Monthly Investing Recaps: March 2014

At the start of each month I plan on detailing all my buy/sell activity for each of my 3 individual stock portfolios: Loyal3, Roth IRA, and Taxable Brokerage accounts. It’s just one way I am chronicling my journey to financial independence here at Starting From Zero.

In addition to these 3 accounts, I also started investing in my Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) again this month to help put more of my money in tax advantaged accounts. Right now I’m contributing 4% of my base pay but may adjust this in the future. The majority of my investing will still be in my taxable and Roth accounts. The TSP is basically a 401k plan for federal employees including the military. It only offers index funds but does have probably the lowest expense ratios around, even lower than Vanguard. 😉 Right now I’m putting my contributions in the C Fund which mirrors the S&P 500 and the S Fund which is a small cap index fund. Since these deposits typically take a while to reach my account, I won’t be detailing those transactions here but will now be including a total on my portfolio page.

I also received a surprise check from my college late in March with a tuition refund of $721.50 which was from me overpaying my tuition bill for the last 3 semesters before some of my scholarships were deposited. I knew I was getting a refund at some point but had completely forgotten about it. 🙂 I put this money to work immediately, combining it with most of the cash in my Roth to initiate a new position in Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI) which was one of the stocks on my buy list that I highlighted here.

Loyal3 Account

Buys: 03 Mar: 7.6296 shares of Coca-Cola (KO) @ $38.01 per share.

19 Mar: 2.0854 shares of Target (TGT) @ $59.94 per share.

19 Mar: 3.0985 shares of McDonald’s (MCD) @ $96.82 per share.

19 Mar: 1.297 shares of Coca-Cola (KO) @ $38.55 per share.

Quick Hits: Similar to last month as I continue dollar cost averaging into both Coke and Target. Looking to diversify a bit more this month I added McDonald’s, a dividend champion with 38 years of dividend growth. With a P/E of 17, I consider the stock to be fairly valued and will likely continue to add to my position in the coming months.

Roth IRA

Buys: 31 Mar: 33 shares of Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI) @ 32.13 per share.

Quick Hits: I combined some fresh capital this month with the cash I had just sitting idle in my Roth and finally pulled the trigger on KMI with the energy giant trading at an attractive valuation relative to its 52 week trading range. At current prices the stock boosts a dividend yield of 5.10% and is expected to be able to grow that dividend by 8% annually. Like all of my Roth holdings, the dividends received will be automatically reinvested. I plan on doing a full blog post on KMI here soon.

Taxable Brokerage: No buy or sell activity this month.

Overall a pretty solid month of investing. Combined all of my purchases this month added $78.62 to my projected annual dividend income. With the purchase of KMI, this puts me slightly overweight in the energy sector and will most likely be my last energy pick-up for a while. (Unless of course, another bargain presents itself next month. 😉 ) With a relatively small portfolio, I’m comfortable being overweight in certain sectors or stocks (like Realty Income) at the moment knowing future additions will help balance it out in the coming years. Once I get closer to financial independence, portfolio allocation is going to become more important. Until then, I plan on continuing to add whatever stocks are trading at fair value (or below) and meet my guidelines.


Full Disclosure: I am long KO, MCD, TGT, and KMI. This post is not intended to be a buy or sell recommendation on any stock mentioned and is designed for educational/entertainment purposes only. Only you are responsible for your investing and I always encourage you to conduct your own research prior to investing. Please see my disclaimer page.

How was your March for investing? What do you think of the additions to my portfolio? Share with a comment below and thank you for reading.


  1. Yay for surprise refund checks 🙂 and kudos to you for not blowing it away as others would.

    Do you pay any trading fee? It appears that you dont since you are buying small number of shares in multiple companies each month. I wish I had free trades, but its still not as bad since I pay $4.95 per trade.

    Good progress on the forward annual income. Keep it up!


    1. Hi R2R,

      With my Loyal3 account I don’t pay any fees but I’m limited to only buying in whole dollar amounts as opposed to certain number of shares. Orders usually take 2 days to process and are batched together with orders so you don’t have full control on your per share price. It’s pretty much like a direct purchase plan but without dripping of dividends. I started using it pretty much just for the ability to slowly dollar cost average in Coca-Cola and have since expanded a little into other names.

      For my Roth and Taxable Brokerage I pay 8.95 per trade through my bank’s brokerage service. It’s a little more than other brokers but I like the convenience of having all my savings and investing accounts together (besides Loyal3) plus it’ll go down as my accounts grow in size.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Best wishes.

  2. I love loyal3, I pay no fees and get to use my 2% cash back card. I contribute $200 in 14 companies every month. It will grow slowly but surely.

    Nice buys this month. I own them in my accounts as well.

    1. Hi Richie!

      Doesn’t get much better than getting paid to buy stocks. 😉 I only get 1% on my card but it still beats paying a commission. I saw your post recently that you did on your new Loyal3 portfolio. I tried commenting but I’ve been having issues with my blogger account lately for some reason and they didn’t post, but love the blog. Keep up the great work man.

      It looks like a good plan for your account with a nice mix of blue chip dividend payers along with some quality growth names like SBUX and DIS. Should work out really good for you. I’d like to eventually start adding some of the ones from your list as well in the future.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Best wishes,


  3. Nice work adding to your Roth and Loyal3 portfolios, SFZ. Like Richie, I am enjoying regular fee-free contributions to my Loyal3 portfolio and plan to continue to arbitrage the credit card rewards while I’m at it.

    1. Thanks w2r! When I first started investing I got about 6 months of free trades through my brokerage and enjoyed slowly building up positions like I’m doing with Loyal3 now. Nice to not have to save up 1000 plus just to keep commission costs low. Can help keep you motivated in the early stages of building a portfolio. Getting to make 3-4 smaller buys a month rather than 1 big one every month or so is a lot more fun anyway. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting and adding to the discussion, appreciate the support!

      Best wishes,


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