My portfolio – September update

Hi and welcome to another monthly portfolio update. We’re moving into Q3 earnings season now with a solid 2nd quarter behind us. Solid earnings lead to solid performance as the S&P 500 is up nearly 10% YTD which has meant good things for our portfolios.

According to Factset, for Q2 2017, the blended earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 was 10.3% which was higher than end of June analyst projections. This was one of the first times I’ve seen that happen in quite some time. Energy was the biggest grower and really drove a good chunk of that overall rate but every sector was above 0% this time around. There were some laggards here and there and definitely some signs of weakness in certain sectors like customer staples and discretionary but the overall results were good.

Q3 is looking less rosy right now as estimates have dropped in recent months and are only showing a 4.9% growth rate for the S&P 500. Energy is still the primary driver of this growth rate and utilities, telecom and consumer discretionary expected to be below 0% for the quarter. That means some potential issues for a market that hasn’t shown any signs of stopping and will likely look at any signs of weakness as a selling opportunity.

Still, we’re in a spot where the S&P 500 is finally growing after 3 years of being still and long term projections are currently still optimistic showing 10% growth rate for 2017 and 2018 overall. If that happens then the stock market is probably going to continue to rise due to the lack of alternative investment options.

The S&P 500 was up again this month showing an 0.82% increase since my last portfolio update. I’ve kept throwing money into the market regularly which has meant good things for my portfolio which has shown 11 straight months of growth which included 5 months where my portfolio grew by more than $10000!

There have been some out performers in my portfolio which drove my asset allocation out of whack but that’s a problem I’m slowly fixing by targeting new dollars into under represented asset classes. I’m sure that problem continues this month but I’m excited to see where my portfolio stands today and where I’ll be targeting my investment dollars next month.

Let’s take a look at my portfolio today. As a reminder, last month my portfolio hit a new all time high of $437,778.47! Continue reading “My portfolio – September update”

Going Places – Denver and the eclipse

Going Places – Denver and the eclipse

I’m not a huge traveler but I do like to get out and about every so often. I’d like to two vacations a year, maybe more if the trips are more local. It was actually one of my goals this year as well! The Denver vacation is my 2nd one of the year.

I thought it’d be cool to document some of my trips here on my blog since it doesn’t all have to be financial stuff. After all, life is about more than just money.

If the personal tag didn’t tip you off, this post won’t have anything to do with what I typically write about. I like to write and it just seems reasonable to combine that passion and archive some of my trips on this page.

I went out to Nashville earlier in the year and had fun. The plan was to write a bit about it when I got back but I never go around to it so now that I got back from Denver, Colorado, I have another opportunity to get that started. The Denver trip was a few weeks ago so I’m a bit late to the party but it’s a start!

The idea of heading to Denver was actually spawned by my fiancee’s dad who wanted to go see the total solar eclipse. I’ve wanted to check out Denver for a while and as luck would have it, it was only a few hours away from Wyoming which was in the path of totality.

It wasn’t just my fiancee and I this time around which wasn’t ideal but having three other people around really helped reduce the costs of the trip which was a plus.

One of the nice things about this trip is that my fiancee’s dad actually took care of all the booking which was awesome as I’m typically the one doing all that. He also got tickets for a bus trip on the day of the total solar eclipse so we wouldn’t have to worry about driving there ourselves and finding a good spot.

The visit to Denver wasn’t going to be a long trip since we’re all employed and have certain schedules.

We flew out Friday morning and got there around lunch time and then flew out Wednesday morning so I was back in my own bed by Wednesday night.

The total eclipse was happening on Monday so that day was booked up but the rest of the time was spent exploring Denver and the areas around it. It may seem like a short trip but we tried to jam as much stuff as we could into those days. Continue reading “Going Places – Denver and the eclipse”

August dividend update

Last month I saw a 22% bump in my dividends and I’m hoping that can continue this month.

Both July and August are slow months for me and my dividend employee Steve but we’re into September now which is one of the four big months four me due to my mutual fund and ETF exposure.

I’ve added more money into my bond funds that pay monthly recently due to the strong stock market performance leading to bonds becoming under weighted in my portfolio and that has helped spur growth in these off months a little bit.

