Welcome to My Dividend Report. This Report is dedicated to tracking my quarterly dividend income. Many of you already know I love Growth and Income stocks as a great way to beat inflation while companies pay you to wait while they execute there growth plans. My Goal is to average $5,000/month or $15,000/ quarter in dividend income.
Current Dividend Income
Behind the scenes graph data
Money Sense With Kyle Quarterly Dividend Income
My dividend income is devised of investments in Altria (MO) in the Tobacco Industry and Blackstone Group (BX) in the Asset Management Industry. Blackstone Group current stock price $44.42 and dividend yield 5.0 % (.54/share $2.17/year pays a fluctuating dividend based on company results. Altria's current stock price $47.35 and dividend yield 6.76 % (.80/share $3.20/year) pays a consistent dividend and has raised the dividend 53 times the past 49 years. As you can see in the chart above annual total dividend payout dropped (-15.9%) in 2016 due to Blackstone Group reporting market fluctuations. 2017 and 2018 bounced back at 15.2% and 13.0% increase in total annual income. Also in 2018 Altria raised the dividend twice 6.1% and 14.3% for a total 20.4% dividend increase in 2018 due to the Trump administration corporate tax cuts. Altria's corporate tax rate dropped from 35% down to 21% which freed up a lot of cash to be distributed back to stockholders in the form of dividends and stock buy backs. This is why Growth and Dividend stocks make good Money Sense. I will see you next quarter and report the distribution.
A sound financial plan starts with a solid budget. If you’re planning a vacation or paying off bills a budget is crucial to meeting your financial goals. Here are 7 steps to creating a winning budget:
Understand Your Expenses. “How much are you spending each month?”
Record what you are spending. Gather check registers, bank statements, receipts, and financial files. Microsoft Excel has a nice budget spreadsheet template you can use. Just modify or change any categories, or specific items. All the math is done for you. Open Microsoft Excel click File New Personal Monthly Budget. It has a projected and actual monthly budget so you can track and stay within budget. You can save the file for each month of the year to track your spending.
2. Set Realistic Goals
After setting up your budget you can see how much money is coming in and how much is going out. If you are spending more than is coming in, you need to look for opportunities to reduce or eliminate spending to improve cash flow. Review categories in your budget and use the projected cost column to set your budget, using realistic goals, for each category. Then enter the total spending for each category in the actual cost column. You can then see the difference for each category and adjust each month to stay within budget.
3. Live Within Your Means
Review your monthly income and live within your means. It takes discipline and sacrifice to stay within a budget until you can do better. To improve your take home pay you may work overtime if available, work a second job. ask for a raise, get that degree etc.
4. Determine Needs and Wants
Make your budget based on your needs first and if extra money is available you can budget for that summer vacation, shopping spree or whatever else you want. Otherwise, use the extra cash to build a cushion so you have carryover each month. Get serious about your needs and wants. When you can see where your money goes you will find ways to save.
5. Build a 3 to 6 Month Cushion For Emergencies
Build a 3 to 6-month cushion in your account to address emergencies such as losing a job, a medical emergency, automobile repair, or replacing a refrigerator etc. You know things “come up” set money aside to pay these expenses.
6. Pay Yourself First
Pay yourself first each month. Invest in your 401K at work a percentage you can afford. Try to contribute an amount equal to your company matching. Most companies match between 3% to 6%. That is free money Folks!
7. Put Your Budget into Action
Balance your budget with your income. It may take a few months to adjust but once your budget is balanced you will be more in control of your life and reduce stress. Take control of your spending. It is good Money Sense.
In conclusion, following the above 7 steps will have you on your way to a winning financial budget plan and is good Money Sense.
Investing in Growth and Income stocks provides a great way to beat inflation while a paying you dividends each quarter to supplement your retirement along with pensions, investments, or other money streams. Reasons to Invest in Growth and Income stocks:
You’re a Dividend Growth Investor
It’s a great way to maximize total returns over time. It’s a great strategy for long term investor to provide for a comfortable retirement.
2. Dividend Growth Stocks Outperform the Market Over Time
Dividend reinvestment over time is very important to overall returns. So, reinvesting dividends over the years allowing dollar cost averaging of additional shares provides a nice income stream during retirement.
3. Dividend Growth Stocks are Less Volatile Over Time
They are usually considered a Dividend Aristocrat in they tend to outperform the market during periods of a bear market but do well when markets are performing strongly. They are a company who has raised dividends for at least 25 consecutive years.
