For all the procrastinators out there the deadline is near. In fact, this year I was one – completing mine yesterday. This season brings to mind some of the best practices compiled to minimize – or delay – the tax hit, thereby maximizing disposable income published by the Dividend Diplomats. Though geared towards wage earners, I can be considered a poster child of these practices as one migrates from the accumulation phase of investing. Over the years the use of many of these strategies have resulted in continued savings well into retirement. Case in point being a 2017 Federal effective tax rate of 8.04% on a six figure Adjusted Gross Income ($156 of which was earned income). Take advantage of all of the breaks provided in life as early as possible to reap the rewards (true in investing as well).
April was generally favorable for the markets. Earnings reports presented few surprises although the trend of beating analysts’ expectations while presenting lower year over year results continued. Financials were modestly positive while old technology seemed to disappoint. Until month end, the market was drifting higher. Then Apple’s and Starbucks reports were weak, the BOJ failed to raise rates and Carl Icahn announced he sold his Apple position over China fears. So the month ended basically flat managing a gain of .27% – at least it was positive.
My portfolio value managed a 2.66% gain with the weaknesses (KMB, SBUX and AAPL) being offset by M&A activity (Comcast (CMCSA) acquiring Dreamworks (DWA) and First Cloverleaf (FCLF) being acquired).
- I changed my portfolio reporting to measure % of dividends provided instead of market value.
- Updated the Blog Directory
- Sold Monarch Financial (due to upcoming merger).
- With the proceeds, initiated positions in SRCE, BKSC, CVLY and AROW
- Moved CVX from DRIP to brokerage resulting in a fractional share sale
- Added to LTXB prior to their earnings release.
- Added to SBUX after earnings.
- Added to AAPL after earnings(and the Icahn announcement)
- Added to XRX – I anticipate a reverse split prior to – or in conjunction with – the spinoff. So trying to position myself more favorably in this event.
- April delivered an increase of 38.7% over April 2015. This was due primarily my first dividends from NJR and SJI coupled with dividend increases.
- April was also up slightly from last quarter by 4.4%
- Announced dividend increases currently average 10.05% with 48.6% of my portfolio having at least one raise so far this year. .
- Sold: Monarch Financial
- Bought: Source 1, Arrow Financial, Bank of South Carolina, Codorus Valley Bancorp
- Cancelled Chevron DRIP
Today I made the decision to sell Monarch Financial. This was going to be pulled from my account – probably later this month – anyway, so I chose to accelerate the process for these reasons:
- Locked in a 22% total gain over the past year and half
- Since I also own the acquirer, I didn’t want the same stock in two accounts
- In the event the merger fails (doubtful), could buy in cheaply