I May Get A New Car

I may have to buy a new car. At least, new for me.

My “Check Engine” light came on. I got it fixed about a month ago. I had to wait around three hours for it to get done, since I do not have a Hot Asian Wife to cart me around.

Then it came back on again a day later. The next weekend, I took it in, waited, they fixed it. The guy said the wire connecting a part to the sensor came out.

Then a few days later it came on again. Same thing. This time he used a twist tie to keep in it.

A few days later, it came on again. Same code. Yesterday I made an appointment, and I waited two hours just to be told they would not be able to get to it that day. I really do not like my free time being eaten up waiting for my car to get fixed. Or not get fixed.

I would hate to get a new car just because of a small part, but maybe it is time. It is a 1997 Nissan Sentra with around 175K miles on it.

The issue has to do with the exhaust. I think I can get by for a few more weeks. The nice thing is that I got my state inspection done right before this all started.

My mom get her latest car at CarMax, and just raved about them. For the first time in 25 years, she is not driving a Honda. (If you felt a disturbance in the force recently, this might be why.)

When I was in Boise, I rented Prii (the official plural form of Prius) and I liked them. I might get one now.

I am not too happy about blowing a big hole in my savings. I think one of the reasons I have been able to save is because I have not had to make any car payments. Granted, I could pay it off at once. But still, that is a lot of money out of pocket. Enough to live off of for six months.

I really hate spending a lot of money.

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Up Yours, Miami

Recently, Fidel Castro died. Presumably peacefully, in his sleep. Not in a jail cell.

And the Cuban community in Miami celebrated. The people who insisted on keeping the embargo long after it was obvious it was not hurting the Castro regime. Being against the embargo was not the same as being for Castro. There is nothing pro-Communist in saying a particular policy isn’t working.

I would just like to tell those people to go jump off a cliff.

I really hate it when people from communist countries come here, rave about freedom, and then shout down anyone who disagrees with them. And what has their intransigence gotten them? Most Americans were against it for the past decade (pdf file here, article here). I don’t think we should cling to ineffective policies just to avoid hurting the fee-fees of a vocal minority.

Many refugees dismiss anti-embargo arguments by saying that “You don’t know what it’s like to live under Castro”. No, but neither do many of the non-Cubans who were for it. If my lack of experience living under Castro invalidates my opinion, then it invalidates the opinion of pro-embargo non-Cubans. But somehow I don’t think they get dismissed.

Besides, it’s a federal policy. I vote for the senators, representatives and presidents who make and implement the policy, and my taxes go toward it.

Basically, it has been completely ineffective. Yes, the Cuban government seems to be moving away from Communism, but they are doing it on their schedule. They managed to survive even after the downfall of the USSR, and the loss of patronage from the USSR. The funny thing is, while the USSR was subsidizing Cuba, the USA was selling the USSR wheat; so in a way, the USA was actually helping Cuba indirectly. But I guess some people care more about form than substance.

I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the Cuban community, but in all seriousness, is Cuba the only oppressive regime they are about? China oppresses a LOT of people. Do they want the USA to embargo China? If it’s the right thing to do, then the size of the country shouldn’t matter, right? If don’t care about oppression when it’s not happening to you, then don’t come crying to me.

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use. Painting by Cuban artist Armando Menocal.

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2016-11 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for November, 2016.

The monthly dividend income came out to $506.98. The yearly income total for 2016 through the end of the month was $5048.77.

The income for November, 2015 was $460.83, and the yearly income for 2015 through the end of November was $4517.55.

It looks like I will beat my total from 2015. But I will still not beat my best year, so 2016 will only be my second-best year. For the first time, my 12 month moving average was more than $500.

For the past few years, my total was going up by about $1000/year, but I think that rate will not hold this year. I will have to live to about 150 to be able to live off my dividends at the rate this is going. Granted, if I rolled over my Roth 401K from my job, I would have a lot more money to invest.

