February 2018 – Dividend

Another month has gone by and due for another update on the dividends of February. It’s up 12% compared to February 2017. Excellent news , it’s nice to see a steady increase in dividends. Also it’s just 2 companies this month which provided this increase. Next few months will see some more increases as new positions start too pay out. So far so good.

The numbers:

DateStockCurrencyAmount
15-02-2018AppleEUR5,16
14-02-2018ONEOKEUR6,31
TotalEUR11,47

January 2018 – dividend

Another month has gone by, so yet again it’s time for the dividend of the month post. Always a fine moment. Compared to January last year there’s an increase in dividend by 12%. Factoring in the expensive Euro this is a nice result. It’s still all very modest and by no means were anywhere near the goals but for a hobby its very nice indeed.

This is the result:

DateStockCurrencyAmount
24-01-2018
Cisco SystemsEUR6,55
16-01-2018
W.P. Carey IncEUR8,14
11-01-2018
Walt Disney CompanyEUR0,68
08-01-2018
Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETFEUR11,28
TotalEUR26,65

November and December 2017 – Dividend

The end of last year was a bit busier then expected with all sorts of stuff. All but maintaining my blog. November and December dividend in one post this time round. November is always a bit slow in my dividend income.

It’s maybe something I need to adress in the future. In order to get my cash flow in a better position.

Anyway these are the numbers:

November :

16-11-17 Apple Inc EUR 5,35
14-11-17 ONEOK EUR 6,32

Total EUR 11,67

December :

27-12-17 Vanguard dividend appreciation ETF EUR 1,17
20-12-17 Royal Dutch Shell A EUR 39,85
15-12-17 Coca-Cola Company (The) EUR 4,68
15-12-17 DowDuPont Inc EUR 3,20
14-12-17 Microsoft Corporation EUR 7,08
13-12-17 Unilever Certificate EUR 3,59
11-12-17 Emerson Electric Company EUR 4,08

Total EUR 60,65

October 2017 – Dividend

Goodbye October, another month has passes, as usual the dividend update. Compared to October last year the dividend payments are up 32%. Which is due to the build up in the portfolio and the fact that some positions are paying dividend for the first time.

Next year the increase will be slightly less big. De exchange rates keep doing what they do and I am working on getting more balance and more payments in Euro instead of dollars. As I pay all my bills in Euro. Sounds smart right ? Times are strange with the continious low interest rates and according to all the experts they will continue to be low.

Apparently the banks can handle these low rates , well see. Anyway the numbers, see you next month.

25/10/2017 General Electric EUR 4,46
25/10/2017 Cisco Systems EUR 6,86
16/10/2017 W.P. Carey (REIT) EUR 8,50
04/10/2017 Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF EUR 7,69
02/10/2017 Coca-Cola EUR 4,69
02/10/2017 DowDuPont Inc EUR 3,89

Total EUR 36,09

Portfolio news – July and August 2017 changes

An new portfolio update, this time it’s 2 months in one, why ? Well as you might know I buy dividend paying stocks and ETF’s. The first category because I like to research company’s and it keeps me busy. Nowadays it’s a sort a replacement for work as I can easily do it at my own pace and no deadlines. It also ‘trains’ my reading, analytical skills and maths , hopefully.

The ETF’s are the best option science wise, as research shows it’s important to have low costs, a large diversification and long term strategy. This is all combined in these nice ETF’s. In order to get my portfolio into the desired 50/50 divide between my own hand picked stocks and the ETF’s I have just been buying ETF’s these last 2 months. It’s not there yet but I am getting there. Hence the lack of updates in July.

It’s a bit of an experiment , learning if I can do better than the ETF’s. Which according to science is near impossible. But a man needs a hobby right ? Until next time. Happy investing!

Missing the action

Slowly adapting to my new self I am almost confident enough declaring the following , my energy management system works !
Yes it took a lot of time and painstaking tweaking but I now now what I can and can’t do on a given day.

The next step will be figuring out how to up the ante a bit. And the most important part of all , sticking with the slow progress mantra.

I have some experience and some perseverance when it comes to getting things done, for example running , following a nice training plan and feeling the progress almost every step. If I see a clearcut goal I can really get into most stuff and follow my plan. If I think it’s for a well defined and reachable goal.

My biggest asset has always been my ability to break my own boundaries, and thus by doing that almost all the time I reached the majority of my goals.

As I have mentioned before now it’s more important to manage the energy and reach goals without breaking any boundaries. Which for me is as hard as it gets. But I never fully realized this.

Working on stuff until late really made me feel alive, whether this was the smart thing to do , I found the grind very enjoyable.

It made me feel buzzed in some way, working hard and hitting targets is addictive, I now know it is. And after having a few brushes when pushing too hard I always found my way back to it. Even when a lot of the daily stuff is mundane and boring, I now tend to miss the action and dare I say the stress.

Funny how life works , last couple of years I tried to minimize the action and stressful parts of my work and going back to the fun stuff , but how ?

Well mother nature found a way, and in doing so made me realize that I needed too constantly pushing myself, turns out I never wanted too loose the action. I was somehow addicted too it. It’s also the thing I miss the most lately, I read an old ‘Bucket list’ when researching what to do next, and It was full of great stuff I wanted too do , and some I already started. When reading it I also realized that taking on one item off that list would be a massive undertaking, especially doing it in a way not to fall into my own trap of going non stop until it’s done.

I have never been the smartest kid in the room , but by methodically working on stuff and simply putting in the hours I managed most of the time. It has been my greatest asset. Pushing my limits and figuring the rest out as I go. I can no longer rely on this. By learning to do everything ‘slow’ it sucked the fun out of it a bit. The action so to say. It’s a bit terrifying knowing I will not be able to get that part back.

It’s also the automatic braking system I always needed, I more than ever need to pick my battles. It opens up a lot of creativity and possibilities. Figuring out how to apply this is the next step. Progress is here to stay.

Recovery, progress and life in general

Well, last few months have been eye opening. The post encephalitis effects are still very much present in my daily life. In this post I will try and shed some light on my experience this far and share some thoughts on recovery, the future and life in general.

After 6 months of recovery I must admit I underestimated the impact and consequences, I was focussed on a speedy recovery and aimed at getting back to work as fast as possible. While the team at the revalidation centre told me to focus on the little things first and take it slow. I just decided , maybe unconsciously, instead of doing baby steps simply fight it. Just as I did my whole life. A simple and trusted method. When a problem arises simply fight harder , work harder until it’s solved.

It’s not that I didn’t notice a difference, reading became a lot harder and still is hard. And my ability to solve problems and analyse problems and situations in every day life has had a blow since the encephalitis happened. What I didn’t realize is that it had a hold on everything else as well. For example, if I went to a meeting with a doctor, I couldn’t really remember what he had said and certainly couldn’t comprehend what that meant for me. Which is not so bad when being in a trusted environment like the revalidation centre but very bad if it’s about big decisions like the amount of time you spent at work.

Overtime , and maybe a little late, it started to sink in. And I started applying the techniques I was handed by the revalidation experts. The most important thing I learned is to manage your energy instead of your time. My former self would cram as much as possible in 24 hours. By planning ‘efficient’ , smart and all the other time management tools that are out there. This proved to be my biggest personal pitfall. I read the documents provided , did the exercises once or applied them for a week or two. After that I simply stopped and tried to do everything the way I was used to.

This led to a nice spiral downward. And I was convinced everything was going better. After a while I was getting more tired after being at work and travelling and couldn’t focus any more.
Sleeping it off would help temporarily and I tried again. Failed, slept , tried again. Recovery became battle , with me trying to beat me.

At one point my girlfriend, family and the people at the centre noticed and manoeuvred me back to the principles. So I started applying the proceedings, processes and tricks they explained.
Well that is hard, very hard. Not that these are theoretically hard. Not at all. Things like , plan your week and days before they start. What kind of activities are there, which of these activities will cost you the most energy (not time!). Slowly I started to realize I needed these structures not to get overly tired at the end of a day week or even an activity.

I had done these things before, but didn’t stuck with it, thinking I could do without after a few good days or weeks. Lucky for me I did keep lists in the beginning of all the things I did and how much energy they cost me. So I now plan rest before an energy sucking activity like travelling, especially during rush hour. figuring out lesser busy times and keeping that schedule. Or making sure that I don’t meet people in too crowded places so I can focus better. Avoid busy times in public spaces. Don’t plan strenuous activities two days in a row. And rest or do activities to relax beforehand.

And that’s just planning. Nowadays when I have an important meeting, my girlfriend comes with me to make sure I don’t get overrun with info, and to make sure I don’t make decisions on the spot.
I have to have at least a couple of days to think things over and get an idea. She is a real life saver and helps me with everything.

I also make lists , which provide me with all the things I need to take with me, tasks I need to do. And I am wearing a watch again, and have a nice old school (yes paper) agenda.

Last month my contract at work was not prolonged and I now have to find another place to work at my recovery. Which is a bit unfortunate, but hopefully brings new opportunities.
It also released me from my inner pressure to perform at my best (whatever that may be) and gets me to focus on recovery instead of trying to get back into full swing asap.

It also brings an uncertain time as I now have to explain everything all over again to someone who is going to asses my situation all over. Hopefully it will be someone with a bit of knowledge on the matter.

Next week will bring a few results as well as I have done a combination of tests to see which skills I still posses and in which areas there are problems. A neuro psychological set of tests which looks like a set of easy tasks but proved to be very hard. Hopefully it will bring some much needed insight in the problems I have with taking in information , processing it and reacting to it.

One big advantage I had, I was en a fairly good condition when it happened and didn’t suffer from any physical problems. So I can still run, which helps me a great deal in relaxing and letting go.
Last week I had a few days of real rest, not having to go into work and travelling twice 3 days a week made me feel how tired I was, I also for the first time realized that my old self is no more. Really realizing what the experts had already told me and I mostly ignored, that there are no guarantees you will fully recover, and you really have to take baby steps.

I have formulated 4 goals to work on in the next 6 months. Focussing on recovery and instilling all the procedures , tools and tricks that help me in daily life. Step by step.

Now what, step 3

After thinking about my retirement plan some more , I started to look around the internet and found some interesting websites. One of them was Mr money mustache

It’s a blog and community on reaching your retirement, i.e. being financially independent as soon as possible. Well that’s interesting. Started with the first series of blog posts and got a bit carried away reading. And thinking, what if this actually works. What if I can generate nough passive income to work a day or two less. Finally I’ll be able to train more, run more races and even do some more travelling.

Ok ok hold on, not so fast. The basic idea is to consume much less, and cut your montly cost base. But hey I like consuming. Maybe I don’t buy as much unnecessary crap as most people, but I do enjoy a good restaurant, night out and a bit of luxury now and then.

I continued reading and found more interesting info. It is possible to reach financial independence between 5 and 7 years. That’s very fast indeed.

I already started but with a much longer time frame in mind, what if this is possible for me. I think I am going to crunch the numbers a bit more.

Now what, step 1.

A couple of days ago I wrote a bit about my own personal retirement gap. Long story short, not much is certain when it comes to my retirement.

Now what, let’s see. It got me thinking about the stuff I can control. So I opened up good old excel and started gathering all my financial info.

Boring but very necessary. So where does my money go. Not surprisingly most of the money goes to my mortgage, (health) insurance, electricity, gas and food (including eating out, drinking in bars etc.). Your basic stuff.

Luckily not all was bad, I have some savings and I tend to save each month. That’s were I did my first discovery. My mortgage costs me 5,4% every year. My savings account netted me 1% every year.

Stupid me , should have made extra payments to minimize my mortgage. which will save me money now and in the future.

Step 1 figured out. Paying off the mortgage.

That’s all good but it doesn’t give me an income in the future , if I pay off all of it the money will be in the house so to speak.

Now I have to figure out how to get a steady income that can pay for my basic needs now and in the future without having to work for it.