New Year’s Resolutions for 2022

Well, this year is going to be much different than I planned! Originally, I thought this would be a continuation of a killer 2020 or 2021. To be honest, 2021 was an amazing year for our investments. We were able to invest over $100K, which was driven mostly from a house sale and moving to renting, maxing my 401K, maxing our IRAs, and getting a few checks from my old employer as payouts.

But for 2022 after pushing so hard in 2021, having a baby, selling our beautiful house, switching jobs, and moving across the state, we wanted to slow down a bit. And with that slow down, I am also consolidating my goals down to a few per section. Last year, I had like 6-10 per section and MAN DID I DO… well.. not great at some of them. Completely forgot about them. I’ll try to keep it to 3-4 or less per section, except for Retirement and maybe Short Term goals/Vocational.

Now, I don’t mean that I’m not excited about investing. I’m just tired of the push and the strain it has on my family as well as the journey that was supposed to be so great towards the destination. I want to learn to enjoy money, so that when I get to the point of having a lot of it, I actually care to use it. I actually care to live a full life instead of hoarding it and being miserable, let alone allowing my wife to be miserable. So I did some number crunching.

Barista FI

Here is where I break down a general idea of what I want, what number goals I plan to reach, and some of the actions that may make my number needed to invest much lower per year.

It starts with the term BaristaFI. Now typical BaristaFI refers to shifting from full-time work to part-time jobs like Starbucks or a retail job or something random and simple minded. I plan to do something a little different. I think something similar to what Reverse The Crush talks about in his article about his version of BaristaFI.

This is a shift from full-time work to part-time work but usually part-time work in an area where you have expertise and can still bring in a high income. Reverse The Crush uses it to focus on his blog, dividends and ultimately a happier life more attuned to his ideals. This is definitely what I’m considered since my job could surely be done part-time and it would afford our current lifestyle plus some comforts like healthcare and a 401K match, pension, etc.

As far as time, yes, I would work a little later into my career years, but I have these added benefits:

  • Pension grows as the number of years I work grows
  • Healthcare subsidized by company paying part
  • Still have a 401K match
  • active income allows me to max my Roth IRA
  • 10-20 hours a week can be helpful to have some sort of schedule
  • $10K of active income replaces the need for about $250,000-$300,000 of passive income. That’s a big deal!!! That’s $300K less to have to save!
  • So something like $30K-$40K helps a ton.

That being said, let’s get into the Resolutions!

SECTIONS TO FOCUS ON

Here are the areas that I like to focus on every single year. For me, it is enough. For you, you may want to add or remove any number of areas. These work great for me and fulfill all aspects of my life.

  • Physical: Our bodies and their health are important to keep us having fun in the short term and in the long term. I want to be healthy so I can play with my kids longer, travel more and experience more of life without self-created health conditions.
  • Intellectual: Along with our bodies, our mental capacities are important to take care of. Learning is a huge part of growing.
  • Spiritual/Emotional: I hate getting angry or being scared of what might happen in life. This helps to center me and help bring me back to a higher focus and think outside myself.
  • Vocational/Work: These are items to work on for my career. They help me do better at my current job and try things that may move me towards a dream job someday.
  • Short Term Financial: Things that I want to have saved for that are coming to fruition this year.
  • Retirement: Long term financial goals and things I will do this year to help push for that retirement.

Let’s go through each of them and talk about some of the goals in them that you might pick up as well.

PHYSICAL

3000 per month of Crunches, Squats, and Push Ups by December: I’ve been slowly increasing how many of these I can do each month. Currently I’m going to end the year at 1200 in December 2021. I want to slowly increase it to be 100 per day of each workout type on December 2022. I think that is perfectly doable.

Planks: Somewhere I read to try and do 1 minute of planks every day. That’s actually really easy if you can remember to do it. So why not put it on there? This is a carry over from last year.

Have a rough Food Plan for the week: Sunday nights I want to sit down with my wife and write out a rough plan. It might work better Friday night so that we can shop on Saturday. Nonetheless, I want to get more intentional with food.

Cook from my cookbooks once a week: I am keeping this one simple as well. That’s the goal of this year! I got a cookbook called Snoop Dogg, From Crook to Cook and I totally want to try out his recipes. I also want to try out some recipes from other cookbooks. Buy the ingredients and try it.

INTELLECTUAL

Reading Books: I’m going to keep this as is from last year.

Reading is very healthy to a growth mindset. Not only have I heard that successful people read, I think it is important to hear many things in many different contexts. I am going to shoot for 12 books this year. Mainly because I only read non-fiction and they can be 400 pages of tedious work. Moreover, I am a slower reader and my goal is comprehension first so the only way I will get through 12 books will be a concerted effort of reading every day.

I am going to list a few books and I will add to this as the year goes on. It’s tough to know all 12 books before I start. Reading focuses change, non-fiction for all or maybe some fiction books. Here is what I have so far:

  • Will Smith: autobiography (my current amazing book)
  • One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch
  • How To Do Nothing
  • Quiet
  • How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
  • Atomic Habits
  • Crucial Conversations
  • Totally Fine and other lies I’ve told myself
  • Ugly
  • Five Steps to Financial Wellbeing
  • Get Rich or Lie Trying
  • The Psychology of Money
  • Zero to One
  • Mindset
  • Psycho-Cybernetics
  • The Inner Game of Tennis
  • Red Notice
  • Billion Dollar Whale
  • Bitcoin Millionaires
  • One Fiction Book

Now this is just a stab at things that interested me. Please feel free to comment if you DO like some of these or have other recommendations. I am all ears and I plan to purchase ones I am really excited about. The rest, I am hoping will come throughout the year. I will also have to dedicate a bit of funds to this. Books are not cheap in stacks.

Blog Article Once A Week: Blogging is a great way to express your opinion to yourself as well as write down your thoughts. Currently my entire blog is basically just an accounting of things I am learning. It will be good to go back and have something to read about what I was going through 5 years ago or even last year. Once a week works for me since I probably won’t always have something to write about if I did it every day but it is enough to push me to log time and gets words and experiences down.

Travel Related Helpful Knowledge: Same as last year. Simple put, I just want to spend some time reading up on and understanding new places or old places better so we can travel more and feel more comfortable doing it more. Understanding cultures and location proximity and attractions of an area are key to not wasting time on vacations.

I can’t really think of many other intellectual goals. Many goals will be vocational that require my mind but really, that is enough to satisfy my mind.

SPIRITUAL/EMOTIONAL

Read Scriptures every night.

Morning and Nightly Prayers: This is tied in with my goal of Gratitude so I will make it short. Knowing there is someone looking out for me and remembering to try my best to communicate my gratitude and my shortcomings where I need help and a fresh view will change my attitude in how I view the world and then push me to act accordingly.

Gratitude: Basically with this, I just hope to take each day at a time and be thankful and act thankful for each good thing that happens. Maybe a 1GoodThing a day would help.

VOCATIONAL/WORK

Understand Machine Learning / Python: This goal itself is not super finite or defined, but I think spending some time learning different uses for Python and how to create solid models will be helpful with future goals and promotions. This year, it gained me a promotion and that was killer for my finances!

Working on Pizza and Pizza Recipes: This is a simple fun thing to do with my foods goals.

Crypto Mining Space: Now, this one is more weird one for those of you who haven’t dove into the Crpyto space much. As a simple way to understand it, some Cryptocurrencies need help from computer processing power in order to verify transaction (kind of like how Visa verifies transactions) and as you participate with your computing power, you receive rewards/payment for your work. It’s called a Proof of Work consensus model. For myself, I have a few computer pieces that I plan to use towards this. I have been testing this for about a month now and it actually works really well.

Another reason I want to get into this space is that I think there are some very interesting companies forming in the crypto space and as a miner, I can get tokens of those companies for essentially free. Having more tokens is basically the same as using my computing power to produce myself more shares of a stock. Now it makes a bit more sense doesn’t it?

Currently, I have a single computer GPU that I mine on that makes around ~$2 a day. That is ~$60 a month and around ~$720 a year. Just to keep my computer running. I don’t do any work. But I’d like to build a bigger rig that hold up to 6 GPUs. More on this $$ in my Short Term Financial Goals.

SHORT TERM FINANCIAL

Crypto Mining Space: Aaand we’re back so I’ll finish up with this thought. My plan this year is to build a mining rig. With my technical knowledge, I have a knack and educational skills to put together a computer that can hold up to 6 GPUs which can make anywhere from $12 a day to $30 a day. I hope to sit around the $12-$18 mark. That would bring in around $450 a month and $5,400 a year. Now maybe that doesn’t sound killer, but I think it is a great addition to my original income.

And who knows. Maybe it is so profitable that I go beyond a single rig (6 GPUs) and build more. It is very fun.

I also plan to switch to fully mining $FLUX at some point when I feel comfortable. I think $FLUX has the great growth potential of the 3 things I could mine and it will be good to get into the space before everyone does.

Crypto Node Space: Alright, before I jump off the Crypto Work Space, I think Nodes are interesting. You basically hold a certain amount of tokens from a certain company and set up a bit of hardware to support the network and they will pay you to do so. Some I am interested in are FLUX and PRE. I plan to have my PRE node set up by the end of the year and FLUX will take some time, but I can mine FLUX.

