Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NEW Links to 2017 Collections (JUST ADDED)



Hello Everyone! 

Hope everyone's year has gotten off to a great start. We just wanted to share this quick post to let everyone know that links to our two collections have been updated to reflect the 2017 year.  We will continue to update the lists in the coming days. Feel free to book mark and return frequently for updates. 

In case this is your first time visiting our blog, our family maintains two collections as tools for the dividend stock investing community.  Below are direct links to both collections:

Collection of Recent Buys


and

Collection of Stock Analyses 



Our goal is to make these collections become the centralized source when one begins their research on a particular dividend stock company. Whether your a beginner or a veteran, we hope these collections become an invaluable reference tool for you all.  Best part, unlike other subscription based sites, We plan to keep this completely free for everyone to enjoy and benefit from. Feel free to share with all of your friends and family! 

Don't forget to bookmark or add this page to your favorites!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Net Worth Report (January 2017 Update)

Originally, I was only planning to provide annual Net Worth updates.  However, since I am now part of an active list of bloggers who provide their net worth on Rockstar Finance's page - The Ultimate List of Blogger Net Worth, I have decided to start providing quarterly updates.  Providing quarterly updates will allow us to keep our readers more updated with our overall progress towards Financial Independence. It will also allow us to stay accurate and current on the Rockstar Finance's Ultimate List of Blogger Net Worth. ;)

To close out the 2016 year, our family net worth is as follows:

Retirement Savings:                      $ 452,520
P2P Lending Accounts:                   $  12,577
Dividend Stock Accounts (DSA):     $  82,269
DSA - Surplus Cash:                      $  19,137
College Savings Accounts:              $  60,868
Cash and Savings:                         $  64,594

GRAND TOTAL
$691,965
(Increase of $54,701 since January 2016 total: $637,264)

Although we do not count it as part of our Net Worth,
it is still nice to know that our Home Equity is:
$532,582*
(Increase of $80,914 since January 2016 total: $451,668)

Although we don't consider our home equity as part of our Net Worth, we understand that some people do.  So for those who include home equity in their Net Worth, our family's net worth would be considered: $1,224,547 (Increase of $135,615 since January 2016 total: $1,088,932).  It's a pretty awesome figure when you include the home equity but until we can accumulate 7 figures without our home equity, I refuse to consider myself a millionaire. 

* Although others do consider home equity, and even cars, collections, etc. as part of their net worth, it is our opinion that since these items are not very liquid and the value of these items is highly dependent on what others are willing to pay for them (at the present time), we have decided not to consider these type of assets as part of our family's recognized net worth.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

NEW 2017 GOALS! - A Frugal Family's Journey

NEW YEAR means NEW GOALS!!

2016 was a decent year for our family but you wouldn't have come to that conclusion based on the percentage of our goals that we had accomplished this past year. 

In all, we managed to accomplish 7 of our 15 goals last year. 
  1. We finished the year with 370,402 total all-time page views.
  2. We finished the year with a total of 1,376 followers on Twitter.
  3. We increased the value of our retirements to $453,633.
  4. We ended the year with a mortgage balance to $291,145.
  5. We tried out 37 new restaurants and/or dessert places.
  6. We completed a total of 55 hikes.
  7. We took the kids to 3 new parks.
But as I stated in our recent post (2016 year end recap), even though we only completed 46.6% of our goals this year, I still considered this past year a success! Here is why:
  1. Our total dividends, albeit not as much as we would have liked, still grew.
  2. Our dividend stocks account, although didn't reach our goal, still saw a roughly 26% gain year-over-year!
  3. Even though we did not post as much as we had hoped, our blog continues to reach more and more readers.
  4. I was able to get outside and enjoy various places around me. The sights, sounds and taste that I experienced on my restaurant trips and hikes were quite memorable.  
  5. I took my kids on am amazing road trip that include a total of 4 different states and 5 State Parks! We did, however, stay at 7 different hotels (which we learned that we will never do again). haha
  6. I learned that blogging is fun but it isn't the end of the world if I took a break from it. 
  7. And best of all, I can still say that our family remains on track to pay off our home and retire in less than 10 years!
    Overall, whether the increases are big or small, the main goal is to keep move forward. Personally, I've been writing both annual and long-term goals since my early twenties. I can say with confidence that our family would not be were we are today without having accomplished the short term goals along the way. Sure, like everyone else, there were setbacks along the way.  But the goals have always helped us get back on track.  They keep us accountable and help ensure that we always progress.

