Dividend Growth Investing & Retirement is supported by its readers through donations and affiliate links. If you purchase through a link on my site, I may earn a commission. Thanks! Learn more.
Yeah I know, it’s been a while… In fact over a year!
I just wanted to write a post to say that I’m back and to update you on what I’ve been doing for the past year (Personal Stuff & my Investment Activity). With work and the birth of my son, I was pretty busy which is why you haven’t heard from me for so long. Oh, that ‘s right, I’m a dad now!
The little man is about six months old now and I’ve just started parental leave, so I’m off work for six months to spend quality time with him. I’m super excited and despite some sleep lost it’s still the coolest thing watching my son grow. It was a bit of a personal struggle before he was born as we went through two miscarriages which felt awful. Now that Little DGI&R is here it doesn’t sting quite so bad. Anyways I won’t go into too much, but let’s just say I have a new appreciation for want-to-be parents and the struggles of trying to get pregnant.
Now that I’m a family man, I’ve started looking at more flexible ways to earn a living so that I can spend more time with the family. Beefing up this website is an obvious option for me so you might see some changes in the medium term. In the past, I didn’t spend much time on the monetization aspect of the website as I was more interested in the writing side of it and using the blog as a tool to keep me honest in my investment decisions. Currently, I make about $100 to $300 a month from it, but I should be able to increase this … hopefully significantly. I’d like to do this without compromising the website’s integrity, so you don’t have to worry about being bombarded by sponsored posts. I’ll also be keeping the Canadian Dividend All-Star List free.
Right now, I have a little over 1,200 email subscribers and last year (March 1, 2017 to Feb 28, 2018) I had 258,062 page views which averages out to 21.5K page views a month. Considering I didn’t write anything last year, I think it’s not bad. While I didn’t write anything I did make sure to update the Canadian Dividend All-Star List monthly which is by far the most popular part of the website. That one page alone gets 1/2 of the page views of the whole website. I’m definitely not a website expert, but I have a feeling that I should be making more based on these numbers. Also once I start writing again I expect these numbers to go up. I’ll be tracking the website traffic and income a bit more closely now so I might also write about my progress on the website’s income and traffic. I don’t have any concrete plans yet, so if you have any suggestions on website changes let me know 🙂
If you follow me on Twitter, you will have already seen these as I tweet about each portfolio purchase or sale typically the day of. For those that don’t, here is a summary of my activity over the past year or so:
- On May 8, 2017 I sold all of my Home Capital Group (HCG.TO) shares at $6.06 for a steep loss. Probably one of the worst times to sell these shares, but they announced they were suspending the dividend so following my investment rules I sold.
- On May 17, 2017 I bought shares of Emera Inc. (EMA.TO) for $46.62 and then again on February 5, 2018 for $43.00. I’m hopefully not done with this position as I’ve currently got a $39.00 open order out for more Emera. I’ve noticed that a few Canadian utility companies appear to be on sale so I also have open orders out for Fortis (FTS.TO) at $38.00 and Canadian Utilities (CU.TO) at $29.00.
- On May 31, 2017 I bought Qualcomm (QCOM) at $57.00 and again on September 5, 2017 at $50.73. This was before Broadcom showed interest in purchasing them.
- On September 27, 2017 I bought the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap Index ETF (VEE.TO) for an average price of $32.28 to diversify into emerging markets. On January 9, 2018 I added one more share of VEE.TO at $35.84 as I had just a little cash left in that account that I wanted to use up. This didn’t make it on to Twitter, but it was just one share … oops. My main purchase was on Sept 27th and I did tweet about this. My emerging markets allocation is currently 6.2% which I’m happy with. I’d like it to be in the 5-10% range.
- On October 26, 2017 I added to my existing position of CVS Health Corporation (CVS) at $71.50. I originally thought this would be a lower yielding, but high dividend growth stock. Then CVS announced that they are planning to buy Aetna and that they’ll be postponing dividend increases to help pay down the debt needed to finance this purchase. I’ll be holding onto my shares, but I won’t consider adding more until the dividend growth returns.
- On November 7, 2017 I bought Cardinal Health (CAH) at $60.88.
