Friday, January 4, 2013

Monthly Review: December 2012

Happy new year! Here is a review of what happened in December:

Dividends: I received a total of $237.49 in dividends from the following stocks:
  • ADM: $10.50
  • BDX: $12.38
  • CMI: $7.50
  • CVX: $18.00
  • GD: $10.20
  • INTC: $25.88
  • ITW: $15.20
  • JNJ: $21.35
  • KO: $15.30
  • MCD: $38.50
  • MDT: $14.30
  • NSC: $35.00
  • UTX: $13.38
Stocks in italics had their dividends for Q1 2013 paid in December due to concerns about potential tax increases associated with the fiscal cliff. (KO seems to routinely pay a dividend in December rather than in January.) Thanks to those accelerated dividends, this ended up being my highest monthly dividend total in 2012 and the first time I received over $200 in dividends in a single month. My final dividend total for 2012 is $1,649.63, which is well above the goal of $1,300 that I set at the beginning of the year.

Dividend Increases: After a nice string of dividend increases in November, there were none in December. Dividend increases occurred for 24 of the 25 stocks in my portfolio in 2012, with the lone holdout being ADM.

Savings: This month I saved an estimated $1,174 (39.5%) of my net income, which was lower than in previous months due to a large (but expected) annual expense. Similar to November, the savings are estimated because of the difficulties in accounting for travel expenses associated with my recent work-related trips. I hope to receive all my reimbursements by the end of January. My final savings total for 2012 is $17,124 (48.4%) of my net income, which blows away the goal of $12,000 that I set at the beginning of the year.

Transactions: I bought one stock in December (click on the transaction to see my post about it): This purchase allowed me to average down on my INTC position and it increases my annual dividend income by $67.48. INTC is now one of the largest positions in my portfolio and I am comfortable with its size, so I do not plan to buy more shares anytime soon. I did not sell any stocks for the 12th consecutive month, which means I had zero portfolio turnover in 2012.

Portfolio: My portfolio currently consists of 25 stocks and has a market value of $65,137.07 (including cash), which is a 2.6% increase over last month's value. The increase primarily reflects new capital, with the remainder split about evenly between dividends and capital gains. My portfolio value at the start of the year was $42,830.02, which means it increased by $22,307.05 (52.1%) during 2012. Of course, most of that increase (82.0%) is attributable to new capital, but there were also good-sized contributions from capital gains and dividends.

Seeking Alpha: Due to travel and being generally busier than usual, I did not publish any new articles on the investing website Seeking Alpha. However, in December I earned $7.14 from page views of my previous articles, increasing my Q4 total (to be paid in January) to $107.21 and my total for 2012 (note that I started writing in April) to $686.81. That is a pretty nice total for occasional investment writing!

Looking Ahead: January will be a below-average month for dividends, partly due to the accelerated dividends noted above. I am expecting at least one dividend increase to be announced in January. My savings rate will likely rebound a bit, although it will not be back to normal until February. As in the past two months, I will have sufficient cash to make just one purchase. The recent market uptick due to a fiscal cliff deal has taken away some buying opportunities that interested me, but I plan to overhaul my watch list this month and see whether something new comes on my radar.

Thankfully, after a tiresome travel schedule to close out 2012, I am essentially done traveling for a while. (Another work-related trip is possible in January, but that is still to be determined.) This means I will have more time for investing-related activities such as research, reading, and writing. I hope that 2012 finished on a positive note for everyone and I wish us all the best with our investing in 2013.


  1. DGM... That is a nice savings rate you had for the year!

    I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work at Seeking Alpha.

    Wish you a happy and prosperous 2013.

    1. Stoic: Thanks! I am really happy with how much I managed to save in 2012; I will try to keep it going in 2013. I also hope to get back to writing Seeking Alpha articles soon. Best wishes for your investing in 2013, too!

  2. Clearly 2012 was a fantastic year for you! You blew away the goals you set for yurself, especially with savings! Good stuff here on this blog.

    Yeah December was a quiet month for dividend increases, but I expected it. AT&T normally announces the raise in Dec, they decided to do it earlier this year. I anticipate January to be rather tame with dividend increases before things get epic in Feb/Mar. Those two months will pretty much set the tone for the whole year, at least for me.

    I think 2013 is going to be fantastic! I look forward to reading abbout your stock picks and thoughts.

    1. Compounding Income: Thanks, it was nice to exceed both of my goals in 2012. I hope I continue to make good progress in 2013 and I wish the same for you!

  3. DGM,

    You had a fantastic December, and an even better 2012. Congratulations on the fantastic savings rate and exceeding your goals. If you can achieve similar results in 2013 you'll really be humming along!

    I'm looking forward to following your journey in 2013. Your perseverance and consistency is inspirational.

    Best wishes!

    1. Dividend Mantra: Thanks, I appreciate the feedback! After a nice wrap-up to 2012, I am looking forward to what I can achieve in 2013. Best wishes for your investing, too!

  4. Great month! I would love to pick up some KO and ITW at the right price. I do like your purchase. INTC is my largest holding now. It has already started to rebound a little. I was hoping for a market pullback but now just planning for a quiet January to build up some cash and look for my next purchase. I look forward to watching your buys in 2013. Take care.

    1. All About Interest: Thanks! It is still early in the month, but if I cannot find any attractively valued stocks, then I might also just sit on some cash for a while. I'm also looking forward to seeing what you buy in 2013!