My goodness, we are halfway through 2015 and man has it been a fun ride. The second quarter was a lot of fun and I felt like the market presented some great opportunities for dividend investors to take advantage of, whether the market had a general pullback from fundamentals or due to the most-recent saga in the everlasting Greek saga. With all the purchases we had, I moved that much closer to accomplishing my goals in 2015 and I closed the gap on some of my largest, most difficult goals. Now that the quarter is over, I wanted to take some time to review my progress and see where I stand and if any adjustments need to be made before it is too late.
Before I dive in, I just wanted to say that I took an amazing vacation with my fiance in May, which seems forever ago. The picture at the top of the article was from one of our favorite spots from the trip, the Portland Headlight. Man is that area of the country is beautiful. While it doesn’t have to do with investing, it was probably my most memorable picture from the trip, so I felt that it was an appropriate image for the article! On to the goals review.
1. Invest $15,000 of New Purchases in 2015– To clarify this goal, as the title is pretty vague, when calculating the $15,000, I am referring to strictly new money that I transferred from my checking/savings account into my Sharebuilder account. This does not include 401(k) contributions, re-invested dividends, or purchases using proceeds from a sale of a stock. So that is how I defined “new.” At the beginning of the quarter, I had amassed on $1,688 in new purchases, or 14.57% of my goal, which was behind the targeted 25% needed to stay on pace for the goal. This was attributed to a lack of fresh capital and purchases used from funds from stocks sold earlier in the year. But the second quarter was a brand new chapter and I purchased stock at record volume, which can be attributed to the pay increase realized from switching jobs and the will to purchase more stock as opportunities became available (Talking to Lanny about running on low cash reserves definitely helped inspire me to push myself to the investing limit as well).
After tallying my purchases from the quarter, I have now purchased $8,174.67 in stock from “new” capital in 2015, which represents 54.5% of my 2015 goal of $15,000. Yes! I am back on track from this strong quarter. What excites me about closing the gap is that I was able to make significant progress in such a short period of time. My purchases during the quarter accounting for nearly 40% or my goal and my investing level in the second quarter was nearly doubled my activity in the first quarter. Just more evidence and reasoning for why we all need to continue pushing ourselves each day. So how did I get there? I initiated positions in four rock solid dividend companies during the quarter and couldn’t have been happier to add them to my portfolio. They are not going to anywhere anytime soon in my portfolio and I cannot wait for the dividends to start re-investing. During the quarter, I added positions to the following companies:
- Archer-Daniels Midland – $1,287 in total purchases
- Norfolk Southern Corporation – $2,043 in total purchases
- Consolidated Edison – $968 in total purchases
- Johnson and Johnson – $1,690 in total purchases
2. Projected Dividend Income of $2,750 – At the end of last quarter, my projected annual dividend income was $1,957, or 71% of my goal, and I felt as if I had a mountain still to climb to accomplish this goal. But as I have said several times throughout the article, this was a pretty big quarter for me and through the purchases listed above, the receipt of dividends, and several dividend increases, I was able to make some progress towards achieving this goal. At the end of June, my projected forward dividend income is $2,159, or 78.5% of my goal. While I feel better about where we stand, there is still a lot of work to be done. Hopefully I am able to keep up the same purchase levels in the next two quarters, which would take out a huge chunk of the difference, and I am able to receive some nice dividend increases. We shall see!
3. Max-Out my Roth-IRA Before 12/31/15– I love this goal because it constantly reminds me of why it is so important to max-out my Roth_IRA annually, especially at such a young age. Before the second quarter began, I was fortunate enough to max-out my 2014 Roth IRA contributions. So any contribution or addition afterwards counts against my 2015 limit. Of the purchases listed above during the quarter, Consolidated Edison and Johnson and Johnson were both purchased in my Roth account, both of which we consider a foundation stock for a dividend portfolio. So in total, I have contributed $2,650 during the year to my Roth, or 48%. I prefer to spreading out my purchases during the year so I can be selective with which stocks are purchased using the tax-free account. Typically, I focus on buying stocks with higher dividend yields in this account to avoid paying capital gains taxes, which is why I purchased ED in this account. While JNJ has great yield, I typically would prefer to purchase a stock like JNJ in my regular account. However, I received a $100 bonus from Sharebuilder from transferring funds earlier in the ear and I wanted to use the $100 in my purchase. Seemed like a good enough of a reason to make this purchase in my Roth, as it helped me buy and extra share of JNJ!
