I've been a casual equity investor for the last 10yrs but have had less than stellar success. Recently, I left my job of 13yrs to escape the NE for the mountains of CO with my wife. After a 4 month round-the-world trip and much introspection, I've decided to put a little more rigor around my investment practices. I enjoy reading about all matters of personal finance and economics and have recently added Dividend Growth Investing as a passion. While not a holy-grail, I feel putting more focus on dividend investing will force me to put the time into building a sound investment strategy based around more metrics and less emotion. The attention to detail and consistency in approach that many DGI investors on SA on other sites display also gives me more comfort that there will be intelligent like-minds to lean on as I season myself with the concepts. I hope to contribute what I can to the community, as soon as a have research, tools, and/or opinions that might help others.
Chris DeMuth Jr. is the founder of Rangeley Capital LLC. Rangeley is an investment firm that focuses on event driven, value-oriented investment opportunities. Rangeley Capital and his value investing forum, Sifting the World (StW), search the world for misplaced bets. Rangeley exploits them for its investors and then Mr. DeMuth writes about them on StW.
Wall Street Breakfast, Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, is a one-page summary that gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It's designed for easy readability on the site or by email (including on mobile devices), and is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day.
Wall Street Breakfast readership of over 900,000 includes many from the investment-banking and fund-management industries.
Sign up here to receive the Wall Street Breakfast in your inbox every business day: http://seekingalpha.com/account/email_preferences
Best tech/finance blogger on TipRanks. You can also follow Alex Cho on Twitter and WhoTrades.
Similar to how you tip your waiter/waitress for great service, you may also tip me when you find my research useful.
I'm a EE specializing in product/test development for IC's as well as snarky, sometimes comical rebuttals to fellow SA enthusiasts.
I tend towards "following the products" when seeking investment opportunities. I don't care much for historical data or chart gazing as most of my investments are in new tech.
Skilled in SW/HW design, development, debug in various areas of Mixed Signal, RF, and high speed digital technologies...
I'm a consultant and have performed project work for numerous IC companies, large and small. I'm an active investor seeking to learn and stay abreast of the latest events in the tech world.
The Parsimony community is made up of thousands of do-it-yourself dividend and income investors working toward one common goal...generating consistent income!
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I specialize in creating opportunities involving options strategies, particularly involving tech stocks. I am also very interested in retirement strategies and I believe everyone is capable of creating their dream retirement, regardless of income level. I have degrees in mathematics and physics from USC, a M.S. in Mathematics, and I currently reside in the florida keys where I teach math.
I am currently in the process of launching a options trading site called " The Options Masters", which will feature a daily newsletter. Please subscribe if you enjoy my articles!
retired in 2006 after 26 years in the investment business. currently focus on 1) asset allocations issues, 2) fixed income and cash substitutes, 3) stable and predictable dividend growth strategies, and 4) enhancements to equity portfolio from options-writing.
as investment professional: researched technology (especially software and data services) and health care (pharma, med devices, hospital supply, biotech, managed care, hospital management); and managed a technology mutual fund from 1991 until retirement.
prior work in a) corporate planning of a former dow 30 company and in b) data services business--timesharing for anyone old enough to know what computer timesharing was.
Brad Thomas is a research analyst and he currently writes weekly for Forbes and Seeking Alpha where he maintains research on many publicly-listed REITs. In addition, Thomas is the Senior Analyst at iREIT Forbes and Editor of the Forbes Real Estate Investor, a monthly subscription-based newsletter.
Thomas has also been featured in Forbes Magazine, Kiplinger’s, US News & World Report, Money, NPR, Institutional Investor, GlobeStreet, and Fox Business. He was the #1 contributing analyst on Seeking Alpha in 2014 (as ranked by TipRanks) and he is currently writing a book on the legendary investor Donald Trump.
Thomas has co-authored a book (The Intelligent REIT Investor) that is available on Amazon.
Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Economics from Presbyterian College where he played basketball. He resides in South Carolina with his wife and kids.
