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  • How To Create A Basic Retirement Plan [View article]
    Thanks for a nice article on an important subject. We all need to do some form of planning. P.S., I wouldn't rule out Social Security as a source of retirement income. Also, remember for someone Michelle's age the SS full retirement age is 67, for people retiring now it is 66, 65 is long gone.

    From my personal experience all these projections on what one would need for retirement can get pretty discouraging. Advisors are always telling us we'll need millions. For my retirement I focused on reducing expenses as much as generating income. I paid off my mortgage, HELOC and car. I have no debt. I set aside money for my next car, property taxes, and an emergency fund. All this before retiring. My monthly net income is pretty much where it was when I was working, mainly because I'm not maxing out savings in a 401k, Roth IRA or taxable account. My key premise is live within your means. If you learned to live within your means when you were working you will do fine in retirement.
    Dec 13, 2014. 03:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Growth Investing: How I Derive The Top 40 (Part 1) [View article]

    Thanks so much for this article and your many others. I've learned a lot. I may however have to take an Excel refresher course as I too am Excel challenged :-). I mostly eyeball the CCC lists, but that is inefficient. I appreciate the comments about saving under another file name. That way if I mess things up I can go back again.

    I'm looking forward to the next article.
    Dec 9, 2014. 02:34 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Famous Dave's Is Building An Empire [View article]
    I really like the food at Famous Dave's, but am not sure about it as an investment. I'd have to wait on this for more evidence of a turnaround. I must admit I am one of those who liked their discounts, eg. the Early-Bird Specials. It's apparent Rensi thinks they need to increase the average tab and eliminating some of the discounts is a way to do that. Also, making some tweaks to the menu with new offerings. One of Rensi's other ventures is the Tom and Eddie's Burgers in suburban Chicago. The burgers are good, but a bit pricey. He's obviously trying to tap into the gourmet burger market. Will he try to do something similar with Famous Dave's? I'm not sure the barbeque crowd is all that interested in "gourmet" barbeque. Just my opinion.

    I still like the food and the Famous Dave's nearest me is always crowded and appears to be doing a good business. But, we visit a little less frequently than we used to.
    Dec 7, 2014. 07:06 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Aqua America: Quantifying The Dividend Reinvestment Discount [View article]
    Thanks Eli for the article on WTR and quantifying the 5% discount on reinvested dividends. I agree with the growth thesis for water utilities. I've been invested in WTR for several years now and enjoying the compounding benefits of reinvesting my dividends. I agree the yield is not very high, but the company consistently increases their dividend. Since I am now retired I have been dropping out of most of the dividend reinvestment plans I have participated in. WTR is one of a few I still drip, though I will probably stop reinvesting at some point within the next year.
    Dec 5, 2014. 07:58 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Here's How Much Pfizer Will Increase Its Dividend This Month [View article]
    Agree with captain ern, the dividend is still not back to where it was when they cut it. 2 cents is nothing to get excited about. Pfizer has done very poorly by its shareholders. They once were a nimble little pharmaceutical company, but have become a lumbering behemoth bent on acquisition after acquisition because they can't come up with any new drugs on their own R&D. They have to acquire someone elses drugs to make any money.
    Dec 4, 2014. 07:11 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The REIT Way To Feast On Dividends And Sleep Well At Night [View article]
    Thanks Brad, your writing has opened my eyes to opportunities in the REIT world. I never knew there were so many varieties of REIT's. I'm always learning something new. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
    Nov 26, 2014. 01:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • I'll Pay More For A Latte, But I Can't Pay More For This REIT [View article]
    Thanks for the article and analysis of NNN. It's a quality company, but for a REIT I look for a minimum 5% yield. If it gets there I'll give it another look.
    Nov 25, 2014. 11:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The CCC DiviDogs 2011 - Year 1 [View article]
    Thanks Miz for the update. I enjoyed reading your approach and results. All of my dividend paying stocks are in taxable accounts, so I'm reluctant to do a lot of trading to limit the tax consequences.
    Nov 21, 2014. 12:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Challengers (And Near-Challengers): 44 Increase Expected By January 31 [View article]

    You are correct, I was referring to taxes. See my explanation to DVK.

    My dividend growth stocks are providing annual increases to my dividend income stream. Even a few dividend freezers that I have held on to have responded; Intel reported it will increase its dividend in 2015.

    As far as taxes are concerned, to paraphrase a comment I read some time ago, it is ok to be paying taxes, it means I'm making money on my investments.
    Nov 21, 2014. 11:27 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Challengers (And Near-Challengers): 44 Increase Expected By January 31 [View article]

    No one likes taking losses, certainly not me. But, they can be of use at tax time, to offset gains and sometimes ordinary income. The reason I am considering taking some capital losses and thereby lowering my income is that I converted some of my Traditional IRA to a Roth. The conversion is an increase in my annual income beyond what I had initially prepared for. I did increase my tax withholding during the year, but if I have a capital loss on my 1040 it will lower my total income (up to $3000 can count against ordinary income) and therefore my tax liability. I just don't like to be surprised with more due in taxes than I anticipated. So, I thought a small loss wouldn't hurt to go along with the increased withholding.

    I'm not talking major dollars here, I'm not that well off that I'm bumping against a higher tax bracket, but I did find a curious circumstance when doing some tax estimates working with the Schedule D worksheet. I converted $4000 from my Traditional IRA, so I thought if I am in the 25% tax bracket I would owe an additional $1000 in income tax if I do a conversion. But, when I went through the Schedule D worksheet I found my tax liability increased by $1200 instead of $1000. At first I though I did something wrong, then I surmised that some of my qualified dividends would have fallen into the 0% category and now with the additional income from the conversion they were being taxed at the 15% rate.

    I had never contemplated a conversion when I was working. Now that I'm retired I thought it might be useful to convert some of my Traditional IRA before I reach 70 1/2 and have to take RMD's. So, good news and bad news. Good news is that with a lower income in retirement some of my qualified dividends are tax free, eg. in the 0% tax bracket instead of the 15% I had been used to paying. Bad news is that the conversion had a greater tax effect than I anticipated.

    My plan is still to convert small amounts each year prior to age 70 1/2. I'll have a better picture once I actually do my 2014 taxes. Hope this explains my rationale.
    Nov 20, 2014. 03:25 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Challengers (And Near-Challengers): 44 Increase Expected By January 31 [View article]
    David, glad to hear you got that garage. That's the way I like to view my stocks, sell only when I need the money for something. Though right now I'm looking at some losers to sell to lower my income. I converted some of my Traditional IRA to a Roth so the losers will help. I know IRA conversion was the subject of one of your other articles which was quite beneficial to read.
    Nov 17, 2014. 04:02 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Targeted Expenditure Investing For Retirees: What Is It, And How Am I Doing? [View article]

    I thoroughly enjoy the series, keep 'em coming. As an investor I like the idea of supporting the companies I own through use of their products/services. I own three restaurant stocks, MCD, DRI and TXRH. Until recently I only ate at TXRH when traveling, but they finally opened one about 9 miles from my home. I know people pick on MCD for being unhealthy, but I still eat there, though mainly for breakfast. I like their Egg McMuffins. DRI needs to get their house in order, but I'm holding for now.

    It's fun to think about all the products and services I use and how I as an owner can profit from their dividends and growth. I can't own them all, but that's what makes investing interesting. Though, on the other hand I own OHI and hope I never end up in one of their nursing homes. I'm happy just to collect their growing dividends. :-)
    Nov 17, 2014. 11:17 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Challengers (And Near-Challengers): 44 Increase Expected By January 31 [View article]
    Thank you David, also thanks for the near challengers list. Looking forward to GE returning to the fold. I have always been interested in JCI, but never got around to owning it. May be time to give it a new look.
    Nov 17, 2014. 10:25 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 3 Reasons Why You Should Buy John Deere [View article]
    I don't know if the author has any shares, but Morningstar has a fair value of $90 for DE. I bought some at $84 earlier this year.
    Nov 13, 2014. 06:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Contenders, Future Champions Or Future Failures: Part 7 [View article]
    I bought WTR several years ago as a diversifier among my gas and electric utilities. The dividend yield is low, but they raise it annually. They offer a direct stock purchase and dividend reinvestment plan and offer a 5% discount on reinvested dividends. I've been pleased with this holding.
    Nov 13, 2014. 03:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment