Sunday, March 27, 2016

This month's investment

I have no idea what I am going to buy this month.  I'll probably make the decision on the last day of the month.  Or it could slip into April since I'm in no rush to buy just anything.

But in keeping with my desire to make consistent investments, I have set up a transfer of $700 to be sent to my brokerage settlement account.  This should arrive tomorrow or Tuesday and be ready for me to invest once I have made up my mind.

I will probably invest $100 into my Energy mutual fund since I still want to increase that overtime.  But I am torn about investing the rest of the monies - i.e. does it go towards a stock or towards my dividend ETFs?  Either decision is okay of course.

Well we'll know in a few days :-)


3rd Mortgage Over-Payment Made (117 remaining)

Early last week I made an over-payment of 0.20% of the mortgage.  Still on track for my 2016 goal which is to overpay the mortgage by 3%.  My taxes have been submitted and hopefully the refund will come next month and I'll be able to put a bit more towards the mortgage overpayment.

There are definitely times when it is hard to make this overpayment.  I've been doing it for over 3 years now and it does get old fast especially when the horizon is very, very far away.  But I think reducing my mortgage overpayment a bit (adjusting it to send the other monies to investments) has helped.  I don't feel as though all my money is inaccessible.  Yet I still feel like I'm making *some* progress.

Of course if I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd pay it all off in one big swoooooooop!  :-)


March 2016 Transfers

Happy Easter if you celebrate!

Okay so this post is long overdue - sorry!  Wasn't sure I would be able to make all the transfer to savings accounts because I had some expenses crop up.  Well some were annual expenses and some just appeared.  (Note to Pru March is always going to be a very expensive month!)  But needless to say the transfers were made :-)

On March 12th, I transferred $110 ($55 each) to both the Rewire and G2H savings accounts.

On March 26th, I transferred $210 to my 2nd Home account.

I'm still on track with my 2016 savings goals.  Now off to update totals in the relevant pages.


Monday, March 21, 2016

And now for our wonderful readers...

I'm still here...just!  Have been a bit busy and haven't done as much financial reading as I'd like.  But I will be back this holiday weekend with updates on transfers and mortgage over-payments.

In the meantime, I'd like to ask you a question or two.  Yes You!  (I do get a good amount of visitors based on my stats so I hope that you will stick around for a few minutes and answer the questions...pleeeeze!)

Are you saving or investing for anything special?  Do you have a blog where you are chronicling your journey?  

Do tell! Pru's inquiring mind wants to know!

Indulge me!


Saturday, March 12, 2016

A dividend and some more buys

This past week my Unilever stock paid me 0.073 shares as a dividend.  That works out to $3.30 or $3.25 after deducting a tiny fee.  The fee is apparently because Unilever is a foreign stock that trades in the U.S. as an American depository receipt (ADR).  The fee surprised me but I think at my previous brokerage account they showed my dividends net of the fee.  The ADR fee is normal and is generally 1-3 cents per share apparently.  Since I had 10 shares, I guess I got a bit of a bargain :-)

On one of my last posts I had a nice conversation in the comments with Anon about how I look at dividends.  Since I do not need the cash, all of my dividends are set to reinvest.  However, I try to compare the dividend received to what I could buy with it today.

I have the usual retirement accounts and those will hopefully go untouched until my formal retirement age.  If life's circumstances allow me to do this, they should have enough money in them to take care of me for 20-30 years (assuming no Social Security income and no debt outstanding).

But the money I'm investing with this blog - well that money I want to spend :-)  In about 10 years, I will probably stop reinvesting the dividends and have them paid to me as cash.  So what I can buy with them is a very real question that I enjoy trying to answer.  

$100K of investments may only net me about $4K (on the high end) in dividends.  After taxes, that works out to less than $300 a month.  Not a lot but it would pay for my groceries and my utilities.  So something I wouldn't have to worry about which is nice.

And in retirement, assuming I haven't sold off the shares that are valued at $100K (all estimates, hopefully the value is much much higher than that), then those same dividends could end up being my *fun* money in retirement since all of my living expenses should be more than adequately covered by the aforementioned retirement accounts.  (Hopefully!)

Now on to some trades.  I was doing a bit of research into various Vanguard funds last weekend and I came across a brand new ETF Vanguard International High Dividend Yield (VYMI).  Well I already owned 3 shares of Vanguard High Dividend Yield (VYM) so I was very happy to see this new ETF.  It is the international mirror to my current ETF.

I had about $300 in cash in my settlement account.  And so on Monday I impulsively bought 4 shares of VYMI (at $53.09 each) and 1 share of VYM (at $67.25).  Going forward, my plan is to buy the same number of shares in these ETFs so if I buy 1 share in the domestic then at the same time I'll buy 1 share in the international.  

I have no plans in the near-term to buy any more ETFs.

Of course I had other plans for the $300 that was in my settlement account.  I was going to combine it with a cash injection later this month to buy more stocks.  This changes my plan somewhat and I need to regroup and look at my list of stocks that I want to buy.

I will make a stock purchase this month but it will be in the last week of the month.

Happy weekend!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Let the money come pouring in!

Okay that title is a tad misleading.  But just saying "Dividends Update" would have been a bit boring.  One day in the not-so-distant future, however, the money will be pouring in me hopes! :-)

But I have received a bit of money.  Specifically I received $0.09 in my money market settlement fund on 2/29/2016.  The cash that is in there is just in a holding pattern until I can deposit more cash in the next couple of weeks and then invest it properly.  But that is 9 cents that I will gladly take!

And on March 1st, my Intel stock (INTC) paid me a princely (princessly) sum of $6.50.  (It was actually 0.217 shares that were reinvested at a price of $29.93.)

In less than 3 months I have earned $10.64 or about $1.50 over the past 7 weeks.  Not bad, not bad eh?

That $10.64 will buy me a lunch (sandwich and chips).  Or it can buy me 5-6 boxes of non-sale pasta that would last me over a month eaten every day.  Right now it would buy me 2 bags of 3-4 lb oranges.  

It isn't quite enough to pay any of my bills.  (My lowest bill is my utility one and that is $40 for the last month - bill received yesterday.)  But I am definitely on track to pay a few utility bills this year just on the basis of a few dividend paying stocks.  

I should receive a few more dollars this month since most of my stocks and my mutual funds pay on a quarter basis.  Stay tuned!

The Dividends & Capital Gains page has been updated.


What's on the brain

I've had retirement on my mind a lot this week.  More specifically - early retirement.  I'd really like to be done with working in 10 years.  No coincidence that the time frame is the same as my hope of rewiring in 10.  Originally I thought that I would move on to a less stress position in 10 years (in a different field, possibly even a different location).  But lately I'm salivating at the thought of being in a position to completely stop working.

Oh how that would be lovely!

The key of course is that I must have my expenses at the most minimal level possible while also having a good stash of cash set aside to support me until I can access my retirement accounts without penalty.  I've had a look at my retirement accounts and if I continue to contribute for the next 10 years and then stop contributing, they should still end up at a healthy amount once I'm able to access them.  This is good news because it means I just need to focus on building up the "other" amount of cash/investments.  Of course that won't be easy.

The other thing that has been on my mind of late is the phrase, "You don't build wealth by spending it."  Oh how true that is - especially where I am right now.

And now for some articles that have caught my eye this past week:

18 Smart Ways to Spend or Invest $1,000

14 Smart Ways to Spend or Invest $10,000

9 Smart Ways to Spend or Invest $100,000

And these ones are good reminders:
5 Money Moves In Your 50s

8 Surprising Things You May Not Know About Retirement

(Side note - I wonder if personal finance articles need to start with a number to grab our attention...)

And because the not spending it part is of great importance:
69 Valuable Things You Can Get For Free
*This one had some really good ideas.  Some (or a lot of these things) are geared towards Americans (and possibly Canadians depending on the brand mentioned).  If you are not in the U.S., I would take the spirit of the article and run with it.  So if they mention that a major store (e.g. hardware store) offers free xyz, contact or search online for a major hardware store in your country to see if they do something similar.  Can't hurt!