Not bad. It’s a good warm-up for May’s dividends. As you can see in the graph above, last year there was a big bump in income for May. I expect it to be even higher this year. I guess it to be a little under €500.
I’m really looking forward to make May’s income report, as a couple of options are set to expire and I’m curious about the movements.
I’m mostly poised about the sold put option on AB Inbev.
Small recap: in the beginning of March I sold 1 put option on AB Inbev, strike 110, expiry date May. I received €1,158 for this action. Due to the recent jump in stock price, the stock is trading near the strike. Actually I do want to be assigned the stocks, so I’m hoping they just trade a little under 110 when the option expires. On the other hand, netting €1,158 in 2,5 months is pretty decent too (almost 12% ROIC).
Yesterday I noticed a very high activity in call option trading on AB Inbev stock. Strike price was $130 (around €118) for September ’17. In case I’m not assigned, I will probably try to sell another put option with a higher strike (preferably 115 or maybe 120 euro), expiring in September.
Now it’s just sitting back and waiting for the end of May. The French elections might still be a bummer but we’ll see how it evolves this weekend.
April has been a busy month so far. I’ve done a couple of transactions.
1. I bought 10 additional Peugeot PSA shares at a price of €17,80 each. This is a very small increase but for tactical reasons. Almost 2 years ago I bought 90 Peugeot shares, without having DGI in my mind. I’ve been holding on since then but I would like to quit the position when the stock trades a little bit higher. My objective was to own 100 shares so I am able to sell covered calls on the shares. This way I can boost the profits a little. The transaction fees of around €10 should be covered multiple times by the option premium. Even if it’s only a profit of €20-50, it’s easy money.
2. Sold naked put 1 NN P MAY 2017 28,00 for a premium of €51,55. NN Group is a Dutch based insurance and investment firm. They were trading at a price of €28,85 at the moment of writing but I didn’t intend to buy them. I would rather keep the cash I have now. The option strikes in less than 30 days and my goal is to rack in the premium. It’s a solid company with a big dividend and good earnings. Next to this, I think NN Group did make a good deal buying Delta Lloyd.
3. Sold naked put 1 AH P MAY 2017 18,00 for a premium of €24,55. Ahold Delhaize was trading at around €18,75 when I wrote the option. Once again I don’t intend to buy them, just to rack in the premium. Nonetheless I wouldn’t mind owning them at all. Then I would just sell covered calls…
I’m just a bit short of available cash after my following buys which is why I rather keep the cash in my wallet for better opportunities. However I do like to place a little bet on the price of a stock.
4. Bought 12 shares of dividend aristocrat Johnson & Johnson. This buy was long, long overdue and a lack of them would be a stain on each DGI’s palmares. I took advantage of the small price drop after the earnings announcements last week to buy them at a price of $121,24. I should have bought them way earlier on, but hindsight is 20/20. It’s not a big position, but I’m trying to allocate my capital smartly and if the price would drop more, I’ll buy again. This will raise the net yearly dividend by $22,85. I expect them to increase the dividend soon because they already distributed the same amount for 4 quarters so the time has come.
5. Initiated a small position of 7 shares W.W. Grainger. This industrial supplier company has taken a beating since the earnings report due to lower price settings. However, the MRO market seems to have enormous potential and plenty of room for improvement. The stocks were acquired for a price of $206 each. They have a history of increasing dividends for about 45 years. This adds a net $20,33 to my yearly dividend income. I expect them to increase the dividend next quarter too.
6. Acquisition of 35 shares of chemical company LyondellBasell. However they do operate in a cyclical chemical sector, they manage to gather nice earnings and decent margins. They also buy back shares at a high rate and steady dividend increases are forecasted. For a summary of my reasons to buy the stock, I gladly refer you to LyondellBasell Analysis from The Investment Doctor on Seeking Alpha. It is worth reading. At a current dividend of $3.40/share, the net dividend addition comes in at $70,80. This stock too, is expected to raise its dividend next quarter.