    I'm not sure if it is a renewed sense of motivation, or maybe its just the beginning of the year, but we hope to have an even more productive year in 2017!! 


    BELOW IS A LIST OF OUR NEW 2017 GOALS!!
    Similar to last year, we have split up our goals into different categories. Once again, we have a few "fun" goals in the list. :)

    DIVIDEND STOCKS:
    1.  Earn $3,550 in dividend income.
    2.  Increase projected annual dividend income to $3,750.
    3.  Bring value of dividend stocks accounts to $90,000 total.

    BLOG:
    4.  Write at least 100 posts (8.33 posts/month).
    5   Reach 575,000 total hits by end of the year.
    6.  Reach 1,800 Twitter followers by end of the year.
    7.  Reach 400 all-time earnings from Google AdSense.

    FINANCIAL MILESTONES:
    8.    Increase value of retirement accounts to $500,000.
    9.  Increase Net Worth to $675,000 (excluding home equity).
    10.  Reduce mortgage balance to $270,000.

    FUN GOALS:
    11.  Try out 12 "new" restaurants/dessert place.
    12.  Go on 26 "new" hikes (1 every other week).
    13.  Visit 3 new parks.
    14.  Volunteer for two project/event (ex. beach clean up, clear hiking trail, race event, serve food, etc.)
    15.  Get kids outside more - A total of 52 activities (run, walk, hike, etc.) as a family, with a minimum of 1 mile and 30 minutes each.

    We have created a landing page for our 2017 goals and plan to provide quarterly updates.  Please feel free to follow along and see our progress!!



    Wednesday, January 4, 2017

    A Frugal Family's Journey - 2016 Goals (Recap)

    Recap of 2015 goals!!

    With another year on the books, our family is blessed to say that we did see some progress. The largest gain came from our home. In 2016, our family saw our mortgage balance continue to decrease while our home value saw a nice recovery. And with the recovery of the housing market well underway, supported by nice growth in the stock market, our family's net worth continued to grow this past year.  We saw gains in our retirement accounts, kids college funds, and dividend stocks account. All in all, we saw a roughly $46K (or 7.3%) gain from the year prior.  

    As for the goals we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year, it wasn't a total failure, but we certainly wished we could have done much better.  In all, we managed to accomplish only 7 of our 15 goals this past year.  We may have set the bar too high (and while likely dial it back this coming year), but we had just figured that even if we came close on some goals that it would be a success. And that is exactly what we did on several goals!  


    BELOW IS A LIST OF OUR NEW 2016 GOALS AND ALONG WITH A NARRATIVE OF WHERE WE ENDED UP:


