Brain damage , experiences and everyday life

Brain damage , for most people something they can’t really get grips with. It’s hard too imagine one day waking up and being unable performing even the most basic of tasks without these simple things being incredibly difficult. And in most cases it’s ‘ invisible’ . Nearly 3 years in too my recovery I have learned a lot. Maybe I have written about some aspects in earlier posts but it helps putting my thought in order, so bare with me.

After my revalidation process where I learned how to handle the most mundane daily tasks, comprehending my place in the larger world began. Where the first steps were about not forgetting putting out the stove when going outside, taking your keys when going out, and more of the sorts. It was now about issues much bigger. What is my place in society , what can I still offer in terms of work, helping people and what are achievable goals for me?

These questions were much harder too awnser than expected. During the second year keeping the routines as learned during my recovery had the priority. Creating a stable day to day environment was one thing I underestimated greatly. Easy weeks give a false notion of being able to do more or a lot more the following week or weeks.

All too soon the I found this to be a mistake , your efforts need to be in balance , creating a tension between rest and activity good enough to keep you going. An excess week in efforts will cause weeks of instability.

After the second year and getting a rhythm going, it was time looking ahead. My internal optimist was still thinking in terms of careers , and being ‘normal’ again. The first difficulty came when looking for sorts of an internship where I could experiment with how far I could go and what I could still do within a working environment.

Everybody I had been speaking with was full of admiration with my commitment and tenacity but ultimately most didn’t see a possibility for me working with them. Doubts about risk and the practical issues with providing me with the right support were dealbreakers.

Fortunately you just need 1 person taking a leap of faith. Which in my case someone did. It is of the utmost importance to be joining society again, in any way, in this case being back in a work environment. I have the freedom setting my own limits , have a group of very friendly colleagues, there are coffee machines (you miss those when not around). And most importantly I have work at my own level and in my old profession.

These seem small things but very important in terms of your self esteem. It’s also useful with planning your weekly activities , parts of it are filled with work and I don’t need to fill in my own. You get out the door and there is a rhythm.

Getting back in my area of expertise was very important , where learning new things doesn’t come easy if it’s related too older knowledge which I had before my brain damage it’s much easier. I am a lot slower and I can manage far shorter hours of focussing and need a lot of rest. But by relying on some basics from the past it’s easier to maintain. It takes less energy than totally new stuff.

I have tried learning something new. Working with my hands for example. Fixing bikes, soldering and the like. Fun as a hobby maybe, but it took me ages and lot’s of energy getting the most basic routines under my belt. My motor skills were simply not good enough anymore. This way proved to be a dead end.

Returning in my old profession, albeit at a slower pace and less demanding, proved vital in my succes in the workplace. A lot of people try different professions after a serious accident and recovery, and for me this was a first reaction, let’s learn something ‘easier’ than I was used to. This turned out to be the wrong way. At least for me. Maybe there should be a bit more room for exploring the stuff people already know before doing new things. For one I am not less intelligent , just a lot slower. A full time job is hard but it doesn’t make you a complete ‘write-off’

So all in all getting back in my old ways is a good thing, and has resulted in a parttime job. I have left the idea of full time employment. It’s still in the back of my head though. And I will try and bent it a bit further in the future. For now it’s been a boost in self confidence and gives back a bit of independence. Very important indeed.

Society is equipped for people who can run at full speed within the society. Preferably a bit faster. As soon as you get to an abrupt hold , for whatever reason, it’s very hard getting back in. In theory there are guidelines, programs and projects aimed at letting people with a disability being part of society again.

All good intentions and efforts aside, theory and practice are far apart. I have been lucky, met the right people willing to help at the right time. Others are not as fortunate and have daily hindrance on top of their usual problems. It takes an extra toll on these people. Because I know they would love to find a place to make a positive impact on society.

October 2019 – Dividend

October again, and it’s time for my monthly dividend statement. Yet again a steady growth. It’s considering the current interest rate climate all too easy to praise dividends.

But there is a but, the risk is significantly higher. So always invest for the long term, at least with a 20 year horizon. And with money you absolutely don’t need for the foreseeable future. Don’t chase the next hot thing. Make a plan, and stick to it consistently. And let time do its job.

Maybe these warnings albeit a repetition are still worth mentioning. A lot of people talk very casually about investing as if they are as secure as an ‘old fashioned’ savings account. Well they are not. Be sure too understand the basics of finance, money and time before doing anything. Read a few books on money and finance in general. And then start reading up on investing. And make sure you read even more on risk. Not just financial risk, but risk in general. There are numerous non financial risks in your life which will impact you personally and financially. Such as job and income loss, divorce , illness. Read about how to cover those risks. Life is 90% other stuff rather than money. Albeit a lot of people feel otherwise. Think about what you want in life first and foremost. Think hard. And then make a plan on how to get there.

Well after this short intermezzo, it’s numbers time.

DateStockCurrencyAmount
23-10-2019Cisco systemsEUR8,83
16-10-2019W.P. Carey EUR9,33
09-10-2019Vanguard FTSE All-world UCITS ETFEUR101,18
01-10-2019Coca ColaEUR5,41
01-10-2019NikeEUR1,98
TotalEUR126,73

Option trade diary #6 – Ahold Delhaize

Well time for another option strategy, a pretty simple one and this time the example is based around Dutch supermarket giant Ahold Delhaize. One of my favorite stocks with a nice dividend. It’s a stock with not much in the way of volatility. Which means writing calls and puts is the way for me. As I always have a position in Ahold I can simply write call options on the shares I own and write put options at the price I bought them for in the past. Which mostly results in getting the premium.

Worst case scenario is I have to deliver the shares which I own against a tidy profit or I can add a few shares with a bit of a discount. I do this with option expiration dates between 1 and 3 months. So short term positions. As this is a bit riskier as opposed to maintaining longer timeframes make sure you cover your written calls.

Which ensures you can deliver the number of shares you sold call options for when you get assigned, or have enough cash at hand to buy them when your put options get assigned. This way you will not be in for a nasty surprise when things don’t go your way.

There is always the possibility of rolling the options on towards future dates. Which is perfectly Ok but is a bit more maintenance and more risk. You buy the option back, and sell another option with the same strike price a few months down the line. And wait for more profitable times. Especially with written calls the losses can mount as in theory the share price of the stock can rise indefinitely.

So in this case I keep it simple and have all outcomes covered. It’s just easier and I don’t have to think about it.

This strategy can be very useful in sideways markets or slight downturns, making a few extra bucks on the side. Mind the volatility of a stock, as this can greatly enhance the intermediate risk of these positions.

Until next time , have fun and as always do your own research before buying or selling anything.

September 2019 Dividend

Another month in the dust, thus time for a dividend update. This month there are a few new dividends paying out due to the growth of the protfolio. Also a few, one bank and two insurers, which are a bit of a coincidence , as I bought the shares for option construction purposes and was expecting having nonen of them at the time they were handing out the dividends. Nonetheless it’s here and I am clouting it. A bit of luck really.

Its yet again a nice improvement from last year, although a bit skewed with the Dow Dupont merger and split process and the dividend by accident with the bank and insurers. It’s good to have a growth and progress in the portfolio. It keeps one motivated !

See you all next month.

The numbers:

DateStockCurrencyAmount
28-09-2019Vanguard dividend appreciation fundEUR1,51
20-09-2019AegonEUR15,00
16-09-2019Corteva IncEUR0,35
16-09-2019DowDuPont INCEUR0,82
14-09-2019Dow INCEUR1,91
12-09-2019MicrosoftEUR8,36
11-09-2019NN GroupEUR76,00
11-09-2019UnileverEUR8,21
06-09-2019ASREUR70,00
02-09-2019ABN AmroEUR60,00
TotalEUR242,16

August 2019 Dividend

It’s been a while. Writing articles got a backseat to real life. So I am a bit behind. But we’re back. With August and the monthly dividend report. It’s the usual really. An increase in dividend income comparing the numbers with last year. And not surprisingly because of the fact I am still building the portfolio.