PRE is for Presearch. Presearch is a fully private decentralized search engine. It allows one to search for things without all of your data being taken and sold by Google or another company for profit only to be bombarded by ads. It allows the people to own their own data and even allows PRE token holders to create ads with no charge like Google takes. You simple buy some token (which you get to keep) and then you do the same ad bidding but with tokens. (which you still keep) I expect a PRE node to cost about $700 of PRE tokens which I stake (I keep them) and it will make me somewhere around $0.50 cents a day worth of PRE. That comes out to about $180. That’s an ROI of around 26%. Plus, the PRE that I have AND gain by having the node can go up, which could be a great future play.

FLUX is a fully decentralized Cloud Computing solution. It is comparable to AWS or google server. AWS supports thousands of businesses that run on their cloud computing. When the central server bank goes down at AWS, all of those companies go down. With Flux being decentralized, when one server happens to go down, it doesn’t matter as much because there are many servers helping to stand up the service. Flux can do what AWS can not do. However, it is really expensive right now to buy enough tokens to run a Flux node. It currently takes 10,000 which is right now about $22,000. They make about $260 a month right now. So it’s not bad. You also keep your tokens. They may allow smaller nodes, but for now, I am just planning on mining FLUX and buying it as well to get there.

Baby Expenses: Pretty simple. Baby is gonna grow and I like to set aside a certain amount to fund baby needs. Food, formula, vegetables for eating solid foods, toys, bottles, etc. When we go buy something for the baby, we just pull it out of that account.

Save for a down payment on a car: Well I got a newer car this year but it keeps dying. Once the battery died once, the battery dies all the time now. Great. So I am going to look for something a little nicer. Think I’ll save up a bit and then get something to replace it.

Build Emergency fund up: Our normal emergency fund was $6,000. It is currently at $8,000. I think I like it here but may push it up to $10,000 as a nicer safety net. I am very curious about having some of it in Stablecoin since Stablecoin makes around 9% APY right now.

RETIREMENT

Max Out My Roth IRA: Last year we maxed both of our Roth IRAs and I maxed out my 401K. But we realized, if we do continue making some sort of active income like a part time job, that money is most likely locked up for a while and won’t help our immediate needs. So we are going to switch it up from a total goal to some smaller refined goals like this one.

Get The Match! 401K: Yep. I maxed my 401K last year and this year, I plan to just get the match. This puts my investment there at around $4000-$5000 as opposed to the $20,500 that would go to it in 2022 per the new investment information that just came out. This will leave some money for us spend our ourselves like I talked about, but also will leave some more money to put into dividends and other projects that we want to look into to make passive income. Maybe I’ll pay for my wife’s website to go back up. Not 100% sure.

Passive Income: I am going to start charting all of my monthly investments with the hope to see how much passive income we are generating. This will help determine when we can slow things down.

Dividends: Wow. Well, looking back on last year’s goal to go form $540 to $800 was silly. Once we sold out house, we had a lot of tax-free money to put into our Taxable account. However, that big amount won’t see all of its yearly dividends until next year. So this year, we hit somewhere around the $1,090 mark. With all of that Taxable money added in, our Forward Annual Income expected is about $3,000. That comes from an account around the $60,000 mark. I think it’d be really cool to hit $100,000 in that account but that doesn’t seem feasible this year. So I am going to try and say I’d like to add another $1,000 to our Forward Income to make $4,000 in dividend income. That should take about $25,000 invested altogether, which is helped by my current dividends coming this year. This seems doable compared to $40,000 last year.

Here are my holding and plans:

  • Buy $TGT each paycheck: ~$100
  • Buy $VYM each paycheck: ~$100
  • Buy $JPM each paycheck: ~$100
  • Buy $STOR each paycheck: ~$100
  • Buy $MSFT each paycheck: ~$50
  • Buy $COST each paycheck: ~$50

This is about $600 a paycheck, but I plan that some of this is subsidized by current investments dividends. This should add quite a bit of dividend income this year.

Crypto Interest: This one is tricky to put a goal to. I think the crypto space is here to stay, but it is going through a lot of changes now that the government is taking note of the accomplishments in this space. The article in that link is really cool. I didn’t think Congress was that excited or involved. That being said, Crypto can generate much more income than a normal investment. I currently have somewhere around $1,000 to $2,000 in my Crypto Interest Accounts with BlockFI. I am in the process of using about $700-$1,000 to buy some hardware I mentioned previously for Presearch.

However, with $1,000 in there, I will actually generate about $90 or about 9% APY. That’s crazy great! So I want to see where that goes and be cautious but optimistic.

Here are my holding and plans:

  • Buy $USDC on BlockFI each paycheck: ~$100
  • Buy $FLUX on CoinMetro each paycheck: ~$100 (They have a $5 fee for US bank account transfers… so I’ll figure this out. Maybe I’ll buy once a month? or just eat the cost.
  • Buy a mix of $ETH and $BTC each paycheck: ~$50 each.

These should add up to quite the amount this year. Close to $7,000 in total generating maybe $500 by the end of the year. That should help hit that passive income goal along with my other projects.

Vacations This Year: We are planning on 2-3 vacations this year. We are looking at possibly California, going to Hawaii, and maybe a cruise if we get a right opportunity. These will come with time. Once my wife finishes her schooling, we have a deal that we will go to Costa Rica in 2023. Exciting!!!

Conclusion:

Well there you have it! That’s all the goals I set. Who knows if we will hit them but I hope they give you some ideas of what you can do for your year! Let’s get it this year! Be happier and move towards better lives whether we hit the goals or not. Thanks for reading!

The Real Beginning of Investing for Young Budgeteer

P.S. There are no affiliate links in here. Not one. I linked to a few sites from time to time to show you where I search for information but my goal is to share what I do, not to get you to buy something so I profit. Have a nice day and feel free to check out anything without the fear of being sold. Also, the wad of cash is from high school when I used to drive food delivery for a small sandwich shop called Jimmy John’s? It seemed like a fun thing to reminisce with. Nothing special about that.

Okay, wow. Yes, it has been probably over a year since I threw something up. As my “main hustle” or some people might call it just, my job, started to take off, as well as getting married, buying a new house, becoming the HOA president (bad decision), and then having to remodel because of a freak accident in my house, I haven’t been able to write much recently.

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Doing a 401K Rollover after a Job Change Or Leaving the Funds to Grow

Hi! So today we are going to go over some of the options as well and some of the considerations for rolling over a 401K. I am writing this due to my current experience I am having working through these options. I recently split from my last position and I really wanted to move that company’s 401K money to get moved out of that account and into my IRA so I can have more control of it and so I don’t have to worry about what happens to it in the background. I definitely LOVE my current brokerage that handles my Roth and Traditional IRAs as well a my taxable account.

M1Finance has information here about this type of transfer as well as others that I have done for my taxable account when I moved some dollars from Fidelity and from Stash Invest into my Roth IRA and into my taxable account. When you go to the support page or look at the FAQs, you’ll find information on transferring information to M1 Finance from your brokerage. Almost all brokerages will work to help you get your money over. They want your money with their platform, you can be sure of that. I had help from Fidelity in transferring out my $$s as well as help from M1 Finance for getting the funds in. Stash was a bit more difficult since they have their subscription fee that you have to close out and cancel and all of the selling or transferring work. Thus, I was happy with the final results and I have had my accounts at M1 for most of the time I’ve been investing. So let’s go over some of the options to do with your 401K when you split from an employer.

Some points and definitions that will help with that movement process are these:

  • A rollover is not a contribution to your account. All of the funds that you rollover do not affect the $6,000 (in 2020) that you can contribute yourself out of your 2020 income.
  • When you want to move the funds elsewhere, it is considered a DISTRIBUTION. This is confusing because one can believe that distributions are taxed. What you will do to NOT be confused is to choose the option of a distribution as a DIRECT ROLLOVER or if it doesn’t say the word DIRECT, make sure that it is being sent to another institution as a rollover and not as a cash distribution. You will provide the new institution’s information and make sure it is payable to them on your behalf.
  • Some places (like mine) will allow you to move over the Pre-Tax Funds separately from the After-Tax Funds. If you have this option, you may be able to move those funds to their respective Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs so that you don’t get taxed.

OPTION 1: Leave the Funds Where They Are:

This option is where you will decide to do nothing about moving your funds over. It sounds like the most simple option and has its benefits.

PROS: One of those benefits is that you may continue to receive the benefits of management of the funds as they were while they were in there under your employer. If left in there, you won’t be able to contribute to them anymore but you WILL be able to have them grow the same as they have grown in the past. If you don’t want to move these, liquidate the funds or have a potential fee for moving them from the new brokerage, this may be a good option. You also may not have access to some funds in the new brokerage such as certain mutual funds. This is the case for me. If I were to move my funds over, they would be liquidated and I would have to pay taxes on the Pre-tax portion and reinvest them into other funds that, who knows, may perform better or worse.

CONS: Where there might be issue is what you would need to look into yourself. Does your 401K managing company charge you a feed to trade? or charge a fee to your company to manage them? That fee may get passed back to you if you continue to use them to manage those funds. Sometimes that is low or sometimes it is a 1-2% management fee a year that was paid through the company benefits of using it as a group.