4. Must be a Disciplined Investor
Dividend growth investors tend to avoid knee jerk reactions like selling during earnings miss or market correction. Dividend growth investors are being paid to wait for the company to execute its growth plans and stick to a “buy and hold” mentality.
5. Dividend Growth Stocks Provide Income Stream for Retirement
During retirement Dividend Growth Stocks provide income along with pensions, social security, or other income streams.
In conclusion, following the above 5 steps will have you on your way to be a disciplined Dividend Growth Investor and provide an additional income stream during retirement. It’s good Money Sense.
On the standard a 300-850 range is used by FICO, a credit score of 800+ is considered “perfect.” That's because higher scores won't really save you any money. The number helps lenders decide how much of a credit risk you are. Paying attention to your credit score is a vital part of your financial health. Here are 8 Steps to a 800 Credit Score:
1. Understand the Facts. “What is a perfect credit score?”
It’s a three-digit number that determines how much you pay for credit. It can affect all expenses in your life. Lenders use it to determine how much of a credit risk you are.
2. Establish a Long Credit History
Building your credit score takes time. It takes a history of good habits and on time payments. You must have an account opened 6 months or longer and at least one creditor reporting your activity to the credit bureaus the last 6 months. Keep accounts open unless you have a compelling reason to close an account. Closing an account can hurt your credit utilization and reduce your average account age.
3. Pay Your Bills on Time
Make 100% of your payments on time. This includes credit accounts and other accounts such as utility bills. Unpaid bills that go to a collection agency will seriously hurt your credit score.
4. Redefine Credit Card Usage
Stick to one or two cards for simplicity. This will help you manage your credit score. Pay them off each month in full. Be disciplined with your spending. 6, 12, 18, or 24 month no interest offers to pay off an account are a good way to pay off a large purchase and enable you to pay the balance over time without any additional interest and build your credit score. This is good Money Sense.
5. Diversify Your Accounts
3 types of credit are: revolving, installment and open accounts. Their characteristics are as follows: Revolving accounts – The most common example of a revolving account is the credit card. These types of accounts involve different payments each month, depending on how much credit is used. Installment accounts have a fixed payment for a fixed period. An open account is a transaction sale where goods are shipped and delivered before payment is due.
6. Cut Spending
Make a budget, track your spending. Get serious about your needs and wants. When you can see where your money goes you will find ways to save.
7. Limit Your Liability
Use credit cards not debit cards for online purchases. Use ENV chip card technology that secures transactions and protects against counterfeit. Keep your credit card and CVV (card verification value) safe. Avoid entering sensitive information on public computers and Wi-Fi. Set up alerts on your credit cards tied to irregular activity. The faster you report a loss or theft the better.
8. Restrict Hard Inquiries
Checking your score won’t affect your score. Hard inquiries, which can negatively affect your credit score appear when a lender checks your credit when applying for new credit.Soft inquires appear when a company pulls your credit without your prior authorization, or when you pull your own report.
In conclusion, following the above 8 steps will have you on your way to an 800-credit score which is vital to your financial health and is good Money Sense.
When I graduated college in 1982 I had just enough money to get an apartment, pay the first month’s rent, deposit, and turn on the utilities. I had just started a job in Quality Finishing Department for Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. I married my high school sweetheart and thought “life was good”. Living in an apartment was not what I thought especially when you were working graveyard shift and sleeping during the day. It was hard to sleep when people are coming and going all day and noise from the traffic. Also, spending all day in the laundry mat was no fun either. It did not take long for me to figure out apartment living is not for me. So, I worked hard saved my money and within 6 months we saved enough to move into a duplex. It was located in a nice neighborhood and was the closest thing to owning a home. My wife and I moved in and the tenant next door was single and very polite and very quiet. “Life was good” again. We were able to establish a credit history and purchased a washer and dryer which was wonderful since I did not have to sit all day on Saturday washing clothes at the apartment laundry mat. We had enough furniture to furnish the duplex and only had to purchase a few items. I continued to work hard by working overtime and saving 10 % of my take home pay and in 6 months had enough saved for a down payment on a home. We had talked to the bank to understand how much house we could afford and found out we were eligible for a First Time Home Buyers low interest loan. It’s a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) low interest loan for young couples starting out that makes it easier to qualify for a loan. We began looking and found a nice home on a cul de sack and “BAM!” purchased our first home within the first year out of college. We had a 30-year mortgage and the payment was about the same we were paying for rent. But now we were building equity in our home and not giving to the landlord. So, after 6 months apartment renting and 6 months duplex renting and now a new home, “life was good”. As I look back over the years, buying my first home was the best move I ever made to reach my path to financial freedom.
