Bert’s Portfolio Review – 2019

For the first time on this website, I thought it would be a good idea to publish a review of my investment portfolio!  Lanny has been doing so each quarter and we are discussing many of these metrics on a regular basis either when together or on the phone.  So I figured it would be a good time to sip on a cup of tea (notice no coffee today) and dive into some of the numbers.

Before taking a look at the fun stuff, I thought I’d provide some parameters.   Today’s analysis will focus solely on my Traditional/Regular brokerage account.  It will not include our families 401(k), HSA, or Roth IRA accounts.  I am excluding the Roth IRA accounts due to the fact that the accounts predominately include REITS, utilities, and other high-yielding dividend stocks.   Second, the analysis is taking place on March 6, 2019 during the day.  The prices used reflect the mid-day market.  However, I do not plan on disclosing individual stock prices.  Now, let the fun begin!

High Level Overview

Here are some of the highlights and high level statistics about my account at the time of the analysis:

  • Market Value: $92,861.10
  • Dividend Income: $3,215.33
  • Dividend Yield: 3.46%
  • Individual Holdings: 33 (woah)
  • Largest Position:  $7,692.32, Procter & Gamble (PG)
  • Smallest Position:  $322.01, Bank of America (BAC)

Man, this portfolio is very close to joining the six figure club.  I would love to find a way to see this portfolio cross the $100,000 mark before June 30.   That would be awesome.   What caught me by surprise was the number of individual holdings in this portfolio, 33.  It is easy in the heat in the moment to not realize how many holdings you may have.  Especially when you find a new dividend stock that you want to add at a discounted price.  But going forward, maybe I should consider internal purchase candidates rather than continuing to add new stocks.  Don’t forget, I have other accounts that are not included.  So the number of positions I have to monitor on a regular basis is starting to grow and could potentially become too burdensome.

From a dividend yield perspective, my individual account’s dividend yield of 3.46% is well above the broader market.  As of today, the S&P 500 has a 1.93% dividend yield (per Y! Charts at the time of the article).  Overall, that is a very nice premium compared to the market and I am happy to see that dividend yield.  It is high enough to encourage investing in non S&P 500 mutual funds and ETFs while also offering a low enough yield to achieve solid dividend growth.  Of course, I’ll take a look at the dividend growth rate a little later on.

Lastly, my largest and smallest holdings.  Isn’t it only fitting that the largest holding in my portfolio is Procter & Gamble, one of our Top 5 Foundation Dividend Stocks? Five years after Lanny posted that cornerstone article, it only makes sense that one of the five is the largest holdings.

My smallest holding will NEVER be sold.  I’ve mentioned this several times in the past, but that was one of my first holdings.  My grandma purchased the stock for me as a gift long before I was a dividend growth investor.  I’ve owned this stock at its highs before the financial crisis and through the companies lows over the years.  Finally, BAC seems to be turning the corner and has posted some nice dividend increases over the years.  But for historical purposes, I’ll never sell this unless BAC forces me too!

Five Largest Holdings

In this section, I wanted to identify my 5 largest holdings and the percent they represent of my overall portfolio. The Top 5 holdings are:

  • #1 – Procter & Gamble (PG): $7,692.32
  • #2 – Target Corporation (TGT): $6,658.82
  • #3 – Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC): $5,249.84
  • #4 – Leggett & Platt, Inc. (LEG): $5,054.13
  • #5 – Emerson Electric (EMR) : $4,886.40
  • Total: $29,534.50, or 31.8% of my Total Portfolio

Woah.  I did not realize these five positions made up such a large portion of my dividend portfolio.  I think that is very interesting and kind of eye-opening, because that number seems awfully high to me.  For those of you that would like to share, I would be very curious what this percentage is for your portfolio for comparison sake!

Another few interesting tidbits are that four of the five companies in this listing are Dividend Aristocrats (all but NSC) and only one of the stocks were purchased in 2018 (LEG).  So for the most part, these are four legacy positions in my portfolio and they are concentrated in companies that have a long history of increasing their dividends.  Just how I like it!

It is crazy to me just how much LEG I purchased last year.  I initiated a position early in 2018.  Then, I proceeded to continue adding and lowering my cost basis as the stock price fell in the fourth quarter.  I’m very happy I added when the price fell.  Now, I am up 15% to date!

Five Largest Dividend Contributors

For this item, I thought I would identify the five largest dividend contributors in my individual portfolio and compare this to my 5 largest holdings.  I’m very curious how many on this list overlap with the previous one:

  • #1: AT&T (T) – $235.99
  • #2: Procter & Gamble (PG) – $223.27
  • #3: Target Corporation (TGT) – $221.24
  • #4: Leggett & Platt (LEG) – $169.88
  • #5: Cardinal Health (CAH) – $156.98
  • Total: $1,007.35, or 31.3% of my Total Dividend Income

Three of the five companies are overlaps with my Top 5 holdings.  That really isn’t surprising.   Also, it is not surprising that AT&T provides me with the largest amount of dividend income.  The company is currently yielding over 6.8% and I own 115.68 shares in this portfolio.  This was bound to happen.