Right now, I am not too sure what to invest it in. PE ratios are still pretty high. But, as I have said, they have been high for a while. But, as Barry Ritholtz reminds us, markets are rarely fairly valued. Maybe next year I will start to buy more. I found a site called Earnings Cast that archives quarterly conference calls for a lot of companies. Another thing to add to my to-do list.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each November from 2011 through 2016:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2016-11 $5048.77 $506.98 $502.98 $500.27
2015-11 $4517.55 $460.83 $477.55 $452.28
2014-11 $3528.16 $291.27 $357.30 $343.53
2013-11 $2811.61 $252.75 $277.74 $291.48
2012-11 $2898.91 $247.99 $262.78 $284.49
2011-11 $2577.05 $246.37 $232.84 $240.81

 

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for November, 2016:

  • AT&T: $50.31
  • Verizon: $60.26
  • WGL Holdings Inc: $17.05
  • Lowe’s Cos Inc: $19.23
  • ABM Industries Inc: $9.51
  • Air Products & Chemicals Inc: $57.28
  • Clorox Co: $46.56
  • Colgate-Palmolive: $43.85
  • Hormel Foods Corp: $14.18
  • Northwest Natural Gas Co: $28.95
  • Procter & Gamble: $40.49
  • Texas Instruments: $54.10
  • Eaton Corporation: $65.21

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2016-10 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for October, 2016.

The monthly dividend income came out to $281.09. The yearly income total for 2016 through the end of the month was $4541.79.

The income for October, 2015 was $312.23, and the yearly income for 2015 through the end of October was $4056.72.

The twelve-month moving average was lower than it was last month. It has not gone down month-to-month in about three years. Last year I still had my taxable account, and I have shares of some companies in both my IRA and my taxable account, so some stocks paid a lot more in October, 2015 since I had more shares of them.

I sold all the shares in that account because owning shares directly in a taxable account forces an investor to deal with a lot more complexity that if they went with ETFs in a taxable account or kept direct shares in an IRA. But there is still some complexity when you own shares in an IRA.

In September, STR got bought out. In October, PNY got bought out. And APD and HON had spinoffs. I sold the shares from those spinoffs immediately. They have not announced any dividends, and I did not have that many shares anyway. For one of the spinoffs, I only got six shares.

All of this work has made me consider just going with ETFs. I do not plan on moving away from dividend growth investing. I would just like there to be a bit less effort on my part.

Just as I took a walk down memory lane for STR, I will do one for PNY. I bought 50 shares of PNY on 2010-07-12 at $26.00. By the time I was bought out on 2016-10-03, I had 60.503 shares. As with STR, all the new shares were from dividend reinvestments, not from actual purchases. The first dividend from PNY was paid on 2010-10-15, for $14.74, with a payout of $0.28/share, which bought 0.498 shares at a price of $28.10, while the last regular dividend was on 2016-07-28; I got $21.53, with a payout of $0.34/share, which bought 0.36 shares at a price of $59.74. That is an increase of about 45% in dividend income over five years.

October is an “A” month. Those months have the lowest income. I will have to buy new companies and/or increase my stakes in the companies I own that pay out in “A” months to make up for the income I will no longer get from PNY.

I don’t know why I did not get shares on the companies that bought STR and PNY. I always thought that is what a merger is. Perhaps I did not have enough shares to be part of the new club.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each October from 2011 through 2016:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2016-10 $4541.79 $281.09 $508.05 $496.43
2015-10 $4056.72 $312.23 $459.42 $438.15
2014-10 $3236.89 $243.87 $368.19 $340.32
2013-10 $2558.86 $184.81 $295.19 $291.08
2012-10 $2650.92 $225.14 $285.46 $284.35
2011-10 $2330.68 $208.90 $258.17 $238.44

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for October, 2016:

  • Automatic Data Processing: $32.07
  • Coca-Cola Co: $46.92
  • MDU Resources Group Inc.: $11.18
  • Kimberly-Clark: $54.40
  • Piedmont Natural Gas Inc: $20.57
  • Illinois Tool Works: $36.43
  • Chubb Corp: $43.65
  • Sysco Corp: $18.35
  • RPM International Inc.: $17.52

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2016-09 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for September, 2016.

The monthly dividend income came out to $720.86. The yearly income total for 2016 through the end of the month was $4260.70.

The income for September, 2015 was $659.59, and the yearly income for 2015 through the end of September was $3744.49.

Since September is a “C” month, the income was pretty high. Still not enough to cover the rent. Sometimes I wonder when this dividend investing will be enough to cover my expenses.

Questar (STR) was acquired by Dominion Resources. All STR shreholders got cash (at least I did) and a final dividend. I have been thinking about buying some more stock, and now I have to in order to keep getting the $12/quarter I was getting from STR.