Last year’s August income came in at $81.26 so that’s the base I’m working with when setting my expectations for the month. Let’s take a look at the August income. Continue reading “August dividend update”

My savings rate and expenses – July update

I’m back from vacation and taking a quick looking at my savings rate in July. I had a rough month in June and knew that my August wouldn’t be great either due to the vacation and some other expenses so I tried to hunker down and spend less in July.

I was glad to see that spending less actually wasn’t all that hard. I’m lucky to be a home body which certainly helps with expenses so the fiancee and I spent more time at home versus going out and I’m hoping that showed in the savings rate for the month.

We certainly didn’t just stay in all the time, still going out and doing stuff every once in a while and enjoying ourselves but I was certainly aiming for a number that was a good deal higher than June’s poor savings rate.

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

My portfolio – August update

Earnings season continued to accelerate this month with more than 90% of S&P 500 companies reporting Q2 results by now.

The news has been largely positive as Q2 growth rate has come in at a solid 10.2% and will likely beat the 6.5% projection I referenced in my last portfolio update. Revenue growth was solid solid with a 5.1% rate.

That all seems like good news but the stock market has had a largely muted response to the good results. Part of that is driven by the fact that the stock market is already aggressively priced and part of that is driven by the questions around stability that arose with the North Korean situation. There’s never any certainty with the stock market and a pullback is certainly possible but at least for now the fundamentals look pretty good even if volatility spikes up in the near term.

Q3 guidance has been largely negative with over 63% of the companies issuing guidance being negative but that’s actually below the five year average of 75%. Analysts are projecting another growing quarter with a rate of 5.2% in Q3. The projection for Q2 was right around 6.5% so this makes the first year in a few where we’re not only seeing growth but actually seeing growth that is beating analysts projections which seems like good news to me.

The S&P 500 barely moved in the latest month taking a dip near the end of last week that brought the monthly change to +0.67%. That comes after a slight reduction last month but the overall trend this year has been up and that has shown in my portfolio. I’ve been on a roll with 10 straight months of positive growth which included five months where my portfolio grew by more than $10,000! That’s been awesome to see but it has also led to some asset allocation discrepancies as certain asset classes have grown more than others.

I’ve also had some higher spending months recently so my savings rate has tanked which has made these discrepancies harder to fix as there’s less new money flowing into the portfolio each month. I hope to change that soon although I have a vacation coming up in a few days which certainly won’t help August’s savings rate numbers!

Let’s take a look at my portfolio today and where my money will be going next month.  Continue reading “My portfolio – August update”

July dividend update

The awesome record breaking(outside of December) total I saw in June is behind me and now I’m back to an off month in July.

All of us ETF holders are used to big payouts quarterly and lack of payouts outside of those months. I’ve been adding a bit of cash to my bond funds in the last few weeks since that area of my asset allocation has fallen behind due to the great performance in stocks and that has led to slight increases in my monthly payouts in these off months. It hasn’t been a lot of cash since my expenses shot up the past two months due to my engagement and wedding planning but anything above 0 is great as it will help with the compounding going forward.

My bond mutual funds are the only ones that pay monthly so they’re my primary income in slower months like July. These might be small months when compared to June or any other quarter but anything I get here will be reinvested and help this number grow year over year.

Last year’s July income was $52.76 so that serves as a starting point for my expectations here. Let’s take a look at how I did this month. Continue reading “July dividend update”

My savings rate and expenses – June update

May was pretty mediocre when it came to my savings rate. I was expecting June to put me back on the right track as it was a three paycheck month but that didn’t quite work out for me.

Getting married is expensive. I have a separate post around the cost of engagement rings and marriage that I’ll eventually get around to writing but my recent engagement really sent the savings rate for this month into a tailspin.

June’s expenses ended up being nearly double my average monthly expenses which naturally won’t do great things for a savings rate.

It was all money well spent though as my fiancee and I found a beautiful engagement ring that she loved and ordered it and put down the first payment for a quaint little wedding venue that we both loved.

We’ve also been house hunting pretty aggressively these last few weeks and have an offer out on a house right now after missing out on our first offer. That means I had additional savings flowing into a future down payment expense that I know is coming in the near term(within the next 12 months at least).

All in all, this three month paycheck month wasn’t quite what I expected it to be but it was due to a lot of one time expenses that I’m not too concerned about and see as valuable.

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