I am a semi-retired Systems Engineer and Project Manager of Spaceborne Remote Sensing and Weather Instruments which I have been designing building and testing for 37 years. I have worked as a technician, staff engineer, department manager and project technical director for large aerospace companies and well as as an independent contractor and most recently as an employee of a small contracting/consulting company directly supporting NASA, NOAA and NIST projects. I have a degree in Physics and completed undergraduate coursework in business administration before switching to physics. I have been self managing my portfolios since late 2008. I have multiple 401Ks, IRAs, a SEP and an after tax brokerage account. These accounts are with Vanguard, Fidelity and Charles Schwab. I rolled a pension with a 5 year payout period (60 equal installments) into an IRA from Dec 2008 - Nov 2013. The present early 2015 total portfolio value is just over 2 times my total pension rollover amount. My 401K and IRA investments are a mixture of Foreign, Domestic and Bond mutual funds as well as Foreign and Domestic pure growth and dividend growth stocks in accordance with my portfolio "business" plan. My annual dividend income is nearly enough to cover all of our living expenses now. While my dividend income is running about 2 years behind my plan of achieving 80% of my 2008 income by the end of 2014 my average total return is within 1% of the S&P 500 over the past 5 years as of April 2015.
I'm retired. Bought the farm -- literally (in NE Texas).
I'm a boomer, not a depression era kid (it was my parents who lived through that mess). So I'm exaggerating a bit when I state that the "Great Depression" ran into the late 50's where I grew up (the Appalachia of the West). But I did go to bed hungry, dreaming of food, because there was literally nothing to eat. The family's grocery problem was eventually solved through the good graces of a religious charity, the assistance of friends and neighbors, the perseverance of my parents, and more than a little luck.
I believe those early lean times provided a wee-bit of incentive to not let those circumstances repeat themselves... I really dislike going hungry.
But I was lucky. I had clothes; usually ate on a regular basis; got a bath once a week in a tin wash tub, whether it was needed or wanted; got medical treatment for the slices, dices and broken bones that would have crippled me, treatment for the diseases that, left untreated, would have killed me; and had the opportunity to go to school. That was an opportunity I seized with both hands and did not let go.
I am by nature inherently lazy... given the choice between digging ditch with pick and shovel at $0.10/hour or sitting behind a desk writing software at hundreds of times that hourly rate... I decided not to dig ditches.
Now that I'm retired and own the farm, I dig ditches for free.
As a kid I read constantly... pretty much everything on just about anything. Cleaned out the local libraries (it was a very small town). "The Richest Man in Babylon", biographies of Hughes, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and others, histories, westerns, mysteries, SF. Remembered various parables about being unable to grasp opportunities because one had wasted his resources.
Can't say I always succeeded, but I tried. Towards the end of my career, managed to live on about 1/3 of my gross, saving and investing what was left after taxes and insurance, and still had opportunities for fun, recreation, travel and friends.
As a NASA Engineer, I wrote a large variety of software. Some of the more notable items were:
* an email management system for the Agency and its contractors (the project included writing the procedures; reporting and correcting third party data errors;
* designing, writing and testing the software; designing and implementing the database schema and queries; navigating inter-center politics; etc);
* a moving map software that flew twice aboard the Shuttle and displayed alternate landing sites in the event of a launch emergency;
* post landing wheel-tire-brake analysis software for the Shuttle (STS-1 to final-flight);
* a graphical, real-time dynamic software simulator for a 7-joint robot;
* a FMEA/CIL data processing system (software and procedures) for Return-to-Flight after the Challenger disaster; data structures &
* translation software for the Shuttle's Wake Shield Experiment; and
* a Shuttle-Station docking simulator.
Also designed, developed, tested and used a simulation language, a graphics processing language, and various computer language processing and analysis tools.
