Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2017 Year In Review and 2018 Goals

Hello folks,

As I write this, it is mid-January 2018, still acclamating to the working world that was, pre-Holidays, and I might be almost there. Given the timeframe, I figured that it would be a good idea to have a post to sum up my 2017, and also have a look towards the new year. By the way, at what point does the year stop being new? (Things that make you go hmmm...)

Since you usually hear from me when I post monthly dividend updates, dividend income for 2017 would be a good place to start. Below is a concise table showing monthly and yearly dividend income received:

Yearly Total$218.68$457.66$878.27$1,783.52

Going from 2016 to 2017 you can see quite the increase, as I basically doubled my 2016 dividend income! To be exact, that was a +103.1% increase. Sometimes when you mainly focus on the month-to-month changes you lose sight of the amazing progress from a longer term perspective.
For details on the individual monthly dividend income, including details on transactions please view my monthly dividend updates

Net worth is not something I publish, but I can say that it has increased by 36% in 2017. This was due to many things, including the dividend income, allowing me to reinvest, and build up the portfolio. Of course, the market going up and up in 2017 was a big factor, as this bull market keeps going. I know that this cannot be expected to proceed in this fashion forever, as at some point we are expecting to see a major correction. My net worth will take a hit at that time, but it will also be a good time to add to my portfolio at better prices and better yield. But I digress...

Life Events
Life isn't all about money, and so, 2017 was a year with some major life events as well.
Earlier this year, I was coming up on my 4th year seeing my girlfriend, and so I spent a lot of time thinking about our future, and decided this was the year I was going to take that next step in commitment and make the proposal. Once I internally made this decision, it was like the flip of a switch, and I knew my life would be altered going forward (of course for the better). The gravity of the decision really hit home when picking up the ring from the jeweler. Interesting how the simple act of picking up a small piece of jewelry has such an impact. We're big travelers, so on the night before leaving on one of our trips, the ring was burning a hole in my pocket, and I didn't want to risk TSA killing the element of surprise, so once she finished packing, I let her know that there was one more thing I had to do. I got down on one knee, pulled out the ring and asked her to marry me. She replied with an 'of course' and I proceeded on my way to Cloud 9.

Shortly after the engagement, apartment leases were coming to an end, so as a way to become more efficient financially, in addition to other things, we moved in together to rent a townhouse. So the transition from living alone to living with a partner was another life change that happened in 2017. Thus far, it has been going well, and I feel really good about our future.

2017, in summary, was a year of life change, but definitely one with plenty of positives from a life and financial standpoint. Since the financials were buoyed somewhat by a rising tide in the market, 2018 may or may not be as fruitful, but the intention is to move forward no matter what.

So that was 2017, and poof! It is gone. So....what about 2018?

2018 Goals

I don't have a huge list for 2018, as I want to be focused on the ones I do have, and increase the chances of success. These aren't in any order, and are not to the level of specificity that you'd find with proper S.M.A.R.T. goals (yes yes I know, this is quite the goals violation...), but I wanted to get them down in virtual print, as a way to keep me accountable. Perhaps at some point I'll edit this post and attach a specific measurable component to them.

Learn to Swim - Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit, but I've never learned how to swim. With a honeymoon coming up, where we expect to be a warm place with water (or pools), it's time I learned to swim. It's always struck me as this secret sauce that swimmers have that I have missed out on, and just sit in the water, and not swim. I have taken a couple classes at the local YMCA, so I fully expect to meet this goal. This is not a super-lofty one, I just want to not drown...

Share More of My Knowledge - I don't think I have a huge ego, or that I am arrogant, but I do think I've accumulated a bit of knowledge over these 40+ years in a variety of areas. There probably exists somewhere in here, something that could be useful to some people. At the very least, there should be a reservoir to draw from on telling people what not to do. I'm sure I could use that as a starting point. I would like to do more sharing of that information, and provide some use to others.

Cover Honeymoon Costs with Miles and Points - In a few previous posts I have alluded to the fact that my fiancee and I will be tying the knot this year. Yes, we will be exhausted from wedding planning, but at least this will give us the opportunity to recoup in a relaxing environment for the honeymoon. We have not yet decided on where this will be yet, but we will be trying our best to have as much covered by miles and points. We have used travel hacking to our benefit in the past to go to such destinations as Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, Europe, to name a few, and it would be lovely to handle the honeymoon this way and being able to fly in comfort. We have a decent stash of miles, but are still working to get the needed miles and points to get us where we want to go (and also stay there). Frontrunning regions right now are the Caribbean and Mediterranean area of Europe. We shall see what develops as the location...