    DIVIDEND STOCKS:
    1.  Earn $3,600 in dividend income.
    • (NOT ACCOMPLISHED) - Although we did (barely) receive more dividends than our 2015 total, we fell short of our goal by $460.58 with a total of $3,139.42 in dividend income.  I must admit that our buying activity was not quite what we had hoped for. With a few unexpected expenses this past year, a toddler in pre-school a few days a week, and living off just one income, we simply didn't have as much left over as we would have liked to invest into our dividend stocks portfolio.  It should be noted that we still, however, consistently invest monies into our retirement and kids college funds.  Our retirement portfolio is something we are trying to build on side (on-our-own) to help supplement our retirement income. 
    2.  Increase projected annual dividend income to $4,100. 
    • (NOT ACCOMPLISHED) - With such little buying activity this past year.  In fact, I believe we may have sold more stocks than we purchased this past year! In the end, we finished with a projected annual dividend income of $3229.22 which is pretty close to the total dividends we received this past year. 
    3.  Bring value of dividend stocks accounts to $90,000 total. 
    • (NOT ACCOMPLISHED) - Although we saw tremendous growth  in our dividend stocks portfolio (approximately 26%), our buying activity (or lack thereof) resulted in yet another unfinished goal.  We ended the year with our account valued at: $82,291. Really hoping our buying activity can increase significantly this coming year!
    BLOG:
    4.  Write at least 100 posts (8.33 posts/month).
    • NOT ACCOMPLISHED - Due to a six week hiatus and a slow end to the year (with 6 posts in November and only 4 in December), we only managed to complete 86 posts this past year. With some consistently, this goal is reasonable and certainly achievable.     
    5   Reach 350,000 total hits by end of the year.
    • (ACCOMPLISHED) - We finished the year with 370,402 total all-time page views! Thank you everyone who have stopped by or follow us. We hope you continue to stop by from time to time to see the progress we've made on our journey to financial freedom! 
    6.  Reach 900 Twitter followers by end of the year.
    • (ACCOMPLISHED) - We finished the year with a total of 1,376 followers on Twitter! I'm pretty sure that it was with the help of tweets and our twitter followers that also helped us reach our page views goal. Thanks again everyone.
    7.  Cash out $200 from Google AdSense.
    • (NOT ACCOMPLISHED) - Although I did cash out once this year, I did not have enough money accumulated to cash out a second time.  I fell $36.04 short of reaching the $300 mark! Not sure if other bloggers are experiencing lower revenue stream from Google AdSense but we certainly have seen a decrease in activity and overall gains in the last few months.  Who knows, maybe its related to our 6-week hiatus.
    8.  Join DIV-NET or Seeking Alpha.
    • (NOT ACCOMPLISHED) - To be honest, I just couldn't find the time to take on another task. There were certainly ups and downs felt on our blogging journey this past year.  Although we ultimately decided to press forward, I will be the first to admit that the blog has taken a back seat to other things in our life. 
    FINANCIAL MILESTONES:
    9.    Increase value of retirement accounts to $450,000.
    • (ACCOMPLISHED) - Consistency is the key! Even though we were not able to buy many new stocks for our dividend stocks portfolio, we still diligently put away money each and every paycheck towards retirement.  With this effort, we managed to increase the value of our retirements to $453,633!
    10.  Increase Net Worth to $675,000 (excluding home equity).
    • (NOT ACCOMPLISHED) - We ended the year with just a little over $625K.  Not bad, but well short of our goal for the year.  Maybe we were simply being to optimistic. Either way, since we have so far to go still to reach this goal, we are thinking of simply repeating the same goal. 
    11.  Reduce mortgage balance to $292,000.
    • (ACCOMPLISHED) - Really proud to say that we managed to hit this goal as we finished the year with our mortgage balance down to $291,145.  Not bad considering our home value is just north of $800K!
    FUN GOALS:
    12.  Try out 12 "new" restaurants/dessert place.
    • (ACCOMPLISHED) - What can I say, we like to eat! This past year, in addition to destroying our goal to try out 12 new restaurants, I am proud to say that I become a Yelp Elite in the process! I like to think that it was my quality reviews and photos taken, but I'm pretty sure the quantity played a small part. In all, we ended up trying out 37 new restaurants and/or dessert places! I know what you are thinking, this probably didn't help the budget.  But the reality is, whenever possible (almost half the time) we generally try to use a paper coupon (from newspaper of Retailmenot website) or online coupon (like Groupon or Living Social).  Best of all, I am able to expose my kids to a huge variety of foods! As a result, my kids are far from being picky eaters. I say that is worth every penny!
    13.  Go on 26 hikes (1 every other week).
    • (ACCOMPLISHED) - We started the year with a goal to complete one hike every other week but finished the year with much, much more.  I have to admit we thoroughly enjoyed the progress we made on this goal as is evident in our final tally. I am proud to say that we completed 55 hike this past year (an average of more than 1 hike per week!).  Along the way, our family had many great adventures and stories that will last a lifetime. And best of all, the fun times were had with very little money out of our pocket! Not sure with we will even come close to 55 hikes next year but we definitely plan to continue hiking.  
    14.  Visit 3 new parks.
    • (ACCOMPLISHED) - We managed to barely complete this goal with our 3 visit to a new park coming just a week ago.  I really like this goal because I want to raise my kids as adventure seekers.  So what better than trying out a few new parks each year! If you have little ones, I highly recommend it.  It amazing to see how much different playgrounds and park equipment are from city to city or even state to state (if you have the opportunity).
    15.  Volunteer for a project/event (ex. beach clean up, clear hiking trail, race event, serve food, etc.)

