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September 2016 Dividend Meter Update

September 2016 Dividends

The needle on the Dividend Meter rose $240.74 during September!  Here’s a summary of last month’s activity from the history tab of the spreadsheet:

9/30/2016 $6,618.60 OGE dividend increase, raises meter reading $16.72
9/14/2016 $6,601.88 GMRE officially declares .20 quarterly dividend, raises meter reading by $160.00
9/14/2016 $6,441.88 Bought 11 shares of OHI with accumulated dividends in IRA Rollover #1, raises meter reading $26.40
9/6/2016 $6,415.48 VZ dividend increase, raises meter reading $5.00
9/6/2016 $6,410.48 Sold 400 DAKT in IRA Rollover#2, bought 200 GMRE and 147 SNR, lowers meter reading $7.20, but manually inputing zero for GMRE until official dividend declaration
9/6/2016 $6,417.60 Sold 800 DAKT in regular account, bought 75 VZ and 82 SIX, raises meter reading $39.74
9/1/2016 $6,377.86 Bought 12 PPL with accumulated dividends in IRA Rollover #2, raises meter reading $18.24

You may notice the summary of activity is in reverse order from previous months.  After a year of recording every transaction and dividend change to the Dividend Meter portfolio, the history tab was getting quite lengthy.  I reversed the order, placing the most recent transactions at the top so you don’t have to scroll to see current activity.

Another Dividend Cut, Another Sale

While Daktronic’s (DAKT) most recent dividend announcement of 7 cents per share indicates a dividend increase, the company in fact implemented a cut to the total dividend payout.  Two quarters ago, DAKT actually cut it’s regular dividend from 10 cents a share to 6 cents, but paid a 4 cent special dividend, which kept the total payout at 10 cents – a payout that I’ve enjoyed for nearly a year while holding the position.  DAKT’s most recent earnings report was solid and beat expectations – I was surprised they didn’t pay another special dividend to keep the total payout at 10 cents.  At least the stock price ran up leading to the earnings report, allowing me to sell the position and buy other stocks with higher dividend yields.  With the sale proceeds from DAKT, I added to positions that were newly established last month: Six Flags (SIX), and Verizon (VZ).

Added Two Speculative REITs

With a portion of the sale proceeds from DAKT, I also purchased small positions in two new REIT stocks: New Senior Investment Group (SNR) and Global Medical REIT (GMRE).  Speculative high-yield plays make me nervous, but the two stocks were chosen after researching many high-yield dividend stocks, ranging from 5% to 10%.  SNR is a dedicated senior housing play, and GMRE is a new IPO, run by CEO David Young, whose experience with HCP and GE Capital enticed me to take a chance on two hundred shares.  As a reminder, do your own due diligence!

See you all here next month, or perhaps in person at the MoneyShow Conference in Dallas from October 19 – 21? If any fellow “Meterites” would like to meet up for a beer at the Conference, drop me a line…

Improving Investment Spreadsheet Performance

September’s Dividend Meter update will be running a few days late; however, I’m excited to report the stock dividend portfolio’s annual income has broken through $6,600.00! Until I finish the update, I’d like to share with you a quick video for improving the performance of your dividend or investment spreadsheet.

Sometimes the import formulas in Google Sheets get stuck on “Loading..”. The reality is stock dividend figures do not change that frequently. Maybe once a year, if you’re fortunate, a company will increase the dividend. So, rather than all cells relying on an import column to finish loading, your spreadsheet can quickly calculate values if it has a dividend column with static numbers. Here’s the modification I made to my spreadsheet:

August 2016 Dividend Meter Update

August Dividends

August was a quiet month for the Dividend Meter portfolio. Only two spreadsheet entries we’re added, yet the annual dividend income meter reading moved up by more than one hundred dollars.  Here’s what happened in August:

8/19/2016 $6,303.12 Sold 54 COP, bought 67 MET with proceeds and about $350 of accumulated dividends
8/29/2016 $6,359.62 Bought 25 VZ (new position) with a combination of new savings and accumulated dividends

It’s been several months since ConocoPhillips cut its dividend, and I’ve finally finished selling the last remaining shares from the portfolio. The proceeds from the sale of COP were combined with accumulated cash dividends and used to purchase 67 additional shares of Metlife (MET) at $40.11 per share on August 19th.  COP was also removed from the “watch list” and replaced with Verizon (VZ) on the spreadsheet.