7. Last but not least: in March I had already sold 1 General Mills in-the-money Put OCT 2017 strike $67,50 for a premium of $922,5. I would like to own 100 shares of GIS to grow my dividend portfolio. Because the price dropped even further, I wrote another one but out-the-money this time. 1 General Mills Put OCT 2017 strike $55,00 was sold for $202,5. I don’t expect the stock to go lower than $55 and the premium can decrease my average costs on the first put option when exercised.
I don’t have all the cash available right now if all options would be exercised. However, I will make sure the money will be available when the strike comes close.
Bonus: Unilever recently confirmed it is raising its quarterly dividend by 12%. This means, based on my 110 stocks, an increase of €11,86 without lifting a finger. Gotta love the game!
Dollar dividends converted, my future yearly dividend income should stand around €1,947.
However most people specify a certain date or year to reach FIRE, I don’t. I do have a number in my mind but I don’t focus myself on it. The journey towards FIRE should be enjoyed and many obstacles will cross the path. In my case, it doesn’t make much sense to fix a certain FIRE date. In my current stage of life and the coming years, my whole life will (or should) be determined. Will I have a partner, kids, a real estate property with mortgage,…? Who knows… The future is too uncertain for me to just toss a date on FIRE. The parameters can vary heavily.
A thing with a fixed FIRE date is, what are you going to do when you hit the date but not reach FIRE? Are you gonna be unhappy? All the years of investing didn’t pay off eventually? Was it one big lie? Is living on lower standards an option to yet reach FIRE? No, it’s nothing more than a long-term guideline which adapts accordingly to one’s life in my opinion. FIRE isn’t the ultimate goal, happiness is.
Now let’s satisfy the number craving people:
At 01/01/2021, I will be 25 years old. I want my net worth to reach €250,000 or receive €5,750 in yearly dividends. The reasons I write this as an ‘or’-goal are the following: I can’t forecast stock market movements neither dividend increases. The date gives me a little under 3 years and 9 months to reach the goal.
I don’t think of FIRE as a one-lap sprint. To me it’s more interesting to set temporary milestones along the way to keep motivation high on the mid-term. This way it doesn’t seem like forever to get along with the process.
Finally got the paycheck raise! I was already promoted in Q3 2016 but had to wait untill this month to see it on my bank account. I got a €151 raise so my job income stands around €1,732 right now. Thanks to the retributions of the past months and promotion bonus, job income in march stand at €3,764.
I didn’t plan to sell Veolia, as this was an experiment in the fiscal benefits of turbo’s. However, markets were turning a bit the wrong way for my put option in General Mills. I needed to secure some cash in case the option was exercised. I had expected my bonus to arrive in February but it didn’t so I had to secure my cash position temporarily (2 weeks). Too bad for the experiment, but the position managed to make a 15% profit in 1 month. Can’t complain.
March income: €4523,51
Best monthly income ever. In normal circumstances, it would take me a little over 2 months to earn this amount of cash.
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot for quite a while. Being a single guy turning 22 in a couple of months and having family members constantly asking me ‘Don’t you have a girlfriend yet?’, one can start asking the questions of life.
During a FIRE-meetup last year I already talked about the topic of (frugal) girls with financialfreedomsloth. Some weeks ago, I stumbled upon a forum with discussions about marriage and financial arrangements. Long story short: often men got bashed for their financial ‘behaviour’ in marriage by women and very few people had any financial knowledge or knew how money works.
Some subjects that repeatedly saw the light:
Every euro/dollar you make in marriage, should be on a mutual bank account. No matter how much your partner makes. In case of divorce, you split 50/50.
Everything you have before marriage, becomes property of both partners in marriage (for instance a house).
An argument for the 2nd bullet was the following: if they divorce, one partner would have nothing (although the owner had to pay all the bills for the house and the not-owner could save up??).
From a different view, if one partner is ‘rich’ and the other ‘poor’, then how does the ‘rich’ one know for sure money is not the reason for a marriage?