4. Make $1,001 from The Dividend Diplomats Brand– First, before I dive into the results, I just wanted to say and remind everyone that our blog hit a HUGE milestone as we recently turned one in May. Hands down one of the proudest and most fun posts Lanny and I put together during the year. Back to the goal at hand. Last quarter, Lanny did a great job of summarizing our progress and frustrations with our progress on this goal. Unfortunately, the frustrations have not gone away as we have only earned $275.86 in the fiscal year. So yeah, we are way behind on our goal and have some serious work to do. However, we have received some great advice from others during the year and it seems that there is one main driver for this goal…continue to create quality content. With great content, money will follow. I love that advice and while it is frustrating now, I know that if we keep at it the fruits of our labor will eventually payoff. While it sometimes is hard, we just need to keep pushing and remain patient.
5. Make $1,000 in “Other Income” – Talk about another frustrating goal this quarter, I made ZERO progress in taking a step towards receiving $1,000 in other income during the year. Right now, I currently sit at $500. I am just aggravated with this goal because I wish I had more time to make it happen. I know there is so much I could do and I am missing the garage sale season, which could help me find some great items to flip! Unfortunately, with my new job, I have been working and traveling much more than anticipated and it has zapped any free time that I have had left…ugh. Luckily, I have six months to make figure out a way to scrape together $500 in income, which can be easily done.
6. Beat the Dividends Diplomats Savings Challenge 6 Months in 2015- I started out the year great with this challenge and defeated our 60% savings challenge 2 out of the 3 months in quarter. While I am still tallying June’s total and I am waiting for a few extra items to trickle in, I know for a fact I defeated the challenge in April but lost in May. May can be attributed to the amazing vacation I took, which was expensive but I wouldn’t have traded for anything. I had such a wonderful and relaxing time with my fiance and trust me, the break was much-needed. So currently as we speak, I have defeated our savings challenge 3 times through May. Currently, I am still on pace to defeat the challenge as I only need to achieve 60% 3 out of the next 6 months.
7. Watch One of My Sports Teams on the Road– Still no movement on this goal either and I am also pretty pissed about it. This 4th of July weekend would have been a great weekend to drive to Pittsburgh (which is only slightly over 2 hours away) and see the Indians take on the Pirates. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so. I really want to find a time where I can watch the team play up in Detroit considering they are our division rival. This goal is right at my fingertips as there are plenty of places I can go; however, it is just up to me finding the time to plan the trip and execute. Don’t you wish there were more hours in a day sometimes?
This has been a bitter-sweet quarter for me. I saw some great progress on my investing goals and I am marching towards hitting the different marks I set at the beginning of the year. I was focused and pushed myself to invest as much as possible and it paid off, as I realized a 37% YOY increase in dividends receive in June. This focus is not going away and hopefully I am able to realize the same success in the final six months of 2015. I couldn’t be happier with the investing-side of my goals for the year. The bitter aspect, my life goals really suffered and it is driving me insane because I just have not had the time needed to accomplish them. One of the reasons I took my new job was for an improved work-life balance and more time to relentlessly pursue financial freedom. Unfortunately, it has been anything but that. The important thing is that I learn from my experiences each day and make the adjustments necessary improve and succeed at my goals. Luckily, each year has four quarters, which provides you the time needed to adjust your life and habits to achieve your goals when they start to head off the tracks. What’s important is that you are happy and always moving forward, and I can happily say that I am taking the necessary steps to ensure that I am.
How were your quarters? Are you making progress on your goals? Any suggestions for how to improve our blog’s income? What do you do differently that we do not? Do you have any suggestions on how to make other income that are not as labor intensive as flipping items?