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  • Retirement: The Forgotten Pieces Of The Puzzle [View article]
    I agree that it is expenses that can make all the difference. I have been trying for ourselves, and to encourage others, to manage their expenses in working years better, so that you save more in working years and you can retire that much earlier. If you are used to living modestly in your 40s and 50s you will feel better about living a modest retirement.

    Our Freedom 65 plan from last year (which was revolutionary for us at the time), just might be turning into Freedom 55 after all. It all depends on your willingness to manage expenses. I'm even considering being 'homeless' in retirement (selling our home in the future and investing the $ to create more income) so that we can travel, which would bump up retirement substantially. This time of year, a modest retirement rental in a warm place seems so much nicer than a home here buried in snow while working anyway. We may end up just taking a hybrid approach, build an apartment over the garage and move in, to rent out the house to friend or relative, and fly south for the winter. One can get creative with their expenses, especially in early retirement, when there are less healthcare costs and need a lot less to retire, if they are willing to live modestly. The earlier one gets creative with their expenses, the better for retirement beginning early and being satisfying.
    Jan 21 01:55 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Starting A Retirement Portfolio For 2014? Start With These 'Surprise' Stocks [View article]
    I really like your 11 bullet points. Can't be hammered out enough. People just don't seem to understand that continuing to spend their entire income (often on unnecessary items that don't last, like, as you suggested, yet another pair of shoes and latest phone) is a fool's game.

    There are people for whom saving is hardly an option, but that is definitely not the norm. We struggled to keep up with the basics while I remained a stay-at-home mom, but those years taught us how to manage carefully, and as I now watch my daughter wrestle with paying her own way through University, while we save for retirement, I sometimes make it too easy for her, depriving her of the learning experience, self-satisfaction and independence.

    I'm so glad I woke up before I wasted years of free cash flow and I get a monthly thrill out of providing my husband with the household balance sheet demonstrating (hopefully) wise stewardship. I'm also finding that stocks that cater to people wasting their money are excellent investments! My brother and like to I discuss 'stupid-tax' stocks.
    Dec 16 10:13 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Trying To Beat The Market Is A Fool's Errand [View article]
    After I started reading about DGI and the possibility of living of the dividends I scoffed. I couldn't believe that would ever apply to us but I kept reading. I eventually started a spreadsheet with what we currently had, expecting to prove living off dividends was a dream for only those who started young or with big balances (I started at age 42 with under $10,000). For the spreadsheet I took what we had, gave it 4% dividends, 4% growth and the very ridiculous contributions we'd decided to make (more than we could afford) every month and compounded it for the 23 years we had until age 65. It was really close. With 5% growth we could do it, or living even more frugally. With a few injections of cash we could really do it. I started cutting every corner to try to make those contributions possible, took an extra part time job, and implemented some other strategies to inject the cash. 2 years later I'm still getting the hang of things, (my biggest mistakes are when the trader part of me rears it's head) but the account is far ahead of schedule. I've written some articles about my journey that may be helpful for you.

    Keep reading, and asking questions. These people are living proof that DGI not only works but provides a sleep well at night way to provide wealth that lasts not only through retirement, but through generations. I'm very grateful for their patience to teach and share so liberally. I refer to my spreadsheet all the time. It's encouraging that it really is possible.
    Oct 19 12:27 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Retirement Portfolio [View article]
    This question seems akin to the one about whether to DRIP or strategically redeploy the funds in a lump, except backwards. You could save a few trading fees by strategic selling instead of selling a bit of every position, which may tip the scales in favor of reinvesting. I would naturally gravitate towards a separate money market fund to earn a bit and keep the money separate and the portfolio intact.

    I have often had the same feelings about my parents portfolio, but I do not want the responsibility of managing and they are not ready to hand over management (and we don't live close). It's great you are working as a team with your brother. I've explained to my siblings what I am doing and my brother's portfolio has been transferred to self-directed as well. There are various reasons the others do not want to take the leap. That's ok, I've done my part and everyone is more aware. My parents have also taken more responsibility. Though everything has been left with the advisor (who also has way too many funds, and funds of funds in their portfolio) they are no longer just handing everything over to the professionals anymore, but are more involved and making active decisions and taking responsibility with what is coming in. That's been great to watch and I'm thrilled to have empowered them.

    Discussions, among other events, have also brought openness about financial matters among the family and that's been and will be incredibly valuable.

    The ridiculous costs, low yield and poor performance angers me. I can get poor performance on my own, but with decent yield for much lower costs, thank you very much! I'm happy to pay for professional services, but then I expect professional results, which is quite unlikely.

    Funds of Funds are also something that frustrates me. Yet another scheme to whittle away seniors money for the company's own use IMO.

    Congratulations, for looking out for your parents, esp. together with your brother. I'm impressed.
    Oct 8 11:54 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dripping Works: A Real-World Example [View article]
    I'll take a stab at the spreadsheet question. I use Google spreadsheets so I can access them anywhere, my treadmill computer, hubby's desktop, my phone, at work. They are basically like Excel.

    I am a newer investor. Within the last year moved from trading to DGI, from 6 stocks to 25 with a target that keeps changing, but if I owned everything from my portfolio and watchlist it would be 40 companies. My story seems typical for new DGI investors.

    I have one spreadsheet that I made to convince me what I was hearing about DGI was unreasonable...that, of course, there was no way we could live on dividends in retirement starting from scratch at age 42. I started with the pathetic amount we currently had, added in what we were willing to contribute, 4% in dividends and 5% in growth each year and compounded it until age 65. Shockingly it was enough to live off the dividends. It was a big surprise. This dream spreadsheet has become my 'index' (what I compare to) and has quarterly targets. I look at it all the time. It's very encouraging.

    I have another spreadsheet that totals dividends, which I revamped yesterday following Eddie Herring's example

    I also have another spreadsheet that tracks stats for my stocks and watchlist. I spent a lot of time tracking my trading stocks but DGI is a totally different animal. These quality companies don't change nearly so much or so dramatically and I'm not actively looking to sell, so there's a lot less tracking involved. You want to be slow to choose and then hold on tenaciously unless one of your sell qualifications is triggered.

    I definitely celebrate milestones!
    May 23 04:34 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Our First Quarter Retirement Income Portfolio Review [View article]
    Thanks for your update. Over the last year you've given me a very clear picture of the kind of portfolio I'm working towards and the attitudes and approaches I'll need years from now, including the metrics to measure it by. I appreciate that very much. In each article there's a valuable little nibblet that sinks in just a little deeper!
    Apr 17 05:15 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Growth Investing And The Reluctant Spouse [View article]
    Congratulations Nlschill for being honest and not adding the insult of trickery to the injury of divorce.

    I too am fully responsible for the financial management (and most other types of management) of our home. For at least a dozen years (long before my investing career) there has been a file on a flashdrive (formerly on disk) that is never used on an internet connected computer, that contains all accounts passwords contact information. Essentially a detailed roadmap for whomever needs to clean up the mess! All family members know where it's located and I review it with one of the children if we are traveling (every couple of years).
    Apr 5 10:11 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Transitioning To A Dividend Growth Portfolio [View article]
    The energy stocks that pay no dividend are the growth and value part of my portfolio, with 90% of the portfolio being DGI. LEG.TO is a name I traded previously and am underwater in. I feel it's prospects are the best way to recover those funds (and more), so I'm still holding. PPY.V is something I expect considerable growth in, in the later half of the year and plan to hold it for several years. At age 44, and still in transition, I'm not quite ready for 100% DGI!

    As for REITs, I was told by an advisor several years ago that since one's home is usually their biggest asset at retirement, that I should be careful investing in REIT's. ie, if half of our net worth is from our own real estate, that's a large enough portion of your portfolio! Now that we have rental property as well, I've shied away, but fairly recently revisited this advice and have dismissed it, though I will be careful to not let their percentages get too large. I have two REIT's on my watchlist and at least one will be purchased with the new funds.

    The same advice was given about the technology sector. I was told that since our income is mostly derived from that sector, I should be wary of investing in it, as a downturn in that sector may cause loss of that income and one wouldn't want a corresponding loss of assets at the same time. I've dismissed that as well, as careful asset allocation will take care of the risk, and my husband, though still a programmer, is no longer working for a tech company, but an engineering firm.

    So, I'm currently hunting for both REITs and Tech!
    Feb 24 11:23 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What If My Stocks Crash And Burn? Part 1 [View article]
    Smallstep, I haven't read that specific book, but I have realized the same thing. "Diversification is a necessity for the beginner. On the other hand, the really great fortunes were made by concentration."

    However, my goal is not to make a great fortune. My goal is to make a retirement. If I have completed the goal of making a retirement and have a bunch of spare cash at that time, it might be fun to try to make a fortune then. . However, my observations of people who make great fortunes tend to make it, lose it, make lose it, over and over. Some of them learn to quit while they have a fortune, some don't. Maybe I'll just give it away instead.
    Apr 9 11:04 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Portfolio Prime Directive [View article]
    Detail, you have summed up the discussion. Some people think we should be pursuing capital gain, and then when it is time to retire worry about income. They think that they will earn more in growth stocks now, and have a larger portfolio to get income from. I tried my hand at trading, and did ok, but I found it very stressful and was so glad to read about dividend-growth investing here at Seeking Alpha.

    I do not need a lot of capital gain (5% per year on average) in order to meet my goals of retiring able to live on the income the portfolio generates, if the contributions and dividends also meet the targets. So far, I'm far ahead as I've contributed a lot more than expected and had a much more growth last year (as did most people) than expected.

    The problem with relying on a lot of capital gain is that it can change at any time. Dividends are already paid out to you and cannot be taken away (future dividends and dividend growth are less certain, though can be predicted with a much smaller margin of error). Contributions are more under your control (I would have said 100%, but not after this past year...) The second problem with capital gain is that the only way you can capture it is by selling. So if you don't, oh dear. I currently have an example that was up more than 35%, but now is down. All within a couple months. I feel like it was just teasing me (or teaching me?).

    It is up to you how much you want to focus on capital gain. It has taken a several years for me to move from pursuing cap gain only, to pursuing both capital gain and income, to now primarily focusing on income.

    You are young. You have time. How much do you need? What are your targets for the long term and for each year? What kind of losses can you expect and tolerate? How will you recover from losses? How much do you need to rely on cap gain to get you where you want to go?

    Tim McAleenan had a recent article on favorite authors. He named some of mine as well and I enjoy his easy to understand writing. There is great teaching here and I'm glad you are benefiting.
    Apr 4 03:20 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Spring Changes [View article]
    Hi Dale,
    I missed your comment earlier, I'm sorry. I guess we've found more to discuss. Total return is definitely, imo, not everything, and even in order of importance, I would certainly put it farther down the list. If I had to make that list, 'creating income stream' would be on top, and 'managing risk' would be nearby. Granted, it helps to have a high total portfolio value to create a high income stream, but pursuing total portfolio value is not how I plan to get there from here.

    "In the end it will all come down to how much you have to go shopping for said income. Track the portfolio value, not the portfolio income. "

    To me these are too contradictory statements. If it all comes down to how much you have to go shopping with, it would seem tracking the income - which is what I will have to go shopping with - is the only thing of importance. I cannot go shopping with unrealized gains, and if I realize those gains to go shopping, I destroy income. Total portfolio value is only useful for me in tracking how I am doing against my targets.

    I doubt my portfolio has the risk of the market. Just a glance at the holdings ensures that the beta is far lower. 'Beating the market' is not at all one of my goals. Meeting my targets is my main secondary goal, after 'creating income stream'. As long as I have enough income for our needs, (hence the targets) I don't care how much money is left on the table. I don't have expensive tastes or a desire to live someone else's lifestyle. It is not that I wouldn't mind retiring a little earlier, heading south more often, or being more generous, but those are perks not needs.
    Apr 1 05:15 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Can Investors Expect Of Johnson & Johnson's Dividend Going Forward? [View article]
    Thank you for the article. There are many here new to investing and this is exactly the kind of straight forward thinking they need to read. It took me far to long to buy my first shares of JNJ. Though it is one of my largest positions, I would be happy to buy more shares on weakness.

    Bahamas, I like your analogy of JNJ being a no-fee healthcare mutual fund with increasing income. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but it's pefectly apt.
    Apr 1 01:20 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Total Return Is Not All That Matters In The Accumulation Phase [View article]
    Giorgiolb - absolutely hilarious!
    So much for absolute truth. All of us with far sub-$1M portfolios would be really happy to trade ours in for the $1.2M right now. I'd be willing to leave the other .3 on the table! ;)
    Mar 21 09:38 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Happens To Dividend Growth Investing When Inflation Hits 10% [View article]
    Thank you for an educational article explaining yet another bead in the dividend-growth's necklace of pearls - inflation protection. Your articles are easy enough for us newbies to understand and are always clear and easy to read. You are definitely one of my favorite authors as I have learned so much from your patient instruction.

    For me being the manager of the portfolio is a natural transition from manager of the home, family, and household expenditures. I have the time to do this while my husband is busy with his work now that I'm no longer managing children. All of my part time jobs and most everything I do are in support of this endeavor and share the same goal...maximization of our resources. There are many females in the financial industry and though I don't have any interest in a full-time job (I need time for household, financial and investment management) I am surprised more women and mothers-at-home are not involved in the investing world, but I imagine that many of the unnamed forum participants are. I know several who are property managers for the same reason.

    Men have greater tendencies to display their wealth and standing, but for many women, especially single, it is simply not safe.

    Thank you again, Eddie.
    Feb 11 07:27 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Building A Portfolio Part 3: Due Diligence [View article]
    Thank you Jrepasch,
    Would you like more articles in a similar to this on different companies?
    Jan 8 05:26 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment