Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Monthly Review: August 2013

August was a busy month for me, especially once the university's fall semester started in the third week. Prior to that, I had several new-faculty orientation tasks to do and events to attend, then I began teaching. Given that it is my first time teaching, I have had to put a lot of time and effort into lecture preparation and related activities. It has left me with barely any time to do research, although that is okay for the moment because I am still waiting on some lab-related things. However, my lab should be up and running in about a week or two, so I will need to find a balance between teaching and research. Overall, things are coming along well at my new job, but it is keeping me busier than I have ever been.

On the investing front, here is a review of what happened in August:

Dividends: I received a total of $316.26 in dividends from 9 stocks, as indicated on my Dividends page. This represents a nice 61.9% increase compared with the same month a year ago. As noted in a milestone post, it is also the first time I have received over $300 in dividends in a single month. My year-to-date dividend total is now $1,516.92.

Dividend Increases: I was pleased to see dividend increases announced for the following stocks (click on each stock to see my post about the increase):
  • UNP: 14.5% increase, $4.00 more in annual dividend income
  • ITW: 10.5%, $6.40
I am always happy to see double-digit percent increases. Thus far this year, there have been dividend increases for 22 of the 29 stocks in my portfolio. The mean increase has been 10.8%.

Savings: Given that my new job did not officially start until mid-August, I did not have any income for the first half of the month, which skews my savings rate. For reasons I will discuss in a forthcoming post, it will not make much sense to track my savings on a monthly basis going forward, but I will start reporting an alternative measure that is more meaningful for investing purposes.

Transactions: I made two purchases during the month (click on the transactions to see my posts about them): I decided to take advantage of the recent sell-off among REITs to build a medium-sized position in HCP, a diversified healthcare REIT. (I have also been watching several other REITs.) Both purchases were made in my Roth IRA by contributing $3,050 in new capital. These purchases will increase my annual dividend income by $157.52. My forward 12-month dividend total is now $2,671.

Portfolio: My portfolio (taxable account and Roth IRA together) currently consists of 29 stocks and has a market value of $88,325.30 (including cash), which is a 0.9% increase over last month's value. The above-average contribution of new capital just managed to compensate for capital losses that occurred during the month. Early in the month I managed to hit a portfolio value of $90,000 for the first time, as noted in a milestone post.

Seeking Alpha: This month I published one new article on the investing website Seeking Alpha: It was my first time writing a single-stock analysis, which I did to help organize some of my research and thoughts about HCP around the time I made my purchases. Interestingly, the pattern of pageviews was very different for this article compared with my previous articles. Usually, I get a spike in pageviews on the first day or two after the article is published, then they rapidly fall off and become negligible. For my HCP article, I had a below-average spike on the first day (about 2,500 pageviews), but a more gradual decline in pageviews over the following three weeks, so by the end of the month I had a respectable 5,000 pageviews for the article. I earned $62.93 from pageviews in August, increasing my Q3 total to $174.94 and my year-to-date total to $893.25.

Looking Ahead: I expect a good dividend total and a solid year-over-year increase in September. During the month my year-to-date dividend total will surpass my annual dividend total from 2012. September will hopefully be a good month for dividend increases because I am expecting announcements from four companies: MCD, MSFT, PM, and UTX. At the start of September I contributed $1,215 to my Roth IRA and made a purchase with those funds today (to be discussed in a forthcoming post). I will likely contribute about $1,000 to my taxable account that I can combine with accumulated dividends to make a purchase. It is refreshing to see some undervalued to fairly valued investment opportunities that are currently at or near my price targets: KMI, KO, MCD, O, PM, WMT, and XOM. I purchased one of them today for my Roth IRA and I might soon decide to purchase one of the others for my taxable account.


  1. Congrats on a solid month. That's an awesome YOY increase in dividends. It's great that you're completely settled in to your new job now. I look forward to seeing what you purchase the rest of the year.

    1. AAI: Thank you! I love seeing big year-over-year dividend increases -- they're very motivational.

      At the end of September I'll get my first full paycheck from my new job (my end-of-August paycheck was for a half month). I look forward to seeing how much of the paycheck I'll be able to allocate for investments.