It’s hot, humid, and extremely rainy down here in SW Florida in the summer. And that sure makes it easy to save money. Who wants to spend the day outside and spend any money when it feels like you’re going to melt?
Of course, we generally get about seven months of absolutely gorgeous weather from October to April which more than makes up for the hot summers. And it’s 90 degrees right now in Boise, Idaho (same as here), but they also have to deal with ice, snow, and cold in the winter.
But we are going to brave the temps and go downtown a little later this evening. There’s this great Thai spot that serves up some amazing stuff. And then we’ll probably grab a coffee and chat for a few hours. Not the cheapest way to spend a Saturday night, but also not the most expensive. It’s really just a matter of getting a good value for your money, not going overboard with it, and maximizing happiness.
In other news, I just today received my first royalty payment from my book, which is incredible. Really looking forward to sharing what that looks like and maybe even writing a post on my experience with writing a book and everything else that went into it. I have to thank everyone out there that purchased a copy and/or spread the word on it. It was purposely priced low so that as many people as possible could buy it and hopefully benefit from the content. Like I’ve said many times now, it’s not going to radically change my life in terms of how much money I’ll make from it. But if it can change even one life out there for the better, that’s a huge win for me.
There are two more posts coming for this month. And they’ll both be about stock purchases I made with the money I received from the Lorillard Inc. (LO) acquisition by Reynolds American, Inc. (RAI). Keep an eye out for those posts.
I’m also very excited to get some great content out in July. I want to review my goals for the year, update the dividend growth numbers, and cover a few new topics that have long been on my mind. Another really busy month ahead. In addition, July’s net savings rate is shaping up to be one of the best in years. Life is very good and I’m so fortunate. I sincerely appreciate all of your support out there and I continue to put out the best content I can.
In that regard, I’m including a collection of great articles I’ve come across recently. Hope you all enjoy the articles and have a great weekend!
These 34 Dividend Growth Stocks Go Ex-Dividend Next Week
A little self-promotion, but only because I think there’s a lot of value here. This post includes 34 stocks that go ex-dividend next week. And every single stock you see listed here is culled from David Fish’s Dividend Champions, Contenders, and Challengers list. The ex-dividend date is basically a cutoff date – it separates the haves from the have nots. If you want to collect the next scheduled dividend from any stock, you’ll have to own or buy that stock at least one business day before the ex-dividend date.
Take a Spin on the Wealthometer!
J. Money shared a fun post here. Plug your numbers in and you might be surprised at just how far ahead of the average you are. I came up in position #66 which while solid is somewhat low because there are three members of our household (I’m including Claudia’s son). Take a spin!
Special Report: The war on big food
Fortune has been putting out some great stuff lately. This article is especially relevant to many of us dividend growth investors that invest in food companies. I recently invested in Hershey Co. (HSY), and I found this exchange with Will Papa, head of Hershey’s global R&D, really interesting:
This relatively new notion that a treat—which by definition is something that gives pleasure—should also be good for you, coincides with what Papa calls the “unreasonable consumer.” Explains Papa, who spent close to 30 years at P&G before coming to Hershey: “It used to be I could have great cellphone coverage and pay a premium for it, or I could have slightly lesser coverage and get a deal,” he says. “Now consumers want great cellphone coverage all the time and the deal. Because they’re getting it many places, they now expect it everywhere.” Translation: If we’re going to eat something bad for us, we want to know it’s the best kind of bad we can get.
PepsiCo’s CEO was right. Now what?
Keeping with the food theme, Fortune covered PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) and some of the challenges facing the beverage and snack food company. Another great exchange here:
So while Nooyi was right to anticipate the health trend, her fun/better/good distinction may no longer make sense. For example, the company once viewed Diet Pepsi as “better for you”; few would agree with that opinion today. Nooyi herself was astounded by a recent encounter with a $9 bag of fried kale chips, which she called a “fat bomb.” “The consumer has turned the definition [of healthy] upside down,” she says. “If it is non-GMO, natural, or organic, but high in sodium and high in sugar and fat, it’s okay.”
The railroad with better profit margins than Google
Fortune also took some time recently to cover Union Pacific Corporation(UNP), which just so happens to be another company I’m buying a stake in. This is a great read if you’re a UNP stakeholder or just interested in the company and/or railroads in general. Check this out:
The railroad’s superior strength in Mexico isn’t lost on Buffett. During his presentation alongside Berkshire vice chairman Charlie Munger at the company’s annual meeting in April, Buffett remarked, “Union Pacific’s rail network is much better positioned for Mexico than BNSF.” Buffett might have picked the wrong railroad to buy, but he knows a great business when he sees it.
Union Pacific: A Good Bet for the Long Haul
Morningstar also recently covered Union Pacific, which is another great piece. In addition, Morningstar recently discussed why railroads in general have incredible competitive advantages.
Investment Plan Island Interview with…. Jason from Dividend Mantra!
