Weekend Reading – December, 17, 2011

This will likely be my last weekly roundup before Christmas. I’m flying up to Michigan to see my entire family next Friday December, 23. I’m very much looking forward to it. While I’m up there, however, I may be limited in my ability to post articles. I may write a few articles before I go and schedule some posts. We’ll see.

This is going to sound cliche, but I’ll say it anyway. This time of year is all about spending time with family, reflecting on the year that just passed us and enjoying life. Please remember that as you’re seeing loved ones and spending time catching up with family and friends. Have fun out there!

This time of year is special for me. I really love the holiday season. In my family it’s a time of staying in pajamas, watching A Christmas Story marathons, eating Chinese food on Christmas Day and relaxing. I love looking back and seeing what I accomplished over the last year. I think I’ve accomplished a heckuva’ lot over 2011 and I’ll be reviewing all of this in early 2012, once 2011 has ended. Can’t wait!

Here are some excellent articles from fellow dividend growth investors, frugalists and personal finance bloggers from the past week.

Mustache Family on the Move Next Week
MMM discusses a road trip he and the family are undertaking to the deserts of the southwest. Sounds like a good time. This is just one great thing about being financially independent. You can take a family trip, and you certainly don’t have to fill out a “time off” sheet at work. MMM also gave yours truly a shout-out, and it sounds like I’ll have to come up with something for a guest post. Good stuff! For anyone not familiar with MMM, check out his story here.

How to Build a Leveraged Dividend Portfolio
The Dividend Guy gives us some information on how to build a dividend portfolio with no money of your own. Although I don’t particularly endorse this strategy as I hate debt of any kind, it is a good resource if this is something that interests you. Just remember that leverage goes both ways. It can amplify gains, but it can also certainly amplify losses as well. I’m a bit too conservative for this, personally.

Invest In Your Health
Dividend Monk posts a very comprehensive and thorough article about investing in your health. He espouses eating organic food when possible, less sugars, carbs and processed foods. Great advice here and I generally agree. I posted a lengthy response, but to sum it up you have to have balance in life. If you enjoy pizza, then make sure you have room for it in your diet. Exercising is key to eliminate any excess calories. Also keep in mind that the top five causes of deaths in the United States are: heart disease, cancer, stroke, accidents and chronic bronchitis/emphysema. Only perhaps heart disease and stroke risks can be reduced through a better diet, however even then a lot of other risk factors are unrelated to diet including smoking, stress, age and genetics. In the end, I think life needs to be enjoyed and a balanced diet and exercise routine is critical. I’m currently enjoying a “college student” diet, but this isn’t meant for the rest of my life. It’s just helping me build my Freedom Fund as fast as possible so that one day I can enjoy more life and less work.

Christmas is coming! Are you ready for it? Can you pay for it?
My Own Advisor asks readers a couple great questions here. I can answer “yes” and “yes” for sure. MOA recommends you shop alone, shop with a list and purpose, ask for details and cash in credit card reward points when possible. I couldn’t agree more and used reward points saved through my employer to pay for about 99% of my gifts this year. Great stuff!

Retire by 35 November Progress or “The Doors of Perception”
Brave New Life posts an article here about his recent budget and the walls we build our lives around being quite bendable, breakable and even, if you believe it, not in existence at all. He incorporated an excellent short video clip that highlights the visionary Steve Jobs. Check it out if you can. I wrote a response that highlights my belief that people can be narrow minded and “The Allegory of the Cave” comes to mind. People love looking at the flickering lights on the wall, perfectly happy to be chained to the floor. But, if you choose to go out of the cave and see the light, you may just be amazed at how big life can really be.

November 2011 Pocket Change Portfolio Performance
D4L posts his most recent update for his PCP, including dividends received and recent purchases. He and I must have a mind-link going on, because I also purchased Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) over the past month. Great minds think alike, as I always say. Huge numbers here, and I’m shooting for dividends like this within the next few years. We’ll see!

Are These Your Top 4 Reasons For Buying Mutual Funds?
Kanwal Sarai gives a few reasons as to why investors typically buy mutual funds, and gives you solutions as to why investing directly in stocks is a better investment.

How To Move Cash To Your Broker
SFI reviews some of the ways an investor can move cash to a broker. I personally use ACH transfers, as with my broker, Scottrade, they are pretty instant transfers. I push the transfer button and the money is in the account. It works pretty great!

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: Benoit Mahe

Comments

  1. says

    It is nice that Scottrade is that quick, that way if you see a ‘buy’ you can purchase quickly. I am using Zecco and you have to have the money in there to buy. They also like to hold money transferred in for a few days. Kinda sucks.

  2. says

    Kanwal,

    No problem!

    Yes, Bora Bora. It does make you say “ahh”. My dream location, but I’ll be nowhere near the income level needed to stay there long-term by 40! I’ll settle for visiting one day though!

    Best wishes!

  3. Anonymous says

    It’s fun reading your blog, although I am a fair distance from retirement myself (37) and only worth about 200k.

    The reason I’m posting is regarding Bora Bora actually :) I once splurged some investing profits on a long vacation and managed to goto Bora Bora which, although beautiful, is incredibly expensive. I bought an $80 pizza there for dinner once …

    At any rate, check out the Cook Islands for a place that is half the price and double the fun. I spent a couple weeks on Raratonga and loved it.

  4. says

    Anonymous,

    Thanks for adding that. I have an affinity for tropical locales, which is one of the reasons I moved to Florida.

    I hope to one day be able to visit the French Polynesia and that area of the world! I envy you for spending time there!

    Take care.

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