Pay down mortgage or invest more – which is better?

Is it better to pay down your mortgage or invest more? I tend to go back and forth about this – I don’t like having a mortgage but I do like having an increasing dividend stream. And in a crisis, my investment portfolio can be sold but the equity from paying down my mortgage is harder to get at. My current plan is to invest all spare money after monthly living expenses and savings into dividend stocks in my taxable account rather than make a concerted effort to pre-pay the mortgage. But does this make sense? Let’s take a look.

Continue reading “Pay down mortgage or invest more – which is better?”

My personal finance journey – moving to Alabama in 2004

My personal finance journey in 2004 included a physical move from Michigan to Alabama as my company decided to relocate there. Not everyone went; I think the majority refused and looked for other jobs. It wasn’t a very hard decision for me really; my family lives in the UK so I had no particular ties to Michigan, the relocation package helped with expenses and I would be receiving the same salary in a state where taxes were lower. Throw in warm winters, no snow, and I was on my way.

Continue reading “My personal finance journey – moving to Alabama in 2004”

Financial dividend stocks – my next purchase in June

I’m looking at dividend stocks in the Financials sector to decide what to buy next week. This sector has the lowest weight in my dividend stock Portfolio. I own two Financial dividend stocks, so I’ve picked some other stocks from the Dividends Champion List that caught my eye to see how they compare and if starting a new position to diversify is worthwhile.
Continue reading “Financial dividend stocks – my next purchase in June”

Utility dividend stocks – my stock purchase for June (part 3)

This is my third stock purchase of the month and I’m looking at utility dividend stocks as the Utilities sector has the lowest weight in my dividend stock Portfolio. I’ll be buying the stocks as an automatic trade through Sharebuilder. Due to how their automatic trades work, the actual purchase will be made Tuesday and I have until 5pm on Monday to select the stocks. But since I’ll be working, I typically make the decision over the weekend based on Friday’s close, then fire and forget. I’m not investing huge amounts in any one stock so I’m not too concerned about price changes on Monday.
Continue reading “Utility dividend stocks – my stock purchase for June (part 3)”

Dividend stock purchase – June 2014 ( 2)

It’s time for another dividend stock purchase and this time I’m following my new dividend investing rules. This week I’m looking at stocks in the Healthcare sector which is currently the lowest value sector in my dividend stock Portfolio as you can see in the following table.

Continue reading “Dividend stock purchase – June 2014 ( 2)”

My personal finance journey – a look back at 2003

This is an update to my personal finance journey covering 2003. I really don’t remember much about this year which means nothing too exciting happened. It was my third year living in Michigan and my job was becoming increasingly stressful. I was still renting the same apartment.

I had also given up any form of budgeting for the year – I don’t think I kept any track of what I spent. I was fortunate enough to be earning more than I could reasonably spend in a month and I became lazy. It’s taken me a lot longer this time to go through old bank statements and piece together what happened.
Continue reading “My personal finance journey – a look back at 2003”

My new monthly budget for 2014

Your budget is your most important guide on your personal finance journey. It tells you where you’re headed and how long it’ll take to get there. Like any tour guide, your budget must be honest and realistic to be useful.

I needed to re-calculate my monthly budget for the remainder of the year now that I’ve sold my second house. Here’s the result.

Continue reading “My new monthly budget for 2014”

June 2014 – Stock Purchase (1)

I’ll be making more stock purchases this month as I have more monthly cash available after my house sale. I’m still using Sharebuilder for my purchases at the moment and I’m on their automatic plan which charges $12 for 12 stock purchases in a month. The $12 is paid via credit card out of my monthly living budget so I don’t really think of it as a commission fee even though it is.

Continue reading “June 2014 – Stock Purchase (1)”

Sold my house…

Mixed feelings here today – I’m on the road, sitting in a Starbuck’s in Alabama after travelling down here to sell my house. I’m listening to David Bowie’s Changes, as I did when I first decided to leave Alabama a year ago, so there’s a certain kind of symmetry. I spent 10 years living here and I already left once last year to move to Michigan and it feels like that all over again. It’s been great seeing some old friends again though.

I bought the house in 2004 for $143,000 and I’m selling it 10 years later for $135,000. So as an investment, it’s not been a great deal. Or was it?
Continue reading “Sold my house…”