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  • ConocoPhillips: Flexing Its Business Model And Reaffirming The Dividend [View article]
    That is true.... it's not binding. I can think of a couple stocks in my investing past that offered assurances as to the dividend. Within six months, the div was cut severely. I now take those assurances with a grain of salt.

    I recently had to cut back on my big oil holdings (held XOM, CVX and COP) because I foolishly let the allocation get way out of whack. I looked at the ratings from people that undoubtedly know more than I do. I ended up selling COP. The allocation still isn't great, but it's much better. If I decide to trim a little more, it will likely be CVX. Still undecided though.

    I hated to give up the dividend income, but trimming became mandatory. I even pocketed a few dollars in gains so it wasn't all bad. I can take my DW out for a nice dinner.
    Apr 9, 2015. 02:50 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Lumber Liquidators Know It Was Selling Toxic Laminate? [View article]
    Thanks for your input. I'm not sure what to think about the safety of the particular bamboo flooring that we purchased. I don't really know what Tilson's motivation is but he's not the only one that is raising this issue. At the very least, it gives me a reason to reconsider installation of the flooring. It may be perfectly safe, but like I said, I would be really annoyed if I had to tear it out after all the effort involved in installation. Still undecided.
    Apr 9, 2015. 10:40 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Lumber Liquidators Know It Was Selling Toxic Laminate? [View article]
    I don't have to remove the bamboo flooring. It hasn't been installed yet. My quandary is whether or not to install it. It would be a lot of work and I would feel even more ridiculous if I had to then turn around and take it back out.
    Apr 9, 2015. 09:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Stable Dividend Picks Loved By Hedge Funds [View article]
    I agree. These may all be decent investments, but there is a big difference between "not cutting" and "increasing" when it comes to dividends.
    Apr 9, 2015. 08:10 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Lumber Liquidators Know It Was Selling Toxic Laminate? [View article]
    A test kit provided by LL? Frankly, I wouldn't trust it. If I can find an independent and experienced lab that will test it for a reasonable price, I might just do that. In the end though, after all the things I've read about LL and their products, I'm not sure I even want to bother installing the bamboo. I should have done more research in the first place. If I had been more thorough, I would have never shopped there.
    Apr 8, 2015. 06:05 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Lumber Liquidators Know It Was Selling Toxic Laminate? [View article]
    I'm not going to buy laminate. I've decided to go with solid wood. Plenty of USA made options there.
    Apr 8, 2015. 05:59 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Lumber Liquidators Know It Was Selling Toxic Laminate? [View article]
    I have no clue who is guilty of what here, but I'm about to dispose of $1500 worth of flooring purchased from LL. We bought bamboo flooring, which they won't take back because they claim it has been "discontinued" and it's my tough luck. I didn't notice until is was too late that the boxes say "Made in China" on them.

    Bamboo flooring is made with adhesives that bind bamboo strips together. I'm also reading rumors that the bamboo flooring is suspect, and not just the cheap laminate. Probably nothing I can do to get my money back, but I guess I should have known better. Should have just gone with a USA product and got it done right the first time.
    Apr 8, 2015. 03:58 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft And 'One-Time Investing' [View article]
    I like the direction they are heading as well. They seem to be a more vibrant company these days. I made my first purchase of MSFT just recently, though it was a small one. I'll likely add a bit at a time on dips.
    Apr 8, 2015. 03:41 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Microsoft Rise Again? [View article]
    Personally, I absolutely love OneDrive. Been using it for about 2 years. So far, I've only used the free version but because of my longevity (I guess), I was awarded an extra 25GB, for a total of 40GB. More than enough for me at the moment, but at some point we will likely buy Office 365.

    I've recently started to use the OneDrive desktop app on our computers. Got it on my two computers and my Android tablet, my wife's computer and my mother's computer. It's very handy to store all Office files that way and have them automatically sync to the OneDrive cloud, and vice-versa. If I edit something on OneDrive using the web interface, it syncs to my local computers in short order. I edit documents for Mom using the web and they just show up on her computer ready for her to print. Very handy.

    There is one issue that is a show stopper for some people. For example, I set up my Mom's account to share with myself and my sister. Those docs show up in the "Shared" folder using the web interface on our OneDrive accounts, and we can edit them there, etc. However, unlike Dropbox, there is no way to auto-sync SHARED files/folders to the OneDrive folders on our PCs. Some people need that capability, especially in business environments.

    I have read on some Microsoft forums that they are taking this shortfall seriously, after receiving numerous negative comments. It's unlikely to be resolved quickly, but they are aware of it and trying to figure out how to address it.

    I view the lack of sync for shared documents as a hurdle that needs to be overcome sooner rather than later. The other issue that I wish they could address is the option for all users to have files stored in encrypted format on OneDrive. I think it would make users feel more confident when storing confidential material in the cloud. After all, no system is hack-proof.

