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On this Mother’s Day, American mothers and mothers-to-be are celebrated and honored across the land in ways large and small. While moms are appreciated and recognized today, the reality is that with motherhood comes many financial challenges for today’s working moms. From unpaid maternity leave to funding a 529 Plan, the expenses are numerous.

One way to lighten the financial load is to have an additional source of income that’s separate from one’s time (unlike normal job income which trades an employee’s time for a regular paycheck). Passive income can come in many forms such as dividends (my favorite), rental properties, affiliate marketing, selling products online, or peer-to-peer lending just to name a few. However, a passive income stream will require upfront work and take time to cultivate, so don’t expect non-trivial income overnight. Also, passive income is often a tool for reaching the long-term goal of FI (financial independence), but the great thing about it is one don’t need to achieve full FI in order to realize its benefits. Once on the path of passive income, the rewards (very very small at first) will be immediate and will only grow as time passes.

Here are five situations that passive income can help give a working mother or mother-to-be a financial edge:

1. Maternity Leave
Only 14% of US employers provide paid family leave, so unless a new mom is fortunate enough to have a family-friendly employer, her income will fall to zero while on unpaid leave. Paid vacation time can be used, but it won’t go very far when paid vacation time is commonly just 2 weeks for an employee’s first few years. A new mother could draw from her personal savings, but if she’s like the average American she has a scant amount of savings in the bank. But with a passive income source, even if it’s only a few hundred dollars per month, unpaid maternity leave at least becomes “somewhat paid” maternity leave.

2. Health Care Insurance and Care
Health care coverage for children isn’t cheap, and when mom returns to work the little bundle of joy will be added to her employer’s health care coverage. Depending on how the employer’s health insurance company handles coverage for dependents, this may take a big bite out of mom’s paycheck as her healthcare insurance contribution will increase. On top of increased health insurance costs, there’s also the matter of frequent visits to the doctor for checkups, preventive care, and treating the inevitable illnesses and injuries. Again, a source of passive income can help to reduce the added expenses of health care insurance and medical bills.

3. Day Care
Quality daycare is expensive for working mothers, but unless mom has a spouse or close family member to help look after the little one, there may be no other alternative to day care. Passive income can’t look after a child, but it can help mitigate the financial impact from the expense of daycare.

4. Education
Whether it’s tutors, private school, extra-curricular classes (piano, ballet, ice skating, martial arts, etc), or funding a 529 Plan a child’s education can be expensive well before graduating high school and attending college. With a passive income stream, a working mom can put the extra money towards financing her child’s current various educational expenses as well as fund the child’s 529 Plan for future college education.

5. Unemployment
Anybody who has a job knows that a layoff or termination could happen at any time. Even in good times, companies are always restructuring and adapting to current and future business conditions. So developing a passive income stream is a good way to be prepared and have a financial safety net in case one’s position does become eliminated. When it does happen, having that secondary income stream will certainly help to lessen the impact from the loss of a regular paycheck and make unemployment feel less stressful.

A passive income stream probably won’t be able to cover the entirety of all the above expenses at the same time. But even a few extra hundred dollars every month in passive income will help to offset the loss of income while on maternity leave and help take the edge off the inevitable costs that come with raising a child to be healthy, safe, and educated.

With passive income, a mother has more options and is in a stronger financial position than when 100% dependent on a job for income. If you don’t already have a source of passive income, then get started. It will take time to build, so the sooner you begin, the sooner you will realize the benefits of having an income that doesn’t require trading your precious time for money.

Image Credit: unknown (pxhere.com)
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So long April 2018! It’s been a somewhat busy month for me, as spring really arrived in the final week of the month. I updated the house a little, replacing 1990s polished brass door knobs with more modern satin nickel handles. In the latter part of the month we also jetted to Minnesota (our first visit to the state) to spend a few days with friends there. For the final week of the month we had a brief taste of summer before the clouds and rain returned last Friday.

