Recent Buy: GIS (General Mills)

Recent Buy: 10/23/17

On October 23rd, I purchased 27 shares of GIS (General Mills) for $51.91/share or $1401.66 in total capital. I had 0 shares of GIS prior to this purchase, so my total shares are 27. This increases my forward dividends by $52.92/year.

General Mills has been beat down in the last 52-weeks, dropping in value by about 14%. But, GIS is a dividend stalwart and has been paying a dividend for 119 years, consecutively. That’s serious commitment to shareholders, and I want in! They also pay out a very generous 3.77% yield at current price levels. I am happy to buy in at these discounted levels and ride out the temporary headwinds the’ve been facing as of late.

Forward yearly Dividends: $726.69 (almost to the $1k mark/year in dividends!)

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Cryptocurrency Explained

You may or may not have heard about a new “trend” that is quickly starting to become a manic craze in the digital world. It’s called cryptocurrency and the most prominent version of cryptocurrency is called ‘Bitcoin’.

Before we dive into Bitcoin itself, let’s clear up what the heck a cryptocurrency even is.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Source

If that doesn’t make any sense don’t worry, it’s a little bit confusing at first, but I’ll see if I can simplify it a bit into something more bite-sized.

U.S. Dollars ($) are a paper-based currency that is given a certain value based on a finite amount of gold. The gold standard.  Bitcoin, the largest and most prominent crypto, isn’t based on a finite physical commodity, such as gold. Instead, its value is derived on a finite amount of Bitcoins. 21 million to be precise. So, there in lies the “value” of a single bitcoin coin. Anything with a finite supply eventually has a value that society puts on it. Gold, silver, titanium, etc are all examples of a physical good with a value that fluctuates depending on market demand and total amount that is in existence.

Imagine if I had only 1 nickel then gave you that 1 nickel. You now have 1 nickel and I have 0 nickels. You own that 1 nickel and can do anything you want with it, since it’s yours after all. I can’t tell you what to do with it and I can’t give you any more since I only had 1. You are free to give it to your mother as a horrible Mother’s Day gift, or you can give it to a kid on a playground and make their day, it’s all yours. It is pretty easy to understand this transaction because it happens every time we spend money, or give money in exchange for a service.

But, what if instead of giving you an actual, physical nickel, I gave you a digital nickel. The problem is you have no idea if that nickel is worth anything or if it even truly exists.

What if I don’t even have a nickel! This conundrum is called the double-spending problem and it exists with almost every digital currency in existence. Until, Cryptocurrencies. 

The Blockchain

We need some sort of ledger that allows me and you to see that the digital nickel I gave you was actually mine, and now is actually yours. So, we make a spreadsheet together and write down our transaction and the deal is done. The nickel is yours, right? Well, yes unless I am the one to keep that ledger and then alter it maliciously by adding more nickels to my account even if I don’t actually own them. The whole system gets screwed up and no one can be trusted anymore.

This problem was solved with the creation of Bitcoin and the blockchain. Blockchain = Ledger. Essentially, it’s just a endless transactional ledger comprised of ‘blocks’ that track all of the transactions that occur within it.

Bitcoin uses the same type of ledger system we used when we traded our nickels. The key difference though, is that instead of only me or only you having access to the ledger, everyone who participates in Bitcoin transactions gets a copy of it and can transparently see how many “nickels” are in supply at any given time. No more cheating and saying you have more “nickels” or Bitcoin than is actually there.

Things start to get even more interesting when you realize you can send more than just digital money with the blockchain ledger. You can attach little notes, contracts, etc and there is no way to modify or cheat the system because any participant can see the transaction and verify its existence.

Mining

Remember when I mentioned there is finite amount of bitcoin? 21 million. Well, currently there are 14 million in circulation, with about 1/3 left to be “mined.” Yes, mined like mining for gold. Are you seeing the similarities yet? New Bitcoins are created (or mined) by very techie people with very, very powerful computers that must solve complex equations, called Hashes. This part isn’t very important to understand the technicals of, but knowing where these digital coins come from can help with grasping the entire concept. So, when these miners and their computers spend enough time and power solving these complex equations, eventually they will have solved one and are reward with a certain number of bitcoins for all of there time and effort. The more and more equations that are solved, the less and less they are rewarded and the more complex the equations become. The assumption being, computers will become faster as the equations become harder. The very last of the 21 million bitcoins will be “mined” at approximately year 2140. Longer than anyone reading this will be alive, unfortunately. After the miners receive there reward, they are free to do what they want with it. Sell it, keep it or even lose it if they are careless. (Online “wallets” that store your coins all have passwords to keep them secure, lose the password, and you lost your coins.)

There are over 2100 different crypto currencies out there today, almost all of them will never gain traction, but a few have. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin & Ripple are all examples of the top 4 crypto currencies being used today. And they all have wildly different values at the moment. Bitcoin just today reached an all time high over over $6,000 per coin, while Ripple is worth only $0.20 per coin. Quite the spread. But each coin has something unique about them that differentiates them from the rest. I won’t go into the differences because it gets quite technical and I don’t really fully grasp it all either. So.. Yeah.

Hopefully this all helped to clear up some of the mystery behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies or oped your eyes to the possibilities of it and the blockchain technology itself.

I am invested in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. I strongly believe in the underlying technology and I am spreading out my eggs across the different coins to diversify as much as possible.

Want to get started and invest in cryptocurrencies today? Visit Coinbase.com

Want to read an article from a fellow finance blogger about Bitcoin? Check out Full Time Finance

Turn Impulse Spending into Impulse Buying

With companies like Amazon offering same-day shipping for a massive portion of their products, it’s pretty easy to take impulse shopping to the next level. In-fact, just today I ordered new disc brakes for my electric commuter bicycle on Amazon and it should arrive by tomorrow morning. Granted, this wasn’t an impulse buy, per se. It was a necessity because my front brakes barely stop me at all anymore due to the increased weight from the motor and massive battery. But, I digress.

I was an impulse shopper for years! Constantly ordering things I don’t need online only to barely ever use them or to sell just a few years later. Most of the gratification of making impulse purchases comes from the instant gratification of spending your hard earned money. It’s like a reward for working hard day in and day out.

I had to find a way to curb this bad habit.

Since I started investing almost 2 years ago, I found that I simply had less money to spend on impulse purchases. But more importantly, when I get that urge to spend money, guess what, I buy stocks! It’s the absolute best scenario I can think of to curtail those spending urges and I end up with boatloads of high-quality products that can be sold years later FOR PROFIT. I even get a very similar “high” as I did from making those stupid purchases on Amazon, all 28-pages of “past amazon orders” Ugh, what a waste of all those years of compounding returns.

Since selling my 4-wheeled-retirement-sucking metal cage, I have even more money available to spend that would have normally been spent on near-useless materialistic goods. I instead put 100% of that extra cash right into the stock market which is now increasing my yearly deposits by $6,000! That’s more than enough money to max out an IRA.

I know many, many people in my life that would benefit even more than me by turning their impulse spending into impulse buying.

Have you considered doing the same thing? I challenge you to 30 days of no impulse spending and switching to impulse buying of stocks (and more) and see what the effects are to your own finances.

Stock On Watch: AT&T (T)

On 10/12/17, AT&T stock saw almost its largest drop in price in 9 years. Dropping by over 5.5% in one trade day. This seems quite exaggerated, but the reasoning is justified. The massive hurricanes that have hit the US lately have utterly destroyed most of AT&T infrastructure in the affected areas. Because of this, they will have to spend big cash to get everything up and running again. On top of that, they will be waiving fees that would be typically passed onto the consumer to help rebuilding efforts.

So, there are some rough waters coming in the next quarter for T, but I am a long-term holder and will try to find some capital to buy more T while it’s still in the over-sold territory. Buying at ~$35-36/share locks in a juicy 5% yield. Well above the market average.

The P/E ratio for AT&T (T) is now at 16.91, meaning it’s still cheap compared to the overall market.

A basic, yet typical, way to measure how expensive a stock is, is by it’s P/E ratio. (Price/Earnings) You can compare most stocks to the current P/E ratio of the entire S&P for instance, which is currently around 24.6. So theoretically if a stock’s P/E is below 24.6, it could be considered cheap. 

 

The current payout ratio for it’s dividend is at 41%, meaning it still has room to grow the dividend in the future without affecting much on their bottom line. 

Current Dividend Yield: 5.13%    Payout Ratio: 83%

*I currently own 25 shares of T

Recent Buy: TU (Telus)

Recent Buy: 10/04/17

On October 4th, I purchased 13 shares of TU (Telus) for $36.33/share or $472.30 in total capital. I had 0 shares of TU prior to this purchase, so my total shares are 13. This increases my forward dividends by $25.61/year.

 

Telus is one of 4 major Canadian telecommunications companies, which all operate in a very competitive market similar to that of the US. In July of this year, Telus and Huawei worked together to build and test a 5g network and did so with outstanding results. They were able to achieve speeds up to 200x faster than the current LTE networks. This could result in homes being able to rely on wireless connectivity at speed comparable to a land line connection. (at current speeds)

Telus and Mojio have also worked together in creating a car-based wireless network allowing all vehicles to have super-fast connectivity to other cars. Think self-driving tech.

On top of these two catalysts for future growth, in May Telus paid for a large portion of Canada’s wireless spectrum in a nationwide auction for bandwidths. Telus spent C$478.82 million for 122 licenses in the 2.5 GHz band. (2.5Ghz allows for much greater distances the wireless signal can travel unobstructed and pairs nicely with their already existing bandwidths)

Pile all of that on a delicious 4.5% dividend yield for only $36.xx/share and I think we have a wonderful place to park some extra cash.

Dividend Yield: 4.5%.        Total Forward Dividends: $698.21

Recent Buy – ATVI (Activision Blizzard)

Recent Buy: 9/28/17

It’s been a while since my last purchase. Mainly because of some extra camera toys I purchased this month to help with travel videos.

Today, I purchased 10 shares of ATVI (Activision Blizzard) for $63.74/share or $634.20 in total capital. I had 24 shares of ATVI prior to this purchase, so my total shares are 34. This increases my forward dividends by $3.00/year.

This purchase is not a dividend play by any means. It has only a 0.48% yield. I have been invested in ATVI for over a year now, with gains coming close to 80%. But, I have good feelings regarding the potential for growth within this company. They recently completed the construction and sale of 11 e-sports teams to start competing for big bucks in e-sport competitions. ATVI has also released it’s latest hit game, (topping weekend sales this year) Destiny 2 and is scheduled to release the highly anticipated, WW2 themed, Call of Duty to pull in even more money from their hit franchise. Activision has also partnered with Amazon’s Twitch to stream the e-sport competitions for two years.

I’m expecting some serious earnings growth this year and would dare to bet we see the stock rise to the low to mid 70’s by end of year.

Dividend Yield: 0.48%.        Total Forward Dividends: $677.04