    • (NOT ACCOMPLISHED) - No excuses here.  We really should have given more effort and made time for a volunteer project.  I'm thinking, as a penalty, I may double this goal for next year to make up for the lack of effort! :)
      If we were being graded on the amount of goals we had accomplished, we would have ended with an F. Thankfully, in life, it is not always about the grade we receive (or even what others think) but rather it is about we we ended up compared to where we started.  In my opinion, even though we only completed 46.6% of our goals this year, I still consider this past year a success! Here is why:


      1. Our total dividends, albeit not as much as we would have liked, still grew.
      2. Our dividend stocks account, although didn't reach our goal, still saw a roughly 26% gain year-over-year!
      3. Even though we did not post as much as we had hoped, our blog continues to reach more and more readers.
      4. I was able to get outside and enjoy various places around me. The sights, sounds and taste that I experienced on my restaurant trips and hikes were quite memorable.  
      5. I took my kids on am amazing road trip that include a total of 4 different states and 5 State Parks! We did, however, stay at 7 different hotels (which we learned that we will never do again). haha
      6. I learned that blogging is fun but it isn't the end of the world if I took a break from it. 
      7. And best of all, I can still say that our family remains on track to pay off our home and retire in less than 10 years!
      Hope you all had a great year as well!

      BEST WISHES AND CONTINUED SUCCESS ON YOUR PERSONAL JOURNEY

      May 2017 bring you good health and great wealth!!


      Monday, January 2, 2017

      DECEMBER 2016 - DIVIDENDS RECEIVED

      Below is a recap of the dividends/partnership distributions that we received from our family's dividend stocks portfolio –  December 2016 (recap).

      DIVIDENDS

      During the past month, our family received dividends/partnership distributions from a total of 22 companies/ETFs/Partnerships!! The total monies received from those 22 companies/ETFs/Partnerships was: $225.16

      Below is a breakdown of the dividends/partnership distributions received this past month:


      WELLS FARGO INVESTMENT ACCOUNT:
      12/01/16 - WFC (Wells Fargo & Co): $7.60
      12/01/16 - ENB (Enbridge, Inc): $11.58
      12/01/16 - AFL (Aflac Inc): $6.45
      12/06/16 - JNJ (Johnson & Johnson): $3.20
      12/09/16 - XOM (Exxon Mobil Corp): $8.25
      12/09/16 - EXC (Exelon Corp): $19.06
      12/09/16 - EMR (Emerson Electric Co): $16.80
      12/12/16 - MMM (3M Co): $3.33

      12/12/16 - TGT (Target Corp): $3.60
      12/12/16 - IBM (Int'l Business Machines Corp): $8.40
      12/12/16 - CVX (Chevron Corp): $19.44
      12/15/16 - IP (Int'l Paper Co
      ): $4.63
      12/16/16 - ESV (Ensco Plc): $2.31
      12/16/16 - RDS.B (Royal Dutch Shell Plc): $21.62
      12/16/16 - NOV (National Oilwell Varco Inc): $2.25
      12/16/16 - FLO (Flower Foods Inc): $5.28
      12/29/16 - UNP (Union Pacific Corp): $12.71
      12/29/16 - EDIV (SPDR Emerging ETF Markets Dividend): $19.11
      12/29/16 - TROW (T Rowe Price Group Inc): $4.32
      12/29/16 - GILD (Gilead Science Inc): $3.76
      12/30/16 - VTR (Ventas Inc): $4.65
      12/30/16 - FTR (Frontier Communications Corp): $36.81

      EDWARD JONES INVESTMENT ACCOUNT:
      No dividends received this past month

      OVERALL DIVIDENDS TOTAL THIS MONTH: $225.16


      In case you interested, our family's dividend stocks portfolio 
      may be found by clicking on the link below:

      Saturday, December 24, 2016

      Mortgage Balance (UPDATE) - DEC 2016

      If you have viewed our family's Net Worth Page, you probably already know that it does not include the equity in our home.  Although, we do realize that it is technically part of our overall net worth, we decided that since our home equity is not an asset that we can count on for income (unless we sell and buy something cheaper) we would exclude it from our net worth calculation.

      For the purpose of this blog, we are more interested in documenting our loan balance rather than our home equity.  With that said, we will use the current Zillow value as our estimated home value and use it to figure out the percentage we owe on our home. For those interested, we will include the amount of our home equity, but know that we are less concerned with the equity since we have no plans to cash out or otherwise sell our home. Our main goal is to pay off our home on or before my retirement date. 


