Redesigning everyday life – Finding a new work environment

News again, the next step towards maximizing my recovery has begun. I have budget and a coach. Most important thing the coach will do is help me navigate towards an internship at a company. It’s testing myself if I will be able to function in an office environment without burning all my energy at once and not being able to do anything afterwards.

I am very excited to get going again. It will take some time finding a place for a couple of hours a week and find something which has some level of difficulty, so it’s worth doing in order to get a good sense of what’s possible.

So what do I need ? A nice and quiet workplace, tasks that have a beginning and an end which can be reached within a reasonable time frame. Not working on a project that will take months , but rather tasks within a larger framework which will take me a couple of hours in a week.

And a bit of understanding if I can’t remember people’s names, juggle words and ask the same question over and over again. That’s it basically.

March 2017 – Dividend

New dividends again, this month the list is pretty much the same as last year, the amount is also almost the same. It’s slightly less due to currency fluctuations. About 2% less. The next few months will see more dividends coming in. the numbers :

29/03/2017 Unibail-Rodamco EUR 5,10
27/03/2017 Royal Dutch Shell A EUR 44,20
15/03/2017 Unilever Certificate EUR 3,20
10/03/2017 Emerson Electric EUR 4,47
09/03/2017 Microsoft Corp EUR 7,26

Total EUR 64,23

Portfolio news – March 2017 changes

March again and one new addition to the portfolio. I skipped the February round of investing due to moving into a new house and we immediately decided to pay a part of the house in cash. So February had no room for investing in the portfolio.

this month I’ve invested in one of the worlds famous makers of sport cars, Porsche. Aside from the fact they make highly desirable cars they also have a nice profit margin, a nice dividend and an overall large worldwide fan base.

The main issue last year was the diesel gate scandal which cost the company a lot in terms of bad press and a significantly lower stock price. It’s been recovering again for a couple of months and it’s about fairly valued for now.

I’m expecting when the economy recovers further and into the ‘real’ economy their sales will go up. Furthermore I think their nice margins will stay intact. We are still a long way from being a car free society and given the lack of real investment and innovation in public transport, so people will still need cars. And many drivers dream of a Porsche.

Redesigning everyday life – New beginnings , new surroundings

Last few weeks have been busy, all good news which is nice. We have moved into a new house, which is a lot closer to nature, forests, national parks, and other relaxing places.This has been a dream of ours , a house we both selected and wanted. Other ventures towards a new place didn’t work out in the last couple of years so we’re very happy it all worked out this time round.

For me it’s been very energy consuming but it’s made me very happy. It also made me aware of the fact I can’t slack in planning my energy. Which has been neglected again , In an effort getting more energy stable, I’m also exploring the options of yoga and meditation. I have done 1 or 2 yoga sessions in the past and enjoyed them but never put more thought and effort into it. My girlfriend always wanted me going for it since it has helped her a lot.

It’s very good for the mind indeed and since I can use all the help I can get with mine I am now making a foray into meditation and yoga. I hope this will bring me further in creating a balance in a more organic way. Not just with schematics and planning.

I have also got approval for a new trajectory towards work , which has been quite a journey. At the end of March I will start, it will be mostly short hands on sessions and the rest is up to me. Which is fine. What I mostly need is a network which helps me in getting a new internship style job in which I can test my abilities in a working environment. I am really looking forward to this.

So good news all round, I’ll keep you posted!

February 2017 – Dividend

I am a bit behind on blogs at the moment, due to moving and taking a bit more rest making up for all the strenuous tasks.

Another month over, another month of dividends rolling in. Always nice. It’s up from last year by 11% , which is to be expected as I have invested more. Nonetheless it shows the power of compounding nicely.

Next couple of months should also see growth in dividend income.

16-02-2017 Apple EUR 5,36
14-02-2017 ONEOK Inc EUR 5,78

Total EUR 11,14

Redesigning everyday life – One year today

Today it’s been exactly one year since I was released from the hospital. It’s also the day I had my last visit at the revalidation centre.

A few weeks back I had my second Neuro Psychological test which showed little or no improvements in most tested arias. Which means this is it. Medically speaking there is little or no chance it will improve any further. Although this is not unexpected it’s pretty disturbing nonetheless. Somehow I always felt I could beat it. Rationally I already knew it wasn’t in the cards, emotionally it’s very different. The planning and preserving of energy is something I will have to keep doing for the rest of my life. A normal full time job is out of the question.

The main focus and most important one is now accepting my new life, new limitations and find a meaningful path in life within my new limitations. I already took steps in that direction by searching for guidance in figuring out what it is I can still manage work wise. But I would be lying if I said all is well right now. Because this is really the end of the line in the recovery of my brain.
I’m going too need time processing and really accepting it.

January 2017 – Dividend

First month of the brand new year, a rocky start for all I think and it’s going to be hard with all the troubled country’s and politics that look more like screaming contests than anything else.
For the markets all around the world this will mean more uncertainty and instability. On the other hand after much stimulus and external policy the real economy is finally picking up some steam. A big part is due to people spending more , I see a lot more shopping going on around me. In the Netherlands the housing market is booming again which is mostly because of low supply in a lot of popular cities. But also the less popular locations around or near these cities are picking up.

It’s not uncommon houses being sold before the are on the market. All this is fuelled by low interest rates but you can’t borrow like crazy any more like in the good old days. Now it’s 100% of the value + 1% for additional costs. Which is still way too much in my book but it is getting there. Added are the additional demands from banks, which are boiling down to the necessity of brining in a healthy sum of your own money before you can get a mortgage.

With affordable alternatives in social and free market rentals the only way for most people in getting there housing costs at an affordable level is buying. Getting a house and an approved mortgage on the other hand is difficult. So for now the housing market will stay booming even with interest rates rising. Hopefully the market balances out a bit.

And with this other industries will follow. So finally some action in the real economy. Hopefully its sustainable. As for a prediction of the future of the stock market I am not going to give you one. The future is unpredictable. For me anyway. My course stays the same. Buying strong company’s which pay nice dividend and low cost ETF’s. The dividend news , well it’s up from last year when I started logging it. It’s nowhere near enough for my monthly expenses but it’s nice progress. The numbers are :

13-1-2017 W.P. Carey (REIT) EUR 9,28
24-1-2017 Whole Foods Market EUR 1,30
25-1-2017 Cisco Systems EUR 6,79
25-1-2017 General Electric EUR 4,93
30-1-2017 Dow Chemical EUR 4,25

Total EUR 26,55

I am happy about it and hopefully next month will be good as well.

Portfolio news – Januari 2017 changes

December did not have any changes in the portfolio, simply because of a lack of time and energy, So this month I have double the amount to spend on buying stocks.
This month has been all about expanding positions in stocks that are already in my portfolio. Simply because the company’s remain, in my view buying opportunities.

Another change, I now allocate half of my investment amount to ETF’s which gives me low costs and high global diversification. The other half I will keep investing in my value / dividend investing portfolio. It’s an exercise for me , I am trying too find out which gives me a better return , and I also don’t want to quit the hobby just yet. So half is going to the MSCI world index.
Scientific evidence tells me the ETF will outperform me without any doubt. And maybe loosing this hobby is better for me financially.

Anyway, this month I added to my positions in Unilever, Munich Re and Microsoft. Which where under some pressure at some point in last few months, especially Unilever where experts were underwhelmed with their performance. Just none of those reasons where worrying about the future of the company. Microsoft has done a nice job expanding their cloud products and have found a good model to get the products to the market. Still undervalued as well and for me the target at which Microsoft does get a bit expensive is at 85 to 90 dollar per share.

Last but not least is German insurer Munich Re. Still has not been much of a mover but it’s a very solid company and it keeps rising dividends. Nothing much has changed in the calculations , it’s an easy way to add dividend income to the portfolio.

Coming months will be slightly busy as a move is imminent. More nature and less city , which should be good for me in terms of further recovery.

Consumer incentives and the buy buy buy cycles

People spent a lot of money on things, and mostly on things we don’t really need or even want. Commercials, buy cycles, specific targeting and about a million other marketing tricks make you believe that, you’re always out of fashion, if you buy product X your life will be complete. And the best part of it, it works. And it works really, really well. Take fashion as an example, 4 seasons is what we decided on a while ago. The old industry was basically divided into 2 seasons, warm and cold. Because of the production time it took to make all basic materials and time for the tailor to make a suit. Industrial revolution and a few commercial inventions later we now have 8 seasons or cycles. New colours , slightly changed designs and you need to be on top of things. So off to the store.

All new shiny commercials, billboards, banners and mails come along with it. Even the good old pre sale , or post season sale. Now I am a sucker for a nice jacket, which means I have many, and now I am on a self imposed ban , which is good for me. And hard. I really don’t need another jacket , in fact I don’t really need any clothes at the moment.

Most clothes I have are of some quality and last a considerable time. My oldest cardigan is 14 years old and still looks good. For me the fashion part is not an issue. Buying quality means I just replace stuff that’s worn and has wholes in it. Now that the industry has 8 cycles, at least most of the brands do nowadays, what happens to the stuff that isn’t sold ? Which is quite a bit.

Is it going towards homeless people or other less fortunates ? Most does end up with good causes one way or the other and some stuff gets tossed as it’s broken and can’t be fixed. But do we really need 8 cycles and 10 different colours of more or less the same article in our closets ? We don’t , we really don’t. What’s wrong with just 2 ? Or 4 cycles even ? Looks like a waste of raw material and energy.

But let’s not try and be over reaching and solve the global environmental problem just yet. Even on just a pure personal level it’s useless, and a waste of money. First off most people have one or maybe two favourite jeans. the rest gets a turn when the others are out of sight. So having 8 pairs of jeans or whatever isn’t efficient , it’s a destruction of perfectly good cash. Which can be spent on other stuff , like cool experiences. Learning a new sport or taking a short trip or whatever you fancy. Not even mentioning investing here see.

And that’s just fashion, never mind the overpriced items of ‘luxury’ you really need , expensive fashionable watches also matching the season. Fancy dining experiences with lousy food and expensive bubbles. The list goes on. The funny thing is, once you buy any of these items , the next is always there. In the next buy cycle, the next trigger. And after a few years we end up with boxes of stuff we only wanted and never needed.

It’s hard not giving in to al these impulses , but there is a way out, only focus on absolute quality in everything you buy, even if it means overspending in the beginning.

Discipline is everything

It really is, I have quite a bit of self discipline. Reaching goals has always been fun for me. But I somehow lost the fun in setting goals, maybe there was a point I reached and everything just seemed more of the same or I just lost interest in the race, I am not really sure.

Now my recovery is going slowly and steadily upwards I am slightly letting go of rigorous planning the last few weeks. Which has been a mistake. Had a few bad days of all out fatigue and feeling very weak.

The reason is I need too plan everything to keep my energy level up, and letting this go was the root cause of me not feeling well.

It was a slow process over the last few weeks that I started not taking it all so serious. Just planning activities and not really sticking too them and just doing what I wanted for a few days. It starts slowly, one afternoon, one day, two days. And then the lights went out.

Not a very nice experience, so maintaining and keeping with the program is all about discipline. It’s what not to do in order to reach the goals. And being very strict about.
Discipline is everything, and practise makes perfect. Even with discipline.