Tag Archives: afl

October Recap

Wow, what a crazy month! Huge market swings, lots of earnings reports, and major negativity surrounding the markets. Even after all the crazy (often irrational) market movements, the Dow closed October by hitting an all-time high of 17,390. Good thing I’m an investor and not a trader, and can ignore short-term market noise like this past month and instead just focus on continuing to save a large amount of my income and purchase income producing dividend growth stocks.

On a personal note, I am back home after taking a cross country road trip and visiting family and friends for the past three weeks. I had a great time as I was able to see people back home for the first time in several years. Nothing like a little time off once in a while to be able to relax. Now its time to get back to work and get back to some regular blogging updates as well.

Today I’d like to highlight some of the recent news from companies in my portfolio and watchlist.

Kinder Morgan (KMI)

The energy giant announced a 2.3% increase to its quarterly dividend from .43 to .44 per share. With expected 10% dividend growth moving forward as the Kinder Morgan companies consolidate under one umbrella, KMI, I really like the stock as a long-term holding and recently added some more shares to my portfolio.

Visa (V)

The global payment processing company reported strong 4th quarter earnings that has since sent the stock soaring to new highs. Glad I managed to add some more shares in September around $213 a share and didn’t wait. 4th quarter EPS of $2.18 beat estimates by $0.08 while revenue jumped 8.8% year over year. Payment volume grew 11% to a staggering $1.2 Trillion dollars. With China announcing recently that they are opening their market for clearing domestic bank card transactions, Visa looks primed to continued growing revenues, EPS, and dividends at a strong pace going forward.

Realty Income (O)

The monthly dividend paying company announced 3rd quarter Funds from Operations of .64 per share which missed estimates by .01. Revenue beat estimates and showed 16.6% growth from last year. If I wasn’t so heavily weighted in O (accounts for 23% of my projected annual dividend income), I’d probably pick up at some more shares here in the low $40’s.

International Business Machines (IBM)

What a month for IBM. And not in a particularly good way. Revenue growth continues to stagnate as the blue chip technology company reported a 4% decline in revenues for the 3rd quarter and abandoned their previous goal of $20 in EPS for 2015. In all fairness, the EPS was established by a previous CEO. However, EPS growth continues, albeit at a slower than expected pace as the company has begun focusing on improving and growing its business in key segments with an eye towards the future. From CEO Ginni Rometty on her company’s results, “We again performed well in our strategic growth areas cloud, data and analytics, security, social and mobile-where we continue to shift our business. We will accelerate this transformation.”

IBM also provided guidance for 2015 EPS which falls in  a range of $15.97 to $16.30. Applying a P/E of 13 which is where IBM has traded historically, we can come up with a fair value of $207.61 based on the low end of guidance. IBM also added another $5 Billion to their share buyback plan. While the lack of revenue growth is disappointing, I like that the company is aggressively buying back stock, cutting costs, and increasing margins in order to continue growing profits. IBM is a company in transition as they shed old businesses and focus their efforts in faster growing segments like the cloud. While it won’t happen overnight, I think IBM will turn things around and get revenue growing again in the future. Since the dividend is still well covered by earnings, I’m content to just collect the dividend and let it reinvest at low share prices in the meantime.

Aflac (AFL)

The insurer and dividend champion reported so-so numbers for its 3rd quarter report, earning $1.51 in profits missing estimates by 8 cents a share. Revenue beat estimates but still came in slightly lower than last year by 2.5%. Aflac also announced a 5.4% increase in their quarterly dividend to $0.39 a share and increased the size of their buyback plan from $1 billion to $1.2 billion which I like since it shows management is being smart when it comes to buying back stock on cheap valuations. The company also announced it plans to have a $1.3 billion buyback plan for 2015. Currency issues continue to hamper the company but with a low payout ratio, Aflac is set up to weather times like this without risks of dividend cuts or freezes. With the stock hitting 52 week lows, now may be a good time to add to or initiate a position in the company.

Disney (DIS)

Disney is a stock I’ve been looking at recently after reading a write-up by fellow blogger Brian over at Long Term Mindset. Disney recently announced a large slate of new Marvel movies that are expected to be released over the next 4 years.