I just recently caught the investing bug and started taking an active interest in my (presently meager) portfolio in October, 2011. Turns out I'm not too bad at making my own picks, and I really enjoy doing my own research. So far my picks have significantly outperformed those of my high-priced broker (by about 10X). I've only got about 17 years left before I'll have to retire, and I've gotta get a move on if I want to enjoy my Golden Years and not end up having to work as a WalMart greeter on the graveyard shift. Seeking Alpha and The Motley Fool have helped me learn a great deal in a short period of time, but I've got a long way to go. I'm currently focused on building a portfolio of solid, stable dividend growth ... More stocks, with some pure growth (speculative) positions thrown in. At present I have 30 positions that yield an average of 5.3% in dividends. I'm hoping to learn more about options and save enough on the side so I can start playing with trading options; I'm looking forward to actively managing my portfolio in my retirement, and want to get really good at it before then.
Ron Hiram currently manages investment portfolios and assists earlier stage companies in their capital raising efforts. He served as Chief Executive Officer of Cellnet Solutions, Ltd., a supplier of remotely managed networks of public wireless terminals providing voice as well as value-added data services in developing countries, from April 2008 until March 2010. From 2003 to May 2008, Mr. Hiram was a Managing Partner of Eurofund 2000 L.P., a venture capital fund focused on Israeli-related companies in the telecommunications, information technology and microelectronic spheres. Previously, from 2001-2002, Mr. Hiram co-headed TeleSoft Partners' investment activities in Israel. TeleSoft Partners is a Silicon Valley venture capital fund focusing on companies developing telecommunication-related technologies. Between1994-2000, Mr. Hiram served as Managing Director and Partner at Soros Fund Management LLC ("Soros"), an international hedge fund in New York, devoting the bulk of his time to private equity investments. Prior to joining Soros, Mr. Hiram worked at Lehman Brothers for thirteen years (also in New York), most recently serving as Managing Director of a workout and restructuring group. Mr. Hiram has served on the boards of directors of companies publicly listed in the U.S., including Ulticom, Inc. since January 2000 and Comverse Technology, Inc. from 1985-1986 and from 2001-2006 (including as chairman of the board from May 2006 to December 2006). Mr. Hiram also served on the board of TASE listed E. Wardinon Ltd. (2005-2007) and on the boards of numerous privately held companies. Mr. Hiram received an M.B.A. from Columbia University in 1981 and a B.Comm. from the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, in 1979.
A new age platform for the latest in finance and everything else.
Through Bidness Etc, we’re bringing the 99% back in the loop by presenting the best financial research in the simplest and most creative ways possible.
We have distilled a decade and billions of dollars’ worth of trading experience into developing the idea behind Bidness Etc, and we feel we can do a better job of analyzing and reporting financial matters than anyone else.
We are a team of more than 60 financial wizards, musicians, rock stars, artists, singers, aspiring philosophers and tech geeks working hard to change the way human beings think and interact with finance.
We know that quality financial analysis requires a higher level of intelligence, and that what is reported by financial media is too far behind the curve to be of any relevance to the savvy reader. Here’s our solution to that problem: a platform that gives away the best information and analysis out there for free, thereby democratizing individuals’ access to finance. We’re also pushing the envelope by delivering it visually.
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This is a beta version of our web portal. We hope it will keep you coming back for more, because we have a major surprise in store for readers for the month of November. Here’s a spoiler, though: finance will never have looked better once we go all out! And you’ll know we’ve meant Bidness all along when we claim to become the best place on the web.
Gratian is private self directed investor, managing Roth IRA & Traditional IRA retirement accounts, plus taxable accounts constructed to provide additional income to existing employer sponsored retirement plans.
Gratian is a contrarian investor with a fondness of investing in companies that returns a share its profits to him as additional income. Gratian is always in search of opportunities to buy specific investments when the majority of investors appear to be doing the opposite.
The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham
‘Great investment opportunities come around when excellent companies are surrounded by unusual circumstances that cause the stock to be misappraised.’ - Warren Buffet
Michael Baglio, (anagrammatically, "HiloBeMagical"), is the founder of The ACIEM Foundation- providing Assistance to Children with Inborn Errors of Metabolism.
The ACIEM Foundation serves children with genetic errors whose life-saving treatments are under-covered by insurance and government assistance programs. We provide financial assistance to these families in need, so that each child affected with disorders of metabolism may have the specialized foods, formulas, and dietary supplements necessary for the best chance possible for normal development.
Since disorders of metabolism commonly last a lifetime, our mission is long-term in nature. Once the ACIEM Foundation commits to helping a child in need, we will do so for as long as the child needs us.
"We help the forgotten children."
Capt. Spaulding spent 35 years in the research vineyards of Wall Street, primarily as a financial writer and editor specializing in economics, equities, and technical analysis. During that time, he learned that several adages are well worth keeping in mind. One is, don't buy it if you don't understand it. Another: numbers can, and often do, lie. A third: if something seems too good to be true, it is. And for good measure: don't fight the tape, especially on the downside. Capt. Spaulding is retired, and enjoys the challenge of trying to keep his head while those around him are losing theirs.
Self-directed private investor. Formerly a executive in a public company with a background in finance. My focus is dividend growth investing and the purpose is to create and maintain a growing cash flow to pay my living expenses.
I am an electrical engineer and have been a minor partner in a local business for the past several years, where I keep the books.
I have followed and studied the stock market for over 30 years, developing a trading style which suits my personality. My style changes with my perception of the market. During the 'crisis' of 2008 I utilized trades that last about a month on average. Starting in late 2008 and early 2009 I have been more of an intermediate term holder of precious metals miners and explorers, which have done very well for me thus far. Since 2010 I have been transitioning into a Dividend Growth style with a great deal of assistance from the Seeking Alpha DGI community.
I keep tabs on the economy and the market by perusing the headlines and some articles of interest on a routine basis. The more I study, the more I begin to see how much more I need to learn. I like to think that I've picked up a thing or two, but there's always more.
Several years ago I 'discovered' Austrian economic thought. It forms the framework for my economic and market analysis. It seems to work for me.
I am Seeking Alpha's CEO and Editor-in-Chief. My love for the stock markets goes back to when I was a kid. Who else remembers combing through the stock quotes at the back of the business section of your local paper?
I joined Seeking Alpha in 2006 and launched Wall Street Breakfast and Market Currents, our top-of-class short-form breaking news for investors. In 2010 I became editor-in-chief and in 2015 I became CEO.
I live in Jerusalem with my wife and a bunch of exceptional kids. Most days, you'll find me making the commute from Jerusalem to Raanana. Occasionally I get to work from my home-office, from where I keep an eye on the beautiful Judean Hills.
To contact me, send me a direct message, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to my author's site.
I hope you find my articles interesting and informative.
A man-with-a-plan, I am utilizing knowledge gained from my business degree 25+ years in the business world and a similar number of years of investing experience, to manage my investments.
I have created and maintain a stable and growing portfolio of individual US listed dividend growth stocks, over 30% of which are non-US based but headquartered in Canada, Great Briton, the Netherlands and Australia.
I believe that asset allocation is the primary decision an investor must make considering his objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. I am fully invested and 90% of that is in stock.
I believe that the small individual investor is often best served by low cost index funds. Stock picking, attempted market timing and frequent trading usually work to the disadvantage of the average small investor. However, you may define small as you like and nothing prevents any investor from emulating the market greats of our time such as Warren Buffett or Peter Lynch. Greater rewards can be obtained by buying and holding individual securities if one has background, the interest, the time and the disciplne to do so in an effective way.
There are many ways to make money in the stock and bond markets. My approach to is to take ownership positions in successful large cap companies and hold them a number of years. Dividend Growth Investing is a conservative approach which involves lower than average risks and higher than average rewards.
My writing experience began when I was a senior in high school. I was a local stringer for Maine's largest newspaper and covered school and amatuer sports. Concurrent with a successful career in the business world I wrote magazine articles, journal articles, short fiction, poetry and a devotional book.
A long time student of security markets I immensely enjoy the opportunity to write for Seeking Alpha, which is a very high quality well run organization with excellent editorial support. It is also possibly the best business forum on the internet and I am proud to be a part of it.
Most of my articles focus on several topics:
Income Portfolio Strategy
Canadian Banks and Telecoms
Best regards and good luck!
-- Bob J
Retired, self-directed individual investor. Retired at 56 in March 2007 after 30 years with CA Superior Court with a modest lifetime pension and a small IRA now converted to a Roth. Native Californian, raised in the USAF and lived in various countries around the world, now reside in Sacramento, CA.
Discovered Seeking Alpha in late 2011 when I was ready to invest my IRA. I started using a method I dubbed DGI Lite using the Dogs of the CCCs lists for Dividend Growth. I changed over to high-yielders such as REITs and BDCs when I needed more income to move closer to family and buy a new home in 2013. Best move I could have made.
Retirement *is* all it's cracked up to be -- it's the best gig I've ever had!
I am a retired investor with market experience going back to the 1960s. I was a software engineer for 42 years, and currently do some part-time consulting, which lets me contribute to a Roth IRA. I am not an accountant and not a financial professional.
My wife and I have established a set of guiding principles for our investment life:
• Change is the only constant in life. Everything in this plan is subject to change.
• Never touch your principal. Wealth is built and maintained by not spending it. Wealth is the primary buffer between ourselves and blind chance.
• Exploit folly, do not participate in it (thank you, Chuck Carnevale). Do not follow the crowd, which is more often than not wrong.
• A portfolio is like a bar of soap – the more you touch it, the smaller it becomes. Do not be a trader.
• Own assets, avoid liabilities. Assets generate income. Liabilities generate expenses.
Based on these principles, we have established two investing goals: 1) sufficient current income with a comfortable buffer, and 2) increasing future income to maintain our buffer.
Our primary investing goal is to generate sufficient current income to cover that part of our living expenses not covered by pensions, with a comfortable buffer. We are retired and depend on investment income to meet a significant minority of our living expenses.
As we age and get closer to the end, current income becomes ever more valuable, and future income becomes ever less valuable. This reality informs all of our investing decisions. However, we know that inflation will cause our income needs to rise, so we also plan for increased future income, which is our second investing goal.
To meet our current and future income needs, we rely on 2 Social Security pensions, 1 private pension, a consulting retainer, income generated by investments, and fully paid up long term care insurance.
It is common to allocate a retirement investment portfolio with some percentage in stocks and the balance in fixed income, such as 60/40. We look upon our pension income as the equivalent of fixed income, with the added benefit that Social Security is indexed to the CPI. In the past we owned no fixed income and had no plans to do so in the future. The future has arrived and we have discovered baby bonds and preferred stocks, and we like the higher current income we can get from these investments. We have therefore started to redirect some of our investment capital into these investments, and as a result our investment income is now greater than it would have been otherwise.
We categorize dividends and interest as income, and capital gains as return of capital, not income. Therefore, our goals are to be met from dividends and interest only.
Investment income currently meets our primary investing goal. We invest in a blend of mostly medium yield (3%-6%) stocks with medium dividend growth, a few high yield (>6%) stocks with no dividend growth, low yield (<3%) stocks with high dividend growth, and fixed income securities with yields in the range of 5%-8% with no growth.
We expect our medium yield and low yield stocks to provide the income growth needed for the future, our second investing goal.
We currently own common stocks, preferred stocks, and bonds. Our portfolio requires regular attention to avoid possible dividend cuts and deletions. As we age, our mental faculties are in decline, and we will become increasingly less able to perform portfolio monitoring intelligently. There will come a time when we will need to use some form of income oriented index ETFs to carry the income generating burden.
We want to behave like landlords and collect rents, but without the risks and demands of owning real estate directly. Dividends and interest are our rental income, and as once-removed landlords we expect to own real estate investment trusts (REITs).
We want our non REIT income to be generated by long-lived, steady companies that provide products and services that we all need regardless of the economy, and thus can be relied upon to provide steady, and steadily growing, income. This requirement points primarily at consumer staples stocks. We own some of the best consumer staples stocks, such as mighty MO, and plan to own one or more ETFs that concentrate on the consumer staples sector of the S&P 500. Our preferred shares are mostly in the REIT sector, with the major exception of the CHS preferreds (CHSCL etc).
• Some of my investing history
During much of my working years I used technical analysis (TA) to invest in individual stocks (I was an early fan of Joseph Granville and I bought an Apple II in 1980 because Granville brought out OBV software for the Apple at that time), and I speculated with short selling and commodity trading. Those were not the best investing decisions I ever made. Later I invested in stock mutual funds and ETFs for total return, with inconsistent results, and no comprehensive plan. Being a software engineer in a lead position left little time or energy for serious investing skills development. In 2005 I had pretty much given up on getting market beating results, and felt that I was getting too old and too close to retirement to continue swinging for the fences, so I decided to buy a variable annuity that guaranteed a minimum return of 6% per year, compounded, with the upside limited only by the performance of the mutual funds offered for investment. I decided to let the insurance company bear the market risk for me. I also had a 401k plan at work to which I contributed the maximum and got the company match. A year or so before 2008 I used a retirement investing projection tool provided by Fidelity, which said the worst returns I could expect in retirement were positive but not spectacular, and the best were indeed spectacular. At that time I was invested in mutual funds and ETFs through my 401k and the variable annuity and had not directly owned stocks since shortly before the start of the great bull market in 1982 (Granville famously missed the whole thing). I thought, with a bit of skepticism but not much, that I was set. We all know what happened in 2008-09. That experience put me off Monte Carlo simulations and Modern Portfolio Theory for life.
When I retired I converted my 401k to a rollover IRA brokerage account and invested in ETFs. I thought I was being appropriately conservative but also ready to capture capital gains by investing in VIG and VCSH.
Then I found Seeking Alpha, and then - thank my lucky stars - David Van Knapp, and the DGI light went on. I had spent most of my adult life thinking I was smarter than most people by relying on TA, and then later letting the insurance company assume market risk. I remember learning about the 200 DMA when I was in my 20s, which is a long time ago, and thinking how revolutionary this idea was and how I should be able to use it to my advantage. Fortunately for me and my family, I also was pretty good at software engineering, so I had a reasonable retirement nest egg accumulated when the time came. With the concepts and methodology of dividend growth investing, and more recently REITs, I now have sleep well at night investments that just keep on churning out increasing income, something that could never be said about using TA.
I started with DGI too late in life to commit totally to low yield, high growth stocks. I hope to capture the double compounding of DRiP investing with that part of my portfolio that is low yield, high growth.
We have recently (Nov 2014) rolled over all of the variable annuities into brokerage accounts. We now believe that we can get sufficient income from our dividend investing strategy, and we want to retain ownership of the annuity capital.
• Tools and Teachers
Tools I use include the CCC list, F.A.S.T. Graphs, Morningstar Premium, the EDGAR web site, and Excel. I get ideas from the many informative articles by (among others) the following (in no particular order): Bill Stoller, Chuck Carnevale, Brad Thomas, Ron Hiram, David Van Knapp, David Fish, Robert Allan Schwartz, Dividend Growth Investor, Dividends4Life, David Crosetti, Tim McAleenan Jr., Reel Ken, Bret Jensen, Alan Brochstein, Chowder, Dane Bowler, Bob Wells, BDC Buzz, Scott Kennedy, Bill Maurer, Darren McCammon, Richard Shaw, Bruce Miller, Preferred Stock Trader, Norman Roberts. Favorite commentators who are not yet authors include Elliot Miller, Paul Leibowitz, mbkelly75, surfgeezer.
I use FAST Graphs heavily for valuation research. Since my pivot toward REITs, FAST Graphs has done a similar pivot. I never consider an investment before first consulting FAST Graphs. Thank you Chuck.
The best investment advice outside of Seeking Alpha have been 'The Intelligent Investor', ‘Securities Analysis’, and 'The Single Best Investment'.
• Some historical portfolio stuff
My DGI portfolio was started on 2011/4/20 with CTL, which I have since sold. It was a beginner's mistake. Subsequent mistakes were MLPs, and to a lesser extent, mortgage REIT common. I did not allow for any circumstance that could cause WTI to fall as far and as fast as it has, so I lost money on MLPs. The prolonged flattening of the yield curve, plus the persistent markdown from NAV for the mortgage REIT commons, has made these unappealing as long term investments. Now I keep my distance from anything that is dependent on commodity pricing, and I invest very carefully in the carry trade. A glaring mistake was selling JNJ when it languished for several years.
Subsequent to my disenchantment with mortgage REIT common, I discovered mortgage REIT preferreds, along with preferreds and baby bonds in general. I have decided that mREIT preferreds are a reliable source of steady income and I own some.
• Some ongoing portfolio stuff
The target dividend growth rate for our entire portfolio was formerly 5%. With our pivot to higher current income at the expense of higher future income, this target is not realistic, and I now hope for 3-4% growth.
I use yield on cost to allocate our investments so that each position in aggregate generates approximately the same amount of income. I learned the basic methodology from a comment on a SA article. SA is a wonderful resource! I have published an SA Instablog that describes the method: http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/902946-be-here-now/4581516-portfolio-allocation-for-equal-income-from-each-position-using-excel
• Current portfolio:
equity REIT: we recently sold some of our health care REITs in favor of data center REITs, which leaves us with: CONE, DFT, DLR, EPR, LTC, NSA, O, OHI, STAG, WPC
consumer staples: we recently sold our positions in most consumer staples to invest in preferreds with much higher current yields, leaving the one stock that should never be sold: MO
financial: GBDC, GSBD, HTGC, MAIN, TCPC
baby bonds: HTGX, NEWTL, TCCA, TPVZ
preferred: AGNCB, AGNCP, AHT-F, AHT-G, CHSCL, CYS-B, DFT-C, DLR-F, GAB-G, GGZ-A, HT-D, LXP-C, MNR-C, NLY-C, STAG-B, VER-F
Prospective additions: none currently; I plan to buy more CHSCL at the right price
I am a retired (as of September 2001) IT manager. While I have always followed the markets, during my IT career my market research time was limited. Upon retiring, I have focused full-time on the markets and my own market education and growth. I have evolved my investment/trading strategy over the years to the point that I am comfortable with my approach, both from a suitability standpoint and from a results standpoint. In addition to reading and re-reading numerous investment classics, my education has been augmented by my experience, particularly the market declines of 2000-2002 and 2008-2010. I make money from dividends, occasional stock sales, and option sales, either covered calls or cash-covered puts. I only own dividend-paying stocks, and I usually am about 75% invested. I base my investment decisions on both fundamental and technical analysis. While I refer to numerous financial web sites, I spend more than 50% of my research time at Seeking Alpha. In recent years, I have expanded my knowledge to encompass U.S. Income Taxation of investment income, and from there to US Income Taxation overall. As of October 2015, I am an Enrolled Agent, which is recognition granted by the IRS to a tax practioner who has passed three Special Enrollment Examinations (SEE).
The articles I submit will illustrate "hands-on, real world" investment experiences based on my own activities as an independent, small investor, my purpose being to share what I've learned that hopefully will be helpful to others. I will strive to present my thoughts in relatively easy-to-understand terms, and will usually focus on the practical rather than the theoretical.
I'm a computer programmer and teacher of computer programming. I am self-employed, and manage my own SEP/IRA and investments for retirement.
My personal investing goal is to own a portfolio of dividend growth companies such that:
1) The overall portfolio dividend income is sufficient to pay for all of my routine retirement expenses. I do not ever want to be forced to sell something to produce cash, especially when my asset prices are down. [I have no objection to occasionally choosing to sell something to pay for a one-time expense such as a vacation or a gift.]
2) The overall portfolio dividend income rises each year by more than the rate of inflation, so that my purchasing power does not erode over time.
I invest primarily in David Fish's lists of Dividend Champions, Dividend Contenders, and Dividend Challengers. See http://www.dripinvesting.org/tools for those lists.
I do not invest in MLP's or BDC's or CEF's or preferreds.
I maintain a free web site that contains dividend histories for all of David Fish's Dividend Champions, Contenders and Challengers: http://www.tessellation.com/dividends
Time management is essential to monitoring a 47 position portfolio. My 1st comment concludes with "Rich-unck:xx hrs"; I uncheck from the article to avoid repetitive comments, nonsense, and (most) arguments. I extend another XX hrs when I respond to a question or comment...I also respond to all PMs.
BACKGROUND My journey as a self-directed investor (SDI) began in 1973, and resulted in financial independence at age 52, which also allowed me to retire from corporate life the following year (Feb 1995).
I have no special knowledge not attainable by others who also dedicate themselves to the study of the economy, market, and stocks...I could cease all portfolio management today, and place it with a professional manager; however, I enjoy the psychic and financial rewards. Alternatively, I could become a passive investor via mutual funds and/or index ETFs (those works too! ). With few exceptions, As a rule, Rich only discusses his IRA here--it is only a portion of his and Joyce’s investment assets.
INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY If you ‘lived for today’ over the past 5 or 6 decades, you better invest in lottery tickets. The most probable path to a financially secure retirement is the product of an investment program (either active or passive) started when relatively young; living on less than all your after-tax income (saving means delayed gratification); and either self-directed or via professional management, adopting a sensible strategy suitable to age and comfort zone. There is wisdom in flexibility, diversification, and not being life-long wed to any strategy. It is appropriate to take greater risk for greater rewards (sensible growth stocks) when younger, as those are our lowest earnings years combined with our highest expense years--in the years between early investment and retirement, investments in solid growth companies can double 8 times or more.
There is time to adjust allocations to a more conservative strategy when closer to retirement. Never assume you have an information edge over the professionals. Time-in-the-market is your principle advantage. When/if you become interested in dividend stocks, never forget both price return and dividends compound, and price more so.
Financial independence is achieved when one has sufficient confidence his/her lifestyle will not change significantly, regardless of the potential depth or breadth of decline suffered by their portfolio--including a prolonged series of bear markets such as 1929-37. True, the recent 18-month bear market ending mid-2009, was deep--but also too brief to consider its lack of widespread dividend cuts to be as proof a portfolio of dividend-payers won't suffer income losses in a more prolonged decline (i.e., no portfolio is "dividend bulletproof").
The balance of this profile is lengthy, and likely not helpful to passive investors who simply go along for the ride, their portfolios bobbing up and down like flotsam in the ocean; their course always subject to the whims of winds, waves, and trends...THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING!
PORTFOLIO GOALS Now in my 70s, it’s no longer appropriate to engage in the growth strategies applied in wealth accumulation. As a more conservative investor, 100% of his portfolio consists of dividend-payers. 95% of positions have investment grade credit ratings (the lone exception is a REIT).This combination, along with having companies in 10 of the 11 S&P GICS sectors (none in Materials at this time) provide a measure of diversification. This IRA portfolio holds no bonds, though bonds and other investments are held elsewhere.
Maximizing total return and wealth preservation are mutually exclusive. A key observation: Having the capacity for risk is not the same as having the tolerance for it!
Rich’s objective is now a ‘smoother-ride’ that levels out the market’s peaks and valleys (limit losses, trim notable excess valuation). That smoother ride in an all-equity portfolio cannot be achieved without active management and continuous monitoring of positions--therefore TIME is an essential input to his portfolio management. Active management does not’ means frequent changes, as it is not unusual for a quarter or more to pass between a trimming or sale (nonetheless, when a company fundamentals change, or a mistake is made, corrective action is taken.)
STRATEGY SINCE 2008 Rich targets both legs of TOTAL RETURN (distributions + price change). His Growth & Income strategy often focuses on VALUE investing tactics applied to dividend-payers. Value investors seek out unpopular, companies most investors are avoiding (i.e., fundamentals have declined but credit rating is strong, BoD has implemented a rational recovery plan, and the dividend not in danger). Value investors seek to be paid to wait for other investors to recognize the stock’s value and assign it a greater share price. In any event, value stock or growth stock, Rich always seeks a ‘margin of safety’--no shares are bought at prices >FV, and his margin of safety is derived from dividends paid, price appreciation, and rising FV over time.
In all cases, value or growth, Rich selects well-established dividend-paying companies having a high-probability of growing earnings (growth of earnings is ESSENTIAL to growth of price and dividends). He tends to be flexible, forward looking, reactive to changing fundamentals, and willing to admit a mistake so action follows.
SDI is not easy, success is not assured, and in recent decades, advice from academics, and investment coaches, almost universally recommend index funds. Those NOT having the prerequisite time and interest are unlikely to develop the requisite skills for stock investing--thus the probability strongly suggests most newbies would be better served by indexing (Ben Graham wrote favorably of indexing). However, when done successfully, self-directed stock investing can offer rich psychic and financial rewards.
CORE PORTFOLIO Presently, +/-30 equities. Core holdings dominate at about 65% of total portfolio positions. Favored are traditional, large- and mid-cap, low-beta, best/near-best in class, institutional-owned, moaty, dividend-paying, value and growth stocks, having investment-grade debt ratings, and representing the consumer staples, healthcare, utilities, and telecom sectors.
