Category Archives: Blog

July 7, 2019 – Mortgage Balance Finally Below $100k!


I haven’t posted a blog in over a year as I was busy with work but I decided to make a quick post about our mortgage balance, which finally reached below $100k back in March of 2019!! Currently, the balance went from $217,525 down to $88,600.32!! It basically reversed (probably much more) our interest ($286.11) and principal ($795.44). It simply feels AMAZING!


I recently read an article where Kevin O’Leary made a comment on why everyone should pay off all their debts by the age of 45 including your mortgage (Kevin O’Leary says you need to have all your debts paid off by age 45 – Including your mortgage) and I partially agree with him. Of course, I immediately go to the comments section where everyone deemed it impossible for the average person. Or is it? I agree with Mr. O’Leary to some degree and while we will be paying off our mortgage well before 45 years of age, we changed our tune from paying off our home early to paying the monthly minimum. The reason why we switched gears at this point was the simple fact that most of the monthly payment goes to the principal. Even with just the principal (with the help of my yearly bonus and small additional payments after maxing out IRAs), we will achieve mortgage free status in the next 3-4 years. In the meantime, we will primarily focus on maxing out our IRA accounts while the mortgage will be gone in 4 years time. At least with this method, we won’t lose the next 4 years of investing time.

There are people generally in two camps in the on going argument of pay mortgage off early vs investing in the market. One side argues that in the long period of time, one should invest into the market as the returns will be greater than the interest that you will pay for your mortgage. For example, the market will return on average 7% a year vs 3.5% mortgage interest. Maybe that 7% can turn into 10% over the span of 30 years. The other side argues that one should pay off the mortgage as quickly as possible and to be debt free so that you can have the peace of mind in case of a job loss or having kids. This is what convinced us initially so that the wife can stay home and the family can live on one income.

But after further research and hearing both sides of the arguments, we’ve chosen (unintentionally) the middle ground. Instead, we’ve decided to pay the mortgage off aggressively in the past 3 and a half years to the point that the principal will be big enough to eventually pay off the mortgage early. Sure we lost the last 3 and a half years of the market gain, but it sure helps us sleep better at night when looking at the new mortgage balance and knowing that the balance will be taken care of by itself from the principal.

We initially got a 30 year mortgage to keep the monthly payments low just to play on the safe side. But I know better now for the future (if I ever do get another mortgage) to sign the 15 year mortgage, at least this way it will force us to pay the mortgage off faster. But then again, we expect to pay off our mortgage in about 7 to 8 years from the time we got our mortgage. I hate debt and this is the part that I agree with Kevin O’Leary.

What does everyone think? Which decisions have you made personally with your mortgages and was it the right choice?

June 2018 – Portfolios & Mortgage Update!

401K – Update

Its been a long time since my last post (almost a year) as I had a very busy personal and work life. I’ve been busy at work advancing in my career and most importantly, I am a new father of a baby boy! Even after all that, it has not kept me from my focus of consistently building our dividend portfolios!

The 401K stock has grown quite a bit since July of 2017. I don’t have the exact records to show the difference but the 401K has grown to almost the size of the taxable account that I sold in just under 1 year! However I do have a snapshot of my 401K from January 2017 for comparison. You can find the screen shots below (January 2017 vs June 2018). It’s all thanks to increasing my 401K allocation to 11% up from 6% and with a 6% company match of 100%. Some stocks that I’ve added to the 401K since last July 2017 were: INTC, KMI. Other than those two, I’ve been adding to my positions, which I will continue to do so before adding new stocks going forward.


January 2017

401k may 2018

June 2018

Tranditional IRA – New Portfolio

We’ve also added a new portfolio for our retirement! The traditional IRA was created after my wife had quit her job and moved out of her 401K. She decided to stick to dividend investing so we’ve added a whole slew of new stocks! This definitely helps our retirement by replacing the taxable that we sold last year! Some of these stocks dropped in price since adding them but its OK since we are in it for the long haul. This will be an interesting portfolio to watch as we will not be adding new capital to it but let it compound on its own.

Traditional IRA may 2018

June 2018

Roth IRA – Update

We have been modestly adding to the Roth IRA but not as much as we hoped since we started to ramp down on our Mortgage. Below I have a comparison from January 2017 vs June 2018. We were not able to max out the IRA for 2017 ($2000 shy of it) but our goal is to max it out every year going forward.


January 2017

Roth IRA May 2018

June 2018


The biggest activity that occurred in the last year was in our mortgage. I personally do not have any regrets in selling the taxable account to pay down our mortgage except for maybe that I should have sold later than sooner due to the appreciated value. In hindsight selling at a later date seems to be the better plan but no one really knows what the stock market will do. I really did not want to drive myself crazy and go back to calculate how much more I could have paid off the mortgage by selling now as to last July, but the peace of mind of our the mortgage going down from $218,325.20 to the current balance of $124,637.57 is priceless! Especially the amount of interest that we saved from $702.43 to $402.48. Its like a monthly payment for a Mercedes versus a Honda accord (my 2015 Honda Accord was actually $416.22 a month, which is now fully paid off).

Below is our current journey of our mortgage:

Mortgage- May 2018

As you can see from the chart above, our journey began in July 2017 when we sold the taxable account to pay off a significant amount. We’ve also paid down a lot by gathering any extra money lying around, outside of our emergency fund and a generous yearly bonus from work. I know that some people will not agree with our decision and would rather invest in the stock market but we chose to pay off the mortgage early now and ramp up our portfolios after. To us the peace of mind is more important than the volatile stock market, especially after having a baby! It is our dream of paying off the mortgage early and dramatically decrease our living expense. In a strange way, I feel that financial freedom can be achieved sooner than later by doing this, at least mentally! Imagine paying $650 (property tax + home owners insurance) a month! This would mean that we could potentially only need to earn roughly $8,000 a year just to live in our own house! Of course this is not counting utilities, gas for driving, internet, cell phone, misc, and food.

Dividend investing is our ultimate goal but for the near term, paying off the mortgage is the first step in achieving that ultimate goal. I’ll try to blog more often now that I’ve settled down, until then I’m curious on what everyone thinks?

July 2017, Sold Taxable Account to Pay Down Mortgage!

Its been a long time since I made a post. I believe the last post I made was back in January 2017. A lot has happened in my life.

First and most importantly I am now married! I got married earlier this year on May 7th, 2017 and it is the best thing to happen in my life!

Now that we are married, we’ve combined our income, savings, and expenses. Before we were married, we bought a house together back in March 2016 with a $230,000 mortgage. Since then, we’ve paid our mortgage down to $217,525. After obsessing over the amortization chart and the amount of interest that we’re paying, we’ve decided to do some research on how to tackle this debt.

On our conquest to find some answers to our debt, we’ve recently found a podcast that encourages people to get out of debt early by a guy named Dave Ramsey. Before we stumbled onto his podcast, we have never heard of this guy or any of the books that he’s written. We must have been hiding under a rock but better late than never I suppose!

Since then, we have been obsessing over his show which shows countless couples and individuals coming on to ask for help to get out of their debt based on their unique situation. However, our debt situation is not as nearly as bad as these callers who usually carry a $50,000 to $500,000 student loan debt, a car payment that is more than a quarter of their monthly take come pay while bringing in a household income of $40,000 a year!

First, both of us have 0 student loan debt with a very minimal car loan and credit card debt. To look further and to compare our situation with the 7 baby steps that Dave Ramsey is famous for to get people out of debt early, we started following his steps.

For those of you who don’t know the 7 baby steps it is as follows:

  1. Baby Step 1 – $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund.
  2. Baby Step 2 – Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball.
  3. Baby Step 3 – 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings.
  4. Baby Step 4 – Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement.
  5. Baby Step 5 – College funding for children.
  6. Baby Step 6 – Pay off home early.
  7. Baby Step 7 – Build wealth and give.

Baby steps 1 was already achieved as we easily have more than $1,000 in cash savings. Now for baby step 2, my wife’s 2013 Corolla is already fully paid for but I do have $3250 left over on my 2015 Honda Accord. Originally at the beginning of June 2017, my car loan was at $6980. Since then we have paid off using the debt snowball method by throwing our monthly earnings outside of our regular expenses at it. We expect to completely pay off the car loan by the end of July! We also have 0 credit card debt as well.

The biggest reasons for the change of mindset in regards to investing happened right after I was married. I started to think differently than I had compared to when I was single. Looking into the future and wanting to have children, I realize that my priorities are different. I believe that by following these 7 baby steps that my family and I will benefit the most in life by getting out of debt as soon as possible. Also it bothered the hell out of me that my net worth in actuality was in the negative territory after factoring in this massive mortgage. I hate being in debt and do not want to be a slave to the lender.

Now which lead me to one of the hardest decisions that I’ve had to make, to sell my taxable account to pay down our mortgage!

I know that there are many of you who disagree with our decision and would rather prefer to be invested in the stock market over paying down the mortgage early as possible. The on going debate over paying off the mortgage with low interest rate over the span of 15-30 years (30 years in my case) vs investing in the market is a hot debate. I believe that the right decision depends on the situation and for us we believe that paying off the mortgage early was the right choice for us. Our current mortgage is pretty low at 3.875% but owning our property out-right and having the peace of mind of not worrying about future mortgage payment is worth it to us. It definitely would give us the flexibility if one of us would lose our jobs in the future or when my wife decides to take off for a while and go part time while taking care of the kids.

We just love the idea of not having a monthly mortgage payment and rather only pay the property tax, HOA, and home insurance. Our current mortgage that includes our escrow + interest is $2199 a month but once we pay off that pesky mortgage, we estimate to pay around $926 a month instead. Once this is achieved, there will be so much more cash flow a month that we can max out our 401k and start to ramp up our taxable account again! Our ultimate plan is to pay off our mortgage in around 3 years.

We aren’t totally out of the market either as we are still funding our 401ks and the Roth IRA. I still have my dividend portfolio through my 401k plan through a brokerage link account with Fidelity that allows me to buy individual stocks. I’ve also increased my 401k contribution to 10% from 6%. My company matches 100% of 6%, which gives me enough to continue my dividend investing. My wife has also increased her 401k contribution to 7% from 6%. The extra amount after paying down our mortgage, we are funding the IRA account, which will fluctuate monthly. But our number one priority is to get rid of our mortgage as soon as possible!

It will be a huge battle for the next few years but I know that we can and will do this! Between our salary and bonuses that we each receive yearly, there is a very good chance of paying off our mortgage in 2 1/2 years! It also really depends on our expenses and living a more frugal life.

So far my taxable account was sold at $45,126. Once we pay down the principal of our current mortgage balance of $217,525, it will go down to $162,525. This instantly saves us $177.61 of interest per month! I’m also thinking of starting an amortization page to keep track of our mortgage to the day we pay it off. I hope you guys check in occasionally to follow us on our journey. I cannot wait until the day that our mortgage is paid off so that we can allocate all the cash flow back into our taxable account.

January 2017 Update!


Its been a long time since my last update as I was busy with work and personal life. The 2016 year has come and gone and my portfolio as grown quite a bit since then.

The biggest decision that I’ve made in 2016 was to sell my gold mining stocks for a profit. After the peak prices at the end of 2016, there was a sharp drop which inclined me to unload my gold and silver miners for a hefty profit. I used those profits to take new positions in three companies in the taxable account. Those companies include, SJM (Smuckers), MKC (McCormick), and CHD (Church & Dwight).

I decided that I could not stomach the volatility of the precious metal price fluctuations anymore, so I decided to stick with my goal of slowly accumulating shares of high quality companies that pay dividends. I am usually an impatient person but dividend growth investing has the best strategy for someone like me. Below is the list of the three new companies in my taxable account!


Not only has my taxable account grown since my last blog update in July of 2016 but my 401k has grown as well.

The 401k account has grown from $7,525.52 to $11,928.66! This is a brokerage link account from Fidelity that my employer offers. My company matches 100% up to 6% of my salary, so I contribute the full 6% to my 401k. The match from my company is the amount that I transfer into my brokerage link to build my dividend portfolio. The other half I keep in an index fund.

I’ve also added many companies that I already own in the taxable account in the 401k. I try to find new companies and differentiate them but these companies are so solid that I don’t mind having them in a tax advantage account. My plan is to have no more than 15-20 companies in the 401k account. The taxable account will be limited to no more than 30-35. It would be fun to compare the progress of each portfolio based on the number of companies. I say this because some people believe that concentrating on less number of companies will have the highest return overall, but only if you choose the right companies. It could however backfire if you choose the wrong companies since you have less in the portfolio to be well diversified. But that is another debate, perhaps for another time. Only thing I can do is test this theory out myself.


There is another portfolio addition to this blog and it is my fiance’s IRA portfolio. She started her portfolio just around the time I made my last blog update in July 2016. She contributes a few hundred dollars into this account and maxes it out at the end of the year ($5,500) and her portfolio has already amassed $8,932.79! It is fun watching the three portfolios accumulate dividends every month, especially knowing that we will use these three accounts to retire in the future.


Its already the end of January of 2017 and I’m already ahead in dividends compared to last year. To be fair the 401k and Suzie’s IRA did not receive any dividends but the taxable account as already grown more than 53%! It will be an exciting year and I already cannot wait until 2018.


There you have it for the first month of 2017! It will be an exciting and interesting year as I can compare against 2016.I will have to set new goals as well.




Dividend Liberty Application Update (July 2016)

Its been a while since I’ve made an update but I’ve made some significant changes to my Dividend Liberty Application. You can download the latest version on this page for free. A few major changes includes:

  • Added the ability to cache stock information. Dramatically increases the speed of the application after initial load.
  • Changed the design of the application. Instead of a horizontal view it is now a vertical view.
  • The generated Excel sheet now includes formulas for the annual dividends paid column (calculated from the shares multiplied by annual dividend paid from the stock).


Cached Stock Information:

Before the update, every time the user double clicked on a stock, the application would ping Yahoo Finance to gather the stock’s information. Now with the cached features, this is done before the initial load of the application. All of your stock’s information in your list before the application loads will be cached for use. This dramatically speeds up the overall experience.

Another issue that caching resolves is the errors for calculating your stock’s information due to Yahoo’s server being down. This would cause the application to be unusable until the server is back up. Now if Yahoo is down, the previously cached information would be used. Also, once the server is back up and the next time you launch the application (also have the option to refresh yahoo while the app is running), the application will update the necessary information with the latest information.

The third advantage from caching is the speed of moving your stocks in and out of your my portfolio section. It is almost instantaneous now since it reads the data to make calculations from the cached file instead of making the live connection to Yahoo Finance.

One disadvantage is that it takes a bit longer than usual on the initial load of the application. The reason being is that on the initial load, the app is connected to Yahoo’s server to gather all the relevant information for your list of stocks and to update the cached file respectively. For example, if EPS for the stock hasn’t changed then it will not update that information in the cached file. The same loading time goes up when you add a new stock or updating stock information.


Design Change:


I’ve changed the design so that the application will be used vertically instead of horizontally. The reason for this change was when I realized that the application would not be view-able in every resolution. I noticed this when I was developing on my 27″ monitor with a high resolution then in the middle of the day, I jumped to my 15″ monitor. I realized that the application could not fully fit onto my screen. I resolved this issue by stacking the “My Portfolio” section below the “Not In Portfolio” section. I thought the result was a more pleasant experience as your eyes did not have to span across the screen as much in this view.

Another major change is that now the application will show you the live version of the total portfolio cost basis and annual dividends. Also the table will show you the cost basis of each stock, weight, annual dividend, and quarterly dividend.


Generated Excel Sheet:


I’ve made some changes to the generated spreadsheet where the yearly dividend amount paid to you is now a formula calculated from the number of shares column multiplied by the annual dividend received by the stock column. The reason why I did this was to take into consideration of the user so that they can reused the excel sheet. Now the user will be able to plug in and change their number of shares and the yearly dividend amount paid will be calculated due to the formula. I thought this excel sheet could be useful to the users who can generate this spreadsheet and plug it into their blogs instead of trying to update their existing spreadsheets manually. I plan on using this feature to generate my excel sheet and to plug it into the “My Portoflio” section of my blog. I’m currently using a free version of WordPress so I can’t use any plugins to include an excel sheet but in the future I will opt to use it. I hope to get some feedback with this application, thanks everyone!

June & July 2016 Buys!



June has already come and gone and I’ve made some new purchases! I’ve also made changes to my 401k plan to start a brokerage link account to buy individual stocks.

I purchased 14 shares of MO (Altria) @ $67.47 for a total of $944.58. I’ve always wanted to own some Altria and I’ve finally done it! From my research, I don’t see a reason for me to wait until this stock has gone down in price because in viewing the history, this stock almost always never go down in price! Well except for the 2008 crash of course but then every stock went down during that time. I myself is not a smoker but even if I don’t believe in the product itself, it doesn’t mean that it will not do well in the future. I have friends who tried quitting and it is nearly impossible!

My second purchase (actually, July 11th) was in BF.B (Brown Forman). I bought 5 shares of BF.B @ 98.11 for a total of $490.55. I wanted to add more consumer staples and since I’ve already have beverage companies such as PEP (PepsiCo) and KO (Coca Cola), I wanted to buy an alcohol beverage company. Strong brand recognition such as Jack Daniels is all I needed to hear to invest in such a company. I think that the United States will have some hardships coming in the future and I’m trying to build my strength with consumer staples. People will want more alcohol during the next recession, possibly a depression! BF.B is also a dividend aristocrat with a low yield of 1.38%. With the low payout ratio of 26.82%, I think BF.B is a great growth stock.

Now the next two stocks that I bought is inside my 401k account. I recently started a new job back in the middle of March of this year and I found out that my company offers a brokerage link account from Fidelity. So I sold off a lot of my index fund and transferred over to buy some more dividend stocks! I decided to mimic my taxable account but added a couple of new stocks. I bought 8 shares of CLX (Clorox) @ $137.20 for a total of $1097.63. I really wanted to initiate a position in CLX for the longest and finally did it in my retirement account. One advantage is that I will not have to pay tax on the dividends received!

The second stock that I bought was HRL (Hormel Foods). I bought 19 shares of HRL @ $35.81 for a total of $680.39. Again this stock has a low yield but the payout ratio of 40% will allow this stock to have great growth in the future! The rest of the stocks in this portfolio is very similar to my taxable account, which is shown below:

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 8.14.38 PM

I started my 401k brokerage link account with a couple of gold and silver mining stocks, ABX (Barrick Gold) and SLW (Silver Wheaton). Well SLW is technically not a miner but they work with silver miners. I already have positions in my taxable account with EMR (Emerson Electric) and WMT (Walmart) but I’ve decided to add them because I find that these two companies are currently under valued. JNJ (Johnson & Johnson) is a bit over priced but I wanted to initiate a position and just because it has reached the 52 week high does not mean that it will not go any higher! I wanted to buy a position in T (AT&T) but I decided early on to chase growth rather than high yield with this account.

I hope to add more in the later half of July and in August. Every day I’m tempted to sell my Gold Miners and to add different dividend stocks from its profits but I will try to hold off a little bit longer before doing so!

Gold & Silver Miners Up in 2016, Brexit

gold mining


Before I go into gold and silver miners and my own personal investment strategy, I am not advocating anyone to follow my strategy nor to load up on gold mining stocks.

I haven’t made a post since my last buys but I wanted to talk a little bit about my gold and silver mining stocks and the status of my strategy of holding the miners to sell for a hefty profit to fund my dividend portfolio.

I own ABX (Barrick Gold Corp) and GDX (VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF) and so far in 2016 both are up significantly. My initial ABX position is up more than 200% and GDX is up almost 100%! I bought 150 shares of ABX @$7.095 back last October 2015. Since then I bought more shares because even at a much higher price now, I still believe that the price of gold is on a new bull run. Currently ABX sits at $22.21 a share. This price could easily double or triple as the world’s central bankers continue to devalue their currencies. Not to mention that back in 2008-2009, the price of gold rallied in a low interest rate environment.

Now there are many talking heads on the mainstream media saying that due to the outcome of Brexit, the Federal Reserve or specifically Janet Yellen would use it as a perfect excuse to cut rates back to zero. Yellen could potentially cut rates into the negative territory! Once that happens I expect physical gold and silver, and miners to significantly rally. Actually, the first person to say that the FED will start cutting rates with QE4 is from Peter Schiff. I heard him back late last year calling that the FED might not even raise interest rates but to cut them. I follow him regularly and listen to his podcast and to me his reasoning makes the most sense from any economist out there.

As of this writing, the 10 year Japanese and German bonds are yielding negative returns. I expect something similar to happen here in the United States. Can you imagine paying the banks to eventually hold your cash? The future plans from banks is to charge you small fees (regardless of having a minimum deposit on a linked savings account) to give you the ability to hold your cash. When we reach that point and I think that we will, people will want to park their cash into safe havens such as physical gold and silver, and miners. Not to mention dividend safe haven stocks. Funny thing happened after the decision of Brexit. Companies such as Clorox and AT&T shot up in just two days. I suspect that many investors sold their risky assets especially in the financial sector and mitigated into these companies. I expect the same to continue in the future months ahead.

I have a few regrets for selling too early. I sold 114 shares of SIL (Global X Silver Miners ETF) @ $16.2579 back in February 2016 for a loss. Currently SIL sits at $45.95 a share! This sell was necessary as I used the funds to buy an engagement ring to propose to my now fiancé! The only regret is that I should have sold another asset. But what is done is done and I should look forward to the future than to dwell in the past. Same goes for my NEM (Newmont Mining Corporation) and GG (Gold Corp) holdings.

My original plan was to be levered up on gold and silver mining stocks for rapid growth so that I can sell it for a hefty profit and to fund my dividend portfolio. So far the plan has come into fruition. I’ve invested a total of $5,232.28 into gold miners and currently it is worth $10,148.81, a +$4,916.54 increase in 7 months! If I had not sold my other miners, I would be up higher than $10,000 in profits. So as of this writing, if I were to sell my miners, I could potentially invest $4900 more into my dividend portfolio. I could add more to my current positions or buy 5 new companies. It sure is tempting to do that right now but I believe that gold is just starting on a bull run. I plan to hang on longer and one day perhaps a couple to a few years from now, I could potentially profit more than $20,000 if ABX and GDX continues its run!

Not only is the plan working but the gold mining stocks have maintained my portfolios balance. I’ve invested about $24,600 into my portfolio but currently it is up to more than $33,500 total! Gold miners outweighed my losses when the rest of my dividend stocks went down from my Initial buy. Many people sell and hold cash in their money market account and wait for a fire sale on dividends when the market plunges but my strategy is to hold gold miners instead. History has shown gold mining stocks to significantly rise in such events and I plan to cash out at that moment and buy up the dividend stocks at a fire sale! That would shave off years of buying dividends.

I truly believe that the gold prices of $1900 an ounce from 2011 is going to look very cheap compared to where it’s headed. If you read the history of Homestake mining (ABX bought Homestake out since December of 2001) during the Great Depression on my site, I think something very similar will occur in our future. If so, we will see gold miners become ten baggers (up 1000%)!

Another nice thing about these mining stocks is that they do pay a dividend. If a depression does hit, the mining companies could potentially surge so much so that their yield could sky rocket as they did in the great depression. The past won’t dictate the future but sometimes history does repeat itself.