I bought 50 shares of STR on 2011-03-02 at $17.34. By the time I was bought out on 2016-09-20, I had 59.367 shares. All the new shares were from dividend reinvestments, not from actual purchases. The first dividend from STR was paid on 2011-06-13, for $7.63, with a payout of $0.1530/share, which bought 0.442 shares at a price of $17.60, while the last regular dividend was on 2016-09-12; I got $12.95, with a payout of $0.22/share, which bought 0.517 shares at a price of $25.03. That is an increase of about 70% in dividend income over five years. (There was also another dividend on the day of the buyout of about $.07/share.)

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each September from 2011 through 2016:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2016-09 $4260.70 $720.86 $505.47 $499.02
2015-09 $3744.49 $659.59 $443.06 $432.46
2014-09 $2993.02 $536.75 $353.04 $335.39
2013-09 $2374.05 $395.65 $293.78 $294.44
2012-09 $2425.78 $315.21 $283.66 $283.00
2011-09 $2121.78 $243.26 $256.81 $233.01

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for September, 2016:

  • AFLAC Inc: $44.72
  • American States Water Co: $25.61
  • Black Hills Corp: $15.62
  • Bemis Co Inc: $30.58
  • Vectren Corp: $24.27
  • Johnson & Johnson: $82.45
  • Archer-Daniels-Midland Co: $35.79
  • Emerson Electric Co: $51.00
  • Honeywell International: $60.14
  • Sonoco Products Co: $49.22
  • Exxon Mobil Corp: $87.81
  • Chevron: $26.44
  • 3M Co: $15.37
  • Questar Corp: $12.95
  • Walgreen Co: $22.03
  • Dover Corp: $10.43
  • Consolidated Edison Inc: $21.51
  • Kellogg Company: $55.50
  • Valspar Corp: $19.71
  • RLI Corp: $25.54
  • Questar Corp: $4.17

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use. I just got tired of looking for images of money.

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2016-08 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for August, 2016.

The monthly dividend income came out to $522.20. The yearly income total for 2016 through the end of the month was $3539.84.

The income for August, 2015 was $406.45, and the yearly income for 2015 through the end of August was $3084.90.

I am still on track to make more than I did last year, but not by much. The rate of increase is already slowing. I bought TXN in January, and more ADP and EMR in late June. It will take awhile for the second two to have a big effect. So I think 2016 will be my second-best year for dividend income. Before I started DGI (dividend growth investing), my second best year for dividend income was 2008, when funds in my then-employer’s 401(k) made $5420.86. I beat that last year by making $5472.07. The best year so far was 2007, when I made $6575.54. I do not think I will beat that this year.

It might be awhile before I set a new record. I am thinking about reducing my exposure to oil companies and increasing my exposure to water utilities. I think water utitlies are a better bet going forward, but they have lower yields.

I am still debating whether I should buy new companies, or buy more of what I have until I get everything I own up to 100 shares.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each August from 2011 through 2016:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2016-08 $3539.84 $522.20 $493.44 $493.92
2015-08 $3084.90 $406.45 $427.26 $422.22
2014-08 $2456.27 $323.94 $348.41 $323.64
2013-08 $1978.40 $305.11 $279.05 $287.74
2012-08 $2110.57 $316.04 $280.53 $277.00
2011-08 $1878.52 $322.35 $254.56 $225.45

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for August, 2016:

  • ABM Industries Inc: $9.46
  • AT&T: $49.75
  • Verizon: $58.36
  • WGL Holdings Inc: $16.93
  • Lowe’s Cos Inc: $19.15
  • Vodafone: $33.25
  • Air Products & Chemicals Inc: $56.95
  • Clorox Co: $46.28
  • Colgate-Palmolive: $43.62
  • Hormel Foods Corp: $14.12
  • Northwest Natural Gas Co: $28.59
  • Procter & Gamble: $40.18
  • Texas Instruments: $40.90
  • Eaton Corporation: $64.66

Painting “Money” by František Kupka, image from Wikiart, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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2016-07 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for July, 2016.

The monthly dividend income came out to $273.36. The yearly income total for 2016 through the end of the month was $3017.64.

The income for July, 2015 was $263.13, and the yearly income for 2015 through the end of July was $2678.45.

July is one of what David Fish refers in his spreadsheet as the “A” months (January, April, July, October). They are usually the months with the smallest totals. The months with the biggest hauls are the “C” months (March, June, September and December). Honestly I have no idea why that is.