    I agree that there may be some nice upside, in light of the various improvements being made by MSFT. They've still got some work to do, but I like the direction they are heading.

    Apr 7, 2015. 02:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Over Think It: Buy AT&T [View article]
    Respectfully request that you two take your little bicker-fest to pm. Seriously, we don't need to read it.
    Apr 7, 2015. 09:37 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • An Overlooked Giant That I Would Build A Retirement Portfolio Upon At Any Age [View article]

    Ok, got ya. I misunderstood your situation. I see that Chowder has already helped you out on the calculation. The stocks held in the Josh's portfolio have that number calculated for you. I guess that for the rest, you have to put up with doing the math. :-)
    Apr 6, 2015. 08:59 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • An Overlooked Giant That I Would Build A Retirement Portfolio Upon At Any Age [View article]

    I believe what Chowder says is true as to the subscription requirement. Just wanted to add some info about subscriptions. I have access to FV info. I have also used M*'s "premium" screener. I only subscribe to their dividend newsletter, not their general premium membership. Apparently being a newsletter subscriber qualifies for at least some of their premium offerings.

    In the event that you had ever thought of the dividend newsletter, take note that it is $10 less per year than the standard premium membership. There may be different levels of "premium" between the two, but it might be worth checking into further if you are thinking of subscribing. I've never actually looked closely at the standard membership so can't tell you what comes with it.

    Apr 5, 2015. 09:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Is It So Difficult To Keep Investing Simple? [View article]

    Of course investing is about making money. The approach one takes to that end can vary a great deal. We all have to decide what works for us and what we are comfortable with. I can't answer your question as to which approach does or does not beat an index. I don't know that there is an approach that beats the index consistently.

    The thing is this .... what I want from investing is income that is reasonably reliable and (hopefully) growing. Being retired, income is what it's ALL about. Now I could buy an index, or a couple of them. Let's say I need $10K a year to add to my SS and pension (or whatever number you want).

    I could simply sell shares every year and pocket the money. In a good year, the index climbs and I'm taking a pretty small percentage of my net worth out of the portfolio. In a 2008, my portfolio has dropped 40% and I'm taking a rather large percentage, but hey, I still need the $10K. Then of course, I have to hope that my portfolio climbs by 66% so I can get back to even on my portfolio. In the meantime, I'm still shrinking the portfolio by $10K every year, making it more difficult for the portfolio to attain its original value.

    OTOH, I could build a solid DG portfolio and know with a fair amount of certainty how much it will drop in my pocket every year. Sure, no guarantees are there, but with a little DD one can feel fairly comfortable. And of course, unless I really screw up, that income will increase a bit every year and I haven't sold anything. As the indexes expand and contract, I still get some spending cash without the grief of selling in a down market.

    Is this investing nirvana? Heck no, but it works for me. All my babbling is to tell you why I am involved with DG investing. I don't really follow indexes much. I'm more concerned with my companies' ability to send me cash every quarter and give me an increase here and there. If they can do that, the stock price will generally rise on its own (a little bonus).

    To be clear, I make no attempt to suggest this approach for you. I certainly don't tout DGI as being superior to anything else. It just works for me. I don't compete with indexes. I also don't pay fund fees. I just concern myself with those quarterly distributions. And by the way, DGI is no more a "cult" than the index investing "Boglehead" gang. It's just one of the many ways to invest that some people happen to find attractive. There you have my .02.

    Apr 5, 2015. 08:14 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • An Overlooked Giant That I Would Build A Retirement Portfolio Upon At Any Age [View article]
    I can only wish that I held MMM. It doesn't seem hugely overpriced on a P/E basis, looking at its historical P/E.

    I just can't get excited about the current yield though. Even with the growth that is anticipated, I want at least a 2.75% current yield. I'll look again if it hits $149 or less. Might take a recession to get it there, but I'll just have to wait.
    Apr 5, 2015. 10:39 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Is It So Difficult To Keep Investing Simple? [View article]
    One of the Davids (Fish or VanKnapp, can't remember) has done similar studies in attempting to locate ETF's that provide solid dividend income. The results were the same. No ETF can compete with a decent portfolio of DG stocks when it comes to income. I think that one of the better div ETF's I've come across is SCHD, and even that yields only about 2.7%.

    I'm not a highly skilled investor, but my DG portfolio has a current yield of almost 4%, and holds only well established companies with a nice history of div growth. That extra yield can make a big difference over time.

    Nothing wrong with owning something like SCHD if you simply want to let them watch the companies for you. Until I feel like I should let Schwab take over though, I'll stick with holding DG equities.
    Apr 5, 2015. 08:42 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment