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My Dividend Growth Portfolio Update: 32 Holdings, 3 Buys, 1 Sale

Dividend Derek profile picture
Dividend Derek


  • $797 in dividends were collected in January to start the year.
  • Three purchases were made, two were new additions to the portfolio and one was added to an existing holding.  One holding was sold.
  • Dividend reinvestment was turned off for some of my holdings. I'll explain further.


Welcome to my monthly update for my dividend growth portfolio. This article series covers my investing journey as a father of two towards my eventual retirement. Any specific stocks or amounts are particular to my self-directed 401(k) plan.

The goal of my portfolio is to generate a growing income stream for me and my wife during our golden years. The aim is to live off dividends without touching the principal. Dividend growth stocks are the chosen vehicle to meet that goal. At 33, I have approximately 26 years before I can (safely) touch any of this money.

For anyone interested in seeing changes in real time, I have my portfolio and dividends tracked on Dividend Derek. I also have a trimmed version that you can freely take for yourself if you wish, found here.

I've received some questions in the past, so you can save off a copy by selecting "File" -> "Make A Copy."

What's New?

No January assessment would be complete without mentioning both the massive equity rally and the commentary coming from the Fed.

Chairman Powell continued his dovish tone at the Fed meeting in January saying that the Fed will remain "patient" with regards to interest rate hikes. For all intents and purposes, it seems like rates are frozen for the time being with the possibility of rate cuts.

Additionally, the size and scope of the balance sheet normalization has also been called into question. In fact, it was even hinted that another round of QE was possible!

Long story short, it sure seems like we are off to the races at least in the short term. While I was getting excited about lower equity prices near the tail end of December, it seems a lot of those bargains have since vanished with the strongest January in decades.

This article was written by

Dividend Derek profile picture
Derek is an individual investor seeking to navigate the investment world to provide a wealthy and stable retirement for his family. He aims to help fellow investors, notably younger investors, establish a plan to produce a growing income stream. Derek holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science with a minor in Economics from the University of Delaware and lives with his wife and two children.Derek created and operates customstockalerts.com. It's a suite of utilities for investors to stay on top of all their stocks. Pick a company you're interested in, pick an alert type (price, dividend yield, PE, etc.) and a value. You'll get a text or email (your choice) when your value hits. Also, get alerts for upcoming dividends, including increases (works for stocks and ETFs). Use it as a chance to buy and collect the dividend!Come check me out at customstockalerts.com!

Analyst’s Disclosure: I am/we are long AAPL, ABBV, ABT, AMP, AMZN, APLE, BRK.B, CMI, CSCO, CVS, DIS, FB, GLW, GOOG, HD, IQ, ITW, JNJ, JPM, KWEB, MA, MDT, MMM, MO, NKE, PRU, SBUX, SCHB, SCHD, SKT, SQ, STAG, SWK, T, TROW, TRV, UTX, V, WPC. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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Comments (41)

I've followed you for a couple of years now. You're one the best authors on Seeking Alpha. You have a way of writing where it is not over explained or made more complicated than what it really is. I appreciate you showing off your portfolio to us publicly, few do. I've done my best over the last couple of years of taking your approach and becoming a dividend investor while not shying away from growth opportunities when they make sense. It has worked out well for me up to this point and I owe a majority of that praise to you. You may not know it but each article you post helps someone, even if they do not reach out directly to say it. Thank you Derek.
Dividend Derek profile picture
Wow @Simon Vargas that blew me away. Firstly thank you so much for your kind words. Especially since that was only your second comment ever. I deliberately write to be down to earth and hopefully to provide good information. I'm very glad you've done well and helping others was the driving factor behind writing in the first place. Again, thank you.
Gwhitebeard profile picture
Good work Derek, initial impression of your portfolio was that I was looking at the holdings of a positively rated mutual fund. Only comment I have would be to add a couple CEF's for additional divy juice. Your risk is spread sufficiently to absorb potential NAV underperform to gain monthly income. More retail investors should make the effort you have, especially at your current stage in life.
08 Feb. 2019
Thanks Derek,

I fail to see what percentage of the portfolio is allocated to AMZN.
Also, any interest in gold?
Dividend Derek profile picture
Hey @SMmonk about 2.5% to Amazon and zero interest in gold.
Uain53 profile picture
A very informative article Derek,

I appreciate that you show the credit ratings of you holdings.
This is a key metric for those considering new positions for the long term.
Especially in this time of ... er... fluid interest rate policy.
Dividend Derek profile picture
Ha yes, it's been an interesting ride with the Fed.
QQQBall profile picture
Thanks for the write-up
Dividend Derek profile picture
Sure thing
Why haven’t you picked up Ford this year.
Dividend Derek profile picture
@tcarter1523 It does have a fat dividend I'll agree with you, I am hesitant on the auto industry in general with how competitive it is with incredible constant capex. I was going to say I'm a GM guy anyway and come to think of it that's all I've owned. Saturn, Camaro, Corvette, Equinox and Acadia.
Hi Derek, thanks for the informative article. Can you please tell me the brokerage account you use? Robinhood is free but
Dividend Derek profile picture
@rupeshparab15 This is in my 401k account that my company administers through. I do have a Robinhood account but it's more of just some play money, I use Schwab as my "big boy" taxable account.
keltus 1952 profile picture
Good article. Also added you to my follow list. Am also holding SCHD long term and a few of your issues. I am a greater user of ETFs for the instant diversification they provide. SPYD provides a 4%+ yield, low fees, and a good mix heavy in utes and REITs if you can tolerate those. Individual issues ......CSCO, LOW, CAG, EPD, ET...........................Kel
Dividend Derek profile picture
Awesome thanks for following @keltus 1952 - ETFs are great and I completely agree about the instant diversification. I'm trying to get better about comparing any new possible holding to what can be achieved passively.
IamN profile picture
07 Feb. 2019
whats your say if I add apple at $174 ? since I am late to the party ?
Dividend Derek profile picture
@Nurali Thanawala I still think Apple is a generational investment, they have an incredible brand and products with a growing service segment that delivers phenomenal profits. I don't want to speculate on the short term price movements but long term it's one of my favorites.
IamN profile picture
07 Feb. 2019
@Dividend Derek I think you are right the long term picture looks good to me too. I shall close my eyes and buy some apples.