I can keep on going, but these were the main thoughts.
I think it’s easier to come to an arrangement if you found out about FIRE together. Both partners know the value of money and investments so there’s no leak in one’s hand.
But, still, there is always the possibility things go wrong. Did you take any measures as a couple or as an individual in case you break up? Any marriage clausules?
Very often my young age is an advantage, but not in this domain. Rowing against the flow of luxurious parties and money-flush events, I make offers in a financial way. Let me illustrate this: a lot of my friends go out to eat in restaurants a couple of times a week. I love doing this too, but not 3 times a week. First of all, it is expensive (ranging from €10 – €30 each time) and secondly, it would become too mainstream so it would bring less joy when I actually do go. This implies a small part of social isolation, but luckily enough I make this up in other domains. ‘Normal’ students don’t go out to eat 3x a week either…
My hobbies are either free or cheap. I don’t have expensive horses to take care for or like to get €80 haircuts + €60 manicures. Everyone chooses his own lifestyle of course…
On the other hand, I like owning things. I really really do. I simply love it. It aren’t really materialistic things like brand watches or design furniture, but stocks. I adore the idea of being owner of a business. Knowing more than 2 million people get out of their beds everyday to work for my cause makes me feel like a king. At this very moment I’m looking at a box of Nesquik and realizing I own shares of the company (Nestlé). It’s an awesome feeling. Knowing that you contributed in a financial way by buying stocks and knowing that you will (hopefully) be rewarded with value creation in the long run. Enjoying a drink in a bar and seeing someone having a Stella Artois, makes me smile. “Yeah bro, that’s “my” company providing the beer!”
If I would tell this to most of my friends, they wouldn’t understand shit. That’s ok. It just turns out that my passion for stocks is a profitable one.
Now, this turns into a small problem… To buy stocks, you need money. It’s pretty hard to manage a portfolio with a partner who you have to explain everything and convince. It’s either my way or no way. I’m only this stubborn concerning stocks and portfolio management. Don’t worry, I do know how to compromise in other subjects. (Tip: glasses of wine can help)
Now the biggest issue: buying a house with your partner. To buy a house, you need tons of money (especially in Belgium, expensive as fuck). This would imply selling stocks because I won’t buy much with €800 cash (additional possibility is the €22k piggy bank). It’s impossible to estimate the net worth of a future partner, but I guess I’m a bit unique in my investing habit and net worth age-wise. I’m a bit afraid any partner would like to use all available money to buy a house. This would mean an unequal share in the invested capital in a house. Having a job in which percentages of divorce are pretty high, I don’t want to take any risks.
For this reason, I need some opinions. I never told any girlfriend any exact numbers, but I did say I invested in stocks. Would you rather not even do this? I was thinking about not even telling anything at all and just count the cash + piggy bank as available capital. It feels a bit like lying. Unfortunately, it would also be awkward after a couple of years announcing you can FIRE. “Hey honey, I’ve got enough dividends to live off. Enjoy work today!”
Another point why I don’t want to converse my stocks into cash for a house: low mortgage intrest rates. At current rates of +- 2%, I do make a hell of a lot more even with very safe high risk/reward options (5-6%). Opportunity cost > mortgage cost –> maximize mortgage to maximize gains. Good luck explaining this.
Anyways, so far my questions/doubts/views on the matter.
What about you and do you have any financial arrangements?
Let’s have a look at what the beginning of 2017 brought me in dividends.
– National Grid: €36.48
– Solvay: €66.53
– Wal-Mart: $11.30
– Altria Group: $5.45
– Walt Disney: $6.50
– Verizon Communications: $13.74
This adds up to a total of €137.90 (used conversion rate: 1,06 USD = 1 Euro) for January & February.
It’s not bad, although February was a pretty poor month dividend-wise. January exceeded the €100-mark by a distance, which is nice to see.