The other item that I think of is how easy it is to manage and view all of my accounts and balances. I love having a single place to work on and view the performance of all of my funds. Having the funds in another account that I can’t add to and that I can’t really manage other than see the balance potentially grow is a weird control feeling. If one starts to underperform or overperform and I want to change my investments there, I could, I believe, but it seems like much more of a process than having it in my other retirement accounts with everything else.

OPTION 2: Move the Funds over to a new Brokerage Through a DIRECT ROLLOVER into an IRA

This is the option where you decide to part ways with your old 401K manager platform and move to a new one, preferably one that you have experience with and enjoy.

PROS: There are a lot of pros to this and some cons, some repeated from above. The biggest Pro there is here is that you have much more control over all of the funds. Some 401K only have limited options to funds and they usually have fees that cost to manage or to make trades. Changing the control to be your own is really helpful when allocating the right amount of funds to the right investment opportunity.

CONS: These cons are all addressed above in the pros of leaving your funds in the 401K manager except for one. I will repeat those items again here:

  • You may have good fund options and want to hold onto them.
  • Your managing company may allow you the same benefits of the company if you leave your funds there.
  • If you move from a Traditional 401K (There are Pre-Tax Traditional 401Ks and After-Tax Roth 401Ks) into a Roth IRA as most younger people have, you will get taxed on all rollover amounts as distributions. Therefore, if you move a Traditional 401K, move what you can into a Traditional IRA. Move Roth 401K distributions into a Roth IRA.

The last possible CON is one I’ve sort of mentioned but there is a lot of mystery around it and I am trying to figure it out the best I can and in doing so, will give you the best information that I have on it.

Why My Unique Situation Might Help You Out

My current account for my 401K had the option of contributing to a Traditional 401K or a Roth 401K. With this ability I decided to put most of my contributions into Roth 401K since my employer paid their contributions as Pre-Tax Contributions. If you were wondering how to split the two, the system does it for you. That should be helpful to know. It’s definitely comforting for me.

I eventually went with Option 2 and after much struggle, I got my funds moved from The Standard over to M1 Finance. And I am so happy that I did. I’ve had much more control over these funds and much more growth now that I can pick the funds I want.

Hope this helped. Would love to know if you have had to do something similar. Thanks again for reading!

M1 Finance Review : 3 Years In

This week I’ve been asked more about my investment platform of choice than in many months. I’ve been going back over why I chose M1 over other platforms and I think after 3 years, it’s time to give a review! Alright M1! I hope you’re listening as I plan to give some overview items, pros, cons, other platform comparisons, as well as some items I think are missing about the platform and where M1 could do better for my personal goals.

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How to pull dividend payouts from apex clearing when you use robinhood, m1 finance, etc.

PURPOSE:

This one is going to be a fun one. In this post I plan to go over the steps and code to pull your dividends from Apex Clearing and chart them for future use. I plan to make this process as simple as possible including providing the code, the environment in which to run it in and provide all of the code notebook and information you need to get your data yourself. If for nothing else, it will be a fun thing to follow along and do and then tweak to your needs. This should work for programmers as well as not-so-programmers (at some point, everyone is benefitted by knowing a wee bit of coding.) Caveat: Apex Clearing stores Dividend Activity only back two years. You can start tracking now and store this data and then continue to add the data to where you store it.

So without further ado, let’s start in! Steps:

  1. Pull Dividend Data from Apex Clearing (knowing what your account numbers are)
  2. Starting up a Google Colab and import the notebook I have here. (link) or following along
  3. Uploading Dividend Files from Apex Clearing into the right folders.
  4. Running the code
  5. Making Charts!
  6. We’re done!

I expect this to take about 10 minutes of your time, especially once you’ve got it down.

PULL DIVIDEND DATA FROM APEX CLEARING (Get Account Number)

First things first, we need to have our account numbers handy. If you use M1 Finance, you’re going to:

  • Log in
  • Click on the person in the top right with your name on it.
  • Click View Account Settings.
  • At the top you will find a gray bar with Profile, Security, Payments, Documents, Accounts, Notifications.
  • Click on Accounts
  • There you have your different accounts or singular account.
  • Keep this page up or copy these over to a notepad for the next part.

PULL DIVIDEND DATA FROM APEX CLEARING (Get Data from Apex Clearing)

Secondly, we are going to go to apexclearing.com and in the top right corner, there is another person. Click here.

Now if you haven’t created an account and username, go ahead and create one. It will ask for the account number that we just received and some of your personal information to set it up and verify it’s you. If you have an account and investments with Apex Clearing through your brokerage, it will find you and get you going. Let’s login now.

You’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this.

From here we will click on the Apex Online Menu and go to Activity. You are welcome to explore the account summary, add accounts in the second pane of the Menu window and view other items such as cost basis.

In the Activity Pane, it will ask for an Account number, an Activity Type, Start and End Dates and a symbol. Don’t input into the symbol.

  • First, enter your account number
  • You should keep the activity the same for this example. It includes trades, money movements and position adjustments.
  • For the dates, we are able to pull data going back two years from today. So the End date is today (11/03/2021 for today’s date) and for the Start Date, let’s set it at 11/04/2019. You are welcome to set it at an even full month or just take a more recent snapshot as well. Let’s run it now by pressing submit.
  • This shows the account, some high level info and then a table below with data. You might see some buys, or some dividends, etc.
  • Click on Export CSV to get a CSV version that we will rename.
  • (Add other accounts you have first) then Repeat this for the other accounts you add if any.
  • Rename these files to be something along the lines of “Dividend_(account type)” Dividend_Taxable, Dividend_RothIRA and so on.

Now that we have our dividend files, let’s get coding!

GOOGLE COLABORATORY (Setup)

Google Colab is a free workspace that allows anybody to write python code in their browsers. Pretty cool since setting up Python and getting system variable paths normally takes a novice a good several hours. This set up works for anybody with no actual set up. Let’s get into the steps.

I have a notebook that I’d like to share but WordPress is not allowing it because it has code in it so I will have to type out the code (paste it) and you can take it from each section and paste it into a cell!

When you start up a new Google Colab notebook, it should look like this!

The first thing that we are going to do is click on that little folder that is in the bottom left of my screenshot. It gives you a little menu like this.

From here, Right Click under the Sample Data folder and create a new Folder and name it “Dividend Data”. This is where you will upload your different account activity. Feel free to click the three dots to the right of the folder that appear when you hover and click upload. Upload your account files.

Great! Now create one more named PayoutYears. This will store our yearly data going forward, though I should note, Google does not store files in Colab so you will have to save them off and reload them into this folder once we create them.

GOOGLE COLABORATORY (Coding!!)

In a “Notebook” there are these boxes called cells. This is where you put the code. in Google Colab, you can also make Text Boxes. I will say Code or Text for each Cell #.

Of course, the first lines of my notebook state what the purpose of the code is. It is good to always state your purpose and questions you plan to Answer.

Cell 1: Text

Questions I want to Answer in this Code

  • How do I pull my dividends from Robinhood or M1 Finance?
  • Can I chart my past dividends to see how much I have earned in Dividends?

Cell 2: Text

What do I expect my Data Tables to look like?

  • Table 1: Dividends per Month Year:
    • Payment Date
    • Amount of Dividend Payment
    • Month of Dividend Payment
    • Year of Dividend

Purpose: Track my dividend payments over time

  • Table 2: Dividends per Ticker:
    • Ticker
    • Amount of Dividend Payment

Purpose: Chart which are my highest paying dividend stocks

This gives us our purpose. We plan to make two charts. One will track our total payments by month for the last two years. The other will show us the companies that pay us in order of most $$$s paid out.

Cell 3: Code

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
pd.options.display.max_rows = 50
pd.options.display.max_columns = 50
import seaborn as sns
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import timeimport datetime
%matplotlib inline
import warnings
warnings.filterwarnings(‘ignore’)
warnings.filterwarnings( “ignore”, module = “matplotlib\..*” )
import logging
logging.getLogger(‘matplotlib’).setLevel(level=logging.CRITICAL)

This code adds in different packages to help us create our dividend data. The base Python is very versatile and allows us to build our coding language so to speak. Luckily, if you copy and paste, you need no coding experience really.