Check out the list:
The Avengers 3-split into 2 parts in May 2018 and May 2019
Captain America: Serpent Society in May 2016
Doctor Strange in November 2016
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in May 2015
Thor: Ragnarok in July 2017
Black Panther in November 2017
Captain Marvel in July 2018
Inhumans in November 2018

Pretty impressive, especially since this doesn’t even include the Lucasfilm Star Wars movies (the third trilogy of Episodes 7, 8, and 9 plus spinoff movies) which I am looking forward to as both an investor and Star Wars fan. Although DIS seems to always trade at a premium valuation, I’ve been coming around lately to the idea that this premium is deserved due to their strong growth prospects. I may start dollar cost averaging into a position via Loyal3 soon.


Announced a 2.6% increase to their quarterly dividend to $0.60. While a relatively small increase, I’ll take it as BP’s high starting yield helps make up for it. The stock continues to trade at an attractive valuation compared to their peers and is on my shortlist for portfolio purchases after its recent pullback to the low $40’s. While its easy to get caught up in all the negativity surrounding the company regarding lawsuits over their oil spill, the company is still generating large profits and remains committed to steadily increasing their dividend.

J. M. Smucker (SJM)

Announced a 5 million share increase to their buyback program, bringing their total authorized buyback plan to 10 million shares which will retire about 10% of the company’s outstanding stock if fully executed. How cool is that? Another stock on my short list (I feel like I’ve said that a lot today, so many great stocks, so little capital! 😉 ), I’d prefer to buy it near the 17 P/E mark but may initiate a position sometime during the last quarter of this year or early 2015 if shares continue to trade around 19 times earnings.


Disclosure: I am long KMI, V, O, IBM, AFL, and BP and may initiate positions in DIS and SJM in the coming weeks/months.

How about your portfolio and watchlists? Any important news or events this month?

Monthly Dividend Income: June 2014

My favorite post to write each month. 🙂 This is when I get to share all my dividend income for the previous month. These dividends are what I’ll eventually use to live off of when I become financially independent.

I share these figures along with monthly income/expenses to not only track my progress towards financial independence but also to hopefully show others that it is possible to get started with dividend growth investing with a low income. The hardest part is weathering the first few years of small dividend payments and allow the compounding snowball to get rolling.

Here is June’s dividend income from my 3 stock investment accounts: Roth IRA, Loyal3, and Taxable Brokerage. I automatically reinvest all dividends in my Roth and selectively reinvest dividends, combining them with fresh capital every month or two, in my other accounts.

Roth IRA

Aflac (AFL): $8.14-reinvested into .132 shares @ $61.33 per share.

Visa (V): $2.80-reinvested into .013 shares @ $211.80 per share.

Chevron (CVX): $10.97-reinvested into .087 shares @ $124.77 per share.

Realty Income (O): $2.84-reinvested into .065 shares @ $43.67 per share.

Royal Dutch Shell Class B and Class A (RDSB and RDSA): $13.51-reinvested into .171 shares of RDSA @ $78.90 per share.


Target (TGT): $5.55

McDonald’s (MCD): $2.51

Taxable Brokerage

Wal-Mart (WMT): $0.96

Chevron (CVX): $5.35

IBM (IBM): $9.90

Target (TGT): $0.86

Realty Income (O): $19.89

BP (BP): $9.95

June Total: $93.23. Getting so close to that $100 mark! Maybe in September when all these companies pay out again. 😉 At the half-way mark of the year I’ve now earned $387.93 for the year.


Full Disclosure: I am long WMT, CVX, IBM, TGT, O, BP, AFL, V, RDSB, RDSA, and MCD. This post is not intended to be a buy or sell recommendation for any stock mentioned and is for entertainment/educational uses only.

How was your June for dividend income (or portfolio gains for any growth investors)? Share below with a comment and thanks for reading!

Monthly Investing Recaps: April 2014

At the start of each month I detail 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 continued investing in my Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) again this month. 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.

With my tax refunds hitting my account this month I was able to invest more than normal as I put all of my refund into stocks. Here is what I did in April.

Loyal3 Account


7.72 shares of Coca-Cola (KO) @ $38.86 per share.

1.6361 shares of Target (TGT) @ $61.12 per share.

8.3479 shares of Target (TGT) @ $59.89 per share.



Quick Hits: After receiving my tax refund this month I put all of my normal monthly investing capital to work here increasing my stake in Target. I plan on continuing to dollar cost average into KO as long as it remains at or below $40 as I would like this dividend champion to be a core holding in my portfolio.

Roth IRA


7 shares of Visa (V) @ $199.30 per share.

22 shares of Aflac (AFL) @ $61.00 per share.



Quick Hits: I received a combined federal/state tax refund of just over $2800 which I quickly put to work initiating two new positions for my portfolio. I detailed my buy list recently and ended up going with Visa and Aflac. With its low yield it is easy to look at V as only a growth stock and not consider it as a dividend growth stock. However, the global payments processor now has a 7 year history of raising their dividend since going public and with a low payout ratio and high earnings growth figures to be able to continue doing so at a high rate in the future. With the shares dipping below $200, off a 52 week high of $235, and trading at a reasonable 25x earnings I started a position.

Aflac is a dividend champion in the insurance industry with a 31 year history of annual dividend raises. Due to currency concerns regarding their large amount of business in Japan, AFL is trading at a very attractive P/E of 9.

Taxable Brokerage




29 shares of Powershares Financial Preferred ETF (PGF) @ $17.81 per share.

Quick Hits: This was one of my first purchases when I started buying individual stocks/ETF’s last year. I was attracted by the fund’s high yield and monthly payouts and not exactly understanding how preferred shares work, started a position. While the monthly payout is nice for individuals needing income today, I’d rather have more growth so I sold all my shares this month at a little bit of a loss and reinvested that money in my Loyal3 account.


Full Disclosure: I am long AFL, KO, TGT, and V. This post is not intended to be a buy or sell recommendation on any stock or ETF 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 for more information.

How was your April for investing? What do you think of my buys/sells for my portfolio? Share with a comment below and thank you for reading.

Updating My Potential Buy List: April 2014

Good morning fellow dividend growth investors and personal finance enthusiasts!

Today I’m reviewing some of the stocks on my potential buy list. I recently got my tax refund back so it’s time to go shopping for stocks. 🙂

I’ve broken the list down into two parts, stocks that I already own and would like to add more to, and stocks that would be new additions to my portfolio.

First off, the stocks I currently own and would consider adding to.

Coca-Cola (KO)-As long as KO trades at less than $40 a share, I plan on continuing to dollar cost average using my commission free Loyal3 account.

General Electric (GE)-With a P/E of 17.3 I think GE is trading at fair value and I’d like to add more to position in the stock. With an increased focus on returning to its industrial roots and reducing the size and spinning off portions of its financial arm the company looks to be returning to its former dividend growth blue chip status.

McDonald’s (MCD)-Although shares have popped a little since my last purchase, I’d like to add more on a pullback as I have just a small position. While MCD doesn’t have as much of a margin of safety in the share price as I’d normally like, with a very long-term investing horizon, I feel comfortable paying up a little for a quality stock as I detailed here.

Philip Morris (PM)-Even though the price has rebounded a bit since my last Buy List post, the international tobacco giant continues to trade well below its 52 week highs and currently yields 4.5% at today’s levels.

Target (TGT)-This stock continues to be punished after a weak roll-out in Canada and the data breach during the last holiday shopping season. Like KO, I plan on continuing to dollar cost average into this stock using Loyal3.

Now for stocks that would be new additions to  my portfolio.

Aflac (AFL)-The insurance dividend champion continues to trade at an attractive valuation with a current P/E of just 9.1. With its strong dividend growth rates AFL should make a great long-term holding and also give me some exposure to the financial sector since I recently sold my shares in Powershares Financial Preferred ETF (PGF).

General Mills (GIS)-Man, I so wish I had just bought this when I was starting out and it was trading in the low 40’s. I’m still waiting for a slight pull back before initiating a position as the diversified food company continues to trade at a premium to its historic P/E but with a long-term investing horizon I may consider adding it if it dips below $50.

Kinder Morgan Management (KMR)-I recently purchased KMI in my Roth IRA last month. Rather than adding more to this position I was thinking of adding Kinder Morgan Management. KMR provides a similar yield to Kinder Morgan Partners (KMP), the master limited partnership, and issues stock dividends so you don’t have to worry about dealing with a K-1 come tax time. Once you decide to sell your position, you are given a 1099 just like with regular dividend growth stocks. Since it is structured as an LLC C-Corp it can be held in a retirement account so I’m thinking of adding this to my Roth to shield those future capital gains.