      HOME VALUE:
      According to Zillow, our home is currently worth: $825,625 (down $6,866 in the last 30-days). Real estate typically cools down (literally) in the winter months so we expect the decline to carry forward into the next few months. And with the high likelihood of a rate increases in the near future, we expect our home to decline even further.  But from a property tax standpoint, and since we have no intentions of moving, we welcome the declines in value. :)

      It's fun to calculate and certainly makes you feel a little bit more wealthy but, if you follow us, the reality is that whether our home prices rise or fall, it really doesn't mean much to our family as we have no intentions to sell or otherwise move.  We are very lucky to be able to say that we love were we are and couldn't see ourselves living and/or raising our family any other place. :)
      Mortgage Balance (As of December 1st):
      $293,043 (down $1,893 from our post last month)

      Percentage Owed:
      35.4% (remained unchanged from our post last month)

      Home Equity:
      $532,582 (down $4,161 from our post last month)
         
      Mortgage Background:
      For those that have not read the Preface on our home equity, we currently hold a 15-year fixed rate mortgage at the incredibly low rate of 2.875%.  My goal is to retire within 10 years and 6 months (126 months) so we are setting out to pay off our mortgage on or before my retirement date. Right now we are a few months behind the target retirement date. Currently, we have approximately 11  years and 4 months (136 months) left on our mortgage.  Nevertheless, I would like to have it paid off in another 10 years (or less). If we accomplish that, I plan to use the last few years to aggressively build our passive income to help supplement our retirement and defer tapping into the 457K as long as we can so it can continue to grow. 

      Right now we are not putting any extra money towards the principal given our low 2.875% interest rate. We feel that we could make our money grow faster by investing it and while keeping the money more liquid. At a certain point, maybe in 6-9 years, we may consider using money from our investment accounts to wipe out the remaining mortgage balance.  Until then, we will continue to grow that money outside, rather than have it locked into our home.
        
      Click on the link below to view our mortgage balance history:

      Monday, December 19, 2016

      Stocks Added to Collection of Stock Analyses - December 2016

      For those who are not yet familiar with our extensive collection of individual dividend stocks. The entire collection is currently comprised of 1,295 stock analyses (and still growing). The collection essentially provides links to various stock analyses that we found throughout the dividend blog community since 2013. Last year we added a total of 445 stock analyses to the collection. If you would like to view archives from previous years, please follow the respective links provided at the end of this post. 

      2016
      We started the year providing weekly updates to our Collection of Stock Analyses. Although we started out strong, we eventually realized that we simply did not have enough time to keep up with the weekly updates. We still plan to continue growing our Collection of Stock Analyses but unfortunately can no longer commit to a weekly updateTo date, our 2016 Collection is now comprised of 346 stock analyses.
           
      December 2016 (Update):
      Below is a list of newly added stocks analyses that were recently added to our 2016 Collection of Stock Analyses:

      Air Products & Chemicals Inc (APD)
      by DividendTIME

      Altria Group (MO)
      by Sure Dividend

      Automatic Data Processing Inc (ADP)
      by Dividend Growth Stocks

      Best Buy Inc (BBY)
      by Sure Dividend

      Flower Foods Inc (FLO)
      by Sure Dividend

      Johnson Controls Inc (JCI)
      by Dividend Growth Stocks

      McDonald's Corporation (MCD)
      by Dividend Growth Stocks

      Pentair Inc (PNR)
      by DividendTIME

      Procter & Gamble Co (PG)
      by Dividend Growth Investor

      Realty Income Corp (O)
      by Sure Dividend

      Southern Company (SO)
      by Dividend Growth Stocks

      The Walt Disney Company (DIS)
      by Dividend Growth Investor

      Unilever Plc (UL)
      by DividendTIME

      Waste Management Inc (WM)
      by Sure Dividend

      Links provided directly in this post!

      Please feel free to leave me a message if you prepared a stock analysis that I did not include in my post.  I would be more than happy to add your stock analysis to both this post and our collection of stock analyses.  Please make sure to confirm that it is a dividend paying stock and that it is a individual stock analysis.
        
      My goal is to make this collection become the centralized source where one begins their research on a particular dividend stock company or at the very least, a source to confirm if a company stock is worth buying. Whether your a beginner or a veteran, I want this list to become an invaluable reference tool for you all. Best part, unlike other subscription based sites, I plan to keep this completely free for everyone to enjoy and benefit from.

      Feel free to share with all of your friends and family! 


      Click on Link Below

      2016 - Collection of Stock Analyses

      (Archived 201520142013)



      Also don't forget to check out our:


      Collection of Recent Buys