Saturday, September 1, 2012

Monthly Review: August 2012

Here is a review of what happened in August:

Dividends: I received a total of $195.31 in dividends from the following stocks:
  • ABT: $22.95
  • GD: $10.20
  • GIS: $23.10
  • HRL: $7.50
  • PG: $28.10
  • T: $24.20
  • VOD: $79.26
This was my highest monthly total for dividends this year, thanks in large part to my first semi-annual dividend from VOD. I now have a year-to-date total of $1,015.19, which puts me 78.1% of the way toward my goal of receiving $1,300 in dividends for 2012. As I noted in a milestone post, this is the first time I have received over $1,000 in dividends in a single year.

Dividend Increases: I was pleased to see dividend increases announced for two of my stocks (click on each stock to see my post about the increase):
  • NSC: 6.4% increase, $6.00 more in annual dividend income
  • ITW: 5.6%, $3.20
The increase from NSC was its second in 2012, which is great. Thus far this year, there have been dividend increases for 17 of the 22 dividend growth stocks in my portfolio.

Stock Splits: Coca-Cola (KO) had a 2-for-1 stock split in August, so I now own 60 shares. It was the 11th split in the stock's history and the first in 16 years.

Savings: This month I saved $1,048 (35.2%) of my net income, which results in year-to-date savings of $10,980 and puts me 91.5% of the way toward my goal of $12,000 in savings for 2012. The below-average savings occurred because of travel costs, partly from my road trip to visit friends at the start of August, but mainly for a flight to visit my family at Christmas, which I decided to book well in advance. All of my family and a few close friends live about 2,000 miles away from me, and the travel burden (including its cost) usually falls on me. I currently do not have any additional travel plans for the rest of the year except for a work-related trip in November, but I will get fully reimbursed for that.

Transactions: I did not buy any stocks this month. I also did not sell any stocks for the 8th consecutive month.

Portfolio: My portfolio currently consists of 22 stocks and has a market value of $59,044.02 (including cash), which is a 4.4% increase over last month's value. About 80% of the increase came from new capital and the rest was due to capital gains and dividends.

Seeking Alpha: I published one new article on the investing website Seeking Alpha (click on the title to go to the article): Interestingly, this article turned out to be more popular than either of the two previous articles that laid the foundation for it. In August I earned a total of $83.02 from this article and additional page views of my previous articles. My Q3 total is currently $191.29 and my year-to-date total is $535.23.

Looking Ahead: September will be a solid month for dividends, although not as high as in August. My savings rate should also be pretty good. Due to my lack of purchases during the summer, I have a fair amount of cash on hand. Once I add the new capital from my August savings, I will have enough cash to make at least three purchases. I keep wondering whether a broad market correction is likely in the near future, which makes me hesitant to take any immediate action, but I realize I am running the risk of trying to time the market. For that reason, regardless of what the market does, I will continue to focus on the valuations of individual stocks and be ready to take advantage of any dips.


  1. Wow! $195 for one month is not bad. I'm aiming for my first $100+ for this year ;-)

    I read your articles on SA and I am following you there now. Way to go!

    1. Udo: Thanks! I appreciate your stopping by my blog and reading my articles on SA. Best wishes on getting your first $100+ month; I know it felt good when I did it earlier this year.

  2. Looks good, keep at it.

    I also have a stock pile of cash and came up with a game plan to invest it. I plan to make at least one purchase every month regardless of what the market does. My monthly deposits + dividends received is enough to cover a purchase. The rest of the funds will be invested at opportune times when I feel I can get good value. I'm doing this so I'm not market timing completely, but will have dry powder when value presents itself (which is not right now).

    I'm 93% invested so it's not a big deal to hold some cash for a bit.

    1. Compounding Income: Thanks for your comment. Your plan of making at least one purchase each month sounds good. I was following that kind of plan earlier this year, but the market's summer rally put me off of it. With my new capital from August I will be 7.8% in cash, which is not very high, so I don't mind waiting for value.

  3. DGM,

    Fantastic month. Solid dividend total right there. I received almost the same exact amount myself.

    I'm following you into the market this month. I'm not sure exactly how much capital I'm going to deploy, but I'm anxious to get it working for me. If the market dips considerably then I will be making major purchases. I'm also okay with doing like Compounding Income and deploying some it now and keeping a little dry powder for later. I like to buy every single month, but of course the amounts do vary.

    Let's keep our fingers crossed for a wonderful opportunity!

    Best wishes!

    1. Dividend Mantra: Thanks! I'm also anxious to put some money to work, so I have a feeling that I will likely make at least one purchase in September. It will be helpful if the market provides some opportunities to do so. :)

  4. $195 in dividends in a month is great!! That can cover a good chunk of monthly expenses. You're averaging over $125 per month which is great. I'm slowly getting my passive income up. I really want to get into VOD but I didn't have the cash the last time it was around $26. I too have bream struggling with whether to make purchases or wait for a pullback. Congrats!

    1. Passive Income Pursuit: Thanks! You're right about the dividends being able to cover some monthly expenses. If I look at my average monthly dividend income versus my average monthly expenses thus far this year, dividends cover about 8% of expenses. However, those expenses include some one-time items such as travel costs, so the coverage of regular expenses is closer to 10%.

      I like VOD and was glad to purchase it below $27. If it revisits that price I would consider adding to my position.

  5. Congrats on a great month! I'd eventually like to buy some VOD to compliment my VZ holding.

    It seems a lot of people have some excess cash on hand waiting for that dip. We'll see if it comes or if QE3 goes into effect. I will be watching what everyone is purchasing. I may hold off on additional purchases until October due to traveling.

    The SA articles are also doing well. Congrats on that and the ability to generate some additional income.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. austinbroker: Thanks! The VOD dividend certainly was nice, as is the extra income from my SA articles. Like you, I'm interested in what fellow bloggers purchase this fall. I find that it broadens my thinking about what to buy, sometimes drawing attention to stocks that I hadn't been watching. Hopefully we all get the dips in stock prices that we're seeking!