I am also looking at LEG and YORW. LEG had a high payout ratio above 100% for a while, but they seem to be coming back to earth a bit. YORW is a water utility. They are based in central Pennsylvania. I looked on Wikipedia, and that area seems to be growing.

In other news, PE ratios are still high. I have not placed any orders. I plan on looking more at LEG and YORW.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each July from 2011 through 2016:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2016-07 $3017.64 $273.36 $464.99 $484.27
2015-07 $2678.45 $263.13 $412.44 $415.35
2014-07 $2132.33 $198.43 $333.77 $322.07
2013-07 $1673.29 $180.57 $258.23 $288.65
2012-07 $1794.53 $219.72 $261.24 $277.53
2011-07 $1556.17 $204.83 $235.96 $211.69

 

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for July, 2016:

  • Automatic Data Processing: $31.87
  • Coca-Cola Co: $46.55
  • MDU Resources Group Inc.: $11.09
  • Kimberly-Clark: $54.03
  • Illinois Tool Works: $30.66
  • Sysco Corp: $18.24
  • Chubb Corp: $43.42
  • Piedmont Natural Gas Inc: $21.53
  • RPM International Inc.: $15.97

 

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2016-06 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for June, 2016.

The monthly dividend income came out to $684.76. The yearly income total for 2016 through the end of the month was $2744.28.

The income for June, 2015 was $612.21, and the yearly income for 2015 through the end of June was $2415.32.

Due to the Brexit, my orders for APD and EMR got filled. APD pays in what David Fish refers in his spreadsheet as the “B” months (February, May, August and November). So that will balance out the “C” months (March, June, September and December) a bit, even though EMR pays out in those months.

I am also looking at LEG and YORW. LEG had a high payout ratio above 100% for a while, but they seem to be coming back to earth a bit. YORW is a water utility. They are based in central Pennsylvania. I looked on Wikipedia, and that area seems to be growing.

The PE ratios are a bit high, but I think I will start buying more stocks again anyway. I have been waiting for PE ratios to come down. I don’t think they will for a while. I have read some articles written by people who spend more time in the markets than I do, and I get the impression there is a negative correlation between interest rates and PE ratios. I think we will have low interest rates for a while. People have been saying for a couple of years that a rate hike will happen any minute now. I think it is a ways off. And thanks to the bozos who brought us the Brexit, it might be longer than anyone thought a month ago. See articles on PE ratios and interest rates here and here.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each June from 2011 through 2016:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2016-06 2744.28 684.76 464.00 483.42
2015-06 2415.32 612.21 411.83 409.95
2014-06 1933.90 522.86 333.10 320.58
2013-06 1492.72 351.48 257.79 291.91
2012-06 1574.81 305.84 260.85 276.29
2011-06 1351.34 236.50 235.38 203.23

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for June, 2016:

  • AFLAC Inc: $44.46
  • American States Water Co: $25.46
  • Black Hills Corp: $15.51
  • Bemis Co Inc: $30.40
  • Vectren Corp: $24.07
  • Johnson & Johnson: $81.88
  • Archer-Daniels-Midland Co: $35.54
  • Chevron: $26.17
  • Emerson Electric Co: $27.02
  • Honeywell International: $59.83
  • Sonoco Products Co: $48.84
  • Walgreen Co: $21.05
  • Exxon Mobil Corp: $87.09
  • 3M Co: $15.27
  • Dover Corp: $9.89
  • Consolidated Edison Inc: $21.32
  • Kellogg Company: $53.02
  • Valspar Corp: $19.65
  • RLI Corp: $25.46
  • Questar Corp: $12.83

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2016-05 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for May, 2016.

The monthly dividend income came out to $436.85. The yearly income total for 2016 through the end of the month was $2059.52.

The income for May, 2015 was $361.99, and the yearly income for 2015 through the end of May was $1803.11.

There was not too much going on. My order for more Air Products and Chemicals (APD) was not filled, so I did not get a boost in my APD payout in May. Perhaps in August. I also put in an order for more Emerson Electric. It did not get filled in time for the June payout. Perhaps it will be filled before the September payout. Stock prices keep going up.

Given the changes in the oil markets, I have sold my stake in COP. I have kept CVX and XOM. I may sell CVX since they have not increased their dividend in over a year. I think that XOM will be able to sustain their dividend, and probably increase it. They are the only firm that has been able to execute buybacks intelligently (although I am still against them in all cases). I do not know what I will do about the gas and electrical utilities that I own shares in. I think there will be some shakeouts in that sector, but not as dramatic as we are seeing in oil.