After living in the home for 3 ½ years my marriage ended–it happens. People drift apart but no regrets. It was difficult to experience but I was able to recover and my life flourished. I was being recognized at work and promotions were coming along with salary increases which attributed more to my 401K and Cooper stock share purchases. After living in the house for 10 years I had accumulated a $400,000 nest egg due to Cooper stock splits and quite of bit of equity in the home. My equity in the home soared after my divorce due to paying extra on the payment to reduce interest owed on the loan and build equity quicker. After 10 years in the home I met the wife of my children and even though we had a 13-year age difference we were very much on the same page. After marrying in 1992, we sold the home for $64,000 and I received about $30,000 equity. We used $15,000 to purchase the lot to build my 2nd home and applied the remaining $15,000 to the loan to build the house. We built the 2nd home in 1994 for $95,000 which was the $15,000 applied to the loan and financed $80,000. We were able to pay the loan off in 7 years due to paying about extra $200 /month towards the principle. In 2001, at approximately 42 years old, I no longer had a mortgage payment, and this freed up about $ 1,100 per month of cash flow. It was a big relief to be free of having any debt since we had no mortgage, no car payment, and no debt. It’s the best feeling in the world and I made sure I never had any debt the rest of my life. So, I would highly recommend living life within your means– SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! Live within a budget, stay disciplined, establish and maintain good credit (750 or higher), make sound financial decisions or what makes Money Sense and life will treat you well. Life is not a smooth ride all the time, there will be bumps in the road. How you handle these hurdles and the decisions you make will determine if you reach financial freedom or not. So be smart and make good Money Sense decisions.
In 2005, I went through my 2nd divorce and I really did not see it coming until it was too late. It hit me hard especially since my daughters were approximately 8 and 10 years of age. I felt like a failure. If I failed at anything in life, it is marriage. So today I am a 60-year-old single, retired millionaire, dad and grandfather. Without a prenuptial agreement I was left unable to fully protect the assets I had grown prior to my 2nd marriage. I had to liquidate assets, pay her for equity in the home and Quadro part of my 401K plan, and pay child support for approximately 10 years. Even though this was a set back in my financial goals journey, my goal of being financially independent never changed. Actually, it was a blessing. My relationship with my daughters flourished, my 401K grew due share price increasing, and “life was good”, again. So, the lesson here is your going to have ups and downs in life. You must take a step back and get your mind wrapped around the situation, regroup and plow forward with your goals to reach financial freedom. It is not always easy or fun but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I can attest.
In summary, saving early in life for a down payment on a home is a smart Money Sense move that will get you the boost you need to meet your financial goals. Growing your equity instead of giving it away in rent is not smart Money Sense. So, remember, buy a home, don’t rent, and build equity because Life is Good.
A rollover withdrawal is a tax-deferred and penalty-free way of moving your savings from a former employer's retirement plan into an IRA or into another workplace savings plan.
With an IRA, you can pick from a wide variety of investment choices including mutual funds, stocks, bonds, ETFs, and more
Taxes aren't due unless you withdraw the money
You can take penalty-free withdrawals for certain first-time home purchases or education expenses if you’re under 59 1/2
You can roll over all contribution types to an IRA
Note: You can choose to work with any financial service provider. Your employer does not endorse any specific provider.
A rollover is a way to transfer assets from a former employer's workplace savings plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), to your new employer's workplace savings plan or an IRA. To do this, you'll need to request a check from your previous employer, then complete and send any necessary paperwork, or you can contact your companies 401K savings plan representative and it can be completed electronically one of the following ways:
A direct rollover: You request your workplace savings assets go directly to your new workplace savings plan or IRA. Taxes and penalties are not assessed during the transaction because the assets are not payable to you. Instead, your former employer makes the withdrawal check payable to the trustee or custodian of your new employer's plan or IRA.
You will not incur taxes or penalties, and your assets will remain invested tax-deferred (you will not owe taxes until you withdraw your savings or begin taking minimum required distributions at age 70). In most cases this type of rollover is the easiest way to avoid taxes and penalties.
A 60-day rollover: You have your workplace savings plan assets paid directly to you, and then roll over the assets into an IRA or your new workplace savings plan. You must complete the rollover within 60 days of receiving the distribution to avoid current income taxes. You'll be subject to mandatory 20% withholding for federal income tax, which you would have to replace with your own funds if you want to roll over your entire distribution.
If you hold the assets for more than 60 days, your distribution will be subject to current income taxes, as well as a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you are underage 59½. If you plan to roll over this distribution to an IRA, a Direct Rollover may make the most sense.
