Friday, September 17, 2021
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Pretty much sums up how I'm feeling as I type....
Yesterday evening I had the 5G chip implant blow dart/injection to the arm aka Covid vaccine numero uno.
So yeah feeling mightily second hand right now.
All for the greater good though right? The greeeaaaatttterrrr goooood (Cue the village scene in the Hot Fuzz film)
Given we're in England we get none of the whole zero side effect spoilt USA champagne on the lawn Pfizer/Moderna/JNJ variants. Nooooo we get the free one, the Payless Shoe Store equivalence. But it's free so, y'know, suck it up buttercup.
We have the AstraZeneca veritable side-effect salad 5G chip blow dart variant so that we spend a couple of days trying to normalize an existence when you feel like you've been hit by a train/morning after spending the evening consuming numerous inexpensive and vastly different alcoholic beverages.
Then I go back and repeat process in July for the second one. If at first they don't succeed....they get a second chance to see you off. Joking..joking....joking.
Not complaining at all...honestly. I understand what's going on in India and how lucky and privileged I am to even have a vaccine when numerous folks the world over are not so fortunate.
To be fair I didn't have much time for the MSM tinfoil hat fear angles, while I was at the vaccination clinic and they're getting into the bones of the whole blood clotting explanation my inner impatient Dividend Nomad was chomping at the bit "yeah yeah yeah, let's get this done so we can get out traveling again"
In fact I can just as easily picture my epitaph reading the same statement "but he just wanted to travel again..."
Anyways, back to business.
The last of the soil mountain is currently stacked up in the corner of the yard but I'm going to the dump today even in my present heavily weakened state (I booked it, I'm going!)
Friday we have delivery booked for a tonne of aggregate so that I can get on with the patio and path.
For the past week we have been bleaching and painting the fence in a Masala Curry light orangy brown which I'm confidently informed will "calm down" in the fullness of time.
Then next week we should be good for laying turf and our little garden oasis is pretty much complete and ready for an enjoyable summer.
Also replaced rotten wood and re-painted the shed brown and moved it along half a meter to the left to facilitate relocating the dryer to it's own little room which just needs power running to it now:-
Recent work has not been without it's grisly injury though..
For the longest time maybe we've been tempting fate such that a resetting of the old "0 days without an accident" sign was somewhat an inevitable really. I'm way too periodically clumsy for it to be any other way.
Really made up for lost time though, darn nearly sliced my thumb off via the following butchering device (Jigsaw from the Saw films would have been proud) :-
It was one of those moments where since you haven't been injured for years the shock really hits you pretty quickly. Cold sweat, sitting out the hard pain, sleepy feeling....repeat until gauze and tape can be found and attempts made to stop the bleeding. I think it hurt more because it went right through the thumbnail then carried on cutting. Fkkkk!! AAAAARRRRGGHHH!!
How did it happen? Well..I was cutting away a rotten fence post that had been screwed to the fencing panel from the inside of the latter so the screws were inaccessible. (if that makes any sense) Had no choice but to hack the post down in sections using my friend the now infamous "bastard" saw and unscrewing it by rotating each sawed section manually to free it. It was only on the very last lowest section that bastard saw worked his way through my thumb.
Sooo close, nearly got away with it.
Anyways new post is now concreted in (mid pic) and we're good to finish off the fence all the way to the wall. Then we won't have to see the neighbors gas bottles and assorted clutter as we enter the garden..
Hopefully by next post we can show pics of the completed back garden!!
Didn't make any trades this week, most of the portfolio has seen an insane run-up, particularly Northrop (NOC) which is constantly proving itself King of the Quality Dividend stocks with monster earnings. But on the subject of "other dividends" we now have allocated parking and electric gates added to the Southport rental property. Very swish. Hope the tenants welcome the new additions.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
I can honestly say I've had what might be called a notable phase change in the last 2 weeks, in particular I'm referring to my mental state.
It feels like a downshift has happened.
Since we're about 2 months away from the 1 year anniversary of my last employment finish date it looks to me like it takes this old body a total of 10 months to uncoil from the stress and rigors of full time employment.
Hmm interesting statistic....well....it is to me anyways.
So how have I been feeling up until now then? Well doctor I didn't know it but by comparison I still think I was stressed to some extent for that period. In fact I know that for a fact. Not stressed in the conventional sense of the word where you're out and out fight or flight but some half way house between there and my recent chilled out state.
Stress basically seemed to come in waves, ups and downs depending on the situation. It was worse when in employment and under the gun to get a job finished but post-employment I was still feeling it in the stomach if there was any drama items in my life.
Now though? Well don't seem to mind even what could previously have been deemed one of the heaviest of stressful items.
Case in point..last week I logged into the UK Inland Revenue Self Assessment site to register for this year since I'm back to being tax resident here, only to discover I had a 100 GBP fine with interest penalties accruing since I hadn't filed for last year.
What the fk?!? Sht!!Fk!! Then headless chicken routine..
Well that would have been my usual response in work time conditions since my BS levels would already have been off the charts before any news. Now it produced a little bit of a rush and then I got on the phone to someone up in Newcastle and it was dealt with straight away, the fine is now gone. I was US resident for last tax year but I needed to tell them that since they apparently aren't mind readers. Who would have thought?
Point is it was only really that instance that showed me that I'd turned a corner on the whole uncoiling deal, coping with the curveball crap life sometime throws up was a lot more straightforward and relaxed.
Looking at history I'd say the roughly 10 months uncoiling was about right for my previous incarnation too, the Dividend Nomad years. That time I finished in December 2017 and started to feel this phase shift to a kind of cruising altitude when we were in Cyprus which was about October 2018. From there on I felt this same relaxed feeling.
10 months again..
So yeah it looks like based on my limited experience in this area that's it.
Like I say good to know. i.e. if I ever take a stressful job it takes me exactly 10 months to climb down off the ledge and stop experiencing underlying stress.
No idea if this is the case for everyone out there, we humans may work differently from a biological perspective after all. I know some folks retired years who are just highly strung by nature and fly off the handle for no good reason.
Anyways, psychology case study complete for now.
From a trading perspective I also did something I've never done before.
I sold some Williams Sonoma (WSM) exactly half of it in fact at the $180 price. No dividend cut, no bad earnings, quite the opposite in fact.
Reason being the valuation was sitting insanely in the green after it was bought in the depths of March 2020. To clarify I didn't sell out of it I was just taking a little off the table and redeployed it in adding to the existing position in British American Tobacco (BTI) at about $38.
I still am a believer in WSM, now as much as ever but I just sometimes don't like doing nothing when it looks like a company is heavily overbought and I can use the proceeds for another stock that can be set to work boosting our dividend income a little.
Did the same in the Roth account but that time used some WSM proceeds to buy AGNCP which is a mortgage REIT Preferred with a roughly 6.4% yield.
Finally now that the work on the house is drawing to a conclusion I've been scouting around looking to maybe replace it with some kind of a side hustle. Never been a fan of the idea in the past since I've always viewed it as reversing any retirement psychological feelings. Also don't want to take something on that would undo all this newfound uncoiling good feeling, the preference would be something that would just keep my brain active.
Not rushing into that idea though since the extra income isn't really that important. Will see how it goes.
Love to all,
Thursday, March 4, 2021
To be fair with the market now back up to nosebleed levels I've not had much to say on the subject of dividend stocks in quite some time so maybe it's a good opportunity to earn my keep for a change. Not that the market for stocks is any better at the moment, prices still do look pretty high across the board so still really sitting back and receiving the dividends makes the most sense to me.
So what stirred me from my restful place?
First up was our slow, steady and (as far as I thought) old dependable position in People's Bank (PBCT) which is being bought out by M & T Bank Corporation (MTB) at a price of 0.118 per share. Looking at the math on this eventually if we did nothing would mean a 50% dividend cut in the final product since MTB is paying 2.71% versus PBCT's 3.76% bearing in mind our buy-in price.
This is not to say M&T isn't a high quality company, it most definitely is but right now or at least until we reach full conventional retirement age when the full cavalry arrives, it's still preferable to buy a little bit higher yield whilst trying to retain a high quality level.
With the resulting cash from the transaction I decided to open up a new position in Franklin Resources (BEN) which is a new name for the portfolio. Yield sits at about 4% which is more in line with the outgoing PBCT with a nice long dividend growth history from all the way back in 1982. Not too shabby.
Payout ratio is a little on the high side at 70% but bearing in mind the pandemic I'm cutting some slack on that metric as long as I can see better growth times ahead. Plenty of opportunities I think since the Franklin family of funds includes Templeton, Fiduciary Trust, Darby, Balanced Equity Management, K2 and LibertyShares brand names.
Is it as cheap as I'd like? Well it bottomed at about $16 last year so it's not too terrible a valuation increase from there at my $26 buy-in price. To be fair though the portfolio has been a little spoiled with all the March 2020 lows so we just have to re-calibrate to "real life" prices now. Those levels are basically unicorn events so it's critical to understand that when making newer purchases.
Also starting to see some movement on the redemption front on some of the Preferred's, all par for the course unfortunately. Pun intended...
Gladstone (GAIN) has just set up to replace their monthly Preferred GAINM with what is being provisionally touted as GAINN. Rather than wait around I decided to get ahead for a change and sell while we're sitting above the $25 par redemption value.
I flipped those proceeds immediately into the final of the three Preferred options for Popular Bank Inc, another monthly payer! Yay!! Since I already own BPOPM and BPOPN it now made sense to grab BPOPO, sounded a bit Biggie Smalls to me hence the title of the post.
Since it's a bank this is non-cumulative unfortunately which is a bit off-putting versus GAINM which was cumulative. (Gladstone would still be on the hook for back-payments should they ever stop paying a distribution in hard times)
The reason I like Popular though is a combination of solid earnings, low payout ratio for their common divided which I use as a metric indicator on how reliable the payments are, that and these issues are Perpetual so hopefully less prone to the regular calls like Gladstone has been. Obviously nothing is ever guaranteed but it's been feeling like we can never really rest easy on the income from Gladstone with the calls constantly being expected in this lower interest rate environment. Good for the company, not good for our income stream dependence.
Apart from that there is still their GM Motors old Austin facility that still isn't being re-used just yet, their biggest asset. Maybe just the right time to replace them with a bank. Still have GAINL though for now but we'll see how that plays out.
House-wise I've taken advantage of the mild February weather on our little island to get outdoors and start digging the foundations for the patio ready for spring. Been a good long while since we've had the luxury of a garden to work on so quite the novelty, especially after apartment living for so many years.
Finding I definitely have a soil surplus here so might have to come up with some ingenious way to get rid of some of it..
Apart from that we had the Covid pandemic land right on our doorstep! Yikes.
With having our son and his girlfriend living with us this was always a risk the delicate ecosystem so should have been expecting the "she's positive" statement at some point.
Nope. Still an insane shock.
We pretty much stood like two deer's in the headlights then proceeded to run around randomly bleaching pretty much every corner of the house in blind panic mode with our two family members restricted to their room for the 10 days.
We held our breath for our own testing but luckily they came back negative for both of us. So then just 10 days of marigolds and waiter service to the upstairs bedroom and we were all back to normal.
It's pretty strange to truly be in quarantine house-arrest style without the daily exercise and I have to be honest and say I didn't like it one bit, really missing pure unadulterated freedom now and am getting really ready for this vaccine process to get to us. Allegedly we're on for this month but it all depends on how fast this island is getting through the older folks before us.
Like I say, truly can't wait to get this whole thing behind us and get roaming the globe again. Will always appreciate the freedom and take full advantage of it from here on in.
Vietnam? Bali? Turkey? Oh for the Dividend Nomad days when we had these choices...
Long BPOPM, BPOPN, BPOPO, BEN and GAINL.
Love to all,
(Image at the top of the post is the last one taken of Biggie by photographer Barron Claiborne)
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Can imagine if Mike Tyson got into house remodeling there's a reasonable chance he might say that...well, y'know...one can only guess..
I think in my last house-related post I might have understated the whole "fix some small remaining damp issues" or words to that effect..
As myself and Mrs DD4L sat watching TV one evening she couldn't help noticing a little draught coming from around the door to the electric meter cupboard next to the sofa. I agreed we needed a little insulation around the thing, maybe some crawl space air was coming up through the floorboard gaps inside? Perhaps.
I put some insulation around the tiny gap around the door and thought nothing of it, until the next cold evening...
Yeesh it still feels cold in here even with the heating on.
Finally figured I'd get in there and put some insulation on the floor in the cupboard, kill the problem once and for all..
Got my head in there though...right in, other side of the hinge and I can see the inside of the damn front wall. WTH??
Basically I had access to the inside of the wall cavity. I could put my hand in it. Yikes!
So pretty much all the cold air inside the cavity was flowing right into the meter cupboard and into our front room. No wonder it was so damned cold.
Block of wood and a packing of caulk and it was blocked off...done. Yeah I know a bit of a bodge fix, needs bricks and mortar but it can wait for now..
Also had a strong damp smell coming from the front hallway to which Mrs DD4L responded "aah jeez you're not gonna rip the entire damn wall apart again are you?"
(Proceeds to rip the entire damn wall apart....again)
So after chiseling and smashing the plaster and wall I arrived at the source of the damp mildew smell:-
Check out this little sucker..
Basically this piece of wood had been bedded in the wall for years, if not decades most likely as part of the original Victorian house front door and then plastered over, soaking in water over the years until it got all moldy and smelly. Why had it never been just dealt with? Your guess is good as mine.
But gone it is. Good bye random piece of moldy wood your days are no more.
Then proceeded to drill holes and add damp course rods in the brickwork in a few other locations around the house and we were good to add new baseboards and plaster.
NOW it's done...
Shouldn't need to rip any entire damn walls apart anymore...
Oh and per the previous post DD4L Jr moved into our place with his girlfriend. You might remember I mentioned the boomerang deal in January. Well it happened on time and they are now living in our second bedroom.
We're about 2 weeks into this new situation and it seems to be rumbling along pretty well, his girlfriend got a night shift Carers job almost immediately so we barely ever see her. Junior hasn't had as much joy as yet though, Engineering has been hit pretty hard here as you can well imagine with a lot of projects on hold. No worries though I'm sure it will all work out when it's meant to.
Got some stock news too, which seems to be quite rare nowadays due to lofty valuations.
Sold out Gladstone Land (LANDP) Preferred and bought in...wait for it....
Gladstone Land (LANDO) Preferred.
Yeah I know not exactly what you'd call a stretch but just wanted the longer redemption date. Prices were about the same for sell versus buy and yields are pretty much the same too.
Also sold out Private prisons (GEO). It's been a long time coming and I know I should have really bailed on it sooner, I just think the new US leadership is going to spend the next few years trying it's best to decimate the private prison industry while GEO continues to gradually decimate it's dividend. I'm over the rollercoaster ride, time to move on.
So where did the proceeds get redeployed?
Well for all you investing with a conscience/non sin stock folks sorry to disappoint but I plumped up the cushions on the Altria (MO) position some more. Theory being now that Mr Trump is out of the way along with his smoking vendetta and unjustified JUUL hatred (rest of the world thinks vaping is healthier as it helps smokers wean themselves off regular ciggies.....DJT disagreed) we now have a chance to see better days.
Apart from that longer term I like to believe we'll see more widespread legalization of cannabis US-wide under the new leadership which may finally see little MO enter that market with avengeance.
Long LANDO, MO.
Love to all,
Friday, January 15, 2021
....for this post only...
Don't you just hate click bait articles....lol.
In all seriousness life is going great on this little island but sometimes when I write it doesn't quite feel authentic for anyone reading who's living in the USA and can't get a visa to move longer term or simply doesn't want to leave their family and friends behind but at the same time still wants to quit their job and live a more free existence.
There is some reality to all this too, when we exited the Savannah back at the end of 2016 we always had a thought in our heads that we would return one day and that still isn't entirely off the table. The place has a lot going for it like being allowed to drink alcohol in the street in the squares, similar to New Orleans. Also there is this other thing where you're allowed to drink alcohol in the squares.....lol.
But besides that the winters are pretty mild and there is a relaxed atmosphere that we loved there. In that respect there are some similarities between the Isle of Wight and Savannah, the driving around here is also pretty slow...
So this hypothetical situation really entails the someday reality when our rental property there becomes available once more. The current tenants bail and we catch the flight back over there to work on it or live there indefinitely or both...
First off the primary concern would be medical. This was always our major Covid concern before we exited Oklahoma back in june 2020, winding up on a ventilator and getting hit with an astronomical out of network medical bill that wiped us out. But let's assume our USA return would be in the post-Covid post-vaccine world when we're all jacked up on Astra-Zeneca's finest..(the one where they are touting it's ability to teach your body to fight off any future SARS outbreaks..yeah that's the one)
Beyond that we would be down the rabbit hole of whether we return on travel insurance or jump face first into the Affordable Care option. I would guess we would use the former first and if it looked like a longer, workable stay then default to the ACA at the next open enrollment.
So here goes with the second because I think that's more applicable:-
We live in Savannah in Chatham county, Georgia so let's survey our options based on our $24000 per year salary which has a subsidy of $943 and our monthly on a silver Caresource plan is $177 per month with $1800 deductible and dental, vision covered. No idea if this or the alternative, Ambetter is a good company though.
"Whoa hang on...$24000?? Eh?? Are you kidding me? Think you might want to throw in rehab for whatever you're smoking"
But $2000 per month is actually a realistic figure when you factor in that we have no mortgage on our place.
We bought the house for $118k, now worth about $150k if you believe the property tax and realtor folks. 3 bed 2 and a half bath townhouse. Believe me you do need those 2 and a half baths living in the Isle of Wight place with one bathroom taught us that...
The point is I still to this day believe a property for $150k is actually affordable and pay-offable to a large percentage of folks when they finally quit work. Maybe I'm being unrealistic?
So there is your first assumption...paid off mortgage or downsized from a McMansion.
So you're still free to the tune of $2000 with a roof over your head. What about the natural overheads for that roof over ones head?
So for ours we currently have all insurances, property taxes, city taxes, HOA at $325 per month. That includes hurricane insurance though since Savannah is in that world where that can be an issue in the season. Price you pay for pretty weather most of the year...
Why HOA? Well we can go back and forth if you like but you're more than welcome to the neighbor angle-grinding his 1974 Chevy in the driveway, experience taught us we like some HOA because people can be a little, well, selfish at times. Just not a crazy aggressive one about exact grass blade height etc.
Next we then have the other bills as we walk through the door on day one:-
Electricity - $50 per month.
"Eh? Isn't this Savannah that's brutally hot all summer? No way is that $50! My buddy lives in Florida and pays 5 times that"
The property is a townhouse so doesn't have windows on either side which means the blazing sun only hits front and rear. Mainly at the rear two windows since the back door is a solid. So if during the day we keep the blinds shut back there and maybe even add some blackout curtains we're good.
Also the property is slab so no heat is coming up from below either, unlike our old house on Wilmington Island which had a large crawl space and would struggle to cool all summer.
In Savannah we only really ever used ceiling fans too, the air con just wasn't on that much.
Next we've got water at $50, garbage at another $50 and internet again at $50.
This gives us a $700 per month total per month with the medical in there.
Beyond this we have groceries. This is always seemingly the big ticket item that can make or break a retirement as it can vary so wildly. I like to go worst case with $1000 per month like I did in the figures before I retired again this time around.
So in total we're looking at $1700 per month needed so far.
Beyond that there is only really the car to consider.
Toyota Corolla. Very strict on this rule too and it comes down to running costs, resale value, reliability etc.
Ideally ex-fleet rental car to be sold to CarMax on the way out the door.
Car outlay would be about $5-6000 and running costs used to be around $150 per month including gas, tags and insurance.
Puts us at around $1850, not far from our $2000 total. See? Ye of little faith...
So where does this $2000 per month come from?
Ok show me the money!!!
To cover the bills we'd be using the $675 per month from dividends in the brokerage.
To cover the groceries we'd be using all the proceeds from the Southport apartment rent which is $700.
Making up the remaining $625 we have two choices, either we rent out the current place on the Isle of Wight via Airbnb or we can leave the place empty and use the Roth and Traditional IRA dividends and just pay the 10% penalty or maybe even look into a 72t. I don't really care about paying the 10% though to be honest for however long it's needed, life is short and we never know if we'll ever even make it to full retirement age.
That last $625 could just as easily be $850 if other incidentals come up but we have to be careful not to blow the ACA subsidy by having too much income. The more income we take the more we get penalized losing the subsidy so it's definitely a high wire act.
So that's about it, I sincerely believe we could go back to the USA and live in Savannah as and when the property comes available based on the above figures.
The main reason I prefer being on the Isle of Wight though is because we only need income of $12000 to live comfortably including a small car and we can use the extra to invest and put more towards traveling the world etc. Also don't have to be too worried about the health insurance side of things like in the USA.
Ironically though as I've been writing this we've had an email from the rental agent to say the tenant wants to extend another year, that said I think the premise of this post has been pretty useful.
When we were traveling the world for Dividend Nomad we arrived at the final conclusion that it's possible to live in most places in the world for $1500 per month so it's pretty cool that the USA only needs another $500 even though we are mortgage payment free..
Good to know for future reference and hopefully this post can also inspire a future retiree.
Love to all,