Chatter Around the World – 101

Chatter Around the World is a curated weekly update of articles related to economics, investing, dividends and personal finance. In these weekly updates, I also capture my blog updates and news related to my portfolio holdings.

Global Disability – Most common cause of disability in 2013

Let’s dive into the links that caught my attention this week.

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Sector Overview – Utilities


The utilities sector has seen a fair bit of correction as investors have sold off this bond-substitute as the interest rate jitters took hold of emotions. The Utilities SPDR ETF (XLU) is down approx 9% YTD. This has pushed the valuation to attractive levels for some utilities and I am looking to initiate positions in this sector. Regular readers of this blog are familiar that I recently sold my position in a utilities ETF (BMO Utilities ETF – ZUT.TO) that had exposure only to 12 companies and all exposed only to the Canadian economy. There were a few other reasons for selling that ETF – one of the main ones was the fact that I wanted dividend growth from my holdings. In my quest to narrow down utilities and find one to invest in, I have been doing some research and decided to share the details on how I am narrowing down my pickings. This way, you can see how I am picking my investments. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Note that the tables below show the data that interests me. The columns are extracted from Dave Fish and Michael Weber’s CCC lists. Other investors may give more weight to other metrics (including myself). While this exercise is supposed to help me narrow down companies to research, I may go back and revisit the whole list and start looking into researching even if it failed on one criterion which caused it to get dropped from the list.

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Realty Income Dividend Increase

Realty IncomeRealty Income (O) announced a 0.26% increase in its cash dividends for common stockholders. This is the company’s 81st dividend increase since the company went public in 1994 and an amazing third increase this year! The monthly dividend increases from $0.1895 to $0.19 per share. The dividend is payable on Jul 15, 2015 to shareholders of record as of Jul 1, 2015.

From the press release statement:

We are pleased that our Board of Directors has once again determined that we are able to increase the amount of the monthly dividend we pay to our shareholders,” said John P. Case, Chief Executive Officer of Realty Income. “With the payment of the July dividend, we will have made 540 consecutive monthly dividend payments and paid over $3.5 billion in dividends throughout our 46-year operating history.

The new dividend amount represents an annualized dividend amount of $2.28, up from $2.274 per share. My portfolio consists of 60 shares of Realty Income and the new increase bumps up my annual dividends from $136.44 to $136.80, an increase of $0.36.

Health Care REIT – A Stable Dividend Payer


Health Care REIT Inc (HCN) is a healthcare-focused real estate investment trust. HCN owned facilities include senior housing,long term/post acute care centers, outpatient medical, hospital, life sciences, and land. HCN is the largest healthcare REIT by market cap and sports an impressive 4.86% dividend yield and a 5-year dividend growth rate of 3.2%. The company focuses on higher quality private pay facilities and has great pricing power and occupancy rates. The business model at HCN is slightly different from its peers giving the company greater control over the returns on its revenues and earnings potential.

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Roadmap2Retire Turns Two

2 years

It has been two years since I started Roadmap2Retire – my online record of the path to financial independence. While the journey began a long time ago, journaling this blog has provided me with plenty of extra due diligence and kept me in check to work towards my goals. First and foremost, I want to thank you – the reader – some are newcomers, and some are seasoned readers – who return time and again, and I am honoured that you have found this blog interesting and leave your comments. By far, my most enjoyable part of the blogging experience has been connecting and interacting with likeminded fellow investors and sharing the experience of the pursuit to financial freedom.

I look forward to continue sharing great stories and experiences with you all. Here’s to a third year of Roadmap2Retire! 🙂

Some interesting posts from the archive:

  • Roadmap2Retire Turns One from Jun 2014.
  • Although technically not my first post (the first post was a mere “Hello World” in Apr 2013), my first real post – Dividend Income Update – Apr 2013. Boy, I still remember when I wrote that post and was getting feedback from some friends…the only thought I had in my mind was “Who would read this? And why would anyone care?” Like I said, the interaction and connecting with likeminded fellow investors has been an absolute joy and I now wonder why I didnt start earlier 🙂
  • Want to read a disaster story? Check this post out – My First Stock Investments. Like most investors, I started off with some disastrous investments and as luck may have it, I started my first stock investment in the midst of the financial crisis. I have learned a lot over the years and hope to share my experiences so others may benefit.

Image Credit: Miles