The first quarter behind us. Boy did the stock market take us on a quite a ride for the first quarter. Plenty of stocks to consider/grab in the first part of the quarter and….well…the stock market has not stopped climbing for months. Regardless of how Mr. Market performed, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the first three months and see how I am progressing towards the 2016 goals that I set back in December. It is still early on, so I can easily tweak where necessary! Now, lets dive into my Q1 2016 goals review.
- Projected Dividend Income of $3,250 – At the end of March, my forward dividend income was $2,591, which is $659 short of the lofty goal I set for myself at the end of the year. So yeah, I have a lot of ground to cover in the remaining nine months of the year. Assuming an average yield of 3%, I will need to find a way to add $21,966 to my portfolio to accomplish my goal. Luckily for me, my employer’s 401k match will be arriving soon, my wedding will occur in May and I will soon have some disposable income to spend after the wedding expenses stop trickling in, and I have nine months of dividend re-investment. So all of those factors should give me a nice jolt in the dividend income category. Plus, maybe, just maybe, we can all finally start getting some help from our stocks here. I know low dividend growth rates and even dividend cuts have been the trend as oil continues to slump, but now I’m calling out our stocks! Throw us a bone here and give us some sick dividend growth rates (but please don’t sacrifice dividend safety along the way). While I’m having some fun here, I know I have some work to do. What I must do is avoid sacrificing quality or ignoring Goal #3 in an attempt to accomplish this goal. Those are the kind of short-sighted decisions that can set your portfolio back, which I have learned the hard way too many times.
- Invest in 5 Dividend Aristocrats in 2016 – One of my three purchases during the quarter was a Dividend Aristocrat. Man does the purchase of T.Rowe Price at the end of February keep looking better and better. Pfizer had a nice dividend streak going until they slashed their dividend in 2015 and now they have a long way to go until they are considered an Aristocrat. I recognize that all stocks aren’t Dividend Aristocrats and focusing on only adding these stocks would limit my options and potentially miss some great opportunities. For now, I am happy with a blend of buying Aristocrats and non-Aristocrats as long as they fit my portfolio and pass our stock screener. At the end of Q1, I have accomplished 20% of the target.
- Invest in 2 Companies with a Dividend Yield Below 2% – The purchases made in the first quarter did not have this goal in mind as I was looking for some income to make an impact towards accomplishing goal number 1. However, there was a crack in Mr. Market’s armor last week that has me thinking that I may be able to make some progress towards this goal. Both Visa and Starbucks had a bad week after their earnings releases either lowered forward earnings forecasts or did not meet analyst expectations. So for now, I have added these two low yielding companies to my watch list and may initiate a position if either price continues to fall. I understand the importance of this goal as it will help me better balance dividend yield and dividend growth over the long run and I do not want to ignore it in an attempt to chase yield. That never ends well. Luckily for me, between those two companies and our Top 5 Low Yield, High Dividend Growth Rate stocks, there are plenty of great sub 2% dividend yield companies to choose from when the timing is right.
- Invest $15,000 in “New Capital’ in 2016 – My favorite goal that focuses on me pushing my disposable income to the limit and encourages me to aim for saving 60% of my income so I can save as much as possible. When I set my goal, I defined “New Capital” as funds transferred from my savings account into my Capital One Investing account. So this does not include 401k contributions or re-invested dividends. At the end of the first quarter, I have invested $1,551 of “New Capital,” or 7.76% of my target goal. But wait a second, didn’t I purchase three stocks during the quarter? Yes I did. This quarter I added to my stake in Citizens and Northern ($1,003) and initiated positions in Pfizer ($3,020) and T.Rowe Price ($3,138). The math isn’t adding up because several of the purchases were made using the $5,609 in cash I received when I liquidated three high fee mutual fund positions earlier in the year. In theory, my CZNC, PFE, and half of my TROW purchase were made with the mutual fund money. Going forward though, all new investments will be made with “New Capital.” So come on Mr. Market, give me some investing opportunities here! We have all been waiting way too long and are ready to deploy some capital.
- Earn $1,000 in Other Income – Progress = Pocket Change. How so? Due to the heavy workload, I was not able to allocate much time in the first quarter to finding ways to generate side income. I had to settle for the low hanging fruit, such as cash back bonuses on Ebates and gift card rewards from Swagbucks (affiliate links included). In total, this netted me about $10 in other income, which I consider pocket change for now. However, I can’t wait to get this project rolling throughout the rest of the year. Now that it is spring, garage sale season is right around the corner with plenty of discounted items available. I love Lanny’s goal of selling 3 items on Ebay, so I may follow suit to help generate some additional cash flow. Time is a key piece for success here, and once I have more of it I know I will knock it out of the park.
- Learn One New Song on Piano – No progress. However, this was expected when I set this goal. To learn a song on piano, you need time to practice, practice, practice. You can’t sit down for two hours once a week and expect to be the next Mozart. With my busy season for public accounting occupying my first three months and the wedding planning beginning to pick up steam, spare time is at a premium. I am trying to use as much of the free time to see family, friends, and interact with all of you in the community. I would love to play piano and learn a new song on top of it, but I don’t have the proper amount of time available to commit to succeed. So for now, this goal is on the back-burner until Q3 2016 and beyond.
To be honest, I am not quite progressing the way I was hoping after the first quarter of 2016. My dividend income has increased marginally from the end of the year and I haven’t grown my other revenue streams as much as I have wanted. Plus, I haven’t been able to invest as much as I hoped (even though the market has been partially to blame for that). It was a strange first quarter, that’s for sure. Luckily, I still have plenty of time to make up for lost progress. I’m excited to see what the rest of the second quarter has in store for me, Lanny, and all of you other investors out there. Q1 is behind me; now it is time to move on.
Did you have a strong first quarter? How are you progressing with your goals? Do you have any suggestions for me? How do you balance side hustles and time, especially when the latter is at premium?