October 2017 – Monthly Purchases

I made two large purchases this month. The first was Vanguard’s Total Stock Market ETF (VTI). The second was Northrop Grumman (NOC). This continues my objective to offset individual stock picks with a total market index fund.

8 shares of VTI @ $131.10/share ($1,048.76)
1 Share of CSCO @ $33.82/share ($33.82)
3 shares of NOC @ 295.11/share ($885.33)
2 shares of MGA @ 54.40/share ($108.80)
1 Share of CSCO @ $33.34/share ($33.34)

October was a slower month for my dividend income. Nevertheless, I made two Cisco (CSCO) purchases using dividend income for the month. My CSCO holding is getting closer to the size of some of my other holdings, and it was funded all with dividends.

VTI is a no-brainer choice. I like to increase my VTI holding each month if possible.

Northrop Grumman (NOC) is my newest holding. 1.34% dividend yield, 30% payout ratio, and dividend increases for 13 years in a row. Its dividend growth rate has hovered around 12% for the last five years consistently. This fits all my requirements. I already own Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, but adding NOC gives me a little more diversification in the aerospace/defense sectors.

Magna International (MGA). Last but not least, I had some money left over and decided to bolster an existing position. I chose MGA.

October 2017 Dividend Income – One Year of Investing

I received $66.61 in taxable October dividend income. Compared to $130 a month ago, it’s a bit of a letdown, but I never buy dividend growth stocks based on what month they pay. The first month of the quarter just happens to be my slowest.

I’m also slightly below my July total, mostly due to Disney paying twice per year instead of quarterly.

I’m excited to see CSCO paying me $2.03 this month. My CSCO holding is made up entirely of purchases funded by prior dividends. Robinhood doesn’t offer a dividend reinvestment plan, so I buy Cisco shares when my dividends accumulate enough to afford one share. Not exactly a traditional dividend reinvestment plan, but it works for me and I come out commission-free.

This month also marks my taxable account’s one-year anniversary. I finally start seeing some year-over-year comparison data starting with November’s update. Dividend growth investing is the investment strategy I’ve actively stuck with the longest, and I have no intention of slowing down. I can’t wait to keep reinvesting and growing my income stream every month.


Dividend Increases

IFF increased their dividend 7.81% earning me $1.51 more per year.

MO increased their dividend 8.20% earning me $4.54 more per year.

RSG increased their dividend 7.81% earning me $1.94 more per year. PFG has been increasing their dividend quarterly.

That is the equivalent of investing $266 for a 3% yield that I don’t have to invest!

October Taxable Dividend Income

October Retirement Dividend Income

I also received $14.10 in non-taxable dividends which were reinvested into my retirement accounts.

Not much to look at this month. My retirement account dividends are mostly paid in the third month of each quarter or at the end of the year. My Vanguard Bond and International Bond index funds do pay monthly, so I have a little income/reinvestment from them.

I recently detailed my 401(k) situation and why I still want to contribute despite no employer match.

Head on over to my portfolio page if you’d like to see all my holdings. I hope everyone else had a great October too!

Seven Stages of Grief: Google Finance Portfolios Feature Discontinued

“Google Finance is under renovation. As a part of this process, the Portfolios feature won’t be available after mid-November 2017. To keep a copy, download your portfolio.”

Stage 1: Shock and Denial

This cannot be. I track all my Robinhood stocks through the Google Finance portfolio feature. Google would not remove one of the most useful features when it comes to monitoring finance, right? I continued on as if everything was normal for a few weeks. Maybe it would just be renovated and temporarily unavailable.

Stage 2: Pain and Guilt

I check Google Finance every day. The beige rectangle of doom was not going away. I slowly realized the portfolio section was going to be discontinued – not just renovated. It was difficult to imagine visualizing my Robinhood account without Google Finance. I love sorting my holdings to see what I am most invested in and where I might invest more.

Those days were coming to an abrupt end.

Stage 3: Anger and Bargaining

Ugh! Who made this decision? Aren’t they going to lose all their users? I wanted to lash out. Maybe I could just wait and see what the new Google Finance had to offer? Aside from “renovation,” there’s no description of what the new Google Finance will offer or look like. I didn’t want to wait around to find out.

Stage 4: Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness

It’s fully sunken in. My favorite way of tracking my stocks will be gone, and soon. I remember my first foray into stocks back in 2008. I could look up any stock and quickly see its performance. The layout was so clean and easy to navigate for a beginner like me. Even today in 2017, the layout is very unchanged. It’s simple, clean, and while it doesn’t offer as many functions as other sites, it is my favorite to use. I will miss Google Finance.

