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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!

June 2016 Dividend Meter Update

June 2016 Dividends

In many parts of the United States this time of year, people are blowing large sums of money on fireworks. I used to do that sort of thing. But this year, I resisted the impulsive fireworks stand drive-by purchase and used the savings to buy a favorite dividend stock instead, Eaton (ETN), on sale during the Brexit-induced stock market sell off. Here’s a summary of June’s dividend portfolio activity:

6/3/2016 $6,092.33 Bought 13 MET with accumulated dividends in IRA Rollover #1, raises meter reading $20.80
6/6/2016 $6,109.13 Bought 28 F with accumulated dividend in IRA Rollover #2, raises meter reading $16.80
6/24/2016 $6,109.13 Manually adjusted DAKT dividend to reflect regular + special dividend
6/27/2016 $6,153.05 Sold 27 WM, bought 147 F, raises meter reading $43.92
6/27/2016 $6,171.29 Bought 8 shares ETN with new savings and some accumulated dividends, raises meter reading $18.24
6/30/2016 $6,186.17 GIS dividend increase, raises meter reading $14.88

During June, I took advantage of the recent stock price increase in Waste Management (WM) to trim a few shares, using the proceeds to buy Ford (F) during the Brexit sell-off.  After their most recent disappointing earnings report, I was concerned Daktronics (DAKT) wouldn’t be able to continue paying a 10 cent per share regular quarterly dividend. DAKT did in fact cut their regular dividend payout to 6 cents per share, which normally would result in liquidation of the position from my portfolio. However, in my opinion, DAKT made a couple of smart moves which are keeping me in the stock for now. First, the company approved a $40 million stock buyback, and second, they are paying a 4 cent special dividend this quarter, which combined with the 6 cent regular dividend, is keeping the total quarterly payout at 10 cents. For spreadsheet purposes, I’ve had to make a manually adjustment to DAKT’s dividend figure by replacing the import formula with a manual entry of a projected annual 40 cent dividend.

A reminder: you can access a live view of my investment spreadsheet by joining the Members Club. Already in July, I’ve broken the $6,200.00 barrier by selling a few shares of Hershey (HSY), taking advantage of the Mondelez buyout rumors, to add a new position to the portfolio: Six Flags (SIX).

Happy Fourth of July,

-The Meter Man