Well, let’s do the numbers and see how my dividend payouts did in April…
AWP $ 50.00
BGY $ 38.00*
CHW $ 21.00*
CIK $ 22.00*
CLM $ 47.30
CLM $ 47.30
CODI $144.00
DHY $ 35.00
DMF $ 10.50
DSM $ 19.25
EAD $ 8.32
EDF $ 45.00*
EHI $ 24.40
EXG $114.00*
NCV $ 45.50
NRZ $ 90.00
OIA $ 4.30
PFN $ 36.00
PNNT $ 81.00
RA $ 69.85
VFL $ 15.00
ZTR $ 33.90
TOTAL $1001.62

* Includes Return of Capital

What? $1001.62?! O. M. G. It happened.

I’ve finally had a $1000 month! Whooo-hooo! This achievement was mainly due to NRZ’s payout and CLM’s makeup payout (because CLM didn’t pay out in March), thus making April such an astounding month. At the start of the year, I was fairly certain that I would attain the much desired $1000 month some time in 2018, but I didn’t think it would happen quite this early. However,CLM’s extra payout made breaking $1000 something of a fluke, so it may not happen again this year (but I hope it does!).

Now that the good news has been delivered, next is the bad news. Were there any dividend cuts in April? Of course there were! Let’s see what stocks were affected…
• EAD trimmed its dividend from 5.641 cents per share to 5.2 cents, a 7.82% cut and $0.71 drop in monthly dividend income.
• EHI cut its dividend from 6.35 cents per share to 6.10 cents, a 3.94% cut and $1.00 drop in monthly dividend income.
Fortunately, April’s two dividend cuts amounted to being just a small nick, so I won’t complain (well, not too much anyway).

Overall, April was a truly notable month with a long desired goal being reached and the usual dividend cuts being only very slight. Yes, April was an excellent month indeed.

Image Credit: jarmoluk (pixabay.com)
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After a long but mild winter, spring is finally here! And for the Pacific Northwest, that means warmer and wet days but the trees are blooming and the dandelions are popping up everywhere on my front lawn. Other than the welcome change in seasons, March was an uneventful month for me.

So how was March’s dividend total? Well, let’s do the numbers and see what the St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun handed out:

AWP $ 50.00
BGY $ 38.00*
CHW $ 21.00*
CIK $ 22.00*
DHY $ 35.00
DMF $ 10.50
DSM $ 19.25
EAD $ 9.03
EDF $ 45.00*
EHI $ 25.40
EXG $114.00*
HQL $ 40.00
?? $ 1.25**
NCV $ 45.50
OIA $ 4.30
PFN $ 36.00
RA $ 69.85
VFL $ 15.00
ZTR $ 33.90
TOTAL $634.98

* Includes Return of Capital
** My employer’s stock, which shall remain anonymous.

Given how my dividend payouts arrive every month, there’s one month each quarter that’s almost totally comprised of monthly dividend payouts and therefore is the smallest month of the quarter. With dividends totaling $634.98, March was that month. With HQL being the only significant quarterly payout (and a small one at that), March didn’t benefit from the usual boost that normally occurs when more quarterly payouts roll in.

On top of March being a sub-average month, a couple dividend cuts had a minor impact as well:
• DHY cut its monthly dividend 9.09% from to 22 cents to 20 cents (or 38.50 to 35.00 this will hurt a bit)
• HQL “cut” its div to 40 cents. I say “cut” because HQL is my only stock holding that has a truly erratic dividend distribution. It goes down one quarter, up the next, and back down the following quarter.

I should note that, for some reason, CLM didn’t payout its monthly $47.30 for March. This is one reason why March’s dividend total is a bit smaller than usual.

The one bit of good news is that with the end of March comes the end of the first quarter. Q1’s dividend total is $2421.27, which is 9.3% greater than 2017’s Q1 of $2215.26. Not bad.

After a lackluster month, I’m looking forward to April, as I will receive my first NRZ dividend payout which will give a welcome boost to the month’s dividend payout total.

Image Credit: jarmoluk (pixabay.com)
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Dividend Quest by Dividend Quest - 3M ago


On March 23, I bought 100 additional shares of New Residential Investment Corp (NYSE:NRZ) at $16.65 per share. With its quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share, this newest buy has a dividend yield of 12.01% and will pay $50.00 every quarter. Very nice!