Stage 5: The Upward Turn

Maybe this will push me to explore other options. I love my tracking spreadsheet I’ve come up with, but what was I missing besides basic price movements? I got a bit excited and checked out some other options.

Stage 6: Reconstruction and Working Through

I’m at step 6 as I write this. I checked out a few alternatives and decided to transfer my Google Finance portfolio over to Morningstar. I’ll detail this process below, but so far I am enjoying what they have to offer (for free!) and I believe I duplicated what I had at Google Finance.

Stage 7: Acceptance and Hope

It’s going to be a sad day for many people when Google Finance Portfolios shuts down. Maybe it will be back in the future. Whatever Google Finance is doing, I imagine it is going to be a massive upgrade and improvement. It seems a bit secretive, but I can’t wait to see what Google Finance unveils.

Meanwhile, Morningstar (and other services) offer some great tools. As a dividend growth investor, I’m already in love with some of the Morningstar features, such as 1-, 3-, and 5-year dividend growth rates displayed next to all my stocks! At the same time, I’m excited for Google – one of the most innovative companies in history – to revamp their finance page.

Transferring From Google Finance to Morningstar

There are a number of alternatives to Google Finance. Yahoo Finance, Sharesite, SigFig, and Wikinvest are a few.

Yahoo Finance has so many ads. I couldn’t imagine trying to load it on my phone (or on my computer).

Sharesight seems to charge to track more than 10 stocks in a portfolio. I tried importing my Googe Finance portfolio to Sharesight and got this message:

Can not draw information for British American Tobacco (BTI)

This might have a solution, but I decided to move on from Sharesight and look at other options.

Morningstar looked promising. I already use Morningstar for information on ETFs and mutual funds, but I’ve never made an account. I registered, chose the basic (free) option, and began to import my .csv Google Finance portfolio.

I ran into some vague error message when importing my portfolio into Morningstar. What worked was rearranging the columns into “Symbol, Date, Action, Shares, Price.” I then wrote a formula to combine these values into a comma-separate format.

Check out the formula if you’d like to duplicate this process. Then copy/paste all cells in the F column into a notepad file, and save as .csv. Morningstar will ask you to identify the columns. Voila!

If you do a “My View,” you can pick from a long list of information to see in column format.

Morningstar does everything I used to do with Google Finance. I just want a simple column layout of all my holdings, and the ability to enter new purchases when I make them. I’m loving the 1-, 3-, and 5-year columns. I’m already seeing stocks that I wouldn’t mind adding to in the future.

What about the mobile format?

Morningstar looks exactly the same on mobile as it does on a computer. It moves smoothly, sorts the columns, zooms in/out, and does everything I need.

Morningstar also has a mobile app. The app doesn’t bring in your “My View” portfolio columns, but it does let you customize it with all the same variables. No real loss, just redundant work to set it up. I will probably stick to the web version.

So far I’m enjoying Morningstar, and that must mean I’m working towards acceptance and hope, fully through the grieving process for Google Finance portfolios.

September 2017 Dividend Income

I received $130.98 in taxable September dividend income. This was my biggest month yet thanks to my recent VTI purchases. After having broken my first $100 month in June, I’m ecstatic that I’m already well above that in September. I’m not that keen on CTL, but I have some of my favorite companies paying me this month (BA, HD, JNJ, MGA, MSFT, V). No wonder the third month of every quarter is shaping up to be my best one.

In June, received my final dividends by Ford ($6.15), ORI ($0.95), and BP ($8.40). I have now sold those and redirected the funds into companies like Starbucks and Visa. Much lower yield, but better potential for dividend growth. I expected my income to drop after selling those high yielders, but thanks to some more contributions, my income actually rose from $108.30 to $130.98!

Dividend Increases

WFC increased their dividend 2.63% earning me $0.74 more per year.

NDSN increased their dividend 11.11% earning me $0.80 more per year.

PFG increased their dividend 2.17% earning me $0.37 more per year. PFG has been increasing their dividend quarterly.

That is the equivalent of investing $64 for a 3% yield that I don’t have to invest!

September Taxable Dividend Income

September Retirement Dividend Income

I also received $659.37 in non-taxable dividends which were reinvested into my retirement accounts.

Once I buckled down on my investment tracking, my retirement accounts really stood out. My taxable income is nice, but my retirement accounts are fully automated and are the real powerhouses of my portfolio. They are mostly out of sight, out of mind, but including them in my dividend income summary keeps me motivated.

I recently detailed my 401(k) situation and why I still want to contribute despite no employer match.

Head on over to my portfolio page if you’d like to see all my holdings. I hope everyone else had a great September too!