Smallbonus: the government paid me an extra €112 above my normal wage for a 2-week manoeuvres abroad, to cover the small expenses. I barely had any, so just nod and smile. Of course this will integrally go towards the portfolio.
I regret not buying more Altria Group & Disney when I took positions. Both positions are rather small compared to the other stocks in my portfolio, yet I have high expectations of them for the future.
Now, let’s take a look at the net worth.
Stocks & Investment Cash: €89,000
Pension funds (stocks+bonds): €4,700
Mortgage Insurance: €3,000
Cash savings @ bank : €800
Piggy bank (cash from parents untill I turn 24): €22,000
–> Total net worth: €127,700
Excluding the piggy bank (which is not available yet, but on my name), my net worth stands at €105,700. This means I’m well on my way to reach my 2017 goal of amassing €125,000.
The last months have been very profitable on the stock market, which boosted the portfolio value.
Note: I didn’t add the value of my car, laptop, phone or any other valuable liabilities. It doesn’t seem interesting to me, because they are not assets. Honestly I don’t give a damn if someone would pay €6,000 or €8,000 for my car, as I’m not selling it.
I expect March to be a very profitable month, as I have been waiting for a payrise and retributions on the difference (even maybe a small promotion bonus, not sure about that one). I will probably pay my August holiday with the retributions, this way the investment ratio stays about the same.
Although I try to diversify my portfolio in different sectors, consumer staples have my preference by a distance. This for a couple of reasons;
They are more easy to understand and to forecast in my opinion. In general, earnings are pretty stable and tend to go up over time. The sustainability of the business is more easy to predict. I guess those are a couple of the reasons why consumer staples companies tend to trade at higher valuations than other stocks.
They give me peace at mind. Knowing every day millions or even billions of people are using “my” products keeps worries at bay. It makes me sleep like a baby at night. Every time I see people smoking Marlboro, spraying Axe, eating Ben & Jerry’s or drinking Budweiser, I smile a little. Good or bad times, consumer products will be in demand.
Maybe one of the reasons I like them is because of my own cost-cutting mindset. I don’t spend much (or even any) money on stuff I don’t need. First of all because it’s always in my way, second because I simply can’t cut costs on hygiene, food or drinks. If your paycheck would decrease 10% tomorrow, would you stop drinking Coke or stop showering? I hope not.
Last week I was checking out General Mills’ website. They have been paying a dividend for 117 consecutive years. This is simply lit. I can’t imagine much companies in other sectors being able to show a comparable dividend track record. What’s not to love about this? Your grandgrandchildren will be grateful for this.
However I tend to follow a buy-and-hold strategy, I try not to follow Mr. Markets irrational market behavior. Around 2 weeks ago, my shares in Melexis surged pretty high. They had already been going higher the last months, but due to the results they presented, they went pretty damn high. I sold the entire stake.
Why? Melexis is a Belgian based company which manufactures semi-conductors, sensors and smart systems, mostly for the car industry. I do think this business will appreciate over time because of the growing smart components in cars but I wasn’t convinced the share price reflected both current and future prospects.
Over 1.5 year, I made a profit of around 80% (dividends included) from the position. When I first bought them, they were trading around P/E 18. This seemed acceptable for the growing company. Nowadays they trade around a forward P/E of 30. Fact is, they are extremely vulnerable to the car industry. Remember the Volkswagen scandal, the slowing down Chinese demand and all of that? The stock took hits back then. However Melexis is a profitable company with a good looking future, I didn’t feel comfortable anymore holding the stock any longer at those levels. All analyst reports have one thing in common: way too expecting. They expect everything to go higher, profits, margins, demand, industry… The market is greedy. When sales slow a bit down or bad news comes in, I expect the shares to plunge.
Because I still like the company itself, I’m waiting for a correction in share price before I would initiate a position again. The sale added €4,500 to my cash reserves, which are around €15,000 right now. I’ll just sit on my cash or do short-term option writing.
Since Trump became President, markets have gone up in general. It’s been hard to identify fairly or undervalued dividend stock to add to my portfolio.
Nonetheless, I made 2 buys in 2017.
My first buy was 60 shares of Novo Nordisk, the insulin-maker. They had taken a hit after their lowered forecasts for the coming years (but still pretty good in my opinion). This cost me €1,990 and should add at least €30 to my annual dividend income.
Next, I decided to buy 200 turbo’s of Veolia Environment company (200 Veolia Environment BNP turbo long 7.1) for a total of €1,744. The company operates mainly in water & waste management and a small part in energy. This is the first time I bought into turbo’s. I used a low-finance level to keep debt costs under control. I did this for 2 main reasons.
First of all, shares were trading at 52-week lows and at P/E of only 14. The company has been going through changes and has been working hard at reducing debt. They are at an acceptable debt level and have good future prospects in my opinion. They pay a fat dividend while the payout ratio is around 75%.
Second, and most important, tax reasons. !Important for Belgian investors! As the Belgian government likes to steal 30% of our precious dividend, I tried to outsmart them. Few people know this, but turbo’s are very interesting tax-wise. Why?
It’s all about the structure of a turbo. When you buy a turbo (or speeder, sprinter, whatever), you don’t actually own the stock. The bank that helps funding you to buy the stock, owns the stock. At first sight this isn’t appealing, yet it is. For this reason, dividend payments are made on the account of the bank. Banks receive a privileged treatment of the government. They don’t pay as much taxes on dividends as we do. Afterwards, the bank subtracts the received dividend from the finance level, thus raising the value of your turbo by the dividend. This is particularly attractive for stocks on the AEX, CAC40 or DAX because Belgians need to pay double taxes.
Concerning the Veolia stock, which is traded on the French CAC, I should normally pay 30% to the French government and 30% to the Belgian government. This leaves me with only 49% of the dividend. Sad reality.
Due to my choice for turbo’s, I will receive at least 85% of the dividend. The general rule goes as follows: if the bank has it’s HQ in a particular country; it doesn’t pay any taxes on the dividend. If it is not, there might exist a special treatment for it. For instance, only paying 15%. In my case it is unclear. I bought it on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange from BNP Paribas, however BNP Paribas is basically French, I think I will end up losing 15% because of the Amsterdam thing. Nonetheless this is 36% better than the original arrangement. If Belgians want a 100% dividend, they can opt for Unilever shares (NL based) on the Amsterdam exchange from example ING (NL based too), this way you don’t pay any taxes on your dividends.
I understand the concern about turbo’s, if it drops too much, you’re forced selling. However, I picked a low-finance level. Initial share price was €15,21 and my stop-loss is at €7,10. If it would hit that level, I guess I would be fucked eitherway. Risk/reward an excellent choice.
What about the debt costs, I hear you asking? The current intrest rate of debt on turbo’s issued by BNP Paribas stands around 2%. Knowing that I borrowed €1,318, this will cost me €26,36 after 1 year. Assuming worst case I get 85% of the dividend, I receive €0,80 dividend x 0,85 x 200 turbo’s = €136,00. Ok I won’t see it on my bank account, but the share of the bank in my turbo will decrease which appreciates my valuation by the same amount.
Without the turbo mechanism, I would have been able to buy around 115 shares. €0,80 x 0,49 x 115 shares = €45,08
This makes a difference of €90,92 on the same invested capital! It looks more like capitalization than dividend distribution to me. Doesn’t matter, as long as I get it.
When I was young, I didn’t ask much questions concerning work life. The average Belgian guy goes to school, learns a profession or goes to university and starts his career. At the age of 60-something, you retire and enjoy life. Along the way, most people start a family, buy a house and do some travelling or other entertainment. It’s what we are indoctrinated at home and learn at school. There’s just no other way to live.