Thank you !
IamN profile picture
07 Feb. 2019
@Dividend Derek One more question whats your say about defense companies ? RTN LMT NOC ?
Quadrophenia profile picture
How do you calculate your portfolio DGR? I know how to do the math but don't know how to take into account changes in my holdings. Are you ignoring your changes and just looking at your annual total dividends?
Dividend Derek profile picture
Hey @Quadrophenia I'm taking a flat average across the increases (or 0 in the case of CVS barring a surprise increase this year), I keep them in their own column. It gives a finger in the wind measurement, it's not perfect and could be improved upon.

It could be weighted by position size, I am much closer to an equal weight portfolio than cap weighted so I'm not too concerned with that part of it. Also if I drop CVS does that improve my rate? Right now it would in my calculations. It's subjective and I think that's OK to give a close enough approximately to what the "organic" dividend growth rate is at a portfolio level.
Good solid article. My portfolio looks a lot like yours in stocks, but I am a little heavier in CEF’ s for medical stocks, bonds and convertible preferred stocks. Plan some pairing in near future. May Be I am early but feel like 2006 to 2008. We are in Sercuities, manufacturing and operating real estate warehouse and offices, but are considering some asset sales, with such a total market instability. Again thank you for your hard work. PS will,look at out AFL holding again.
Dividend Derek profile picture
@DougWalker I'll take a stab that you are either in or very close to retirement? I'm starting to look at CEFs and some preferreds to spice up my high yield portion of my portfolio. I'm with you on the instability which is part of the reason I turned off reinvestments so I can always have some dry powder accumulating.
Thank you for a great article and review. I like your thought process and how you track each stock. The addition of what your screen choices are helps. I will use the one shown. I wish I had this type of information available 20 + years ago when I was near your age. :) fortunate for you is the information and tools of the Internet. I’ve been following you for some time. I’ve just forwarded this article to friends of mine and suggested they follow you as well.

Your success is due to your plan. You understand what you want and look for it and track it. As Buffett said you need a plan and stick to it. My favourite still Rule 1 - don’t loose money Rule 2 - don’t forget rule 1.

ETF s have you looked at Vanguard ETF both the S&P 500 and Total US Market. John Bogle (RIP) did such a great ETF company and it still has great returns.

As for stocks have you looked at Brookfield infrastructure BIP. And the Brookfield family. Great management.

Thanks again for a great article. All the best on your plans and future.
Dividend Derek profile picture
@WPG Value Investor Wow thanks WPG for both enjoying it and sharing it with others! Always keep those rules in mind, should get that printed on a t-shirt.

Yes I absolutely have used Vanguards great products in the past and present. He did a wonderful service for all investors with the amount of wealth that has been kept in our collective pockets.

I have my eye on the Brookfield properties, funny you mention that. On my list for some more research.
RoseNose profile picture
You continue to have an excellent portfolio and offer a wonderful article. I like the purchase of APLE, good one to pick in the hotel eREIT arena.
My last article does show some S&P credit ratings you might want to update for your next article. T is now rated BBB and V and MA were up-rated along with a few others.
Here's a link to my last article :https://isn.page.link/URkP.
Congrats on all the raises, and Happy 2019 :)) Rose
Dividend Derek profile picture
@RoseNose Thanks Rose I'll check them out, I need to get those pesky credit ratings automatically updated so I don't have to wait til someone points out I'm wrong :-).

I need to get to your article, I have it open in another tab and need to actually sit and read through it! I know you always have a treasure trove of good information for investors.
RoseNose profile picture
You are welcome Derek and I say THANKS :)) to you for your excellent work !
bobofran3726 profile picture
Dividend growth for AAPL is around 11% for 5 years and around 16% this past year. Nice DG for any stock. With their cash hoard, I'm hoping they stay with the 16%, or maybe even higher, when they raise it again next quarter. They have plenty of room to move being that their payout ratio is 24%.
Dividend Derek profile picture
@bobofran3726 That is why I think they are a generational DG stock. A lot of levers to pull for a very long time.
Well done. I like a plan. You use a logical system of complementary metrics and screens. Too many over analyze.
Nice job! Just added you as a follow. I'm becoming a fan of the Div growth stories.
Thanks for the insight.

ABBV is on my radar.
I'm surprised you dont own any JNJ , a champion! I picked up some this past Spring when it dipped to $121-123
Basti1993 profile picture
He owns J&J. 2.8% of the portfolio.
Dividend Derek profile picture
@dandroidz Not own JNJ? Oh I most certainly do! Search on the page, it's there :-)
@Dividend Derek My mistake, I was reading the article from my phone and must have glanced over it. I was astonished if you didnt own such a quality holding!
whiff profile picture
Thanks for an informative article - like your approach - sold my AFL as well - glad to see someone with the same misgivings I had about selling - I try not to spend much time looking back ...
Dividend Derek profile picture
@whiff I'll assume you made a nice return on it too! When Mr. Market offers you a great deal, you should be willing to take it from time to time. The combination of high price, no earnings growth, minimal yield while waiting and ultimately a paltry increase were enough for me. I think if it were yielding 4-5% that may have changed the story but there's too many other opportunities willing to pay me more.
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