Cover Wedding Expenses without Selling Investments - Since we will be getting married, you know that most likely the largest expense will be spent on that glorious day. I can admit, that this event will not be a banner frugality day for us, as there will be serious money spent, but it is by choice. We are intentional with our money, and this is one of the things we intend to ensure our many guests enjoy themselves. I have a big extended family, so chances were that a decent amount of money would be spent on this wedding regardless. That being said, we have been saving for such an expense. My goal is to be able to cover all deposits and payments from savings, without having to sell any investments. We've both built up quite a portfolio, and we'd rather continue the compounding, and not have to draw from it. I would prefer to not limit future dividends! Obviously the priority is for the wedding, but it would be nice if we did not have to touch any investments to cover the costs. I think we have a good shot at this.

Another Stream of Income - Currently, income comes in 2 main forms: day job salary and investment income (ie dividends of course). Money saved during each pay period goes into savings and investments accounts. Any dividends get reinvested. As you can tell from my monthly dividend income posts, the dividend growth has been nice, and it is compounding. However, I would love to accelerate things a bit with another stream of income. My fiancee and I compare notes frequently on finances, and we definitely like the trajectory things are on, but it would be even better if some acceleration could be had. I will be spending a decent portion of 2018, on the lookout for opportunities in this area.

As I mull these some more, maybe I'll come up with specific numeric targets for these, but as I mentioned, I just wanted to have these recorded, as a reminder to myself the direction I should be going for this year.

How was your 2017, and what are you shooting for in 2018? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 2017 Dividends

Hello all,

2017 has come to a close, which means champagne will soon be popping. Oh, and that also means that December 2017 is completing, and it's time for another monthly dividend summary. Both reasons to celebrate!

Let's get to the December 2017 results!

Taxable Accounts
WW GraingerGWW12/2/17$19.20
L BrandsLB12/9/17$2.40
Compass MineralsCMP12/15/17$11.52
Flower FoodsFLO12/15/17$20.06
VF CorpVFC12/18/17$18.40
Vanguard REIT Index ETFVNQ12/27/17$7.82
Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETFVYM12/27/17$8.47
Taxable Accounts Total$178.73
Roth IRA Account
iShares Core S&P 500 ETFIVV12/27/17$14.35
iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETFIJR12/27/17$3.77
Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETFVYM12/28/17$23.88
Vanguard Growth ETFVUG12/28/17$3.84
Powershares QQQ TrustQQQ12/29/17$1.98
T Rowe PriceTROW12/29/17$8.16
Roth IRA Account Total$55.98
Overall Dividend Income Total$234.71
Forward 12-month Projected Dividend Income Total

December 2017 Transactions
HBI (Hanesbrands)1NoneN/A
LAZ (Lazard)3NoneN/A

A bit of small activity this month, but again, these buys were from reinvesting received dividends, and not from adding fresh capital. Most of the money being saved now is for the wedding fund (the big day to occur in June 2018). Even at a small amount, it does feel good to add to the portfolio.

I started a new position with IBM, as I like the valuation, growth is currently slow, but I do like the fact that they are investing heavily in blockchain technology, which I am trying to get exposure to. For my patience, they will reward me with almost 4% yield. I will gladly get paid to wait. I will most likely add a small amount where possible to add to this position.

Let's look at the dividend payment history:


...and of course in graphical form

So, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this December brought me the highest all-time dividends within a month, $234.71. Truly awesome!

 A closer look...


A year ago, my dividend income was $168.03, which means it has increased by +39.7% in the span of a year. Amazing, the amount of progress, when you compare on a yearly basis.


A quarter ago in September 2017, my dividend income was $226.17, which means a more modest increase of +3.8%. Not a huge amount, but over the course of a year, this would amount to just under 16%, which is not bad at all.

In Conclusion
December 2017 was a great month, even with less new money being applied, the dividend train keeps on chugging along, bringing me to an all-time high for a dividend total for a month. I do feel good to be able to add to positions, albeit at a slower rate than before. Thankfully, I have contributed enough to this point to keep the train going, as I apply most of my savings to the wedding fund. Soon after the final deposit is paid, I'll look forward to contributing normally to my dividend positions.

How was your December? Let me know in the comments!