We’re now just a few days away from Christmas. What a beautiful time of year, right? Although I don’t get the festive cold and snow down here in Florida, it’s still a great time to be thankful for what you have, spend time with family, and reflect on the year.
I know I’ve had a wonderful 2014. It’s been extremely difficult at times, and I’ve lost some relationships along the way. But I’ve gained a lot as well – now six months into writing for a living, engaged, and happier than I’ve ever been. Life is very good.
I took some time off yesterday to really soak up the great weather we’ve been getting by spending some time out and about. Luckily, I was able to finish some of my projects ahead of time, which afforded me some time to leisurely spend my day however I wanted to. Though I’m not financially independent yet, being able to take an entire Friday off to do whatever is surely a joy that’s reserved for few. So I grabbed some lunch at this great deli up the road before taking a couple of hours to spend time downtown with an iced coffee in my hand. It just so happens that I stumbled upon a carriage that the downtown Wells Fargo branch had set up outside of their office. As a shareholder, I certainly appreciated the beauty and history. So I snapped a picture. Now, I’m sporting a rickety, cracked iPhone 3G, so the picture quality isn’t the best. But I figured I’d share the pic with you readers anyway.
This will likely be the last compilation of reading material for the year. I’ve been saving some great articles, so this one may be a bit longer than normal.
Looking forward, I’m excited to finish 2014 strong. I’m going to be reviewing my goals here pretty soon before releasing my goals for 2015. And I also have a goals-related post that should go live tomorrow. So look out for that.
In the meanwhile, I’m including a list of great articles that I recently read and enjoyed. I hope you readers find some value in them as well. Have a great weekend!
These 5 Dividend Growers Just Announced Dividend Hikes
I wrote about five different dividend growth stocks that recently announced dividend increases. Nothing like getting a raise for doing nothing at all.
Wells Fargo Is a Big Winner in Lending Club IPO
Speaking of Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), it appears they did well with the LendingClub Corp. (LC) IPO. This is an example of some of the things I’ve discussed before. By investing in wonderful businesses, you can often do well with everything else that’s going on around you. Instead of betting directly on an IPO, I profit indirectly through WFC (with a lot less risk). Another example of this is that I don’t need to worry about investing directly in a Chinese company to gain access to that market because many of the multinational blue chips I own a chunk of already do some business there (which will likely grow over time).
Dividend Growth Investing FAQ
David Van Knapp put together this really solid Q&A on dividend growth investing over at Seeking Alpha. A lot of this is basic information, but it’s always nice to brush up on some of this stuff. And any beginners out there in the readership will find particular value in this article.
Should I hold on to American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP)?
Dividend Growth Investor ran through some reasons to either hold or sell ARCP at this point. Seems like he went through the same process as I did, before I decided to finally cut my loss and move on. He largely came to the same conclusion as I did.
Those Who Like Money, and Those Who Like Things
J. Money linked out to an excellent documentary titled “Without Bound – Perspectives on Mobile Living“. The paraphrase by one of the participants is one of the best I’ve come across:
I find there’s two sorts of people – people who like money, and people who like things. The ones who have the things don’t have any money, and the people who like the money don’t have a lot of things. I’d rather have the money than the stuff. Because money buys me freedom. freedom of choices, freedom of movement, freedom to do what I want to do.
These 9 Dividend Growth Stocks Go Ex-Dividend Next Week
I put together a list of dividend growth stocks that go ex-dividend next week and highlighted one in particular that seems like a great bet here. If the featured stock wasn’t already such a large position for me, I’d be buying more.
The Middle East Has A Huge Advantage In The Global Oil Market
I thought this article was pretty insightful on what’s going on right now. The included chart on the cost of production was really interesting. You can see the cost across oilsands is particularly expensive, which is relevant for some of the Canadian producers.
Retire by 40? Can it be done?
A reader pointed me to this article. I found it interesting because, as a mainstream article, it’s actually soft to the idea of the possibility. I remember when I first started looking into this – retiring or becoming financially independent by 40 – the mainstream media would laugh at the mere prospect. It seems that there is some kind of cultural shift happening here. Just my perspective on it. While I don’t think the article is particularly insightful in any one way, I do cringe at some of the ideas near the end of the article. It seems that some “experts” fear that people won’t find an identity once they leave the workforce. While I agree that this is a concern, I also find it troubling. It’s almost as if people are preprogrammed robots that, once they stop doing what they were programmed to do, have no other purpose in life. I find that a shame when people actually believe in that.
Is This an Efficient Market?
Although a UK perspective, this post discusses the recent moves in oil as to how it relates the efficiency of the market. I’ve long since decided that there’s no way the market can be truly efficient. I need to look no further than 6% or 7% swings in major companies from day to day, as if these companies are worth billions of dollars more or less after absolutely no changes in the underlying businesses.
Former NBA star Antoine Walker: Life after losing $110 million
Think the whole belief in “It’s not what you make, but what you keep” is bunk? Think again. I’ve said it many times before, but it deserves repeating. What you save, not what you make, will determine your odds of achieving financial independence. Saving more is more efficient than earning more and your savings rate will also be more important than your investment returns when your asset accumulation phase is a decade or less.
My 2015 Goals
It’s that time of year! Bert put together some really great and unique goals. I’m looking forward to putting together my short but focused list over the coming weeks.
Where to put your cash? A house or a stock
I’m a lifelong and loyal renter, but there’s a method behind my madness (there always is).
The real S&P composite has increased 12.2-fold from January 1890 to December 2014, or 2.03 percent per year, much less than most people would have guessed. Most of the real return in the stock market over the last century has come from dividends, not real capital gains,” said Shiller. “Home prices have increased only 1.5-fold, or only 33 basis points a year. Essentially, home price capital gains overall have amounted to virtually nothing.
It would perhaps be smarter, if wealth accumulation is your goal, to rent and put money in the stock market, which has historically shown much higher returns than the housing market,” said Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller at a Standard and Poor’s conference last week.
Henry put a nice review together on what seems like a great book. Although I’m not an indexer, I have a lot of respect and admiration for Jack Bogle. I particularly like this quote:
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
Another case of some sense in the mainstream media. Like I mentioned above, there appears to a shift occurring.
As folks grow older, they often stop accumulating possessions and instead start giving stuff away. You might view that as a rational strategy for those approaching the end of their life. But I view it as acquired wisdom: All those possessions start to seem like a burden that distracts from life’s pleasures.
How one homeowner bought a home with a $1,026 Down Payment
Well, maybe I spoke too soon. This is a really depressing article. I actually thought it might have been satirical at first, but sadly that wasn’t the case. This kind of stuff is part of what got us into a financial mess less than 10 years ago.
Full Disclosure: Long WFC.
Thanks for reading.
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