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”

My portfolio – July Update

Q2 earnings season is upon us and the first few reports have been decent but it is way too early to know whether the expected growth rate of 6.5% is realistic. Q1 results were strong and if that continues through the end of the year then we could be in for more solid performance in the stock market.

My portfolio has been the beneficiary of that performance as I’ve seen 9 straight months of growth. The S&P has been positive in 7 of those 9 months as well so that certainly helped. It wasn’t just tiny increments either as 5 of the last 7 months have seen bumps greater than 10k. I’d be financially independent in no time with growth like that!

The market took a small break this month as the S&P 500 return was back to a negative, coming in with a -0.27% return since the last update.

The market will have its pauses and falls but I’m overjoyed with the growth I’ve seen recently. It’s impressive how quickly capital can growth once you hit a certain dollar threshold as the market barely has to move and my portfolio can spike $10k.

It also makes you realize how much I could lose if the market moves in the other direction, something that’s always important to keep in mind. It’s easy to forget that in a  market that has been so favorable for the past years but doing these monthly updates and seeing the big jumps always makes me remember that dollar swings can be large in either direction.

It’s also great to see that my asset allocation has gotten to a point where everything is close to target and I can direct new purchases towards classes that fall below target. That means that I’m buying that things that are more likely to be undervalued in relation to other assets from a long term viewpoint and that’s good for my long term returns.

Let’s take a look at my portfolio today and where I’ll be directing money next month.  Continue reading “My portfolio – July Update”

June dividend update

June was a very busy month for me. Not only did I get engaged but we also spent a considerable amount of time looking for houses. In fact, we just made an offer on our potential first home today which is both exciting and stressful.

I’ll write about that process another day and what it might mean for my portfolio but today I’m looking at my June dividends and am excited by what I see.

My portfolio is very ETF/mutual fund focused so a lot of the payouts are centered on these quarter ending months and these months drive my performance for the quarter and the year. Even though I’m not a dividend focused investor, I do feel like consistent and growing dividend payouts are a helpful tool in long term investing and as such, I set a goal of $8,000 for the year.

I’m not quite sure if I’m on pace to beat that goal and a lot of it will depend on what happens in December but June certainly helped my totals move along. Steve, my trusty dividend employee who has been lazying about the past two months found a lot of seasonal work in June and earned himself a solid wage!

As a reminder, my March dividend totals were $1250.80 and last June’s dividend total was $1161.49 so both serve as a starting point for what was expected this June. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how June 2017 looks. Continue reading “June dividend update”