Who I Am: I'm a retired individual investor. I retired at the end of 2013 after a 35 year career as a professor and research scientist at a major research university. So -- a career as a researcher and an educator, which is what I hope to continue here. Virtually every good teacher I've ever known says some version of "I learn more from teaching than my students do." There's a lot of truth in that, enough that there's an underlying selfish motivation for my writing here as I continue to learn about investing.
My professional life involved multiple international projects and collaborations, so I traveled extensively over those 35 years. I plan to continue doing so in my retirement. One consequence is that I'm liable to disappear from the site for extended periods. How can you miss me if I don't go away?
My investing priorities are building and refining portfolios designed to provide income and capital growth: Income for my retirement needs, and capital growth for my estate. My investing interests are tax-advantaged income from a range of sources, portfolio strategies, information- and bio-technology, and momentum-based strategic allocation.
Why I Write for Seeking Alpha: I learned long ago that "writing is nature's way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is." The line comes from a Guindon comic strip of many years ago, and could not be more true in my case. When I did research professionally, I learned that writing it up forces me to think about details I might otherwise overlook. It's how I spent my working career, so it comes more or less naturally to me. I consider it an essential part of doing any research. So, the writing I do here is as much for myself as for the reader. As I started to contribute articles here, they grew out of research for my personal investment portfolios. They're based on things I've uncovered that are of interest to me and may be of interest to others of like mind. My primary purposes in writing them are to help clarify my thinking and to get feedback from others who may have very different opinions. It's those thoughtful comments that make Seeking Alpha such an important resource.
I try to actively engage myself in the comment streams in my articles, contributing what I can and learning from others. As a research scientist I spent a career spanning four decades devoted to free exchange of information vetted by rigorous peer review. It's a concept I firmly believe in. I hope to bring that approach to my interactions and contributions on Seeking Alpha and welcome critical commentary on anything I may contribute here. I especially encourage and appreciate thoughtful comments from those who disagree with me (although I will ignore obvious trolls and encourage others to do so as well). So, go ahead, start a conversation in the comment threads. It's one of the best things about Seeking Alpha.
My Investment Philosophies and Strategies: I maintain two portfolios. My income portfolio is a taxable account. I try to keep it separate from the growth portfolio which is housed in a series of IRAs, traditional and Roth. My income focus is on tax-advantaged income. In 2016 I face minimum required withdrawals from my tax-deferred accounts, so tax efficiency is an important consideration. The IRAs I see as my estate and are focused on generational wealth building. That means the growth portfolios have a long-term horizon, well beyond what an investor of my age might be expected to maintain.
Who Is Left Banker? Ah yes, the name. When I first joined Seeking Alpha I had no intention of being anything but an occasional reader. I saw it as another research site. So, I just ported a name I've used on other sites. I spent some of the best times of my life living on the left bank of the Seine and am always thrilled to be back in La Belle Paris. Add that I also like it because I find several subtle word plays there; I'll leave it to you to decipher that comment.
Finally, I've chosen to remain anonymous, which I feel obligated to justify. First, I have no professional role in finance and nothing to sell, so there is no advantage to be gained by "making a name for myself' here. Second, I value my privacy and have kept my internet presence as low-key as my professional life allowed. I certainly want to avoid any possibility of some internet connection trying to track me down. Odds against that happening are, of course, outrageously long, but why take them on at all?
Disclosures: I have no ties to the financial or security industries in any form. My interests are strictly personal. The banker part of the nym has absolutely no relationship to the profession of the same name. Readers should be aware that I am an investing novice, some might say dilettante. I do not give advice; what I publish is much more in line with a research notebook. Anyone who finds anything of interest will necessarily want to do his or her complete research and due diligence. It would be foolish to rely on my conclusions without having done so.
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 had my first passbook account in the 1960s, and lost money in the 1987 crash. Subsequently, I have run investor chat rooms and an investing blog. I also am a published author and write a film animation blog at animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com.
I bought my first Manhattan property in 1993 and also own property in Colorado. I enjoy investing in real estate and writing about it. I invest in income stocks such as REITs and consider that my area of expertise.
Oh, and I was mentioned in "Scam Dogs And Mo-Mo Mamas: Inside the Wild and Woolly World of Internet Stock Trading" (2000), by Wall Street Journal reporter John R. Emshwiller, a good guy. It's about the bad old dot.com days.
Mr. Berger is the creator and developer of the YDP screening tool, a chart system and its analysis for screening and monitoring dividend income equity investments. The recipient of Seeking Alpha's Outstanding Performance Award, he also has been Seeking Alpha's #3 ranked Author for Income Investing Strategy & #4 for Utilities.
20 years of sitting in the board room gives me unique insights into Oil & Gas investments and corporate deal making in general. Additionally, he offers a Premium Research subscription service for boosting income while reducing market risk using covered option writing on a dividend income equity portfolio.
Residing in Brazil gives me a local's inside view on the pulse of its economy, politics, investment climate and breaking news. A view of my front yard is available here.
A former Chief Operating Officer, Director, Vice President and General Manger of Oil and Gas for Southern Pacific's Oil and Gas Operations, Business owner, geologist, and cribbage player, I've been an investor for over 48 years (started young at 13) and learned my lessons the way that makes them stick, by hard knocks and both big and little mistakes. Hopefully I can share some of those lessons with others.
I am an American expatriate that decided to retire at age 57 in 2009 and now live in Brazil. As an early retiree I invest for income and manage portfolio risk by screening for strong and reliable historic data along with favorable fundamental and technical current trends.
I spend 6 months/year living at home in Brazil and 6 months/year traveling the world. I have structured my financial positions so that I live virtually tax free with much of my income exempt from US tax since I live ex patriot and a lot of my US derived income over the annual ex-patriate exemptions is held in my tax free ROTH and tax deferred IRA/SIMPLE plans. This enables my tax savings to pay for my 6 months of annual traveling :) .
My investing is for income and appreciation with a balance of low to moderate short term risk and low long term risk. To accomplish this I use quality dividend payors with a long track record of steady or increasing dividends along with slowly appreciating equity prices. I target a 6 to 9 % yield and almost exclusively require a minimum history of 5 years of steady/increasing dividends and no decreases in dividend ever or at least past 10 years. I diversify through sector, country and currency unit the stocks are traded in, and security type (equity, royalty trust, REIT, mlp, etf, and ADRs).
I use covered call writing to enhance my portfolio yield with no added risk. In fact, it lowers the risk substantially. Once I identify a stock I want to own and an entry price for it, I write cash covered puts at or below that entry price (with a minimum of 1%/month time premium. Thus i obtain at least a 12% annualized yield before compounding just from the option premium.
Likewise, I use the sale of cash covered puts to generate income and and generally get an entry point at 5 to 10% below my acceptable entry level price if/when the put stock does get presented. Thus my strategy provides a 12% pre compound yield on cash and entry into stock purchases at a 5 to 10% discount from "retail".
Because I only select stocks that I am willing to hold long term for their reliable dividend yields of > 6%, I am not concerned much with market volatility or short/midterm risk. Indeed, market volatility is my friend since it increases the premiums paid on the options I sell. I also selectively sell covered calls on positions I hold long so as to add to my yield that way while not taking on any additional risk.
This strategy has kept me happily living off my portfolio income and traveling 1/2 the year while my portfolio has been slowly increasing in value even after my harvesting income for living expenses. Of course my income will incrementally increase when social security kicks in for me in a few more years and I may then slightly mofidy my goals and strategies.
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I am a retired college faculty in Philosophy, with specializations in Ethics, Socio-political Theory and Rational Choice/Decision Theory. My teaching focus was on Business Ethics, Medical Ethics and Logic. After retirement I freelanced as a Grant Writer/Fund Raising Consultant. I have taught at Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Missouri - St. Louis, and St. Louis Community College.
I believe that potential investments ought to be evaluated through an examination of their fundamentals - i.e., fundamental analysis. Those investments can then be analyzed with respect to whatever criteria an investor may wish to bring to bear, but at least the investments they make will be more or less fundamentally sound. For me, one of the more important features of an investment (after fundamentals are satisfied) is dividend yield. I expect my investment to earn money for me.
I also believe that the day of the "traditional" investment strategy based on one's age/proximity to retirement is over. To be sure, one wants to put one's money in places where it is more secure, but in the day and age of internet-based investment services, a variety of ETFs, and reasonably safe investment vehicles, there is no need for retired people to stick the bulk of their assets in relatively unprofitable treasury notes and bonds.
Greg Donaldson is the Chief Investment Officer of Donaldson Capital Management, an Indiana based firm with assets under management of $1.2 billion. He has been in the securities business since 1975 and has founded or co-founded three investment management firms. He is on the board of directors of St. Mary’s Health System. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Memorial Trust Fund of Redeemer Lutheran Church. He is also a trustee of the Pumphrey Foundation. Greg graduated from Purdue University with a BS is Economics in 1970. Greg is married with two children and resides with his family in McCutchanville, a suburb north of Evansville, Indiana.
I write about dividend growth stocks on my website www.dividendgrowthinvestor.com.
I am mostly a buyer of high quality dividend stocks, with solid competitive advantages. My holding period is forever, as long as the dividend is at least maintained. I tend to concentrate my efforts on stocks which grow earnings and dividends, which provides outstanding total returns over time. I only focus my attention to stocks with sustainable dividend payments. I am also a firm believer in diversification accross sectors and geographic locations.
I have been focusing my attention particularly to companies that regularly increase dividends to their shareholders on my website. On my blog I share my thoughts on investing in dividend paying stocks that have consistently increased their payments over time and tips on growing my dividend income. I hope that my blog will serve as an inspiration for my readers and that it would change their financial lives for the better.
Visit my website, Dividend Growth Investor (http://www.dividendgrowthinvestor.com/)