Sunday, February 28, 2016

Savings Accounts s l o w l y growing :-)

The required $210 was transferred to my 2nd Home savings account this week.  (All relevant pages have been updated).  This is the last of the intended savings transfers, mortgage over-payments and investments so I remain on track for my 2016 goals.

I also set up a transfer of $190 to my brokerage settlement account.  This transfer should take effect tomorrow and will bring the total in that account to $340.  It really is just a holding account until I purchase shares.  Again with trying to reduce the impact of the fees, I want to make a larger purchase of shares in March so these monies will combine with my "normal" transfer mid-month to allow me to do so.

Also, it gets the money out of my checking account where I am likely to find it frittering itself away.  Far better for it to be sitting at Vanguard where I will put it to good use within 15-30 days.  (I am going to try to do this at least once a month even if I have not designated a stock or ETF to be purchased.  I just do not want to spend leftover money on *crap* when it can go to something that will pay me dividends.)

Work has been keeping me busy so I haven't had a chance to post what I've been reading.  (It's also been frying my brain a bit so I don't really recall all that I've read...le grand sigh....)  In the near term it looks as though I will be sticking to a weekend-only posting schedule.  This is actually fine for now since I don't have that much money to invest/save and only take action a few times a month.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Focus on being smart

Two good (short!) articles, "How to be smart (not brilliant) with your financial planning":

Part I

Part II


Updates, Some changes, And new pages

Well the mortgage got paid (and overpaid!) this week.  But I still have some transfers left to do.  Those will be done next week to allow enough time to clear the bank accounts.

All of the Pages have been updated to reflect balances as of yesterday.  Sadly, all the investments have been taking a bit of a battering lately.  Think long-term Pru!

I have also added 2 new Pages:  Dividends & Capital Gains and Actual Savings & Investments.

I'd like to focus a bit on getting dividends - more for the idea of what they could represent in the future - actual income to pay my expenses.  (I don't want to get too crazy because as I've been reading in the paper, in bad times dividends get cut or eliminated.)  I have a money market settlement fund (need this for a brokerage account), and the cash in there generally is used up quickly by stock purchases.  While I do not expect to earn much on this account, I'm still counting it!  I earned $0.05 (5 whole cents!) in January.

Yesterday I also received $4 from Starbucks (I have 20 shares).  Honestly I didn't realize they paid in February.  (Most of the dividends received are in the calendar quarters so next month there will be lots of activity.)  I have all the stock/ETF/mutual fund dividends set to reinvest automatically since I don't need the income now.  But tracking it is fun (and important).  

That $4.05 would definitely buy me a large cup of plain coffee or tea.  Not a fancy cup of coffee but possibly a small cappuccino.  Or it would get me a bag of rice that would last for easily 10-15 meals.

What would it buy you?

Now a bit about my investing strategy.  Since on a monthly basis I'm investing small sums (well compared to some folks), I want to make sure that I feel somewhat "accomplished" with this investing.  And I want to be smart about the $7 fee I'm charged each time I make a stock trade.  

Decision has been made to buy in larger chunks to build up my current portfolio of stocks.  In 2016, I'd like to focus on building up my shares of Intel (INTC), Unilever (UL) and my dividend ETF (VYM).  Goal is to have 100 shares of INTC, 75 shares of UL and 50 shares of VYM by the end of the year.

This of course means that my portfolio will be heavily weighted towards those three but I'm OK with that since it should be a short-term issue.  In 2017, I'll build up the other stocks and that will help with the diversification.

Also, I am planning on making a speculative trade within the next month (probably).  I saw something that was trading very low ($3-5/share range).  I expect that it will remain low for some time because it's energy focused but it could significantly increase over the next 5-10 years.  I'd like to buy 100 shares for fun.  Yup fun - I know this money could be lost.  Stay tuned...


2nd Mortgage Over-Payment Made (118 remaining)

Similar to last month, I made an over-payment of 0.20% of the mortgage.  It's tiny but it does add up!

2016's goal is to overpay the mortgage by 3%.  I'm on track to achieve this as I will be overpaying by about 0.19% to 0.20% each month and then I will put part of my tax return towards the mortgage to get me to the 3%.

The KILL My Mortgage!!! Page has been updated.  

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Feb 2016 goals - partially completed

This week I made two transfers - $55 to my Rewire account and $55 to my G2H/FU account.  I'll make the remaining transfer probably next week.

Got paid yesterday and I jumped putting most of my investing cash this month into INTC (Intel Corp) since it was trading at about $28.50/share.  I purchased it in January 2016 just above $30.  The stocks have gotten whacked a bit and each day it's up or down depending (from what I can tell) on what was happening to oil.

Yesterday I purchased 25 shares of INTC at a price of $28.54/share or $720.50 in total (includes my $7 trading fee).  This brings my total amount of INTC shares to 50 - which I am very happy with.  I just missed the cut off date for owning the shares to receive the next dividend (paid on March 1st) but assuming they pay the same dividend ($0.26/share) in June, I will receive $13.00 for these 50 shares.  That would buy me lunch (simple sandwich and drink)!  I'm happy with that.

I'd like to make another purchase this month.  It would most likely be for the ETF or a contribution to the Energy mutual fund since I won't have a large amount to invest.  (I am trying to only buy stock and thus pay the $7 fee if I have at least $500 to invest.)  I'll make that decision in the last week of the month.  I may decide to hold off and add any extra funds to March's investing so as to buy more stock.  (Currently I have about $150 at Vanguard sitting in the money market account - this will also go towards the next purchase.)

In the process of updating the various pages - should finish them this weekend.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Housekeeping: Can you comment on this blog?

Someone noted to me that they were unable to comment on my blog.  I have another blog that is private and I've noticed that most of the comments I've gotten are from those who have access to that blog.  Hmmm...a bit of a conundrum since I didn't specify those individuals...  

I've played around with the comment settings and I'm hoping this issue is now fixed.

If one or two individuals who tried to comment before and couldn't, would attempt to leave a comment on this post, I'd be very grateful :-)

Thank you!

Weekend reading

For me, staying some-what motivated is about staying away from temptations.  So I read about personal finance and people who blog about trying to have a better life by conquering their money.  Fashion and beauty blogs are out because then I'd want to buy those products :-)

Here are a few links that I have read this week (all short and all from the same site Kiplingers):

The Biggest Oversight in most Americans' Retirement Planning
***This is a fab read - so important***

Getting Off on the Right Financial Foot in 2016

What the Chinese Zodiac Can Teach Us About Personal Finance

Awaken to these Three Retirement Investing Truths

Take the Emotion out of Your Financial Decision Making
*The comment about not naming your estate as a beneficiary for your life insurance is interesting.  I named my estate for the life insurance I get under my job.  I just didn't want to give out individual social security numbers.  I'm wondering if you have enough cash, stock etc. that can tide your beneficiaries over for a decent amount of time if this really matters.

Hope you have a relaxing weekend!