You can roll over most distributions except a minimum required distribution, a hardship distribution, a corrective distribution, or loans treated as distributions. Not all rollover types may be accepted into your current employer's plan, and rollovers will be subject to the rules, restrictions, administrative and investment fees, and investment availability of your current employer's plan.
If you have 10 acres or more of forestland purchased, inherited, or gifted consider converting it to a Tree Farm. Why? Well there are many opportunities you could consider with your land, but Tree Farming does not require as much of your time and attention as other crops but can be rewarding in many ways. It can provide a nice income stream especially depending on the kind of trees planted. You could be recognized for your efforts managing your land for timber, soil and water conservation, wildlife habitat, stream side management zones, recreation, and aesthetics with The American Tree Farm System and proudly post the green and white diamond shaped sign on your property. Landowners come from various backgrounds, but all share the commitment to improve their forestland through responsible forest management and conservation techniques.
Why become a Family Forest Owner and join the ATFS System?
These landowners play an important role in helping stem the loss of America's woodlands. You can identify their land by the widely recognizable green and white diamond-shaped Tree Farm signs.
The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) provides family forest owners with tools and resources to help them care for their woods and ensure they are delivering wood, wildlife, clean water and recreational opportunities – all of which are highlighted on the famous green and white sign.
While the American Forest Foundation (AFF) administers the program at the national level, it is implemented on the ground by individual State Tree Farm Committees. State Committees are comprised of private and family forest owners, state forestry agency partners, forest products companies, consulting foresters and others. These State Committees provide a wide range of support for woodland owners – a community of fellow landowners to help mentor, opportunities to get involved in addressing critical forest issues, a way to advocate on behalf of forestry and much more. Each state’s program is unique, working to meet the needs of their local landowners and the needs of the communities and the companies that operate there.
But what unites all these forest landowners across the country is their commitment to sustainability by following the ATFS Standards of Sustainability, a set of guidelines designed to help woodland owners be effective stewards of the land. The Standards are based on international sustainability metrics and North American guidelines for sustainable forest management and serve as the basis for the third-party certification portion of the program.
To become a member of ATFS and have your forestland certified, you must:
Own at least 10 acres of forestland
Have and be actively using a written forest management plan
Adhere to the ATFS 2015-2020 Standards of Sustainability for Forest Certification for Private Forestlands
If you are interested in joining ATFS contact the American Tree Farm System website and find your state program. Your state program will give you information to contact your District Forestry Commission Forester, County Forester, and Consultants. Express your concern of joining the Tree Farm System and they will assist in writing your Management Plan for your forest. This is Free and no cost to the landowner.
Contact and sign up for programs through your local Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service Agency. Get to know these resource Technical professionals who will provide Technical plans to manage your land based on your objectives Timber, Soil and Water Conservation, Wildlife etc. These professionals will tell you how best to use your land to meet industry objectives and standards of sustainability. Such as, based on your soil type what tree is best specified to plant, what practices are needed for Forest Health, Forest Protection, General Recommendations, Property Boundaries, Soil and Water Conservation, Water Management, Threatened and Endangered Species, Historic, Cultural, and Archeological Sites, Wildlife Management, Cost Share Assistance, and Forest Stewardship Recognition.
Begin following your management plan. Consult with your District and County Foresters, and/or Consultant for a list of contractors to cut and log timber, mark timber to be cut, marking boundary lines, cutting fire lanes, chemically treating for herbaceous weed control and tree fertilization etc. You the landowner can complete any of these practices you want it’s how much you want to be involved in physically managing your land or hiring it done. After completing your initial management plan practices, it is a waiting game generally 8 to 10 years before a thinning or clearing is done and you start over again but reap the rewards of an income stream. Part of this income should be used for purchasing seedlings, planting, spraying, or Consulting help. Then assess your land and make and implement improvements for the next rotation.
You enjoy the benefits of becoming an American Tree Farm System Tree Farmer and proudly post the Green and White Tree Farm sign on your property and unite with other Tree farmers in your state. Be proud that your land is actively managed, and you are one of 73,000 Tree Farmers who have committed to the standards of sustainability to help woodland owners be effective stewards of their land. Then get involved in your state and attend association meetings, landowner meetings, workshops, or become an advocate but get involved. You enjoy the benefits of becoming an American Tree Farm System Tree Farmer and proudly post the Green and White Tree Farm sign on your property and unite with other Tree farmers in your state. Be proud that your land is actively managed, and you are one of 73,000 Tree Farmers who have committed to the standards of sustainability to help woodland owners be effective stewards of their land. Then get involved in your state and attend association meetings, landowner meetings, workshops, or become an advocate but get involved.