Later in the month, I decided to go ahead with establishing a new position in VZ, using a combination of new savings and accrued dividends. 25 shares of VZ were purchased  on August 29th at $52.47 per share.

Improving Spreadsheet Performance

If you follow my investment spreadsheet from the Member’s Club, you may have noticed a change this month. Instead of freezing up while dividend figures are imported (check out the screenshot below), the calculations and meter chart load very quickly upon opening the Google sheet. Later this month, I hope to publish a video tutorial showing how to do this, but it’s really easy to insert a new column with the dividend amount for each stock hard-typed in the cells. All of the other cells that contain calculations can point to this new column of data, improving spreadsheet performance immensely.  The reality is dividend increases or decreases really don’t happen that frequently, so it’s unnecessary to wait for an import to finish before other cells are computed.  I still import the dividend automatically, but now it’s for reference – if a dividend change is identified by the import column, I simply change the cell with the hard-typed dividend amount manually.

Freezing Investment Spreadsheet

July 2016 Dividend Meter Update & The Ultimate Hiking Vacation

Ouray Brewery

Many people in the early retirement community, myself included, become so obsessed with saving money each and every month, they’re sometimes reluctant to spend cash on a vacation.  I’m excited to report for the month of July, 2016, I added zero new savings dollars to the Dividend Meter portfolio, and instead, splurged on a fantastic one week hiking vacation in Ouray, Colorado, often referred to as the “Switzerland of America”.  Despite not adding any new cash to the stock portfolio, the month-end meter reading for July is higher than June due to a small trade and two dividend increase announcements.  Here’s a quick summary of July’s investment activity, and a video from my amazing hiking trip:

July 2016 Dividend Meter Reading

7/1/2016 $6,225.44 Sold 17 HSY, bought 34 SIX, raises meter reading $39.27
7/18/2016 $6,244.32 OHI dividend increase, raises meter reading $18.88
7/31/20 16 $6,249.92 HSY dividend increase, raises meter reading $5.60

In late June / early July, Mondelez (MDLZ) buyout rumors of Hershey (HSY) caused Hershey’s shares to surge upward.  I took advantage of the sudden price increase to sell off a few shares of HSY, and used the sale proceeds to buy a new position for the dividend portfolio: Six Flags (SIX).  With Six Flags paying a higher dividend, it raised the meter reading $39.27.  Fortunately, I still hold some shares of HSY, because later in the month, Hershey, along with Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI), announced dividend increases. As a reminder, you can now directly view my own dividend spreadsheet in the Member’s Club to see all the details. I’ve also recently added two new stocks to my “watch list”: Cummins, Inc. (CMI), and Carnival Corporation (CCL).

If you’re planning a hiking vacation, take a look at the San Juan Mountains region near Ouray, Colorado. With many gorgeous old hotels, great restaurants, and a few hot springs to sooth the joints and muscles, Ouray provides a fantastic home base for a hiking vacation.  My wife and I stayed at Hotel Ouray, a fantastic hotel right across the street from the Ouray Brewery, which is located in the heart of the this small historic mining town.  We hiked five nearby trails during our one week vacation – check out this amazing scenery:

Maybe this could become an annual gathering of fellow Dividend Meterites?  Drop me a line if interested. If you’re considering visiting Ouray to hike the trails, get the Ouray Hiking Guide – it’s a must.  Enjoy what’s left of the summer and check back next month for August’s update – I have some cash dividends accumulating and look forward to putting them to work soon!