Visa (V)-Wait, what? Isn’t Visa a growth stock, I thought you were a dividend growth investor? 😉 With its low yield (currently less than 1%), it’s easy to look at V as only a growth stock and forget that it now has a 7 year history of raising dividends and a very impressive dividend growth rate as well. It currently sports dividend growth rates of: 40.4% for 1 year, 38.3% for 3 year, and 45.9% for its 5 year average. With shares pulling back below $200 a share recently, off from a 52 week high of $235, Visa looks attractively valued at today’s levels for starting a long-term position.

Full Disclosure: I am long KO, GE, KMI, MCD, PM, TGT, and may initiate long positions in AFL, GIS, KMR, and V over the coming weeks. For a full list of all my holding please visit my portfolio page. As always don’t take anything I post here as a buy or sell recommendation and I highly encourage you to do your own research before investing.

What do you think of these stocks? Do you hold any of these in your portfolio or looking to add them? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Updating my Potential Buy List

Time to share my current Buy List of dividend growth stocks. These are stocks I have done research on and are on my short list of potential stocks to buy soon. I like to keep such a list to help me narrow down my purchases each month and keep me on track. The stocks listed are separated into two categories, Stocks I Currently Own, and New Stocks.

First, the stocks I currently own that I consider would like to purchase more of at current market prices.

Chevron (CVX)-My original cost basis for the oil major was around $120 a share and it is currently trading below that at $117. The company has paid out growing dividends to shareholders for 26 straight years. The current P/E is 10.61 which compares favorably with its 5 year average of 10.3.

Coca-Cola (KO)-The king of dividend growth stocks. 😉 With a current P/E of 20 I consider KO to be fairly valued and have been accumulating shares using my Loyal3 account recently and plan on continuing to do so as long as the stock remains around $40 a share.

General Electric (GE)-General Electric has been doing all of the right things lately as they continue to recover from the recession and the dividend cut that ensued. The firm has gradually been reducing the size of its financial arm and going back to its industrial conglomerate roots. With over a $200 billion dollar backlog of orders, the company is on track to get back its status as a blue chip dividend payer.

McDonald’s (MCD)-Another stock currently trading at what I consider fair value. While MCD doesn’t have as much of a margin of safety in the share price as I’d normally like, with a very long-term investing horizon, I feel comfortable paying up a little for a quality stock as I detailed here.

Philip Morris (PM)-With 2014 slated to be an investment year for the company, the stock has taken a bit of a hit recently, currently trading 16% below its 52 week high. I originally initiated a position at $89 so I would be thrilled to be able to pick up some more at almost $10 a share less.

Target (TGT)-Between the data breach and not so great start to its expansion in Canada, TGT has taken quite a bit of a hit recently and is now trading 19% below its 52 week high. Although I expect the dividend growth to slow over the short-term due to its recent troubles, I expect TGT to recover and continue to be an excellent long-term holding. Like KO, I plan on continuing to dollar cost average into the stock each month using Loyal3.

Now for stocks that would be new positions for my portfolio.

Aflac (AFL)-While AFL doesn’t have a high starting yield at 2.4% the stock has a great dividend growth rate history with averages of 8.1% and 16.8% for the past 5 and 10 years respectively. The biggest thing the dividend champion has going for it right now is a great valuation with a P/E of just 9.3 which is a discount to both its historical P/E and that of its sector.

General Mills (GIS)-Similar to MCD, General Mills isn’t trading with very much of a margin of safety with a P/E of 18.7, slightly above its 5 year average of 16. I’d really like to add this stock to my portfolio this year but will be waiting for a pullback before I make a purchase.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI)-Kinder Morgan is a company I’ve been reading a lot about recently and wouldn’t mind adding it here at current prices where it currently trading at $31, down from its 52 week high of $41.49. Nice combination of a high starting yield, high dividend growth rate, and an attractive entry point.


Full Disclosure: I am long CVX, KO, GE, MCD, PM, TGT. Check out all of my holdings here. This post is meant for educational/entertainment purposes only and should not be considered as a buy or sell recommendation for any stock mentioned.

What do you think of these stocks? Do you hold any of these in your portfolio or looking to add them? Let me know in the comments! 🙂