The one thing that jumps out at me in the analysis is that these five companies account for 31.3% of this portfolio’s dividend income.  This was much higher than expected.  Am I running outside screaming about this, no?  But I would like to see this number decrease over the next few years.  Why?  Because as we know, thanks to Kraft-Heinz this year and Kinder-Morgan in the past, dividend cuts can happen.  And they can happen quickly.   If one of these companies significantly reduces its dividend, it will greatly impact this portfolios dividend income.  I have to find a way to reduce this mark going forward and will continue to work to do so.

Portfolio’s Sector Analysis

Last, but not least, I wanted to review my portfolio’s sector allocations.  Sectors were determined using the classifications on  I’m hoping this analysis will show me what areas I am overweight in and what areas I will need to continue adding to when prices are right.

I then compared my weightings to the weightings to the Vanguard High Yield Dividend ETF that Lanny has purchased in his Roth IRA for comparison purposes.  These are the portfolio weightings per as of 1/31/19.

Well, it doesn’t take long to see two major differences between my portfolio and VYM/the benchmark:

  • I have a much heavier weight in Consumer Goods and Services
  • I have a much lighter weight of Financials, Technology, and Healthcare
  • Note:  In my analysis, oil and gas is included in Basic Materials rather than split separately like in Morningstar.  Added together, the weights are about the same.

Am I surprised by these results?  Not one bit.  Over the years, I have always loved consumer staple stocks.  I love strong brands and the legacies of these companies.  Hence, over time, I have amassed large positions in these sectors.   Seeing these figures are eye-opening because I didn’t realize just how large the percentage was in my portfolio.

My underweight sectors make sense as well.   Lanny always made fun of me about my hesitation to add technology to my portfolio.  I say I’m like Warren Buffett, and he just ignores me or shakes his head.  But seriously, I need to start looking towards technology companies.  There are plenty of great names out there!

Healthcare and Financials are a different story.  For healthcare, I have some holdings in other portfolios, such as JNJ and PFE.  However, I don’t really have any holdings in my traditional portfolio.  The two major positions in this portfolio are CVS and ABBV.  With CVS’ stock price continuing to fall, this may be a great time to continue adding to this position (like Lanny with his last purchases).  And I have not been shy about how I have built up my ABBV position over the last few months.  Still, there is work to be done and there are other ways I can add to this sector.

Financials are similar to healthcare.  I own a lot of banks, insurance companies, REITs, and asset management in other portfolios.  They just aren’t held in this portfolio and I need to find a way to start adding to them here.  There are a lot of great banks that have increased their dividend in 2019 and have strong credit and capital metrics that I need to consider adding.

The problem with these three sectors is that….THE PRICES ARE SO DARN HIGH as of today (beginning of March).  I’ll add to these positions, but only if the prices are right.  I will not overpay for the sake of diversification.  However, this will be something that is constantly in the back of my mind as I run stock screeners, build watch lists, and identify potentially undervalued dividend growth stocks to purchase going forward.


What have I learned today?  About my portfolio, a lot.  I still have a lot of work to do over the next several years.  I am pumped that I have amassed such a large traditional/regular portfolio.  However, it is clear that I still have work to do and have to continue diversifying my dividend growth stock holdings.  Diversification will help me reduce exposure to my top 5 holdings, top 5 dividend payers, and becoming overweight in low-dividend growth sectors.   I am so happy that I ran this and I am kicking myself for waiting so long to do this.  I apologize for the long post everyone!

All, I would love to hear your thoughts about my analysis above?  Have you had similar issues in the past?  Do you Top 5 holdings make up a significant amount of your dividend income?   Are you over/under weight in certain sectors?  If you were me, how would you approach becoming more diversified in this current market environment?


20 thoughts on “Bert’s Portfolio Review – 2019

  1. Very interesting. I also get excited about finding new stocks to invest in, then sit and wonder why I don’t invest in larger holdings of ones I already know and love. But I guess diversification is alright too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Cheesy Chaz,

      Thank you. Both have their pros and cons. This also looked at my traditional portfolio, so I do have some diversification in my 401(k) plans. I do invest in index funds, so I feel better about having some areas to improve and diversify further.


  2. Great analysis of your portfolio Bert. You will be in the six-figure club in no time! I find that I am a bit dividend heavy in a small number of companies and part of my future plans is to even things out quite a bit. I do want to continue to diversify my portfolio in the process as well. We will see what opportunities present themselves this year to do some re-balancing. Thanks for sharing this post! 🙂

    • Thank you MDD – I hope you are right and I’m in that club sooner rather than later. Like me, over time, those holdings will become more even weight as you continue to add and build positions to your portfolio. Luckily, you already have great holdings, so you don’t have to quickly liquidate a bunch of bad positions!