- On February 13, 2018 I bought shares in the Vanguard FTSE Developed All Cap ex-North America Index ETF (VIU.TO) for $28.16. This was the first purchase of my new my plan to dollar cost average into this position on a monthly basis. I’m trying to build up my international exposure (Non-US) which right now is low. There are some non-US international dividend growth stocks that I’m interested in investing in, but it’s a slow process as I like to wait for a good price before buying. It was taking too slow to increase my international exposure this way so I’ve started adding VIU.TO. I purchased more VIU.TO on February 27, 2018 at $29.30 and again on March 2, 2018 at $28.64. Going forward I expect monthly purchases around the beginning of each month.
On March 1, 2018 I purchased shares of WPP plc (WPP, US ADR) for an average price of $83.62. They are based in the UK and are the largest advertising company in the world. With this purchase, my international exposure is up to almost 10%. I’d like to have my international exposure range from 10-40%, ideally around 25%.
That’s it for my investment activity. You can check out my portfolio here and my dividend income summary here. I will also add that I have an open order out for Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) at $69.00. I’m hoping the price drops so I’m able to buy this company. My main focus right now is on adding some consumer defensive stocks and utilities, so if you have any suggestions please let me know!
I’m back and I’ll be posting more often while also trying to increase the website income. Hopefully, this eventually leads to a more balanced life where I’m able to spend more time at home with the little one. I’d appreciate your help with the following:
- Any suggestions on how to improve the website or in general, please let me know.
- What do you think of my investment activity over the past year or so?
- Do you see any worthy dividend growth candidates out there in the consumer defensive or utility sectors?
Photo credit: Mc Knoell on Foter.com / CC BY-ND
Newsletter Sign-Up & Bonus
Have you enjoyed our content?
Then subscribe to our newsletter and you'll be emailed more great content from Dividend Growth Investing & Retirement (DGI&R).
BONUS: Subscribe today and you'll be emailed the most recent version of the Canadian Dividend All-Star List (CDASL).
The CDASL is an excel spreadsheet with an abundance of useful dividend screening information on Canadian companies that have increased their dividend for five or more years in a row.
The CDASL is one of the most popular resources that DGI&R offers so don't miss out!
Congrats for becoming dad. I think now you should start a diary and share something about resp..how you will.be contributing to your son account what growth strategy.
Thanks Aki. For his education fund I’m just using a couch potato strategy. 15% Canada equity (FTSE Canada All Cap Index ETF, VCN.TO) and 85% International equity (FTSE Global All Cap ex Canada Index ETF, VXC.TO). To simplify things even more, I might switch to Vanguard’s new Growth ETF Portfolio (VGRO.TO) which is 80% equities and 20% fixed income that will rebalance automatically with a management fee of 0.22%. Right now it’s a pretty aggressive strategy, but as he got older the allocations would change.
A tax related lament.
CRA taxes dividends from foreign stocks as if they were guaranteed interest income, ignoring the risk of investing in stocks. Seems unfair.
Welcome back! And congrats on your son.
Why buy Cardinal (CAH) on November 7th when it was declining? The stock rebounded nicely later in the month, so your timing turned out well, but what were you expecting on the 7th? It could well have been a falling knife at that point, no?
Are you preparing us for a subscription service? LOL (as the young say, now).
I’m a long term investor so when I identify a company i’d like to own I come up with a reasonably cheap target price and wait. When the price starts to get close I’ll usually put in a limit order and wait some more. If the price drops then I’m happy to buy at that price. I don’t pay attention to much to technical/trend analysis. I think I placed the order earlier on so I likey wasn’t making the decision to buy on the 7th, it would have been made earlier. Does that make sense?
No plans for a subscription service, but I think I could do a better job with getting a better rate with the website ads and also affiliate income for products/services that I actually use and would recommend to close friends.
Yes, makes sense. I’ll sometimes buy a stock if its dividend yield and CAGR will likely produce a yield on cost I am happy with “for ever” (or as long as the stock is a solid one).
But where such a stock is declining at the moment I am ready to buy, I’ll wait until it ticks up a few times. Is this “technical analysis”? Not according to the real TA experts.
I am curious how much cash(% of portfolio) do you try to keep on hand for taking advantage of ‘sale’ prices or do you invest cash as soon as you have it?
Since I bought my place 3 or 4 years ago, I’ve been using the Smith Manoeuvre (Borrowing to invest), so I don’t have a very much cash on hand. I have some that I invest with in addition to the Smith Manoeuvre, it’s not much as a % of my total portfolio. I’m not fully invested though (I don’t invest to the max of my borrowing capacity) as the prices I want to buy at don’t come up very often (at least not lately). Prior to me buying our place I typically had more cash on hand and I’d wait for an opportunity to invest it.
I don’t have a target % of cash that I keep on hand. If an opportunity comes along I try to take advantage. Because my target buy prices are on the conservative side I’ve never really been at a point where I didn’t have funds available to buy what I wanted. Keep in mind that I only really started getting serious after the financial crash. I’m in my early 30’s so investing in individual stocks wasn’t on my radar much during the financial crisis. I was coming out of school and didn’t have much money to invest with at the time. I think I started by dollar costing into DRIPs and an ING Direct (Now Tangerine) mutual fund. I mention this because I haven’t been through a serious bear market. I think in a serious market crash/bear scenario my strategy would likely result in me buying up a bunch of stocks a little too early and then missing out on some super cheap stocks later on because I didn’t have the cash on hand to continue buying. My strategy involves targeting reasonably cheap prices and then averaging into them a few times if they go lower. I think in the long run this should work out, but in a serious bear market I’ll probably miss out on some truly amazing prices, but still get some pretty cheap prices. I’m OK with this as it’s impossible to time the bottom of a market and ideally I should only be investing in companies that will be around for the long term.
Basically, this was all a long-winded way of saying that no I don’t invest cash as soon as I have it, but I also don’t have a set amount that I keep aside. I have an emergency fund, but that wouldn’t be used for investment purposes that’s more for if I lose my job, etc.
Clear as mud?
Congrats on being a dad!
Good to have you back and looking forward to your insight.
As far as good picks out there, I agree that FTS and CU are looking nice but Cdn Pipeline’s are looking even more valuable.
ENB and IPL are trading incredibly low and look very intriguing.
With rates going up and both of these companies committed to large amounts of capital projects, seems the market has punished them and sold off
First time on your blog. Congratulations for the baby, will bring luck and happiness 🙂
I started buying shares last week. Some of them won’t drop , for instance Canadian Tire, TD, BCE 🙂 I bought Emera at 41.11:-)
Quick question: do you buy 100 share or less? I’m asking because I’m buying 20 shares just in case lol Rookie steps lol
Cheers from Toronto
I don’t worry too much about the number of shares, it’s about the total money you are willing to invest based on your risk tolerance. More or less than 100 doesn’t really matter for most stocks in my opinion. Unless you are getting into options which trade in lots of 100 it won’t really affect you too much. There are exceptions, Alphabet (GOOGL) comes to mind which trades at over $1,000 per share, etc.
When I first started investing I started by dollar cost averaging a small amount (I think it was $100 per month) into traditional DRIPs through their share purchase plans which meant I didn’t have to pay any fees to buy the shares and I could buy fractional shares. I’ve come a long way since those days and there are cheaper brokers out there now which means it is much easier for smaller investors to get started without prohibitive fees. I usually recommend trying to keep your fees to 1% or less.
Congrats on your baby! I think you meant to say $39 instead of $29 for CU.TO. Also, overdue for updating 2017 dividend income vs interest expense update? Looking forward to it 😉
Thanks Allie. The $29 open order on CU.TO is correct, but I don’t expect it to go through anytime soon unless there is a large drop in utilities.
Congratulations on your little one! I just became a first time mom- such an amazing time, tiring, but exciting when they reach their milestones! I’m on parental leave too right now. It must be busy for you between baby naps as well 😉
“Any suggestions on how to improve the website or in general, please let me know.”
One possibility is to have other like-minded contributing authors post to the blog. This should allow you to grow your website and increase revenues.
Congratulations to your family on the addition of the little one. May he have a long, healthy, and happy life! As for the Canadian Dividend All-Star List, I would happily pay a small fee i.e. $20 – $40 a year to access that information. I appreciate the amount of work that goes into such a spreadsheet and so should anyone else who understands effort vs. reward.
Thanks Connie, for the kind words about my family and the Canadian Dividend All-Star List (CDASL). It’s always nice to hear the work is appreciated :).
I plan to keep the CDASL free, but I have a donate/support page too. I think charging for the CDASL would probably be the easiest way to monetize the blog, but I like the idea of having this information available to everyone and helping out those just starting on their investment journey too.
Hi, Congrats on being a new father! Thanks for all your hard work with the CDASL – it is a great tool. Do you have any suggestions for a US Dividend ETF? Would you buys a US or Can listed? Thanks from Revelstoke, BC
I haven’t really looked at US Dividend ETFs for awhile, so no, sorry.