Cell 4: Text

Pulling Data

Combining Multiple Accounts

Cell 5: Code

dividends_taxable = pd.read_csv(‘Dividend Data/dividends_taxable.csv’)
dividends_RI = pd.read_csv(‘Dividend Data/dividends_RI.csv’)
dividends_TI = pd.read_csv(‘Dividend Data/dividends_TI.csv’)

Cell 6: Code

dividends_taxable[‘Account’] = ‘Taxable’
dividends_RI[‘Account’] = ‘RothIRA’
dividends_TI[‘Account’] = ‘TradIRA’

Cell 7: Code

dividends = dividends_taxable.append(dividends_RI, ignore_index=True)
dividends = dividends.append(dividends_TI, ignore_index=True)

These three cells bring in your dividend data and combine it together. If you only had one account, delete the other two and move forward. I assume everyone has a taxable account so it is the main one. If this is your only one, simply remove all of the BOLDED code. Then add a .copy() to the end of the Dividend = Dividend taxable line to be dividends = dividends_taxable.copy()

Cell 8: Code

dividends = dividends[dividends[‘Type’] == ‘MONEY_MOVEMENTS’]
dividends = dividends[~dividends[‘Description’].str.contains(‘ACH DEPOSIT’, regex=False)]
dividends[‘Net Amount’] = dividends[‘Net Amount’].str.split(‘ ‘).str[1].astype(float)
dividends.sort_values(‘Description’,ascending=True)
dividends = dividends.rename(columns={‘Symbol’:’ticker’,’Net Amount’:’Payment’})
dividends = dividends[[‘Settle Date’,’ticker’,’Payment’,’Account’]]
dividends = dividends[dividends[‘ticker’].notnull()]
dividends[‘Settle Date’] = pd.to_datetime(dividends[‘Settle Date’])
dividends

Cell 9: Code

dividends2019 = dividends[(dividends[‘Settle Date’] >= pd.to_datetime(‘2019-01-01’)) & (dividends[‘Settle Date’] < pd.to_datetime(‘2020-01-01’))]
dividends2020 = dividends[(dividends[‘Settle Date’] >= pd.to_datetime(‘2020-01-01’)) & (dividends[‘Settle Date’] < pd.to_datetime(‘2021-01-01’))]
dividends2021 = dividends[(dividends[‘Settle Date’] >= pd.to_datetime(‘2021-01-01’)) & (dividends[‘Settle Date’] < pd.to_datetime(‘2022-01-01’))]

Cell 10: Code

dividends2019.to_csv(‘PayoutYears/dividendPayouts2019.csv’,index=False)
dividends2020.to_csv(‘PayoutYears/dividendPayouts2020.csv’,index=False)
dividends2021.to_csv(‘PayoutYears/dividendPayouts2021.csv’,index=False)

These three cells are all focused on pulling out the actual dividend activity. You can look through the files yourself, but the dividend activity is a Money Movement but not a ACH DEPOSIT. From there, there rest is code to fix the look of some columns. It then saves each year of dividends into a separate file in a folder that we set up previously.

Cell 11: Code

import os

dividendsAll = pd.DataFrame(columns = [‘Settle Date’,’ticker’,’Payment’,’Account’])

directory = ‘PayoutYears’
for filename in os.listdir(directory):
f = os.path.join(directory, filename)
if os.path.isfile(f):
temp = pd.read_csv(f)
dividendsAll = dividendsAll.append(temp, ignore_index=True)

dividendsAll[‘Settle Date’] = pd.to_datetime(dividendsAll[‘Settle Date’])
dividendsAll

This code here will look into the folder and check each file and then all of them together to recreate your full dividend data. This doesn’t seem super useful until you consider that we will want to store this data later. In a month, you will miss out on the month 2 years ago that we had, but if you store them, they are preserved and we won’t rewrite over them.

Let’s get into Plotting our Charts

MAKING CHARTS!

We planned originally to make two charts. A Dividend by Month chart and a Dividends by Ticker chart. We will start with the Monthly chart. This will take only 2 cells of code for each chart!

Cell 12: Code

dividendsByMonth = dividendsAll[[‘Settle Date’,’Payment’]]
dividendsByMonth[‘Date’] = dividendsByMonth[‘Settle Date’].dt.to_period(‘M’)
dividendsByMonth[‘Year’] = pd.DatetimeIndex(dividendsByMonth[‘Settle Date’]).year
dividendsByMonth[‘Month’] = pd.DatetimeIndex(dividendsByMonth[‘Settle Date’]).month
dividendsByMonth = dividendsByMonth.groupby([‘Year’,’Month’,’Date’])[‘Payment’].sum().reset_index()
dividendsByMonth

This will show you what the table looks like that you just created.

Cell 13: Code (for plotting)

plot_df = dividendsByMonth.copy()
g = sns.catplot(kind=’bar’,data = plot_df,x=’Month’, y=’Payment’, hue=’Year’, ci=None, height=7, aspect=1.8, palette=’crest’)
ax = g.facet_axis(0,0)
for p in ax.patches:
ax.text(p.get_x() – 0.1,
p.get_height() * 1.02,
‘{0:.2f}’.format(p.get_height()),
color=’black’,
rotation=’horizontal’,
size=’large’)
plt.show()

This will complete our first chart!! I will paste pictures of all of my code at the bottom but here is my chart!

This shows all months going back to October 2019 (since that is when I first pulled this). Yours may shows something similar. Maybe you want a different set of colors so you look up a different palette. Pretty cool though, right?!!

Next Chart!

Cell 14: Code

dividendsByTicker = dividendsAll[[‘ticker’,’Payment’]]
dividendsByTicker = dividendsByTicker.groupby(‘ticker’)[‘Payment’].sum().reset_index()
dividendsByTicker

Here is all of your tickers with their summed up dividend payments. Some are big, some are small.

Cell 15: Code

plot_df = dividendsByTicker.copy()
g = sns.catplot(kind=’bar’,data = plot_df, x=’ticker’, y=’Payment’, ci=None, height=7, aspect=1.8, palette=’crest’)
ax = g.facet_axis(0,0)
for p in ax.patches:
ax.text(p.get_x() – 0.1,
p.get_height() * 1.02,
‘{0:.2f}’.format(p.get_height()),
color=’black’,
rotation=’horizontal’,
size=’large’)
plt.title(‘Dividends by Ticker’)
plt.show()

This is very similar to the last plot, however, it only has single bars and the ticker table.

As you can tell from my chart, I’ve recently had a big portion of my account balances in Index funds. That is changing a bit with an addition of a lot of dividend stocks that I spoke about in my last post. Those dividends will start coming in around mid-November. It might over take VTI by December but probably not until February. I’m really excited for when that happens. Would love to see your charts and know which stock is your highest payer.

You are also free to trim this dividend ticker table to just a year and see which tickers are your highest payers in a year, as another chart.

WELL! CONCLUSION!

I believe as long as you follow the code and the instructions, you should have arrived at this point. If you are new to coding, I hope it gave you an appreciation for what it can do. If you are experienced with coding, please don’t judge my simple code haha. I am newer to Python but I hope that my playing around is helpful.

Next week, I am going to do a short post on my October Dividends (few. October is a low payer month for me) and try to create a chart for Cost Basis. A Cost Basis chart would tell me which stocks of mine are the furthest below what I paid for them. Cost Basis is the Average price you have paid for a stock. It allows you to say, “I paid $100 to get 1 stock of X, $150 to get 1 stock. Your Cost Basis would be $125 for each of two shares. If the price went below $125, you would essentially be able to collect the same dividends for cheaper by buying below $125. If it dipped to $90, you could buy a 3rd share and then your cost basis would be 100 + 150 + 90 = 360 / 3 shares = $120. Interesting to say the least.

Thank you again for following along and leave some comments of what worked and what didn’t work. Have a great night!

Dividend Portfolio Tracking RESUMED

Hey! Today I wanted to share a bit of my dividend portfolio forward income and what I expect from my (my Taxable and main) portfolio. I will note the dividends that I’ve been receiving from my retirement accounts but I wanted to focus on the taxable account because this account could replace my income some day before retirement. As a 20s investor, I feel I have a lower knowledge base of all the ins and outs of investing, but I hope this resonates with some others who are younger and trying to get a footing into investing. It is doable, easy, and worth it.

One piece I will be laying out is the code I use to track not only data on the dividend information but also including my portfolio and creating some graphs that should account for my annual income, a calendar of when I plan to receive dividends and lastly, a table with some rules to determine if a stock is priced lower than I purchased it originally which will allow me to lower my cost basis or the average amount I am spending per share.

Whew. That’s gonna be a lot to produce the first time. But it’s gonna be a good growth chance for me in producing it as well as practicing creating graphs, working with APIs and knowing what makes sense to share about my dividend journey.

I should note as well, all of the stocks I choose, I choose for a purpose. Unless something fundamentally changes with the company, I plan to hold these for a very long time. You might see that AT&T is a really small position. They are making a deal currently and I’m very hesitant about buying more there, but I buy a big chunk of Verizon stock VZ.

It all will be centered around the forward income I expect during the year and setting a goal for the year.

PORTFOLIO:

Now, my taxable account sits around $55,000. The rest of my accounts put me in the $140Kish area. With the sale of our home, I added $50K of the $55K balance. I wanted to give a quick breakdown of the stocks I own and the expected forward annual income I see myself receiving.

I will preface this with the fact that I use M1 Finance to hold my portfolio, outside of my 401K. This allows me to buy fractional shares and focus more on purchase a set dollar amount of shares as opposed to a certain number of shares with left over cash. Think about having $500 you want to put into Costco but Costco cost $450. You have $50 laying around to figure out where to put. So here it is. The Market Value is dictated by the current price and the Forward Income is basically Shares X Annual Dividend.

0TickerSharesMarket ValueAnnual DividendForward Income
1AAPL17.40947 $     2,602.37 $       0.88 $      15.32
2ABBV73.87665 $     8,034.82 $       5.20 $    384.16
3COST6.67241 $     3,184.27 $       3.16 $      21.08
4HD2.85022 $     1,039.25 $       6.60 $      18.81
5HSY5.59987 $     1,009.66 $       3.60 $      20.18
6INTC74.29517 $     4,160.53 $       1.39 $    103.12
7JNJ12.54909 $     2,050.52 $       4.24 $      53.21
8JPM12.54425 $     2,126.25 $       4.00 $      50.18
9KMB7.57186 $         994.03 $       4.56 $      34.53
10KO18.54606 $     1,007.98 $       1.68 $      31.16
11KR77.84463 $     3,059.29 $       0.84 $      65.39
12MMM16.69449 $     3,040.40 $       5.92 $      98.83
13MSFT8.22872 $     2,557.16 $       2.24 $      18.43
14NEE23.04244 $     1,931.19 $       1.54 $      35.49
15O20.51476 $     1,460.04 $       2.83 $      58.10
16PEP12.73723 $     2,027.51 $       4.30 $      54.77
17PFE74.20833 $     3,180.57 $       1.56 $    115.76
18PG7.02129 $         978.28 $       3.48 $      24.43
19SCHD106.03744 $     8,248.65 $       2.35 $    248.98
20SPHD117.08786 $     5,090.98 $       1.76 $    206.54
21T3.39253 $           87.39 $       2.08 $         7.06
22TGT0.18198 $           46.26 $       3.60 $         0.66
23UPS5.15578 $     1,028.27 $       4.08 $      21.04
24VTI184.33285 $   43,283.20 $       2.88 $    531.62
25VYM54.95643 $     5,956.73 $       3.01 $    165.31
26VZ97.27224 $     5,193.36 $       2.51 $    243.96
Total 1040.6241 $113,378.96  $2,628.12

This is an expected Annual Dividend Income of $2,628. Wowie! I would like, by the end of the year, to get that Forward Income number to $2,800. A lot of my spending power has been used up and I expect the rest of my investing to finish off in my 401K so you won’t see it here. Next year, I’d like to see this number get to about $3,500 or more. For this tracker, most of my investments will be in 401K which won’t be seen here. Maybe eventually I will add that portfolio in with its dividends, if any. We will see.

That puts me at an average of almost $220 a month already! Now, I know that a large portion of my stocks are in VTI, a total market index fund. But the fact that this stock pays a dividend as well is nice, though it is definitely not a high one. Mostly this is to hedge against losing out on total market gains if certain sectors are hit hard. Being new to the game means that I have to ease into it and having a total market fund that I think will generally go up will help stomach some of the downs.

DIVIDEND INCOME TRACKER

Another main point I want to hit in this post is a Dividend Tracker. Something like this.

Dividend Income Tracker

This is an easy concept that anyone can do in excel. Create a table with 2 columns: Month – Year | Income. Jan 2020 | 0.56. This will allow you to track your own dividend income per month. All you need to do is find your documents that get sent out each month and fill in the total for that month. Luckily if you miss a month, you can go back and fill out a couple of months at a time.

Here I am getting a really nice slope in the beginning. I sold some items and move to mainly Index Funds, and they pay quarterly (mostly months of 3, 6, 9, 12, and then I just this month added some more dividend growth companies. There will be a lag in getting dividends because I have to own the company during the Ex-Dividend Date, but after about 2-3 months, everything will catch up and I should start to see the graph being more regular and sloping upwards.

CONCLUSION:

Okay, so this is what I set out to accomplish in this post:

  1. The code I use to track data on the dividend information
  2. My portfolio
  3. Creating some graphs that should account for my annual income
  4. A calendar of when I plan to receive dividends
  5. A table with some rules to determine if a stock is priced lower than I purchased it originally which will allow me to lower my cost basis or the average amount I am spending per share.

It looks like I accomplished 2 and 3.

On #1: I’d love to know if you guys would actually like to see some of the code snippets I used to pull dividend information from the web. I used a REST API called Polygon.io that holds some dividend information as well as current stock prices and ticker details. Some of the data is incorrect while most of it is good. I had to pick and choose and delete some things I didn’t find helpful. I might try another API soon. Getting the Python environment set up is difficult but learning the code was fairly easy if you code regularly. Let me know. I could do a full post on the lines of code and share how to do this yourself.

Portfolio Columns

On #4: Since I have the next payment dates in my portfolio now, I could create a calendar or at least a list of upcoming dividends. I will add this into my next post for sure. I think it is nice to see how many dividend payments you will get a month. Right now I am heavily weighted in the March, June, September, December months, so I might need to look for companies that help boost up the other months like January, April, July, October.

On #5: As well, I do now have my average cost basis for each stock I’ve purchased. This is something where I could have a flag that states that the current price is lower than what I paid for my other shares. This would allow me to choose the companies that I can buy more shares and lower my overall cost for the dividends I am trying to build.

My goal is to build a portfolio that eventually allows me to work part time if needed. This would be somewhere in the ball park of $2,000 a month in dividends in my Taxable account. Right now I am at $2,000ish in dividends for the full portfolio. So 1/12 of the way there! It should go faster and faster each year. Maybe I will break out my different portfolios so it’s clear to see where the dividends are coming from each month.

This is a pretty transparent post so I’d love to hear your thoughts on what else you’d like to see or where you are at. Each time I post might be as simple as a month check into what I purchased during that month as well as my dividend tracker with posts in between with me researching out what I can do to improve this process of tracking.

Thanks again!

New Year’s Resolutions 2020 of the Young Budgeteers

ADDENDUM:

So I hit a whoopsie and I didn’t post this for the entire year (great job remember about this). Still hope you enjoy it. I will go over these as I make next year’s goals.

New Year’s Resolutions are one of my favorite things to put together. In general, I like setting goals, creating to-do lists, and having some sort of schedule to go through on my empty days. If you’re not like me, there is no problem at all with that. You are probably a bit more care-free and probably a bit less tense. I see year long goals as ways to look at the long term picture and set something that my short term can stick to even though my short term mind doesn’t understand or sometimes doesn’t even want to stick to. It takes away a lot of the emotionally timed decision making which can go one way or the other. And really, once my rational mind has gone, I slide pretty hard on the other side.

So New Year’s resolutions are silly, right? Why wait for a day like the start of a year to choose to do something? Well, here are my reasons:

  1. A year is a very known measurement of time. It cuts out the arbitrary “I’ll get to this sometime” and it also aligns with other big things that happen at the same time, every year, like taxes and celebrating Christmas with family.
  2. If no day matters to you, then either you already have all your goals set or you haven’t done great on goal setting. If it’s the first, kudos to you. If it’s the second, why not join in with everyone else? Why not use this day as a day to prep for? Why not have something pushing you to start. If you don’t now, it becomes arbitrary. No waiting in time will push you to do it unless you sit down and set some goals for it.

SECTIONS TO FOCUS ON:

Here are the areas that I like to focus on every single year. For me, it is enough. For you, you may want to add or remove any number of areas. These work great for me and fulfill all aspects of my life.

  • Physical: Our bodies and their health are important to keep us having fun in the short term and in the long term. I want to be healthy so I can play with my kids longer, travel more and experience more of life without self-created health conditions.
  • Intellectual: Along with our bodies, our mental capacities are important to take care of. Learning is a huge part of growing.
  • Spiritual/Emotional: I hate getting angry or being scared of what might happen in life. This helps to center me and help bring me back to a higher focus and think outside myself.
  • Vocational/Work: These are items to work on for my career. They help me do better at my current job and try things that may move me towards a dream job someday.
  • Short Term Financial: Things that I want to have saved for that are coming to fruition this year.
  • Retirement: Long term financial goals and things I will do this year to help push for that retirement.

Let’s go through each of them and talk about some of the goals in them that you might pick up as well.

PHYSICAL: ACTIVITY:

Weight Training: Basically I am just wanting to use weights more to give more resistance to my workouts. I haven’t used weights in a long time. Maybe a couple of years. Weights have never been “my things”. So I bought some 10 pound weights and I am going to try and incorporate them each day of working out in some way.

Work out at least 3 hours a week: Plain and simple. Put in the time. I don’t even care what I do. I honestly just want to get the time in doing something physical. Sports, lifting some weights, doing a workout video, yoga, doesn’t matter. 3 hours is all I’m going to ask myself.

Planks: Somewhere I read to try and do 30 seconds of planks every day. That’s actually really easy if you can remember to do it. So why not put it on there?

Stand at least one hour of every day, whether working or not: Basically this is more for office workers but also for me, as a remote employee, sitting will be a comfortable position. Forcing myself to stand and think or work will drastically improve my work health as well as my work ideas. Also, on non-work days, choosing a food to prep that takes some time is a great idea for getting that standing time in. Having lists of tasks to do gets you moving and that hour goes fast.

Get an extra hour of sleep: I will be working at 7am. That is not earlier than I wake up, but it is definitely earlier than I am used to being ready to go into work. Getting an hour more of sleep will help combat that tiredness in the morning. I might even have to resort to naps after I get off of work at 4pm.

Get a step counter, count steps, be mindful of movement: This one is simple and great. For me, working at home is no excuse to not move around enough. I think getting a step counter will be a game-changer in motivating me to walk more. There are lots of studies to support a tracker as they give you a feeling of accomplishment when you hit your steps goal. I have no number in mind for an amount of steps. (I know that isn’t the best approach. Defined goals are better.) I am going to start off with 5,000 and go from there. Health Coaches ask their clients to try and get 7,000 to 10,000 each day and I am sure these are not always the most healthy people so why can’t I do it?

PHYSICAL: FOODS:

Drink 64oz of water every day: I will probably fail this one a lot. Most days, I just don’t think about water consumption much. So to help me, I will probably place a clear 64oz water jug (or several smaller ones to amount to it) next to my work desk and make sure I get through them. A lot of people say a gallon a day, but really depending on who you are, you just pee out 80% of that. I am one of those people. I can drink a gallon a day for 6 months and I will never start to retain most of it. 64oz works for me. Find what works for you.

Cut down on sugary based foods: Really, this one is so mindless and emotionally stomach driven that I forget, even when I’m at the store. If I can focus on it then, it helps at home. I just know that cutting down on sugary foods will help my overall energy and will keep me from crashing. It’s worth a shot. Better to try it out and be more conscious than to not care at all even if I fail most of the time.

Have a rough Food Plan for the week: By rough, I mean, not every week will go perfect when executed and not every meal will be made. Sometimes we will go out to eat. Sometimes we will not be feelin a certain dish or my wife wants to cook. She cooks rarely but when she does, it’s great food and it’s fun for her and I get a break from cooking! So ultimately, the goal is to sit down each Sunday night and plan out some good ideas of what we will eat each week, look inside out pantry, write down grocery needs, and gauge our food expenses for the week. Sunday at 7pm.

Cook a wider range of food + Cookbook of my recipes: Who doesn’t run out of ideas of what to make? You look in the pantry and you go blank for a bit. Something sounds good but only one person wants that. You have rice that you think would work well but are missing chicken or don’t know if you can make anything with it. Just having a go-to book of: These are rice recipes, these are recipes with bread or salads or what not. Having them digital will work best to allow them to be easily searchable.

The other side of this goal is to venture out. I try changing up my recipes based on what I have and I try new recipes maybe once a month but pushing myself to try new recipes and find more solid, simple, affordable dishes is something I really want to hone in on. We probably spend about $350 on food a month. Most people would say that we are killing it as far as food expenses but we also waste a lot. We throw out food, we eat a lot of breads/carbs, and though we cook 6-7 times a week for all three meals, we have a set maybe 10 dishes that we shuffle in and out weekly or bi-weekly with the occasional fancy meal. Learning new recipes will help close the gaps and help find more solid dishes.

Vegetables: Just need to eat more of these. I seem to disdain vegetables as they mostly are not sweet or light and to me they mostly taste like dirt and grass. I currently have no problem with potatoes, corn, peas in fried rice, carrots, tomatoes in dishes (not alone), lettuce, and can bode with spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and a few others. Happy to take comments with tips for eating vegetables without feeling disgusted.

INTELLECTUAL:

Reading Books: Reading is very healthy to a growth mindset. Not only have I heard that successful people read, I think it is important to hear many things in many different contexts. I am going to shoot for 12 books this year. I probably did about that last year, but I was in school for half the year and I stopped reading non-textbook reads. This year, I will finish my Master’s program in June hopefully. It will take a strong routine to read a bit each day to get 12 books read. Moreover, I am a slower reader and my goal is comprehension first so the only way I will get through 12 books will be a concerted effort of reading every day.

I am going to list a few books and I will add to this as the year goes on. It’s tough to know all 12 books before I start. Reading focuses change, non-fiction for all or maybe some fiction books. Here is what I have so far:

  • Your Money or Your Life
  • The Happiness Project
  • Talking to Strangers
  • 52 Real Estate Investing Calculations
  • Love is a Choice
  • One Fiction Book

The rest, I am hoping will come throughout the year. I will also have to dedicate a bit of funds to this. Books are not cheap in stacks.

Learning a Language (Spend 10 minutes a day): This is a long-term slow fruition goal. After 3 years of Spanish in High School and a year living in a Spanish area, I have not been able to travel to another Spanish speaking area in almost 6 years. I would like to get back into the swing of things to be able to do big service clean ups on beaches in Central America with my wife. Knowing Spanish will improve our trip boatloads. The best way I can think to do this will be to just wrap it into a stack of habits (Google Habit Stacking) and just get it done with everything else. Something to the effect of this:

  1. Wake Up
  2. Workout
  3. Shower
  4. Read Scriptural books
  5. Read NY Resolution Books
  6. Do 10 minutes of Language study.
  7. Eat
  8. Work

A morning routine may not work for you. I work at 7am so an evening or afternoon routine will work best for me. Do what will work for you.

Blog once a week: Blogging is a great way to express your opinion to yourself as well as write down your thoughts. Currently my entire blog is basically just an accounting of things I am learning. It will be good to go back and have something to read about what I was going through 5 years ago or even last year. Once a week works for me since I probably won’t always have something to write about if I did it every day but it is enough to push me to log time and gets words and experiences down.

Travel Related Helpful Knowledge: Simple put, I just want to spend some time reading up on and understanding new places or old places better so we can travel more and feel more comfortable doing it more. Understanding cultures and location proximity and attractions of an area are key to not wasting time on vacations.

I can’t really think of many other intellectual goals. Many goals will be vocational that require my mind but really, that is enough to satisfy my mind.

SPIRITUAL/EMOTIONAL:

Read through the Book of Mormon: I’ve read through many books of scripture and have finished reading through the Bible many many many times. My pages in these books are highlighted more than any other book I read. Why? There are more life lessons in these pages than any other book you can read. I make that statement from my experience. I may highlight something here or there in a business book, but every page of my scripture books have some note of worth. Underlines, things to remember, things to focus on in life, ties to other verses or experiences that help guide me to be a more centered person and life a more centered life. I am not perfect obviously. But do I want to work on myself? Hopefully just as obvious. And I think these are great tools to have floating around in my head during the day.

Morning and Nightly Prayers: This is tied in with my goal of Gratitude so I will make it short. Knowing there is someone looking out for me and remembering to try my best to communicate my gratitude and my shortcomings where I need help and a fresh view will change my attitude in how I view the world and then push me to act accordingly.

Gratitude: Basically with this, I just hope to take each day at a time and be thankful and act thankful for each good thing that happens. Maybe a 1GoodThing a day would help.

VOCATIONAL/WORK:

Finish my Master’s Program: I have about 5 courses left. This is a Master’s in Data Analytics and Data Science. One of the benefits I had being in this program was getting the job I applied for. It was a 10% raise and has many other benefits including working from home. I plan to finish 3 of those courses this semester. The reason being: WE”RE HAVING A BABY THIS YEAR!! and it’s going to just get more and more crazy as the time goes on. So until June, I have a course called Predictive Modeling and then two Data Mining Courses. And by December I should finish the last two.

Understand Machine Learning / Python: This one is going to take a while. I have been working for a month now (2/21/21) and it has been so much of a firehose of learning Python. I just about completed my first project using it. This goal itself is not super finite or defined, but I think spending some time learning different uses for Python and how to create solid models will be helpful with future goals.

Working on Pizza and Pizza Recipes: I originally planned this for once a week. I realized that my wife doesn’t like pizza once a week while she is pregnant. So I gotta eat what the wife will eat. However, I am still doing it at least every 2 weeks so I don’t think that is bad. I think if I am going to get much better, I will need a standing mixer but I am not getting one until August at best. They are in the range of $200-$300 and I’m not about to buy something like that before we move and where we are moving to, my sister has a mixer so I can use hers. Until then, I do want to try different recipes and try different styles of pizza, one being the Detroit or deep dish pizza. I think I will try that this weekend. (2/21/2021)

SHORT TERM FINANCIAL:

Save for a Baby: I think this is an obvious one but it affects my finances. Baby’s are not cheap on the front end of appointments and medical or on the back end… when you are cleaning up their back-ends. Our insurance is going to help, come April, but it will still take a bit to save for strollers, car seats, diaper bags, diapers, wipes, bottles, clothes, food/formula if needed, cleaning supplies, etc. So we are socking away money. I can’t say how much because I don’t know. We are going to shoot for about $3K – $6K as a general hope that it will cover all of that.

Keep a tighter check on our budget: I think this one will slip but I think it is a minor item when used with a retirement goal I have to save about $40,000 this year. As long as we pay ourselves first and hit something close to that number, I think the minutia of smaller goals will be fine. And hey, if I could just hit the big goal here, the rest of the money is for us to spend, not to hoard.

Save for a down payment on a car: I’m still contemplating if I want to buy another car or just sell mine and call it good. Make a bit of money back, no insurance, no gas, no oil, no repairs. That sounds pretty sweet to me. But if I did save for a car, I think it will need to be in the $3K – $8K range and I will either get a nicer car (in my opinion a $8K sedan is nice) or just not buy it. Either way, my car is getting to be older in how it runs and I don’t have the money or time that I want to spend fixing it back to its glory.

Build Emergency fund back up: Our normal emergency fund was $6,000. The week after I left my last job for a 3 month break, our furnace broke and it cost us $2,400 to fix. That sank our fund a bit and I want to get it back up to that $6,000 or maybe up to $10,000 as a nicer safety net knowing that my wife may not work for 6 months after our baby comes. This is going to be stretch knowing that I want to save a lot for retirement as well as having a good amount for other things this year. I would not be dissatisfied with $6,000 by the end of the year.

RETIREMENT:

Invest $40,000 this year: The overall goal for investing is going to be $40,000 for this year. This will include another goal which will be to “Max out my retirement accounts this year!” The breakdown of how I believe we will get there is this:

  • $19,500 in a 401K Maxed out that my company has. This is with Schwab and has some good broad index funds.
  • $4,250 This is my employer’s match. If we max out, there is a set amount they contribute which is nice.
  • $6,000 Traditional IRA Maxed out.
  • $6,000 Spouse’s Traditional IRA Maxed out.
  • $? Wife’s 401K contributions and employer match. She puts in $100 a week and get $25 from the company. over 6 months of working, that could be something in the $3,000 range.

This amounts to…. $38,750! Which is just short of our goal of $40,000. I will have to save just a touch more to hit that $40,000. This will be in a Taxable account.

Dividends: I am still deciding with our baby coming and trying to max out my retirement accounts if I should have a dividend goal. Last year, we hit about $540 in dividends. This year, I have a bit more of my funds in Index funds and less in dividends. I think hitting $800 would be really cool. I’m not tied to it, I just thought of it right now. The 401K is the main goal because of the company match and will not have distributions that I will track. This will solely be out of my IRA and my Taxable account.

CONCLUSION:

These are my goals! If there are any that inspired you, go ahead and try them out! Who cares if you ultimately hit them all. The main point here is that we are looking to have a better future and putting things into words, writing them down and trying is what moves us from point A to point A+. I’ve heard a saying, “Written goals are dreams on wings!” So get out there and make changes in your life for the better!

Internal Struggle of Dividends Vs Growth Income Investing

I have this internal struggle that I’ve been dealing with ever since I started investing. It’s a simple question.

Growth Dividends or Growth Income

(Obviously you wouldn’t choose something that’s not growth until I only need income but some dividends just pay and don’t look for growth in price and these are the terms I’m working with.)

When I started investing, I was very focused on getting dividends. Mainly because dividends are the easy way to get yourself excited for investing. WOW! I actually got paid for doing this! It is a sort of crack that you can utilize to keep going. And from the start, about 2 years ago, I bought all dividend stocks or funds where I got my monthly income up to around $40-50 a month average. Not a bad amount for 2 years.

As soon as I started doing well with dividends and my reading gets me more involved (2 years of reading) I start to hear that study after study after study shows that the pure numbers put index investing ahead in the long run. Well shoot. I may have made $50 this month, but other people are getting market gains that are way greater in that same month! All of my friends and all of my sources are starting to state that index is boring but efficient. So I tweaked my portfolio (only a bit) to have some more index funds. and then some more. Now a good portion of my portfolio is index funds and less of it is anything else.

Technically, I can say that I have had higher gains as an mostly pure index investor than my dividends would have gained, though with reinvestments, it might be close. And this is only a year. But I keep going back to questioning it. I mean, I love the gains. I like seeing my overall account balance higher, but I read an article where the author mentioned that taking lump sum distributions from their retirement funds would be hard for them because they tend to spend and spend when they let themselves. That control they thought was easier to manage if they invested more for cash flow than for overall balance growth. I think I connect with this more closely.

Obviously (again) I don’t plan to only do one of these and neglect the other. They both have sound data and both of them have purposes.

The index investing has the most studies done that prove that they are effective in being the best account balance gainer, but they don’t produce more shares. When you go to sell, you sell a big share and then the shares that are left have more impact on your portfolio when things move around in the market.

Dividends and cash flow on the other hand are constantly paying you out. On a taxable or Traditional account distribution, you would get taxed on this amount, which is a lower amount than income tax, but then you could increase the amount of shares you own, and possibly spread out your risk by having more shares that you can sell if needed. The added benefit is that when you need that money, it gets paid as a dividend and you don’t shrink your share amounts every time you need money. Your share amount stays the same. And if you don’t need all of it or any of it, which happens while you are accumulating your wealth (also known as the accumulation phase) then that money goes back into the market as buying more shares. With dividends, each share pays you a certain amount. And if you buy more shares with this payout, you are effectively increasing the amount you get paid by these companies EACH AND EVERY TIME you get paid! That is exciting!

But is that really enough or worth it if index investing has the best chance to grow the fastest? Wouldn’t it make sense to just throw this all into a few index funds and forget about it?

I guess that is the point of this post. I feel like I’m in camp two as much as I feel like based on numbers, that I should be in camp one!

I think I am going to try out a little bit of both. I mean, in all honesty, if I do well with one or the other and I get to a point where I can retire earlier than 65, say, 40 or 45, I am probably still going to try and find something to work on. And at some point I will probably make money. Whether that is side work or some sort of simple income generator to be able to max out my IRA for the year, I’m sure I’ll find something. (I’ve always thought about working part time at a pizza shop or part time at a cookie shop.) Doesn’t take up all my time and I get some free pizza or cookies and it gets me a bit more to spend on. As long as it doesn’t impede on my time control. That would be the one kicker. So maybe I’d have to open my own shop if I can’t choose my hours. Oh well.

January 2020’s Post: Young Budgeteer Investing: Week 5-6 trades… And 7-8, portfolio income, and Account funding for 2020

What a good couple of weeks it’s been. Not only did the year end with some good results but it was great talking about what things I want to do this year as far as investing.

If you don’t remember last post, I talk about my goals for 2020 as far as how investing will go for our family this year. I set a few ideas of goals. Now that the new year is here and I’ve set my numbers going forward, here is what it will look like for the next handful of months.

I promised my that we would save for a good vacation and that we would list some items out and replace and upgrade a few items of our house. (Sometimes you have to give a little so you can keep going on your big goals.)

As for as investments for the year, I’ve upped my Roth 401K amount that comes out each paycheck. Originally I was just trying to get the match, but I’ve decided to re-look at how much I want to contribute to investing this year as well as other items and our mortgage pay down.

This year, having paid off all of our consumer debt last year, I plan to invest about $1,000 a paycheck which should result in about $26,000 plus whatever company match I aquire (somewhere around $2,000) invested between my Roth 401K, my Roth IRA, my taxable account, and our mortgage.

My wife has the ability to put in some from her paycheck but we haven’t discussed this amount or where it would go yet. For now, she put away about 40% of her paycheck into an FU fund that will give her the ability to take a few months break from her job to find something that suits her better.

Now the exacts of how I plan to break up this amount is as follows currently:

Roth 401K: $350

Roth IRA: $400

Taxable Account: $250

For an even $1,000.

Now this will change pretty quickly once I max out my Roth IRA which has a limit of $6,000. Any extra money I have left over each month usually gets thrown in here to max it as soon as I can. With my estimates, I will max it around the end of April! Or sooner. This will free up that amount to either, help me max my Roth 401K or up my taxable account to around $650 a paycheck or around ~$1400 a month.

Onto the investments!

With my Roth IRA, I keep it simply to 5 funds in my portfolio and if you’ve already read an article of mine, you’ve seen these before.

SPHD – high dividend low volatility stocks

LQD – corporate bonds

BNDX – international bonds

VYM – high yielding stocks low cost fund

VNQ – good yielding REITs

Right now I think my portfolio yields on average about 3.6% which is exactly where I like to see it. Simple, good yield, not a lot of work.

Roth 401K – with this one being tied to my companies broker, I only get a few funds to choose from, all of them are growth funds and I assume they will work similarly to the market. I have a good amount in both Fidelity and Vanguard growth funds with a few target date funds and that is about all I can choose there.

Taxable Account

This account is fun to work on, tweak, see go down, see go down more, buy a little more. I started this last year in August and kind of just funded it at $100 and left it while I figured out my other investments. Right now it sits around $450 and I’d like to get it up to a few thousand this year depending on if we decide to put some towards our house. $3,000-$4,000 would have my dividends paying me around $100 a year or almost $10 a month. (Fun! That pays for Hulu!)

As small as the actually funding is on this account, because I am using M1 Finance to broker the account, I am still able to try out a handful of companies and get a feel for what works and get to the point where I have companies paying me out every week or so.

In my portfolio I have 22 companies. Some are big power houses, some are a touch speculative but they have monster yields, others, are companies I like and understand very well. All of them pay dividends. I think around 30 is when I will stop and wait to add any more til I understand the ones I have fully. These are usually companies that are either really solid companies that have paid dividends for years, continue to make revenue and increase their dividends, those that have moats in their industry, and those that consistently pay high dividends that will help to fuel the purchasing of my stocks. (Where M1 Finance has an auto-invest feature that starts at $10.)

To name a few, if not all, from memory:

LQD

BNDX

SHY

SPG

VNQ

KEY

RY

WFC

WBA

JNJ

AT&T

VZ

COST

HD

TGT

MMM

WM

ET

SPHD

NRZ

VYM

XOM

Nice! I got them all from memory!

See anything you know? Anything you don’t know? Feel free to ask me in the comments and I’m happy to share my reasonings or talk about my thought on a company. Obviously I am not a financial advisor so take everything with a grain of my opinion salt.

