Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Supplementing Passive Income - Cashback Portals (Ebates)

I mentioned before when i spoke about the money saved/earned by leveraging credit card rewards, i like to supplement passive income received by buying high quality dividend paying stocks by looking for other avenues as well.

The one i will talk about today is using my favorite shopping portal - Ebates.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Latest Buy - Microsoft (MSFT)

Just recently, i wrote about how i have missed out by not investing in Microsoft.

Even though i have exposure to the stock via index funds that i hold in non-taxable accounts, i always missed out on purchasing MSFT as an individual stock.

Till now.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The one that got away - Microsoft.

I have been investing in individual stocks on and off since 2004. I still remember back then when i first transferred money from the bank account to the brokerage account, i contemplated hard between Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and Google. I was fairly confident that investing in any of those 4 will result in capital appreciation over a few years.

I was looking to hold long term but did not necessarily look at dividends and the whole dividend growth investing style back then. I obviously ended up picking the worst of the 4 and purchased Yahoo. I mean, make no mistake i sold those shares back after over a year and still made over 20% - so don't get me wrong - it wasn't a bad choice, it just wasn't the best one, or the second best or the third :)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Dividend Increase - AT&T (T)

AT&T (T) declared a $0.50/share quarterly dividend. It is a 2% increase from the prior dividend of $0.49.

This is payable Feb 1 for shareholders on record Jan 10 (ex-dividend date Jan 9)

AT&T keeps its tradition of increasing the annual dividend by 4 cents a share (1 cent a quarter) every December. Even though the increase is small in terms of percentage, the good part is that the base this is being increased upon is well above a 5% yield.

The market meanwhile continues to go up everyday in anticipation of the tax deal. Value investors like me are both happy because existing positions are doing well, but not so happy because fair value is harder to find with every passing day in this red hot market.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Dividend Increase - W.P. Carey

W.P. Carey (WPC) declared a $1.01/share quarterly dividend.

Even though it is just a 0.5% increase from the prior quarterly dividend of $1.005, it is not bad because they have increased their dividend every quarter for a while. Forward dividend yield is at 5.77%

Sunday, December 3, 2017

10% off Target Gift cards.

For today (12/3) only, target is offering 10% off Gift cards purchased online or in store. This is up to $300 per order. It is a great way to either stock up on Target GC's to effectively get 10% off every target purchase for the next year or a great way to buy GC's for friends and family at a discount.

If you have a discover cashback card, this deal can be paired with it to get an additional 5% cashback on target purchases for this quarter for an effective ~15% off (10% discount + 5 % cashback) on future target purchases.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Watchlist - November 2017 Edition.

Finding a stock bargain is getting tougher by the day. That said, here are a few stocks on my current watch list.

key - Name | Ticker | Ideal Buy Price | Reason?

Verizon | VZ | 44 | Will lock in a nice 5.35% yield on a solid telecom stock.

Cardinal Health | CAH | 54 | If the selling is overdone, this might be a great value play with potentially a nice upside.

CVS | CVS | 66 |  At that price a 3% initial yield while we wait to see how the amazon story plays out.

Microsoft | MSFT | 77 | It is potentially a $100+ stock, even more valuable once they repatriate funds back.

General Mills | GS | 49 | At that price a 4% initial yield, it almost got there earlier in the month, but found resistance around the $50 mark.

Do you like any of these? Any others you think might be a good value right now ?

Let's hope we get some opportunities to buy in the coming weeks.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Jeff Bezos is now worth 12 figures - $100 billion

Wow, just thinking about it boggles my mind. Today after amazon stock gained another 2%, founder Jeff Bezos is apparently worth 100 billion dollars. Again that is $100,000,000,000. The only person in the world in the 4 comma club.

As amazon continues its march toward taking over every industry, jeff bezos continues to enjoy unprecedented success and continues to increase his net worth.

Bill Gates was the first person to reach this milestone briefly back in 1999. He has been giving aggressively to charity and still is no.2 on the list of richest people in the world. Can't help but wonder what he would be worth if all his charitable giving is added to his current net worth.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Latest Buy - GE and Qualcomm

What a great leveler the stock market is. This is a delayed buy update on two stock purchases i made over the last 3 months.

The market overall continues to be frothy, every time you think a correction is due - the market turns around and makes new highs. That is not to say that this won't change tomorrow or next week or next month, but to be honest i have been surprised at this bull run.

In September i purchased a small position in Qualcomm Inc. It has been going down while the whole market has been going in the opposite direction. Some of the reasons seem to be their never ending fight with Apple and their delayed acquisition of NXP. All these factors seemed to be temporary, but i was skeptical so i initialized a really small position at $50 a share for a nice yield on cost of about 4.56%. A few weeks ago, Broadcomm (AVGO) bid to buy out Qualcomm, and the share price shot up into the mid 60's and continues to be in that range. While i am happy about the price bump, i also regret not opening a larger position.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Latest Buy - AT&T

I added a few more shares of T to my existing position of over 100 shares. This should not come as a surprise, because most dividend growth investors have been thinking about AT&T for the last couple of weeks. A lot of factors, including the recent merger issues between T-Mobile and Sprint, and the very interesting DOJ investigation in the AT&T-TWC merger have pulled this stock down.

T has fallen almost 20% since the start of this year, while the broader S&P 500 index is up about 16%. Does it make sense, i don't know. Is AT&T suddenly less valuable than it was at the start of the year, i am sure it is not.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Latest Sell - Kinder Morgan

I sold out of my small position shares in Kinder Morgan (KMI). I purchased this in 2 batches, once back in September 2013 for $35.9 per share, and then again in September 2015 where i averaged down by paying $23.45 per share.

Sold out at $18.02 per share this week. A loss of about 44% on the entire batch. I did receive dividends all this while, which was about 11.6% of the invested amount, for an actual loss of about 33%. Ouch. It also reduces my yearly dividend income by about $26.

This does allow me to tax loss harvest and at least reduce the loss a bit more.

Monday, May 15, 2017

1 share of amazon would be worth $11,500 today

20 years ago, on this day, a small etailer went public. A little known book store with a few million in revenue, was listed at $18 a pop.
If you had $18 lying around and purchased a stock on that day (ignore commission for a minute), it would be worth a whooping $11,500 today.
The stock split three separate times, so one share became two, became 6 and eventually 12.

If you were crazy enough to make a $2,000 bet on amazon 20 years ago, and never sold a single share - you would be an amazon millionaire. That $2,000 would be worth  $1,277,300 today. The interesting part is that the stock still has some more room to grow.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Free $10 amazon credit

This might be targeted, so check your amazon account if you are a amazon prime member and your default card is anything other than a discover card.

Just by setting your default card to discover, amazon will apply a $10 credit to your account which can be used right away. You obviously don't have to use the discover card to pay for your orders, you can always chose another card at check out.

It is a free $10 for a couple of clicks in my opinion. You can go back tomorrow and change your default credit card back to whatever you were using.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Passive Income Update - April 2017

The first month of the quarter tends to be on the lower side for the overall portfolio in terms of dividends received. The markets continue to be frothy, so i haven't been investing the dividends back into stocks just yet.

Here is my passive income update for the month of April 2017 -

Taxable Account -

WMT     $6.12
KO         $11.10
MO        $15.86
PM         $20.80
GSK        $6.79
WPC $15.92
BNS $7.15

Total        $83.74

Roth IRA - $15.83

Other* -      $77.00

Total Passive Income for the month - $ 176.57

* The Other category includes items like interest income from Savings Accounts/CD's.

How was your month of April ?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Apple increases dividend by 10.5 %

Apple just released their quarterly numbers, and like clockwork increased their dividend. I was expecting a 20 cent per share raise, but they increased it by 24 cents. The yearly dividend is now $2.52 per share.
An over 10 % dividend raise is great considering that this is not a value stock and the stock value it self has risen over 25% just this year.

I am excited about the upcoming super cycle where they will be releasing the 10th anniversary iPhone.

Apple remains one of my best performing stock picks. Oh and did i mention they have over quarter of a trillion dollars in the bank? Their $250 billion + cash hoard is a fortune 100 company on its own. Mind boggling.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Latest Buy - Roth IRA edition

Like i have mentioned earlier, the markets seem frothy and i still remain on the side lines. But there are deadlines to invest money in IRA accounts.
For the year 2016, the deadline to invest in a Roth IRA account was april 18th. I try to keep my roth holdings simple, equities are held in a target date blended fund, and money i want to keep on the sidelines is held in a money market fund.

I purchased $5,500 worth of VMMXX (Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund). The idea is to lock it into the Roth account and later re balance based on how the markets are doing.

VMMXX currently yields 0.93%, with the yield going up along with the overall interest rate environment. This adds about $52 to my yearly passive income, and best of all - it is tax-free.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Earning over 12% cashback on amazon this quarter.