I recommend getting a college education so that you have a good earning potential with a solid company who pays a competitive salary or wage and offers a competitive benefits package including Medical, Dental, Vision, Profit Sharing, 401K with company matching etc. I had worked as a Summer Intern with Cooper Tire & Rubber Company my Junior year of college and had an opportunity for a position after graduation in 1982. I was offered and accepted a competitive Salary starting out in a Quality position. After 6 months on the job I was eligible for 401K Profit Sharing with company matching up to 6% of the amount I contributed of my salary. I started out contributing the 6% of my salary which is what I could afford, and the company matched up to that amount, so I was getting a 12% contribution in my 401K account even though I contributed only 6%. You can’t get that kind of return at any bank. I slowly increased my contribution 2% each year after my progress review and pay increase until I reached 14% in my 25th year. At 6% company matching and 14% contribution I was socking away 20% each year.
What to invest in?
Cooper Tire offered a 401K with a taxable or tax-deferred account based on your contribution level. Over the years I did contribute to both, but the majority was tax-deferred which defers paying taxes on what you contribute to your 401K now but defers it until you retire where you will probably be in a lower tax bracket. Having a small amount in your 401K taxable account made sense as an emergency fund if needed and it was needed. So, you may want to sock some in a taxable account but not required. Do what makes good Money Sense but contribute to a tax-deferred 401K account for the tax benefits of not counting toward your total income but deferring to later years when you retire.
Cooper Tire 401K offered potential investments in cash with interest, money markets, mutual funds domestic and overseas funds, and Cooper Stock itself which was the most aggressive. Since I was 23 years old and had many years to grow my account, I chose Cooper stock because they were doing very well financially and split the stock. The stock had split in 1983, 1988, 1990, and 1992. I was able to start buying Cooper Stock about $12 per share in 1983 and with continuing increased contribution amounts and company matching over the years and three stock splits in ’88, ’90, and ’92 amassed 16,000 + shares of Cooper Tire stock. I would be aggressive investing in the early years and slowly reduce that risk as you get closer to retirement.
After buying Cooper Tire stock for 25 years Cooper Tire and Apollo Tire struck a deal in 2013 and Cooper stock jumped 40%. I sold all my shares and collected approximately $600,000. The deal later fell through and did not happen, but I pulled the trigger at the right time. I had opened an Individual Retirement Account with Vanguard and had the money transferred to Vanguard which can be done online and executed by the trustee between Cooper Tire and Vanguard. I chose Vanguard because they offer the lowest fees for funds and transactions especially if you are an experienced investor. Otherwise, Fidelity, ETRADE, TDAmeritrade etc., offer more analytical, trading tools, and learning tools for the beginning investor.
I took my $600,000 nest egg in June 2013 and after setting up my Vanguard account began to research opportunities to invest in. After a couple of months tracking the stock market on CNBC and online research sources, I chose Altria Group Inc. (MO) in the Consumer Defensive sector, Tobacco Industry, and Blackstone Group L.P. (BX) Financial Services sector, Asset Management Industry. Both investments offer growth and dividends which means you get paid every quarter each year. You can either reinvest the dividends and buy more stock which means more shares and more dividend income or withdraw the dividends to your checking account to supplement your retirement or use the dividend cash account for new investment opportunities.
I invested $457,000 of my $600,000 nest egg in Altria (MO) $325,000 and Blackstone Group (BX) $132,000. After 4 years in June 2017 my Vanguard IRA was over $1,000,000+. That’s approximately a 40% return in Altria (MO) and a 50% return in Blackstone Group (BX) in 4 years. The remaining $143,000 of my original $600,000 nest egg is invested in Solar and Cannabis stocks.
Retirement and Income Streams
After my retirement May 2018, I now have income streams from my IRA Altria (MO) and Blackstone Group (BX) dividends, my pension from Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, my 120-acre Loblolly Pine Tree Farm, and not yet old enough to draw Social Security Income. I currently could draw $70,000 per year from dividends and Pension. I do not live on $70,000 a year but much less, so you don’t have to draw all this income, but you do have to be strategic about it due to the IRS rules, income limits, and tax brackets. The truth is it is as hard to grow and retire on a $1,000,000+, as it is to hang on to it without giving back to Uncle Sam. I plan to take profits from my investments in Solar, Cannabis, and Tree Farm and invest in future income streams.
I plan to use this blog to share my path to financial freedom, teach others, continue to learn and share with others how to save, budget, grow assets, invest, develop income streams and have financial freedom.