According to the Analysts page of Yahoo Finance, analysts seem quite upbeat about NRZ. Of the 8 analysts, only one says ‘Hold’ and the others are ‘Buy’ (5) and ‘Strong Buy’ (2). Obviously analyst opinions should always be taken with a grain of salt, but still the general view about NRZ is positive.

For the past several years NRZ has had a track record of raising its dividend, so I hope that sometime this year its dividend will be nudged up a bit. That would help mitigate some of the damage from dividend cuts my dividend income has suffered this year.

Image Credits: PublicDomainPictures (shopper, money), (pixabay.com); NYSE logo © New York Stock Exchange
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The month of January 2018 is officially closed and in the books. Here in the Pacific Northwest, compared to January 2017, it has been a pretty mild winter so far. Unfortunately, our hot water heater decided to die and so I’m currently awaiting the delivery of the new one which should arrive next week. It’s amazing how one takes hot for granted until it’s no longer so easily available.

Let’s do the numbers and see how well January went:

AWP $ 45.00
BGY $ 38.00*
CHW $ 21.00*
CIK $ 22.00*
CLM $ 47.30
CODI $144.00
DHY $ 38.50
DMF $ 12.30
DSM $ 22.83
EAD $ 9.03
EDF $ 45.00*
EXG $114.00*
NCV $ 45.50
OIA $ 4.30
PFN $ 36.00
PNNT $ 81.00
RA $ 69.85
VFL $ 15.00
ZTR $ 33.90
TOTAL $844.51

* Includes Return of Capital

$844.51? That’s not too bad. I was hoping for the high 800s, but hey I’ll take it. Any money gained from not trading one’s time is a win in my book.

Overall, January was a fairly uneventful month. No new stock buys or sells and, thank goodness, no dividend cuts. EHI didn’t pay out in January but they did pay out early in December. One pleasant little surprise is that CLM raised its dividend from 23.26 cents to 23.65 cents. For me, this 1.68% increase amounts to an additional 78 cents per month. Yeah, that’s not exactly something to make one jump with joy, but I’ll take it anyway. For my ETF heavy portfolio, dividend increases are a rarity (although I hope that will change as I invest more in dividend growth stocks), so it’s always a surprise to me when it does happen.

How was your January?

Image Credit: jarmoluk (pixabay.com)
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was good and Santa was kind to you, your family, and your dividend investing portfolio. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we had a bit of snow on Christmas Eve, so we did get a white Christmas. But the snowfall was short-lived and by Thursday it was completely gone, washed away by the rain that soon came afterward.

So how were my dividend payouts for December? Well, let’s do the numbers and see what the month’s total was:

AWP $ 50.00
BGY $ 38.00*
CHW $ 21.00*
CIK $ 22.00*
CLM $ 46.52*
DHY $ 38.50
DMF $ 12.30
DSM $ 22.83
EAD $ 9.03
EDF $ 45.00*
EHI $ 26.60
EHI $ 25.40
EXG $114.00*
FGB $148.75
HQL $ 43.00
** $ 1.25
NCV $ 45.50
OIA $ 4.30
PFN $ 36.00
RA $ 69.85
VFL $ 15.00
ZTR $ 33.90
TOTAL $868.73

* Includes Return of Capital

Not bad! December’s dividend payout total was better than I had expected. Thanks to FGB shifting its payout date from late November to early December and EHI’s early payout of January’s dividend ($25.40), December got a $174.15 boost. This made all the difference in keeping December from being just another $600-something end of quarter month like September ($689.52), June($689.38), and March ($646.14).

Along with December’s end comes the end of 2017’s 4th quarter. So how does Q4 compare to 2017’s previous quarters? Let’s see:
2017 Q1: $2215.26
2017 Q2: $2369.74
2017 Q3: $2476.31
2017 Q4: $2527.39

Meh. Q4 was only a tad better (+2.06%) than Q3. Considering how few buys I made in Q3 and Q4, that was to be expected. Fortunately with few dividend cuts taking their toll, Q4 was a solid, albeit barely growing, quarter.

Overall, December was a good month and a nice finale to the year. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that the new year is kind to dividend investors’ portfolios and our divided income will continue to grow.

Image Credit: jarmoluk (pixabay.com)
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