OPPORTUNISTIC PORTFOLIO The remaining 15+ positions consist of equally well-known dividend-payers found among widely-owned cyclicals, such as financial, industrials, consumer discretionary, technology, real estate, and energy sectors are sensitive to the economy. In an expanding economy, cyclicals typically grow their earnings (and dividends) faster than do the typically slower-growing core companies. But because the reverse is also true, in a contracting economy, these positions are intended to be heavily trimmed to preserve gains as the economy peaks and shows evidence of decline. Some are susceptible to quite significant price declines when Mr. Market assumes their will suffer reduced earnings, and sometimes dividend-freezes/cuts, in anticipation of those events.
Rich is sometimes fully-invested, but unlike some, observes no such rule. Building a large cash cushion at the front-end of a correction/bear market (-20%) provides the dry powder required to both cushion the market's decline, and also creates the cash required to purchase excellent companies at below FV prices (without having to sell a position he wants to keep!).
TRIMMING POSITIONS When positions in either portfolio become significantly overvalued, they are trimmed by 5-10%, and the proceeds applied to fairly valued companies before the (almost always) temporary gift of over-valuation reverts to the price mean. If the position continues to advance, and absent other information, the position will be trimmed again. Added benefits to selective trimming include (1) serves as a more sensible method of rebalancing (as opposed to automatic--professionals do not use such a meat cleaver); (2) reduces the position's remaining Capital at Risk (which may suggest room for additional shares within an otherwise full position), and (3) provides the necessary dry powder to buy other shares at FV or below.
OTHER INTERESTS As we age, the importance of family grows. Rich has long volunteered in his community; over the years has served with distinction as member/chair of a number of advisory committees. Assisting others on SA is also a source of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Finally, having been blessed by years of excellent investment performance, Joyce and Rich have long been avid world travelers, and have visited over 60 countries over a span of 30 years (his SA avatar reflects the Taj Mahal in his sun glasses). They reside in Michigan--for 9 months of beauty, bliss, and family, and thoroughly enjoy wintering in equally beautiful Naples FL--for 3 months of sunny warmth and relaxation.
Life is good--it's been an unbelievably awesome ride!
Dave Fish is Executive Editor for The Moneypaper and co-manager (since 1999) of the MP 63 Fund (Symbol: DRIPX), a fund that invests exclusively in companies that offer Direct Investment (or Dividend Reinvestment) Plans. He is also the author of the U.S. Dividend Champions spreadsheet (and PDF), which is updated at the end of each month...and lists companies that have increased their dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years. (Separate tabs list "Contenders" that have increased their payouts for 10-24 years and "Challengers" that have increased their payouts for 5-9 years.) http://dripinvesting.org/Tools/Tools.asp
Charles (Chuck) C. Carnevale is the creator of F.A.S.T. Graphs™. Chuck is also co-founder of an investment management firm. He has been working in the securities industry since 1970: he has been a partner with a private NYSE member firm, the President of a NASD firm, Vice President and Regional Marketing Director for a major AMEX listed company, and an Associate Vice President and Investment Consulting Services Coordinator for a major NYSE member firm. Prior to forming his own investment firm, he was a partner in a 30-year-old established registered investment advisory in Tampa, Florida. Chuck holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance from the University of Tampa. Chuck is a sought-after public speaker who is very passionate about spreading the critical message of prudence in money management. Chuck is a Veteran of the Vietnam War and was awarded both the Bronze Star and the Vietnam Honor Medal.
I am an individual investor and the author of seven eBooks on dividend growth investing. I try to help self-directed individual investors profit from stock investing. I contribute articles and studies to both Seeking Alpha and Daily Trade Alert. I hold an undergraduate degree in physics from Holy Cross College and a JD from Georgetown University. My wife Sue and I live in beautiful Canandaigua, NY.
Jeff Paul has been investing since his teen years, though his professional career has been in software engineering and education. His math classes participated in online stock market challenges, providing an opportunity to share his enthusiasm for investing with his students and the chance for them to learn the fundamentals and try to identify the next big stock (they found Google). He recently completed an MBA at Portland State University with a focus on finance, and is currently a Senior Investment Analyst at a wealth management firm.