Young Budgeteer Investing: Week 4 Trades, More Passive Roth IRA, Tracking

Hey guys,

Welcome back to round 4 of this investing thing. I think this week one of the biggest things that hit me while looking into my Roth IRA, Between that and a few other investment accounts like my work 401K. My company has spent a lot of focus in the past few weeks highlighting us on our benefits at the company and the potential payout for staying there for 10, 20, 30, or 40 years. It definitely made me feel a little bit better about my finances in the short term and the potential into the future.

What does this have to do with this Portfolio and investing ideas? Well, when you have less need to go into riskier items, you can forego a bit of the returns in the market to in order to have more preservation and control over what you are getting back consistently.

So while my regular portfolio is going to keep all of the companies that I have been investing in, I made a decision to move my Roth IRA funds from 14 securities down to just 5 that I had as a trial run for the past month or so. This has given me a good idea of how these funds work and some stability in the growth. It also making tracking annual income for that portfolio to be much easier.

As well, with a Roth IRA, I will only be able to contribute about $6,000 a year effectively capping the amount that I can build the portfolio which will push me to go other routes to build my passive income. This will mean (as far as choices I would start to funnel funds into) I could up my 401K contribution amount. I could pay down our house, possibly refinancing it to lower our monthly payment. I could also save up for a rental property. All not terrible possibilities.

But at some point once you can max your Roth IRA, you will have to funnel your funds into another investment vehicle in order to continue growing your retirement possibilities. Pretty much that is my next move in the coming year.

Roth Portfolio Breakdown

Roth Portfolio

I will go into each of these “Slices” / Securities and why I think they are a great way to start investing as well a great way to have passive income build in a simple understandable way. I am trying to keep about a 60%/40% split between equities/bonds.

SPHD: Invesco S&P 500 High Dividend Yield Low Volatility ETF : 40%

If I had one investment to put into, this would be the one. I will only share a few technical numbers but I think the underlying principle of what stocks this fund holds is enough to convince any person to feel safe investing in them.

This fund includes ~50 companies from the S&P 500 that have the highest. It starts with the 75 from the S&P 500 with the highest dividend yields and then cuts out the 25 that they deem have the highest volatility leaving you with 50 companies that both perform well, pay good dividends, and are risk adverse. It is not to say that they can’t be stopped or beaten up but consistency, good pay and low volatility seems like a decent choice of whether its your job paying you or a dividend fund you employ dollars to.

They have currently about a 4.13% dividend yield which is a current payment of $0.1547 per share and they pay monthly so annually around $1.80. Great for compounding and as soon as I get this one high enough, when they pay out each month, it will be enough to reinvest each month ($10 on M1 Finance). That is pretty sweet!

LQD: iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF : 25%

What a name. Okay, so let’s put out a definition of what iShares is.

iShares is a family of exchange-traded funds managed by BlackRock. The first iShares ETFs were known as World Equity Benchmark Shares but have since been rebranded. Most iShares funds track a bond or stock market index, although some are actively managed.

So basically this company, just like Invesco, just created an Exchange Traded Fund to follow a group of Investment Grade Bonds, bonds that are held by pretty stable companies and therefore are pretty safe bets.

They have a dividend yield of about 3.29% and an annual payout of $4.22 which paid monthly is about $0.35 cents per share. At the current price of $127, they are a pretty solid investment to pad the bond section.

BNDX: Vanguard Total International Bond ETF : 15%

This rounds off my bonds. Again, I am working to keep this really simple. This is a Bond ETF put together by Vanguard that tracks a group of international bonds. This one has $24B under management so that means that they have a pretty good idea about what they are doing.

They have a dividend yield of about 2.87% and an annual payout of $1.67 which paid monthly is about $0.0499 cents per share. Cheaper to pick up shares at $58 but this one is a defensive bond that takes in international companies and that is enough for me.

VYM: Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF : 10%

This is also known as the Whitehall Dividend Yield ETF, unless they changed the name recently. This is Vanguard’s take as pulling in High Dividend Yield Companies so as to attract investors.

It has a payout of $2.80 and a Dividend Yield of 3.04% but instead of paying out each month, it pays out quarterly but still the same amount as is if paid each month. Each share gets paid $0.7864 which adds up quick and is a nice addition to my portfolio, and was actually one of my first investments.

I assume they will announce in the next week that they are paying out for the month of December. That should be a good chunk for me. Currently I only have about 4.6 shares, but that means $3.59 unless they announce an increase in which I will get even more!

VNQ: Vanguard Real Estate ETF : 10%

That makes 100% of my portfolio! Now this one is pretty self-explanatory. Vanguard put together a group of REITs that they feel will attract investors such as American Tower Corp, Simon Property Group, and Welltower Inc.

They bring with those nice REITs a nice payout. 3.43% dividend yield, an annual payout of $3.14, which quarterly is about $0.744. I am also waiting on them to announce their dividend for this month and might see an increase here as well. They go along with VYM pretty similarly but hold no similar stocks in their funds. $0.74 X my ~4.6 will be another $3.42. Add that to VYM and the other monthly payers that happen near the end of the month and I’ll hit that $10 reinvest minimum!

Now, you might be wondering…

What Happened With My Portfolio When I Made These Sells? Aren’t I afraid of tax-implications?

This is one of the greatest tricks to use when you are just getting into investing is to use a Roth IRA.

Usually when you sell stocks in a normal taxable account like Stash Invest or any account that isn’t a Retirement or Tax-advantaged account, you will get taxed on the gains on that stock.

Example: I bought 5 Ford shares a couple of years ago at about $10.25. I sold those later at a price of ~$13.

During that time, Ford also paid me dividends for each stock. $0.15 X 5 = $0.75.

So essentially I made $0.75 from dividends and $13.75 in market growth.

Now, I don’t remember if I held the stock long enough to be taxed at a lower amount but this is the part about a Roth IRA. It doesn’t matter in the Roth IRA. Any gains or dividends that I made in the Roth IRA during a sell of a share or through payouts is completely tax-free!!! That’s right.

So while I made 10 sells of shares in today’s trading window that netted me a little bit of a gain (especially with a 5% gain and huge dividends from Johnson & Johnson), I won’t pay any tax on any of that gain. And all of the gains and sold shares went back into those other 5 stocks I mentioned above.

Again, I am keeping my taxable at the same percentages that I had for these companies so I am not selling out of these companies completely. I am just moving my Roth IRA into a more simple grouping that allows me to focus my time and energy in other places which is eventually my overarching goal with this entire investing strategy.

Tracking Annual Projected Income and Monthly Income Actuals

I thought these would be an interesting group of sheets to share that I have started since I started investing. I have changed them up a lot of times and I have taken ideas from a handful of YouTubers and other investing sites that I follow and watch.

For now, the two that make the most sense to share screenshots of are my monthly income tracker and my expected forward annual income breakdown and totals.

The Forward Income Breakdown and Totals shows me what I can expect to be paid in a typical year. This just takes in what the annual payout and multiplies it by my shares and charts it.

Income Tracker

All I have to do at this point and update my share amounts each time I buy and then it will let me know my expected income in the next 12 months! Obviously $150 a year isn’t much but in the terms of $12.50 I’ve essentially paid for a small gym membership, or I could cover a ticket to the movies. It’s a start for sure and each paycheck will start to add more and more.

For example: by 11/28, I had $125 and then I added $700 on 12/12 and added $25 to my forward income. I am still paying off a small car loan which eats some of my fun income but adding $25 every 2 weeks isn’t bad. By the way, $700 put in, making $25 a year is about a 3.57% yield. And that doesn’t include any growth that my portfolio could have. I don’t know any High Yield Savings Account that is giving you that much.

The Monthly Income Tracker allows me to track what actually comes in each month. I just take in all of my gains for the month in my monthly statement and I put it into a line chart to see my monthly income growth. This follows a lot of people who show their income from these dividend companies. The goal of the whole of my portfolios is to cover my monthly expenses without sacrificing the capital in it through selling.

Currently, I am following Joseph Carlson and using a simple excel created graph he made. Major credit to him and his YouTube Channel. If you want to see a portfolio that is a bit bigger than mine and see these effects a year or so ahead of mine, check out his channel. He is great to listen to and tends to add some good laughs in his channel as well. Eventually I will make my own version and make a few changes that relate to my investing type.

Monthly Income

This looks pretty dismal, doesn’t it? Well, for a long time I was tracking dividend income from three portfolios (Stash, Fidelity, and my High Yield Savings Account, HYSA) and I didn’t really have a lot of money in any of them. So when I moved to M1 Finance, I made a goal to deposit more each month starting in August.

And what happens is that dividend paying companies, you usually have to have a stock for about 2 months before they announce their dividend, give a date for when you need to hold the stock by, and then pay you out on another day. So my chart is just a few months behind seeing my Forward Income. I assume that December will be a nice record paying month for my portfolio (as it is for a lot of people) and then it will continue to trend upward from there!

In any case, these next few weeks will be exciting! As always thank you so much for reading, if you made it to the end of this article, I appreciate you taking your time and hopefully those give you some tips on your own journey. You can catch me on Twitter or Instagram at @ youngbudgeteer. Until next time.