that amount.

That’s great to see but also makes you think about the other end of the coin flip. We’ve been lucky enough to have a bull market that has continued to run and that looks great on the page when it comes to portfolio size but one always has to be ready for the reverse as well if we see a large drop.

It’s great to see 10k+ monthly growth but the reverse won’t feel so great when it happens. I’ve had 8 straight months of portfolio growth and 14 positive months out of the last 15 which is pretty amazing but as a more realistic investor, that sort of consistent growth makes me a bit nervous that one of those negative periods is coming.

I’m not even talking valuations here, I’m just talking about expectations. The stock market does trend up in the long run but it also takes pauses in the short run. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind those pauses as they’re an opportunity to buy at lower prices and that ain’t so bad even if it looks bad on the page.

With all that in mind, I don’t have any plans to change my investments right now and have continued to purchase on the way up but I do have expectations that this sweet ride will probably take a slow pause eventually.

On the subject of valuations, the Q1 earnings that I’ve talked about in the past have been mostly excellent. According to fact set, with 83% of companies in the S&P 500 reporting, 75% have beat mean EPS estimates and 66% have beat sales estimates. The q/q growth rate so far is 13.5% which is the highest rate since 2011. A good deal of that is driven by energy companies which had negative earnings last year but even without them, the earnings growth is still above 9%.

I mentioned that the last estimates for Q1 growth rate were around 9% so if we end up seeing 13.5%, that’d be pretty damn fantastic. That’s pretty optimistic considering there’s still a good amount of companies left including a ton of retail companies which may show weakness in their earnings growth this year.

The bottom line is that it looks like we’re finally back to growth again which is great for the stock market after a few years of muted earnings. Q2 guidance is largely negative with 70% of companies that issued guidance going negative versus expectations but that’s the standard and actually below the 5-year average of 74% so it’s not anything to worry about.

If this level of growth can continue into Q2 and for all of 2017 then this stock market may still have a ways to go before we see a pause and yet I can’t help but be wary whenever we see such a long term sustained growth cycle even if it means great things for my portfolio.

Let’s take a look at how my portfolio did this month. Continue reading “My portfolio – May update”

April dividend update

I’m back from my vacation to Nashville which was super fun and ready to take a look at the dividends I got in April. I think my dividend employee Steve is taking a little vacation as well after working hard for dividends in March.

The excitement of the large March update winds down in April as we get back to our regularly scheduled tiny payments.

My bond fund is the only thing that pays monthly and I only have one stock that pays outside the quarterly payout cycle so most of my money is in those quarter ending months.

I did recently add a bit more money into my bond funds as bonds became slightly under represented in my asset allocation which will help these tiny months be slightly less tinier.

I did get some good news today as one of my core holdings Apple raised their dividend to .63 per quarter, another ~10% raise which was nice to see. I don’t own a ton of shares but most large-caps index funds do have a decent chunk of Apple as well so the quarterly payments there will get a tiny bump as well!

Let’s take a look at how I did in April and where I am in 2017 YTD. Continue reading “April dividend update”