  3. I’ve been meaning to do a similar review of my portfolio but just haven’t had the time . plus I already did a similar one although that was looking primarily at just the dividend side of things. Out top 10 holdings by forward dividends accounted for 45% of our total forward dividends back in January and it should still be roughly in that area. Building up my positions is definitely something I need to get better at but i completely understand the temptation to purchase new companies as you find out about them.
    In regards to you sector weightings I wouldn’t be concerned if this portfolio holds more of some sectors,while other portfolios hold other sectors. Some holdings, such as REITS, do better in a tax sheltered account so it makes sense to mainly hold them there. I’d look at all your individual investments overall before getting concerned about being overexposed to this sector or that.

    • JC – you’ve been a busy guy lately haha I appreciate your advice about considering the full portfolio for diversification. I was getting excited about the thought of having my individual account function independently from the rest. But I should continue to consider my broader portfolio for diversification purposes.


  4. Bert,
    One day you will look back and marvel that you only had 33 stocks in your account. Building the size of your portfolio (in dollar terms) is very exciting – and I look forward to the day where my account is approaching 100k and throwing 3k at me a year like is no big deal.
    – Gremlin

    • Gremlin,

      I can only imagine what that day is going to be like haha Could you imagine owning over 100 individual stocks?? You’ll get to $100k before you know it. You get nearly 8,000 dividend increases a month (okay, slight exaggeration), as you discuss in your articles, so you should have over $3,000 in divvy income soon too!


  5. It’s always good to review your portfolio every once in a while Bert. I agree with My Dividend Dynasty above in that I am sure you will reach the 6 figure mark soon. Like you, a majority of the stocks in my portfolio are Dividend Aristocrats. I think they generally are safe companies to start with.

    I haven’t done a top 5 stocks in my portfolio for numerous reasons. For starters, most of my stocks are in M1 Finance. That platform practices dynamic rebalancing and so it allows me to maintain my target weight in my stocks, or as close to it as possible. So, a lot of my stocks are similarly weighted. For those few stocks not in M1 Finance, I invest the same amount of money into those stocks every month and so I get the average price of the stocks by practicing dollar cost average. I also dollar cost average into M1 Finance, but it invests the funds into the portfolio as opposed to into individual stocks as a traditional DRIP, if that makes says.

    33 companies is a healthy amount of stocks. Regarding your question about how to become more diversified, have you given any thought to including an index fund or ETF to add diversity? I don’t have any in my taxable account, which is what I track on my blog, but I do have those in my retirement account. Food for thought.

    • DP,

      Thank you for the thoughtful and detailed comment. Aristocrats have provided a great foundation for our dividend portfolios. It is important to build a solid base, and then to continue on upward after that. That is interesting how M1 rebalances your portfolio. That is something that is unique to the platform for sure. You must have a fluid dividend income total then if you are rebalancing consistently. Great idea about the index funds and ETFs. I haven’t considered it, but that would be a fast way to achieve diversification in those portfolios!


  6. Bert,
    Like you, I’m fairly concentrated with my 5 largest holdings (T, MO, ABBV, IBM, XOM) accounting for 26.7% of my dividend income. While I’m fine with this number for now, I’d also like to reduce this number to probably around 15%. Even a couple unlikely outright dividend suspensions among those names still wouldn’t be disastrous to the portfolio then.

  7. Hi Bert,
    Great review of the portfolio. I just did the math for my own portfolio and my top 5 holdings( out of 27) account for 34,18% of my portfolio. But most of those holdings are already a long time in my portfolio so they had time to grow. Some of them have gains of more than 300%.


    • The Long Term Investor,

      Thank you very much. It looks like we are pretty close with the Top 5 holdings in out portfolio. 300% gains…yeah, I’d take that any day. That’s awesome! Hopefully they’ve given you some nice dividend increases along the way.


  8. nice breakdown Bert

    Im actually a little higher than yours. My top 5 stocks make up 34.3% of my portfolio and i just rebalanced a bit at the end of december.

    Man this market has been running! Id like to lower that percentage amount as well, that does seem to high.

    I really think you should anLyze your entire portfolio as a whole though, that would give you a better idea of your numbers and sector allocation.

    Almost 100k in one account, killing it man!

    keep it up man

    • PCI,

      Someone needs to cool off this market. It is just incredibly hot right now and it is really hard to find value and put a watch list together. That’s fair, maybe I will do that once a year just to see where it stands. It is a little difficult with all of those mutual funds, but I”ll find a way to make it work haha


  9. Hey Bert

    Nice looking portfolio and nice breakdown.

    Just curious, if you’ve compared your returns vs the S&P or any other index?

    If you find 33+ stocks is too much to manage, – an ETF is a great solution. Personally I invest in Canadian stocks, and use a low cost ETF for Global/US Stocks. I always like to look at my individual stock returns (Canadian stocks) vs the TSX to see if I would have been better off just going 100% ETF (so far I’m out performing the index) – but I am not confident enough in global/US stocks, that is why I own XAW (ETF)

  10. Nice read – awesome to see you nearing 100k on the brokerage account. What’s the return been like on this portfolio if you track that and how does it compare to something like a VYM?

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