I plan on buying more water utilities. I agree with the idea that water is the commodity of the 21st century, just as oil was the commodity of the 20th century. Right now, P/E ratios keep climbing, and show no sign of dropping. At some point, interest rates will rise, and P/E ratios will fall. But I have been waiting for a couple of years for that to happen. I am thinking that I should just buy some water utilities over the next few years. Maybe it’s too early, but as I said, I have been waiting for a more perfect moment for a while. Perhaps I should act now. At least I would be doing it with my eyes open. As Voltaire wrote, do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each May from 2011 through 2016:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2016-05 2059.52 436.85 479.79 477.37
2015-05 1803.11 361.99 411.92 402.51
2014-05 1411.19 280.01 304.77 306.30
2013-05 1141.24 242.65 260.91 288.11
2012-05 1268.97 258.15 257.13 270.51
2011-05 1114.84 266.55 233.03 194.61

 

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for May, 2016:

  • ABM Industries Inc: $9.42
  • AT&T: $49.14
  • Verizon: $57.72
  • WGL Holdings Inc: $16.81
  • Lowe’s Cos Inc: $15.26
  • Clorox Co: $44.29
  • Air Products & Chemicals Inc: $13.87
  • Northwest Natural Gas Co: $28.36
  • Colgate-Palmolive: $43.38
  • Hormel Foods Corp: $14.07
  • Procter & Gamble: $39.85
  • Texas Instruments: $40.63
  • Eaton Corporation: $64.05

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More Meditation

I am starting to get back into meditation. I used to meditate somewhat consistently, until about ten years ago. Recently I decided to restart.

My income has been pretty static for the past decade. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe there is a connection. I know a lot of people say you shouldn’t meditate for some material goal, but I am tired of feeling like I have hit a ceiling. I am a software developer, and over the past decade I have been at a few jobs, and each time I reach a point where I think there has got to be a better way to do things. I am told by the higher-ups to just keep doing things the same old way. A lot of times I am told I have great ideas, right before I am told why they cannot be implemented.

I know that is a bit of a word-salad. I want more control over my life. I felt more in control when I meditated regularly a long time ago.

I look at the Meditation subreddit on a regular basis. There is some good stuff there. The Zen subreddit is a waste of time. I know the original point of koans a thousand years ago was to get people to think about things in a different way. A lot of people in the Zen subreddit seem to think that non-sequiturs make them sound enlightened. Usually, it just makes you sound like a jerk.

I have been meditating almost every day for about a month. Honestly, not a lot of progress so far. I tried doing qigong while watching educational videos on YouTube or listening to a podcast, but I have had to face the fact that doing so is not conducive to positive change in my life.

I might look for a meditation teacher. I have heard good things about Ron Crouch, but on his site he says he is not taking on any new students at this time. I have heard good things about The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa (also see Dharma Treasure site). I will also get to some Buddhist podcasts in the near future.

I tried the whole “idea machine” idea, but I was not too consistent with it. I was coming up with a lot of lists about making idea lists. I might try again, but I have been interested in meditation a lot longer, so I think this might work out better. Hopefully it will improve all aspects of my life. Perhaps I will find a Zen woman. A Theravada mama. Frankly, it seems like most women have two stages in their life: Drinking and shopping; and having babies. At least, that is what I have inferred. It’s hard to know something about a group of people when they don’t want you to know anything about them. Anyway, I would like to meet someone with whom I can do some buddha-buddha and bunga-bunga. I getting to an age where a lot of the single women frankly don’t look too good. They say at 20 you have the face you are born with, and at 50 you have the face you deserve. One way to not looking like ten miles of bad road: Do not drink alcohol. (Notice I did not write “drink less.”) But nobody ever likes that answer. Perhaps crediting not looking like a hobo to meditation will shut people up.

One thing I have realized is I need to lose weight. I have gone to a few Zen places in Chicago and here in Austin, and the basic instructions are to follow the breath by focusing on the hara, or dantian in Chinese. It is a couple of inches below your navel, and is close to most peoples’ center of gravity. Perhaps my dantian has just gotten bigger in the past decade. Yeah, that’s it.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.  It is the Flag of the Kingdom of Sikkim, which was annexed by India in 1975. The circle in the middle is the dhammacakka, the Wheel Of Dharma that Gautama set into motion upon his enlightenment.

Much of this post was originally posted as a comment on the Meditation subreddit.

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