And then there was the "fun" NASA stuff... logging 40 minutes of zero-G time (and 40 minutes of 2G time), riding a 6-DOF shuttle simulator, working (and biking) with a handful of astronauts, SCUBA-ing in the WETF whilst observing astronauts using the tools my group designed, witnessing a Shuttle launch, doing Shuttle post-landing ground penetrometer studies at Edwards AFB, simulating shuttle tile repair whilst mounted horizontally on an air-bearing floor, mentoring younger engineers, and working with some of the best and brightest people I've met in my life.
In my free time:
* I developed commercial library management, scheduling and reporting software packages, wrote the user manuals, made onsite visits and learned a lot of humility;
* guest lectured and taught software development at universities.
* lived for years in various locales in northern Japan, participated in a traditional Japanese marriage ceremony (my own), helped my father-in-law with a bit of traditional Japanese construction near Sendai, and played Shogi whenever possible (Shogi is the Japanese version of chess. The local shogi master's shocked expression of total surprise when I beat him at the game was priceless ... To the master I was just an idiot "gaijin" [foreigner] and not worth his full attention. He won the next game.);
* lived for three months in Hawaii;
* made brief excursions to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
While at one time I could read, write, think, dream, and speak (without accent) in standard Japanese and could understand a bit of the Tsugaru and Zuzu-ben dialects, I don't practice much anymore.
My time in the US Army made me appreciate my MOS (a retired crypto sub-specialty) was not 11B.
Building a portfolio of dividend-paying high-quality stocks to create a reliable and growing income stream.
For anyone starting out new on this path, I suggest reading everything written by following folks: Chowder, David Crosetti, Dividend Dynasty, Mike Nadel, David van Knapp, Robert Schwartz, Six, RichJoy, Bob Wells, and David Fish (CCC list). Also read Single Best Investment by Lowell Miller (free pdf available using Google search), The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks, and get access to Morningstar Dividend Newsletter (usually free at your local library).
Individual Investor. Focused on upcoming retirement (4-8 years from now, perhaps). Seeking a portfolio balance of secure/stable dividend growth stocks and capital growth potential stocks.
Professional Background: Business Insurance Underwriter (Property and Liability) and Risk Manager for a large University.
Biotech & Health Care: JNJ, PFE, CVS.
Consumer: MO, RAI, PM, DPZ, FIZZ, MNST, STZ, SBUX, KHC.
Tech and Content: FB, GOOGL, AMZN, AMD.
Small Caps: MGPI.
Utilities/Telcom: T, SO, D.
Industrial: LMT, RTN.
Financial Payment Processors: V, MC.
An independent investor. At age 56, I retired in 2015 and I'm looking forward to what lies ahead. After 34 years of working for a global Dividend Aristocrat and traveling internationally for the last 15 years, I now have the time to do the things I want to do on my schedule. From an investment standpoint I have been navigating the maze of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds for over 30 years and during that time I have learned a lot. Generally, it's been a good ride, and hopefully I have learned from my mistakes. I am currently focused on transitioning my existing stock portfolio to build out a DGI portfolio which will provide additional income in retirement. Current stock positions include: T, JNJ, GILD, MMM, BAC, USB, C, CMI, O, MBLY, PG, HD, XOM, AZO, BX, UNH, V, SWN, MO, GE, and FAST.
Late 30's investor trying to adopt the dividend growth strategy. I have made some poor decisions in the past like not staying completely invested. I am currently almost all cash and would like to slowly invest my way back into the market.
I am tracking my progress of my real portfolio at our blog http://findependence2030.blogspot.com/
Stocks: T CVX XOM BAX GILD AMGN NVO UNH BCE KMI RDSB SO HCP BNS TROW MA TRV PX BBL QCOM MSFT AAPL GOOGL JNJ GIS ADM PEP KO HSY MO PM DIS SBUX UNP UTX.
