November 2018 – Dividend

Its the end of November and time for another albeit short dividend report. Let’s see, as usual November is a slow month in the dividend department. This year even more so as I sold ONEOK this year which paid dividend in November, which leaves Apple as the sole dividend paying position in my portfolio. So a 13% drop in dividend income compared to last year. Next month the last dividend update and a final report on 2018.

The very short list :


Simple steps towards financial stability, pay your bills per year

Well, a new simple step towards more financial stability, It’s only a bit harder getting started. It needs some money upfront. Let me explain. Most insurance, utility, communal taxes and so on we pay per month, but as with all businesses people like to get their money upfront. And usually they give out a discount because of that. First figure out which ones gives discounts.

Discounts vary , generally between 1 and 2 percent of the total amount. It isn’t that much, but as with all little savings, they add up quickly. As long as interest rates on savings accounts are as low as they currently are , this pays off.

All it takes is a start. So most of us have a bit of a nest egg somewhere, so you can start by picking one that you can take out of your savings without making too big of a dent and paying it at once. Then you save the amount for next year every month. In the meantime you can try and save up some more and start paying an extra bill per year the next year. As long as the interest is below the discount this pays off.

It might take a year or two but once you get the ball rolling the savings can add up. And as with all savings you can use them paying off debt and or invest the money.

Simple steps towards financial stability, paying off the mortgage.

A new series, aimed at achieving financial stability with rather simple steps. The first is aimed at one of the larger monthly costs for most people, putting a roof over your head. A lot of people at some point buy a house and get a mortgage. A long road of monthly payments lies ahead, there is however a easy way in getting the mortgage paid off a little faster, or a lot faster.

It only takes a periodic extra payment and persistence. Most mortgage lenders allow an extra amount of money being paid off per calendar year , or unlimited in some cases. Let’s look at an example, we start out without any extra payments.

Let’s take a few easy numbers, say I buy a house of 200000 , and get a mortgage for the same amount , 30 years until the mortgage ends and an interest rate of 3%, fixed at 30 years. There are variations with fixed interest running for 1, 7, 10, 20 years. But I keep it simple. So with these metrics the monthly payments will be around:

Mortgage 200000
Interest 3%
Monthly interest500
Monthly repayment555,55
Total monthly1055,55

So this is the example for the first year, depending on the type of mortgage the numbers can vary a bit, but it’s the about the principle, not so much the exact calculations of the numbers.

So if you pay an extra 100 dollar a month, each month in the first year this will lead to the following :

Your outstanding debt will be 100 less , divided by the remaining months left it will lead to a slightly lower monthly repayment. Combined with the lesser amount in interest payment you will save a small sum, around 0,52 cents for the first month.

As you can see , because of the monthly payments the mortgage costs gets recalculated each month, leading to a slightly larger decrease in the amount of interest you pay. Now a little trick, the amount you save in the first month you add up too the extra payment in the next month, so instead of 100 you will pay off 100,52 , then the recalculation will be a bit more and you will add it up again for the next month. And so on. Creating a snowball effect on the monthly payments while not having to shell out extra money. This is the power of compounding , even if it’s debt we are talking about.

So a set of very simple steps will decrease your mortgage debt while not increasing your monthly payments too much, and at the same time more stable in the finance department. It’s just a matter of getting started and hanging on.


Optionality , one word we don’t come across a lot. At least not in Dutch, more so in the English speaking world. Nonetheless a very interesting concept. When searching for the right way in accessing risk I discovered the work of Nasim Taleb, who has written a lot about risk and fragility in our modern society. In his book antifragility, he explains how fragility in systems work and teaches a lot about risk assessment. At least it was an eye opener for me.

Risk is often misjudged or risks are overlooked. This happens in all sorts of environments, from surgery right up when you sign for your mortgage. My search was mainly focused on finance risks. As it turns out , having options helps a lot and is very important.

It all comes together in how we asses risk , when you have more options, you have more protection against risk. But what does optionality means? And how do you apply this in everyday life?

Optionality is the possibility in making choices without the obligation too choose. Abstract yes, or maybe should I say. Let’s talk about it some more in terms of my favorite topic. Finance. If you have money left at the end of the month , you have options , let’s say you can buy a book , pay off a debt or whatever tickles you. I am not debating what the smart move is here, but options you have. This is not exactly what is meant by optionality, hang on we are getting there.

When you come up short every month, there are no options. You can only borrow beg or steal. All of which are bad options , basically no options. The amount of pressure in finding a solution will most likely work counter productive. Or you can’t see any valid solutions any more let alone think about alternatives.

When you are free to do what you want , or more or less anyway, this is were the real power of optionality comes in play. Imagine that in any given job, as long as it pays minimum wage, you’ll still be able to cover all monthly costs. It will liberate you from a very big pressure in life, the need too making X amount of money for years on end.

Now that stress is out of the way, your job is not one you will have too keep at all cost. Loosing it isn’t life threatening anymore and it opens up your vast brainpower thinking about other options in life. You can change jobs , try out a new position in your company without the fear of failure.

In any case things start moving again, not driven by that sole risk of loosing a job and therefore an X amount of money. Money is no longer the only risk you need too manage. When you have high (financial) stresses it clogs up your brains and devotes a lot of brain power in finding solutions when that sole risk pops up. It also leads your brain in making a lot of wrong short term decisions which will be wrong in hindsight. It most likely make the risks you are trying to avoid bigger instead of smaller. If that’s all out of the way decisions tend too be more balanced, better thought out and make for far better choices over the long term. Some say it unlocks long term thinking.

It leaves space for creative thinking, thinking up new projects , planning all sorts of cool stuff and actually finding time and energy in trying some of those projects. In other words you think of new options. And the projects you do , fail or succes make you think again and come up with even more cool options. The power of the multiplying options if you like.

Lessening financial stress is a very good starting point in search of a life with less stress and more opportunities. Minimizing the necessary monthly cash flow will give a sense of ease and space for you too work on ideas and projects which are buried in the freezer and really get hands on with them. Inevitably this (financial) risk reduction will bring you optionality.

October 2018 – Dividend

October 2018 is almost over , time flies and so it’s time for another dividend update. A new increase, comparing with October 2017 due too the expansion of the portfolio. The exchange rate impact is something I am used to by now and the small increases in dividend payout minimize the inconvenience in the result. It’s a figure too low for me to consider hedging the currency issue.

Percentage wise the increase is pretty large, 67%. At some point as the portfolio increases this will level out more and produce a more normal percentage. For now it looks fun. With another 2 months to go this year I’m curious we’re we end up. For now the numbers :

24-10-2018Cisco systemsEUR8,03
25-10-2018General ElectricEUR2,30
15-10-2018W.P. Carey EUR8,91
10-10-2018Vanguard FTSE All-world UCITS ETFEUR39,63
1-10-2018Coca ColaEUR5,09
1-10-2018Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETFEUR1,30