The goal of this site is to inform and entertain as I wish to educate my readers about stock investing in a simple and easy to read manner. For those that are interested, I make all my purchases through CapitalOne Investing (formerly Sharebuilder) and pay a grandfathered commission rate of $2 per trade under a promotion Sharebuilder had for Costco members.
With three weeks of February in the rear view mirror it is time, once again, to highlight my recent stock purchase. As market volatility remains the flavor of the day we are being presented with some pretty good buying opportunities if you can stomach these wild swings. Of course, if you have a long term horizon for your investment plan then over time these wild gyrations will be smoothed out and these daily ups and downs should not be much cause for concern. Keep investing, stay diversified and try not to get shaken out of the market when things really do dive. I always state that I make my monthly buys no matter what’s going on in the market or the world for that matter and this month is no exception. With that being said let’s take a look at my February stock buy. Sticking to my February 2018 Stock Considerations:
I have added to my IRA account 15.6864 shares at $51.00 for a total investment of $800.01 in Ventas, Inc. (VTR). With this recent purchase my IRA account holdings in VTR now totals 71.4150 shares with a market value of $3,645.02.
The health REITs continue to look extremely weak in 2018. Rising interest rates, inflation fears and D.C. policy uncertainty has created the perfect storm to drag down the entire sector. In fact, the sector is so beaten down that my last three buys have all been in the health REIT space. I’ll continue to watch the space and add to my positions selectively as my REIT exposure is still a relatively small section of my overall portfolio holdings.
What do you think about my recent buy? Have you been buying in February as well and ignoring all the market volatility? Are REITs on your radar? Please let me know below.
The beginning of every month is exciting for all dividend income investors as we look back at the previous month and see how much passive dividend income our portfolios generated. No doubt, these are the best posts to write and read online as it only provides further proof that dividend investing can work over time and that anyone can create an ever growing passive income stream.
Looking back at my January totals I see that my year over year improvement has been progressing just fine. One nice thing about my January total was the addition of $897.56 as a result of the C.R. Bard, Inc. (BCR) merger with Becton, Dickinson and Company (BDX). In addition to the cash I also received 2.0441 shares in BDX. Both BCR and BDX have been long time holdings in my dividend growth portfolio. With that being said, let’s take a look back at my January 2018 dividend income.
Dividend income from my taxable account totaled $245.72 up from $206.97 an increase of 18.7% from January of last year.
Dividend income from my ROTH account totaled $139.11 up from $121.29 an increase of 14.7% from this time last year.
Dividend income from my IRA account totaled $45.40 up from $12.20 from this time last year, an increase of 272.1%
Cash received from BCR/BDX merger: $897.56
Grand total for the month of January dividends: $430.23 an increase of 26.4% from January 2017.
Grand total for the month of January dividends plus cash: $1,327.79
Now that’s a strong start to 2018! Getting that extra cash was a nice boost as it’s always great seeing a four digit month.
Year to date dividends: $245.72
Year to date dividends: $139.11
Year to date dividends: $45.40
Are any of these dividend stocks in your portfolio too? How was your January dividend income? Please let me know below.
When we think of tax season, the first things that may come to mind are cash, refunds and checks, but what we should really be focusing on are the harsh realities that sometimes come with it: fraud, scams and identity theft.
As if tax season wasn’t complicated enough, we now have to worry about our personal information being hacked. With the recent data breaches that have taken place, criminals are finding it easier than ever to swipe our identities right out from under us. However, there are tips we can follow in order to keep our personal information safe this tax season. Here are three important ones:
1) File Early
Not only will you get your money back at a faster rate, you will also beat the criminals to the punch before they can take your personal information to use for themselves and commit tax fraud under your name. E-filing has proven to be both a convenient and safer method when filing and is encouraged.
2) Shred personal documents
Protect your personal information by shredding all documents that hold sensitive information on them once deemed unnecessary. Criminals will spare no expense on diving into the trash to retrieve your personal papers. This process can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.
3) Monitor your movement
It is always smart to have a backup plan and by signing up for something like LifeLock, a service that specializes in identity theft protection, you can have a whole team behind you providing piece of mind when it comes to the fear of not knowing if or when you may fall victim to a scam.
For more tips to follow check out the graphic below.
With the market continuing to melt up and make record highs seemingly every day it has become increasingly difficult deciding where to deploy fresh capital. Wait… What?!?! Wow… what a difference a couple trading days make. That used to be the standard line we used almost every month for a very long time. No more, I guess. It seems that we are getting some early Christmas sales in the market and one shouldn’t fret about market dives, rather use this opportunity to buy that stock you have been watching for a while, perhaps average down on a holding already in your portfolio or simply maintain the course and keep investing as you always have. My plan of action is to continue to make my monthly buy(s) and ride out any near term pain. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of my February 2018 stock considerations.
First up, is a name that has not been popular at all in 2017 and so far in 2018 too and continues to struggle in the near term, General Electric Company (GE). I know there is a lot of uncertainty regarding this stock but seeing it priced well into the mid-teens it is becoming more compelling as a lot of the negative news surrounding this company seems to be baked into the current stock price. The recent market dive has really brought GE into fairly valued territory.
Of course, I continue to look at the battered health REITs once again. Last month I added to my Welltower Inc. (HCN) and LTC Properties, Inc. (LTC) and continue to watch those names as well as Ventas, Inc. (VTR) and HCP, Inc. (HCP) too. Rising interest rates and inflation fears have really brought the hammer down on this entire sector and with big price declines comes juicier yields for those with patience to ride out the storm.
Of course, there are many other names that have suddenly become a lot more attractive. We have witnessed dividend stalwarts like Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) get dragged through the mud in the recent days. No doubt a lot of sideline money will be seeking some better values, price and yields with this recent decline.
What do you think about my potential stock buys for the month of February? Are you considering any of these names for your own portfolio this month? Please let me know below.
Disclosure: Long GE, HCN, LTC, VTR, HCP, SO, D, WFC, JNJ
A spending freeze is one of the smart ways to save money. It works best when you’re looking to overhaul your finances for various reasons like paying off your debts, building your emergency fund, and saving more money. Usually, a spending freeze lasts between a week, two weeks and a month.
What happens in a spending freeze?
The term spending freeze means you freeze your spending. This means you don’t spend a single penny. But practically, it isn’t possible to survive without spending a penny for 7 days or 14 days or 30 days.
There are a few things you need to survive, and that costs money. You need water, electricity, personal hygiene items, and obviously food. That’s why the meaning of the term ‘spending freeze’ has been modified slightly.
A spending freeze refers to the commitment you make to yourself for saving money in a predetermined time period. You commit to cut down your unnecessary expenses and not spend a penny unnecessarily.
How to do spending freeze successfully
Here are the 5 tricks to do a spending freeze successfully. Proper planning and self-discipline can help you achieve your financial goal.
1. Choose the right time frame: If you want to have a successful spending freeze, it’s best to choose a time frame that you’re comfortable with. As a beginner, it’s better to freeze your spending for 2 weeks instead of a month. That will be very tough.
Choose the time frame carefully. Don’t choose a time frame when you have your wedding anniversary. You would love to celebrate this special occasion, which might cost extra money. It’s better to budget for special occasions like this instead of trying to freeze your spending during that period. Do a spending freeze before holidays or festive season. It will help to do wonders for your finances.
The best trick is to go slow but steady. Try for 7 days to 10 days first. Don’t try to stop spending for 20 days when you’re comfortable to do only 8 days. It could backfire and you may end up spending more money post spending freeze.
2. Organize and clean out your pantry: It’s better to plan ahead for your schedule. Take inventory of your pantry and find out what items are there. Throw away all the expired items and organize them. Use all the items you have in your pantry for your meals.
Suppose you have chicken in your freezer which is a fantastic ingredient for cooking a delicious recipe. Now look at your pantry and find out what you have. If you have pasta, beans, rice, and some baking ingredients, then you can prepare a meal and a dessert without spending a dime. Google all the items you have in your pantry. Type the phrase ‘recipe’ in Google and find out all the interesting recipes that can be made quickly.
Once I had chicken, bell peppers, and beans in my pantry. When I looked in Google, I found an easy Brazilian stew recipe. My family loved the stew after trying it.
Don’t forget to fill your tank up with gas.
3. Inform everyone what you’re doing: Inform everyone that you’re doing a spending freeze. Your friends don’t know you are on a spending diet. Unless you inform them, it would be difficult for you to say ‘no’ to drinks, dinners at restaurants, and movies. Explain why you’re doing this. Tell them that you’re saving money and can’t afford a cup of latte from Starbucks.
Initially, you may feel weird but gradually everything will be sorted out. Go out with your colleagues but eat your lunch later. Carry your brown bag to the office and inspire others for eating healthy and saving dollars.
4. Learn to resist temptations: Last minute problems and opportunities are horrendous. It’s easy to say ‘no’ to a spicy chicken burger or a hot dog. But what about your daughter’s last-minute field trip? What will you do when your best friend whom you haven’t met for a long time invites you for dinner in a beautiful restaurant? What if there is a great stock clearance sale at your favorite store?
These are big temptations. You have to learn to say ‘no’. Look for the ways to get everything without spending a dime.
5. Use your creativity: You have to be creative for having a successful spending freeze. There is no other way out. Look for free events and entertainment. Watch tutorials on how to fix things on your own. Watch videos to know how to make gifts and more.
Don’t feel bored just because you can’t have dinners at expensive restaurants. Don’t feel bad if you can’t spend money on stuff. Focus on what is important. Spend quality time with your family. You could host a potluck with friends. You could read books from the library too. If you love watching movies, browse Youtube or Netflix.
Remember, a spending freeze can help you save money not only at the present time but also in the future. The creative ideas can help you to be more satisfied with what you have.
The biggest benefit of a spending freeze is that it helps you save money. But apart from that, a spending freeze also helps to change your mindset. For instance, before a spending freeze, you wouldn’t think twice before buying a lipstick or a water bottle. After a spending freeze, paying $1.49 for a lipstick may seem to be a complete waste of money. You learn to appreciate what you have instead of pining for what you don’t have, which is great for your financial health.
Have you ever tried a spending freeze? What was the biggest challenge for you? Were you successful? Share your experience with us.
Author bio – Stacy B Miller is a web enthusiast, blogger and content editor at Oak View Law Group. She writes articles on different financial topics like debt, credit, tax, and personal finance. You can connect with her at Facebook, Twitter.
Whether you are looking to purchase an investment property or simply a home for you and your family, having your mortgage application declined can be totally devastating. As you read the rejection letter (or email), you can feel all your hopes and dreams for the future fading away, leaving you in a state of despair.
Although having a mortgage application declined is not ideal, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. The fact is that just because it’s been declined this time, that doesn’t have to mean that it’ll get declined again. By taking a selection of useful steps, you can significantly increase the chance that the next mortgage application that you submit will be a success.
The guide below will help you to understand why your mortgage application may have been refused and what steps you need to take to help increase your chances that your application is successful the next time that you apply.
Why was your mortgage declined and how can you fix the problem? Below is a guide to everything that you need to know.
Poor credit history
One of the most common reasons why a mortgage application would be denied is because of a poor credit history. To determine if this might be the problem, it’s a good idea to contact credit referencing agencies so that you can determine if you have bad credit and what the cause of it is. Usually, bad credit is caused by defaults on payments or not earning a high enough amount of money each month.
Having a poor credit history can be a total nightmare, as it can take years to repair it. However, if you take advantage of some of the best credit repair companies on offer, which can be found through Credit Marvel, you should be able to speed up the process. Once your credit score has been repaired, as long as you have a healthy deposit to offer, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a mortgage and a home of your own.
Too many credit applications
Have you applied for too many credit cards? If you’ve applied to gain credit too many times over the past year, it will have a negative impact on your credit score. Whenever you apply for credit, a credit search is performed by the lender. These searches leave a ‘footprint’ on your credit score, which can be negative if the credit requested is declined.
You can’t do anything about the credit that you have applied for in the past, all you can do is ensure that you don’t apply for any other credit while waiting to be approved for a mortgage. Don’t apply for any form of credit until you have successfully got a mortgage, as otherwise, your application may continue to get rejected.
Too much debt
Are you already in debt? If you are already in debt, this can impact your ability to get new credit, such as a mortgage. That’s why mortgage advisors always recommend paying off any debts beforehand, as being in debt can be highly detrimental when it comes to taking out a mortgage.
If debt is the reason why your mortgage application has been denied, then the answer is simple – pay off your debts. Spend some time paying off your debts and getting your finances back into a healthy position. By doing this, you will significantly increase your chances of successfully applying for a mortgage, so this is something that is worth doing.
Taking out payday loans
Did you know that payday loans can impact your ability to get credit? The fact is that payday loans will show up on your credit history for six years after taking them out, which means that having had a payday loan at any point in the past six years could harm your chances of being accepted for a mortgage. The reason that payday loans are seen as being a negative thing is because they suggest that you’ve been unable to get credit in the past, which is why you’ve had to take out a payday loan over a bank loan, for instance.
There isn’t much that you can do in regard to payday loans. If you’ve already taken the loan out, all you can do is ensure that you make the repayments every month without fail and never miss one. Over time, the fact that you’ve taken out a payday loan will become less of an issue in regard to your credit score, so it may be a case of waiting a year or two to reapply again.
Not earning enough
Another reason that your mortgage application may be rejected is because you aren’t earning enough money. The fact is that for you to be accepted for a mortgage, it must be seen as being affordable for you, which is why if you don’t earn enough money to cover the cost of the mortgage, your application is likely to be declined.
If you don’t earn enough, it can be difficult to know what to do. Of course, you could ask your boss for a pay rise or look for a higher paying job. However, if that isn’t an option, then it could be worth considering saving a higher deposit to help supplement the fact that you earn a low income. This could work, but it’s important to bear in mind that it isn’t guaranteed.
Perhaps that reason that your mortgage application has been declined is because you have a deposit that is too small. While some lenders are happy to accept smaller deposits, others require a higher deposit amount to be able to offer a mortgage. So if your mortgage has been declined, it could be due to having a deposit amount that is too low.
A small deposit causing your mortgage to be declined is an easy fix. All you need to do is spend some time saving up additional funds so that you can offer a higher deposit amount. The best way to save up money and quickly is to set a small budget to live on and then put anything extra away. It could only take a few months to save up the amount that you need; it’s just a case of being willing to lead a more frugal life.
Having a mortgage application rejected is never a nice experience, particularly when you’ve found a home that you love. However, the good news is that by taking note of the tips above and implementing them, you can significantly increase the chance that your next mortgage application will be successful.
Every quarter I like to review baby DivHut’s portfolio and dividend income. Generally speaking there is not much change in his portfolio on a month to month basis as fresh capital is not always available to make trades for him. Still, with dividend reinvestments, stock spin offs and a small buy I made, his portfolio continued to grow in size from last quarter. Of course, the aim of his portfolio is not necessarily to achieve capital appreciation rather dividend growth with the ability to generate an ever increasing passive income stream.
With the stock market continuing to chug along it was nice to see some impressive gains made in his portfolio that’s only about two years old. As you already know, I never try and time the market nor my buys. I simply buy when cash is available and let time work its compounding magic. See, when baby DivHut was born it could have been said, in fact it was, that 2015 wasn’t the best possible time to invest. The energy markets were in a tailspin and, if you recall, going into 2016 we were welcomed with one of the worst starts for the stock market as a whole. Of course, the upcoming U.S. election, at the time, was throwing a lot of doubt on stocks too. What I’m trying to say is that there will always be negative headlines and always a reason to not invest. Looking back I’m happy to have started investing for baby DivHut soon after he was born and not wait for the “best” time to put his money to work. With that being said, let’s take a look at baby DivHut’s current holdings, sector allocation and dividend income for Q4 2017.
Gain or Loss
EMERSON ELEC CO COM
GENERAL MLS INC COM
ILLINOIS TOOL WKS INC
JOHNSON & JOHNSON
PROCTER & GAMBLE CO
UNILEVER PLC - ADR
V F CORP
YUM! BRANDS INC
YUM CHINA HLDGS INC COM
Total Investment Balance $15,680.19
Gain or Loss $5,262.72
Q4 dividend income: $86.48
Grand total for 2017 dividends: $300.05 an increase of 30.2% from 2016. As you can imagine, seeing these results made me feel very proud to be able to start my little guy own his own DGI path at such an early age. Taking advantage his greatest asset, time, should create a nice compounded return over the coming decades.
What do you think about baby DivHut’s portfolio and sector allocations? I would appreciate any suggestions for potential stock picks as well. Please let me know below.
The world is a smaller place than it ever was before. Technology, communication and travel between countries are at a level we could only have dreamed of a few years ago. Having the ability to video conference someone on the other side of the globe, being able to send documents to colleagues while on the go and being exposed to different cultures and ways of doing business all help to shape the dynamic business world we are a part of today.
For business owners, these advancements in technology and communication mean that expanding your business into foreign markets is more straightforward than it was in the past. Taking a local, homegrown company and turning it into a global business is a real possibility for business owners in today’s climate. However, while there are fewer barriers to overcome in order to start a global business, there are still some elements which need to be given due consideration.
Keep reading to learn what considerations every business owner should take before starting a global business.
Understand the Market
Before you expand overseas, it’s crucial that you fully understand your company, how it operates in the marketplace and how competitive your industry is abroad. It’s very important to set realistic and achievable goals for your company in the new market you are entering.
A great way to conduct local market research and get a feel for the industry on a global scale is with a virtual office. By gaining a local address, phone number and a dedicated receptionist in a prolific location in a new country, you can maintain a presence without having to fully commit to being in there. Contacting suppliers, local marketers and potential customers from a prestigious address they will recognize will improve the reputation of your business from the beginning.
Assess the Different Sales Channels
Bringing your product or service to a global audience doesn’t mean setting up an office in every country in the world. In fact, you may not have to set up another office anywhere new at all as your virtual office can be the port of call for customers in that area for returns, customer service, enquiries and so on.
Look into the different sales channels available to you. With the many sales platforms available online, you may be able to start a global business selling over the internet. Your website can be a fantastic international sales channel, you can sell through the big players like Amazon or eBay or potentially engage with a more local e-commerce solution that will appeal to the market in the country you are moving into.
Building an International Team
Working in different time zones, new cultures and unfamiliar business environments brings its own set of challenges. By building a diverse, international team, you can build a team that can operate in multiple time zones efficiently, so that your business is always running.
Use platforms like LinkedIn to hire directly, or consider getting in touch with a local recruitment agency that will really understand the local jobs market. Niche job boards, local newspapers and your local partners are other great ways to build a team you can rely on.
Going Global is Within Reach
Bringing your business to a global audience is more achievable than ever, however, it’s important to give some thought to certain issues that could potentially affect your chance of success in new markets.
As with any business, you need to ensure that you carry out thorough market research and do your due diligence before jumping straight in. Consider the different sales channels available to you and find one that works for you and your carefully selected international team. Once you have considered these elements and made the right decision, you can expand your business with confidence and bring your products or services to a global market.
Oil prices ended 2017 in positive territory, with WTI gaining more than 14% and Brent up over 19%. The oil market outlook now seems relatively stable, mainly thanks to OPEC’s decisions to cut production, but significant potential for uncertainty remains in 2018. Traders are now considering the main factors that will influence Oil prices in the coming year.
#1 Compliance of OPEC and non-OPEC Members Regarding Reduced Oil Production
Last November, total OPEC production fell for the fourth consecutive month. The rate of compliance with the deal to slash output was at 115%, the highest yet recorded. This is a positive sign that OPEC members and their allies remain very concerned about the overall state of the oil market and are actively committed to stabilizing prices. Many investors, however, are wondering how long this high compliance rate will last.
#2 OPEC’s Exit Strategy
OPEC’s decisions over the past twelve months have restored some stability to the oil market, and forecasts are more positive than they were a year ago. Output limits and strong cooperation between the major producers have reassured both analysts and traders, but a lack of information concerning the exit strategy is a key drawback for investors, and the eventual relaxation of the regime could trigger higher volatility if not managed properly.
#3 Global Oil Inventories&U.S. Shale Output Growth
An important factor for OPEC members regarding their exit strategy is the size of global oil inventories and stock surplus. The lower the surplus, the more likely it is that OPEC will abandon its production limits sooner rather than later.
Another issue offsetting the effect of reduced oil production is U.S. shale output, which continues to grow,creating significant uncertainty about the rebalancing of the Oil market in 2018.
Traders are also keenly aware of the potential for supply disruptions to catch the market by surprise, triggering strong and rapid upward movements. Interruptions in production could occur in troubles pots like Venezuela, Libya, Nigeria and other politically unstable countries. Unpredictable ’black swan’ events like earthquakes, wildfires, burst pipelines or spills could also affect the global oil industry.
In-the-know traders monitor the evolution of oil prices using commodity trading brokers worldwide. One of the most advanced of these online portals is the UFX.com platform that provides a secure and user-friendly trading environment with advantageous trading conditions such as tight spreads and a range of accounts to suit every trading style.
One week later and I made my second purchase for the month of January. Sticking with the theme of finding unloved stocks to buy and my January stock considerations list, I remained within the health REIT sector as 2018 proved to be a very rough start for many stocks in the space. Buying when others are selling usually plays out well for those with enough patience to weather the uncertainty of downward trends. With that being said:
I have added to my IRA account 19.3473 shares at $41.35 for a total investment of $800.01 in LTC Properties, Inc. (LTC). With this recent purchase my IRA account holdings in LTC now totals 29.7521 shares with a market value of $1,219.24.
As interest rate hike fears began to grip the sector and continued policy uncertainty from D.C. plagues the space, we are seeing much better buying opportunities not seen in a while. With three or four interest rate hikes remaining possible for 2018 it’s probably a safe bet to assume that the REITs will remain under pressure for the near and mid term. Of course, that simply means better buying opportunities for those willing to dip their toe into an unloved sector. Another benefit of buying into this sector is the super size yields now being offered as a result of consistent price declines.
What do you about about my recent purchase? Are any of you also considering stocks in the battered health REIT sector? Please let me know below.