ETFs : XLE AMLP
Funds: VWELX VWINX VGENX VGTSX
My stock portfolio is most about trying to capture tiny slices of ownership in the dominant publically traded companies in the world (in most sectors and industries) and not overpaying for that little piece of future earnings. I want to pay at most fair-valuation (although sometimes I try for bargain prices) as long the company appears solid and I think the company will be around 10 years and more. That is what I found produce the best total returns. I am mostly focussed on mature companies that pay dividends, but I do make exceptions, for leading companies in some industries - even if their dividend yield is low. I appreciate diversification and risk-management by not putting too much cash into each stock.
My portfolio has a spreadsheet on http://tiny.cc/tarkin
Any opinion(s) expressed in any form by me at Seeking Alpha and/or related websites are strictly my own personal views and ideas. They should never be considered advice of any kind, nor considered to be professional opinions.
You should always seek advice from a qualified professional before embarking upon any plan of trading or investing.
All the Best!
I'm an individual investor that is relatively new to investing and constantly learning. My aim is to generate an additional income with dividends - so I'm in for the long term.
Defensive / Value investor. Practice 4 P's ( Protect, Preserve, PATIENCE with Perspective ). 30 years investing with last 15 using SWAN disciplines. Next 20-25% correction converting to ALL IN DGI with no ETF's , funds, CEF's BONDS or commodities. Hopefully this can take place over next 3 years by 2019/2020............. Semi retired with a current portfolio of 50+ stocks, commodities and a handful of funds all with Vanguard. Looking to reduce / focus on Higher Quality stocks by end of 2017. Zero debt is the only way to get to SWAN heaven .....No mortgage or tuition payments done as of 2015......... Live in the Boston / New England area my entire life. Avid follower of Chowder, DVK, Mr. Fish ( thank you x10 ), Nadel, Mr. Wells, Chuck C., B/H 2012, Rose, PTI, and many others for past 10 years of contributions to SA community. Worked in high tech for 25 years, survived dot com crash ( learned the hard way about diversification ). It was exciting times with multiple M&A's and a couple of IPO's that gave me a second chance that I was fortunate enough to lean towards a more defensive position (divy payers) not knowing it resembled DGI that I have embraced since 2000. That one wake up call (DOT COM crash) was all I needed and am convinced that the slow and steady will build wealth vs. the typical (CNBC) trade mentality of trying to buy low and sell high. IMHO the.KISS method is the only way to SWAN. Don't get me wrong I will only purchase under valued , sometimes deeply undervalued but never over value. Only auto reinvest at FV or lower valuations. Will accumulate seeking below FV opportunities.
Update May 21, 2016
Port breakdown: 57% Stock, 13% Bond, 28% Cash 2% Commodity
Current Portfolio by Div %: Top 30 of 61 represent 77% of equity DIVIDEND income (2 low CR (Credit Rating) working to upgrade).
No sector above 17% of income.
TOP 30 BELOW
5.3% WFC-PL ( Preferred stock )
5.2% AMLP ( ETF )
5.2% BAC-PL ( Preferred stock )
4.9% BDJ ( CEF )
3.2% BCX ( CEF )
2.6% OHI (CR BBB-)
2.3% LXP (CR BB+)
2.3% GRX ( CEF )
1,9% ETJ ( CEF )
1.6% EOI ( CEF )
AES-P ( Preferred )
GDXJ ( ETF )
I have come to rely on the SA forum as a source of investment ideas and feedback. I have been investing in individual stocks since the mid-80's. Everybody has their own style and comfort level with respect to risk. Mine is eclectic; I look at many more ideas than I purchase. One thing about investing in stocks--and things--you know: (ala Peter Lynch) when the market reacts negatively often the reaction is overdone. When that happens, and one is familiar with a stock, it's easy to know a bargain when you see one!
I am a busy surgeon with a particular interest in personal finance and investing. My father, a retired financial advisor, taught me discipline and the power of dividends and compound interest. I do not feel it is necessary to employ expensive, self-motivated brokers or managers to invest one's money.