Jason from Islands of Investing took some time out of his day to interview me. Really appreciate this opportunity and I enjoyed answering some great questions. No surprises here for anyone that’s been following me for a while now, but it was interesting to think about what would happen if the market were to absolutely tank all of the sudden.
JC picked up some shares in Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM). I wouldn’t mind a chance to average down on XOM at some point here, but it’s trading not far below my cost basis. I initiated my position in the company at $86/share when oil was about $100/barrel. So I find shares less attractive now at $84/share with oil at $60/barrel. Nonetheless, XOM is one of the premier companies in O&G.
Adding CVX To My Portfolio
Dividend Dreams made a similar move by buying up stock in Chevron Corporation (CVX) recently. Another great O&G play here. Similar situation to the one above, it’s trading not far below my cost basis. And that cost basis was locked in when oil was a lot higher. But a great long-term play if you’re looking for long-term energy exposure.
Recent Buy – Bank of Nova Scotia
Roadmap 2 Retire decided to add to his Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) position. I continue to like the Canadian banks here. Solid valuations, high yields, and a very favorable competitive environment.
Recent Buy: June 17th, 2015
Ryan initiated a position in T. Rowe Price Group Inc. (TROW) not long after I added to my own position. Great company with excellent fundamentals across the board. The stock could prove volatile if the market severely corrects, but short-term volatility is just a long-term opportunity, in my view.
Recent Buy – Boeing (BA)
American Dividend Dream decided to pick up shares in Boeing Co. (BA) with cash from the LO acquisition. Not a bad play at all. BA has performed exceptionally well over the last few years.
What version of the “truth” do you believe?
Steve wrote a great piece on finding your own truth/belief system. Everyone thinks they have the right solution for problems, but the reality is that truths can be highly subjective. And they can change over time. Don’t be afraid to discover new truths and ways to think about life and happiness. Attempting to rigidly quantify everything in life and then sticking to that rigidity might not be in your best interest.
Coca-Cola’s 20 Billion Dollar Brands & Future Growth
Ben went over Coca-Cola’s 20 different billion-dollar brands, future growth potential, and the valuation of The Coca-Cola Co. (KO) shares right now. Although this is still primarily a carbonated soft drink company, they have incredible diversification both in terms of the beverages they offer and the geographies in which they operate and sell those beverages. I remain a very long-term shareholder here.
Why I Gave Up a $95,000 Job to Move to an Island and Scoop Ice Cream
Not quite sure how I even ran into this article (I promise I’m not a regular reader of Cosmopolitan), but it’s a great piece. I love it when people decide to shift gears and live a new lifetime. And Noelle decided to let a journalist lifetime in New York die to live a new lifetime of living a more leisurely and enjoyable lifetime in the Virgin Islands. Even better, she may be living a totally new lifetime in a few years, as she alludes to. Inspiring stuff. Reminds me a little bit of letting my lifetime of being a full-time service advisor die off only to be reborn as a blogger/writer. Except the whole tropical island thing. But I already live in Florida (after moving here years ago in similar fashion to the author), so that counts a little.
I Quit My Job and Built a Tiny House so I Could Travel
Another person pursuing a totally new and different lifetime, this is a pretty interesting story. Not sure of all the economics involved, but those tiny houses sure can pack a lot of punch in a small space. I continue to be surprised at just how robust and beautiful they can be.
This Unique Fund Has Beaten the Market for 40 Years
Looking for proof that buy-and-hold investing works if you stick with it for the long term? Here you go.
The one lesson about Warren Buffett’s success that no one wants to hear
DGI is correct in that Buffett has worked incredibly hard all his life to be in the position he now enjoys. Of course, Buffett doesn’t really view it as work (I probably wouldn’t, either) – he says he “tap dances to work”. Now, maybe Buffett wouldn’t be the multibillionaire he is today without the structure of the early partnerships or the insurance float he’s enjoyed. But there’s no doubt he was destined to be incredibly successful and wealthy, regardless. Work hard, live below your means, and invest intelligently and you almost can’t lose. It’s a formula that almost anyone can copy and do well with. Besides, nobody needs billions of dollars to be successful and/or happy.
What Do Bodybuilding And Investing Have In Common?
Zero to Zeros made a really interesting and apt comparison between bodybuilding and investing. And they have a lot in common. I actually speak from some experience here as I was a competitive bodybuilder in my teens and won a state championship in Michigan way back in the late 90s. One needs to stay patient, consistent, and persistent, whether it’s in the name of building muscle or building wealth. I would say that they have one major difference in that if you quit working out, your muscles will disappear somewhat; quit investing new money and your current investments will very likely still continue to grow over time. So I do like the fact that money doesn’t atrophy like muscles!
Full Disclosure: Long RAI, HSY, PEP, UNP, XOM, CVX, BNS, TROW, and KO.
Thanks for reading.
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