Annual Update – 2015 Review

Welcome to the annual 2015 update. This is part of  a series where I track our financial progress on a regular basis. I present four parts in this series: (i) Investment & Portfolio Update, (ii) Passive Income Update, (iii) Blog Update, and (iv) Goals Update.

1. Investment & Portfolio Update

2015 saw some great amount of activity in our portfolio. We initiated/added to various positions and closed one position that did not fit into our portfolio. I present the following image which summarizes all the purchases (31 in total excluding the regular ETF purchases), all the sales (just one this year), all dividend increases (35 in total) and the dividend cuts (just one) in my portfolio.

In my wife’s portfolio, we initiated a new ETF portfolio and moved from the traditional expensive mutual funds. Click here to read details about my wife’s portfolio and why we chose the route of index ETFs.

2015 Annual - DG2

Overall, I am pretty pleased with the purchases made. Lots of fresh new money put into the portfolio and the cash put to work in investments. Most of the dividends received were reinvested back into the investments, thus ensuring we compound our growth going forward.

Companies listed without any activity during the year (such as CVX, GE, and IMG.TO) mean that we did not add or remove these positions in our portfolio, nor did those companies have any change in dividend policy. These investments remain dormant in our portfolio.

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The Behavior Gap – Book Review

The Behavior Gap

I just finished reading The Behavior Gap from Carl Richards. There is no other way to put it, its a great book! The book is an easy read and Carl shares his insight working as a financial advisor/Certified Financial Planner and the observations he has made over the years of how people make the same mistakes over and over. This book is an ever-green read that will stand the test of time as it is generic enough to hold true now or a decade from now.

About the Author

Carl Richards is a certified financial planner and the director of investor education for the BAM ALLIANCE, a community of over 130 independent wealth management firms throughout the United States. He is the creator of the weekly Sketch Guy column in the The New York Times, and is a columnist for Morningstar Advisor.

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The Richest Man In Babylon – Book Review

I recently finished reading the book Richest Man in Babylon, a book by George S Clason. There were some interesting parts in the book, and I thought it was a decent read for someone who isnt aware of their personal finances and struggles with it. I realize that there are plenty of folks out there who struggle with grasping the concept of saving and investing and fall into the traps of overspending their hard earned money. However, I just couldn’t figure out why this book is so popular and recommended by one and all. Don’t get me wrong, I thought there was some value in the concepts outlined, but anyone who spends a little bit of time thinking about personal finance can figure these concepts out and there are plenty of other resources available in these days, that can educate starters more easily. The book is also elaborate with quasi-repetitive stories, which I thought was unnecessary and could’ve been wrapped in less than half the pages dedicated to the stories.

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2014 Review

The year is almost over and what better time for a 2014 review. Its time to reflect on how things progressed and look back at the goals and what was achieved and missed during the year. In addition, I present reviews for my investments and the blog.

1. Goals Review

  1. Earn $4,000 in annual passive income Achieved!
    • We were able to crush this goal and are close to achieving $5K in passive income. The final number will be posted on the blog in the coming days. We achieved this goal in early November.
  2. Buy a house Achieved!
    • After a lot of debating on when and where to buy, we are now proud home owners. We bought our house in May and moved into it in July.
  3. Re-balance portfolio with my wife’s portfolio integrated Failed!
    • This is a work item that we haven’t been able to complete and hope to finish it in the new year.
  4. Sell all my positions in mutual funds and cut down on the fees Partially Achieved!
    • I sold all my mutual funds in April, but my wife’s account continues to own some expensive mutual funds.
  5. Read and review more books Partially Achieved!
    • This is one work item I am not pleased with. Even though I read and reviewed some interesting books, there are a lot more books that I started and haven’t finished. I hope to clean up my act in 2015 and beyond.
  6. Write atleast 6 premium articles for Seeking Alpha Achieved!

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Windfall – Book Review

Windfall from McKenzie Funk is a fantastic new book that I have been reading over the past couple of weeks – and it has been awe-inspiring and an eye-opener on a lot of subjects. This book is a must-read for all investors to understand the business of climate change. The book is unique in that Funk travels to dozens of countries following the money, exploring and reporting from the frontlines.
About the Author:
McKenzie Funk is an award-winning magazine writer and a founding member of the global journalism cooperative Deca. His stories appear in Harper’s, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Outside, and The New York Times. Website: www.mckenziefunk.com

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