Concerning me, coming from a normal middle-class family, I never thought it could be any different. Study well, get a nice degree with a decent income and save for a house. Tralalala, boring. Working for 45 years, enjoy your last “good” years and then become a needy, old grandpa. Would you sign up for this kind of life?
That was until I got to know the concept of FIRE. At the first glance, I was amazed about the possibilities of early retirement. The power of compounding interest, especially at an early age, is endless. I didn’t need much persuasion, I was immediately a strong supporter of the DGI strategy. I added a bit of value investing myself (based on Graham, Buffett), to prevent me from overpaying and only pay a price that I am happy to pay. The strategy became real.
But now, why do we work? For the money, at least the majority of the people. We sell our skills and time, and in return we ask money. The money is used to cover our cost of living, going from the bare need expenses to outrageous luxury. Over the years, our standards have become higher, we always want more. If we don’t, we don’t consider ourselves happy. It’s not only about security, safety or survival anymore. Spending becomes some kind of social status, a competition we don’t like losing.
Money has never been the ultimate goal to me, although it is the currency used to reach the ultimate goal: freedom and fulfillment. The freedom to choose what paths you walk in life, the freedom of not having to work a boring job to cover your yearly expenses, the freedom of choice. It’s something I heavily lack right now. My life is tight scheduled and doesn’t have much room for own input. This should better in 1-1,5 years, but that’s another subject.
Fullfillment on the other hand, is something that continues on the path of freedom according to me. Once we have freedom, we can start working at our inner fullfillment. To me, fullfillment comes from accomplishing your personal goals, the things that really interest you. Whether they are work or non-work related, doesn’t matter. By selling your time on a daily basis to your employer, we accept the opportunity cost of not being able to invest the time in something that really matters to us. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t say people should hate work. Ideally, our job is our hobby.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most people. I would for instance love to have my own investment vehicle and own a couple of businesses, but this is not the case. A) I don’t have enough money and B) I lack knowledge.
I would also love to learn spanish, travel the world, shake the hand of Buffett himself, visit companies all over the world, obtain a helicopter pilot certificate… which isn’t possible right now due to lack in time and money.
When I chose the way I would go, I admit money was a big factor. It has given me financial success, reaching €100k at age 21. It has also given me frustration, lack of me-time, opportunity cost of learning other things, social compromises… Eventually, everybody has his own ups and downs in the job, as long as the end-balance is positive, we shouldn’t regret anything. I chose to give up a couple of years of my life living a life other people don’t want, in order to live the rest of my life as other people can’t.
This whole money thing seems pretty obvious, although I don’t like the psychological factor of it. Being an employee, we only make the business owners wealthier or better long-term. I have always preferred ‘owning’ things, and this isn’t different with businesses. Ideally, other people work for you. Many people choose the life as employee out of fear, the fear of not succeeding themselves or the fear of not having an income. I’d rather take the shot, blame myself for failure and keep trying. I prefer the fast lane as ERE formulates it.
Then why did I decide to go with the army? While money was a factor, there was another big one too. Personal development & leaderskills. The formation I follow, prepares me to be a platoon commander. Child language: I am supposed to manage 30-50 people. This managing task isn’t only in good circumstances, but also in more risky situations (some life threatening even, if we take it into the extreme). Having the opportunity to manage that amount of people at my age, is a gift. In my view, if one can manage people in shitty situations, good situations should be a walk in the park. Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich dad poor dad, joined the army for the exact same reason. I only figured out this one lately. Did you know that Alex Gorsky (CEO of Johnson&Johnson) graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point? (This is an Officer formation). He spent six years in the United States Army, finishing his career with the rank of captain and earning the Ranger tab and Airborne wings. He served in Europe, the United States, and Panama.(source: wikipedia) Point is, even though life sucks sometimes (ok, pretty often), I should come out a better version of myself. These skills taught are hard to find through other instances/companies… and I am sure they will prove usefull in later life. I want to keep on learning and investing in myself.
Have you ever made similar decisions? Did you ever choose to walk down a path which can only bare fruits in the long-term?