Yes, that is right - i am earning over 12% back via a combination of points that can be eventually used as cash.

Let me explain. I have both, the Chase Freedom Card as well as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (this one has a $95 annual fee, but it is totally worth it as can be seen here). The Freedom card gives out 5% cashback - as chase ultimate reward (UR) points on rotating categories every quarter up to $1500 spent, this quarter the categories are grocery and drugstores. These UR points can then be converted to cash, used for booking travel directly on the chase website, or if you have the sapphire preferred card - transferred to an airline partner by converting to miles.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Passive Income Update - March 2017

The last month of the quarter tends to be more lucrative for my overall portfolio in terms of divdends received, because the index funds in the 401k account tend to payout quarterly. These dividends are also used right away to purchase more stock of the same index fund.

Here is my passive income update for the month of March 2017 -

Taxable Account -

SO               $14.00
TGT             $12.00
EMR            $9.60
CVX             $10.80
MCD           $9.40
BP               $12.49
RDS.B         $14.10
BBL             $8.80

Total           $91.19

Tax Deferred Account -

VFIAX       $156.28
JMYAX      $108.33

Total           $264.61

Roth IRA - $13.20

Other* -       $67.00

Total Passive Income for the month - $ 436.00

* The Other category includes items like interest income from Savings Accounts/CD's.

How was your march and first quarter of 2017 ?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The curious case of Target

In the current environment, Target (TGT) is one of the equities in my portfolio that i am really concerned about, it is also one stock that keeps tempting me to add more to. It is an interesting dilemma.

The market overall is really over valued. This past quarter was one of the best quarters for Nasdaq in the last 3 to 4 years, while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones are both near all time highs. In this kind of environment, semi-long term investors like me keep looking for good dividend stocks on sale. Target with its nearly 50 year strong dividend history, almost 4.5% dividend yield and its ubiquitous presence throughout the US, is a stock showing up near the top of almost all stock screeners.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Latest Buy

I have been pretty dormant in terms of my purchases in my taxable account. My opinion is that the market is really hot, and it makes sense to wait for it to cool down before making purchases. That said - there are always companies with some transient issues and they present buying opportunities, so i am still very open to those.

This is part of my automatic 401k (my contribution + employer 3% match) buys. On March 22, i purchased -

VFIAX - $112.50
JMYAX - $309.38
Stable Value Fund - $515.62 (this is more like a money market+bond blend fund)

Total - $937.50

Approximate dividend yield on the index funds is about 2%, so this adds about $8.50 to the annual dividends received in my tax deferred account.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Credit card rewards are for real

I have been through different phases as a online blog consumer. Personal finance to credit card hacking to investing to dividend related investing. I can say that now i am in a place where i have a good balance of all of these.

In my credit card hack phase (i still do a fair amount, though not as active as before) i used to hit up over 10 credit card blogs regularly, including The Points Guy, Mommy Points among others and ended up selectively applying for credit cards and getting valuable points.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Best CD interest rate

Today is the 8 year anniversary of the stock market recovery since the infamous 2008-2009 crash. It has been an amazing and unpredictable recovery to say the least. Where the market goes from here is anybody’s guess, but i think it is prudent to either not invest aggressively at this stage or pull a little bit of money out of the market and lock in some gains.

Like most financial gurus will tell you, I too believe that time in the market is better than timing the market – but taking a pause and re evaluating every now and then is not a bad strategy either.

With that said – what do you do with whatever money you have on the sidelines, waiting for a 5%, 10% or even 20% correction from this point ?

On a work visa, contributed to a retirement plan, going back now - options ?

I discussed the idea of participating in a retirement plan at work even though on a work visa in this previous post - here

You did that, and ended up with a small chunk of money over a period of 3-6 years and are planning to go back to your home country, now what? Here are a few options.

On a work visa,should i participate in retirement plans at work? - Part 1

With the increasing global nature of work and jobs, a lot of us find ourselves in the situation where we end up with a work visa (H1b,L1) etc after graduation from grad school or being sent over by a company to work as a consultant for a few months or years.

For those that graduate and join the workforce on a H-1b visa,a lot of questions pop up. Will i be here for a while, long enough for the company's 401-k vesting period?, will i eventually want to become a permanent resident or citizen or will i go back home for good? All these questions and uncertainties mean that most people procrastinate and do not participate in employer sponsored 401k plans. BIG financial mistake !