Another reminder of how important it is to be consistent and dedicated, it works. It’s better too invest a small amount consistently , then larger amounts when you have money ‘left over’.

Another fact of life, the world is still in turmoil. Brexit, nationalism, trade wars , oil you name it, it’s happening. Just the day to day madness really. Just keep building that portfolio and stay calm. One step at a time upon the ladder of investing.

Ok enough talking, it’s numbers time :

DateStockCurrencyAmount
02-08-2019Amsterdam CommoditiesEUR24,00
12-08-2019NSIEUR12,48
12-08-2019INGEUR24,00
15-08-2019AMGEUR20,00
15-08-2019AppleEUR10,40
29-08-2019AholdEUR30,00
TotalEUR120,88

Option trade diary #5 – Advanced metallurgical group

This one is not for the faint of harted , today in my option diary series , Advanced metallurgical group. Which in a very short description makes difficult products out of precious metals. With emphasis on difficult, and precious.

It’s a very hard and volatile market on any given day, it’s a highly cyclical business and it’s always at the forefront of any wrinkle in the market. But it’s a nice stock to own just because the stuff it produces is only getting harder to come by and it’s something which will be more expensive in the future , and since were here for the long run , this is worth a bit of a gamble. So I sold two put options.

These are the options I sold :

AMG Put 14.00 20 December 2019, for 50 Euro’s
AMG Put 18.00 20 March 2020 , for 175 Euro’s

As you can see, these were sold right before a dip in the market due to tweeting presidents and the like. So my timing was a bit off. So this case shows this stock can fluctuate a bit , I told you so. Target is 50% or less before I buy them back. See you next time !

July 2019 Dividend

A new month, a new dividend round. And another nice monthly revenue, which in most part because of the ever growing portfolio , not so much extreme dividend increases. Around 167% more. Seems steep but mostly because of the growing number of shares and ETF’s which pay out. Compounding interest at it’s finest. The 8th world wonder some say. Exactly as it was intended. A nice bit of passive income.

We live in strange times, as always maybe. But it’s rather strange indeed, geopolitics, environment and economical. The switch towards a more sustainable way of living which is upon us. Which has not yet been seen in any of the current driving numbers. It’s time we look at things in a different perspective. Calculate our production and profits not just in money and growth. Take into account things like health, impact on the environment and our surroundings, happiness and more of these kind of parameters. These should all be taken into account when calculation the gross national production of countries or the results of any company.

Unfortunately we are not there yet, until we are it’s all about the benjamins. Speaking of which , here are the July dividend numbers :

DateStockCurrencyAmount
25-07-2019Walt Disney CompanyEUR0,68
24-07-2019Cisco SystemsEUR8,83
16-07-2019W.P. Carey IncEUR9,32
11-07-2019Vanguard FTSE all world UCITS ETFEUR114,27
05-07-2019Unibail - WFDEUR16,41
02-07-2019Porsche automobil holdingEUR22,10
02-07-2019Nike IncEUR1,98
01-07-2019Coca ColaEUR5,41



TotalEUR173,59

June 2019 Dividend

Dividend update June 2019, the eight miracle of the world, compounding is taking a hold on my dividends. Another significant increase in dividend payouts for my retirement. Whenever that will be. Anyway, most comes from the usual suspects. Some from newer positions but mostly existing ones. Comparing with last year it’s another nice increase of about 36%. Which is very nice indeed.

It only becomes real when you start accumulating real assets. In theory it’s all very clear. But you have to have a bit of faith in the long term plan. Which can be pshycologically challenging , and at times it is. But when you look at the growth and the numbers , it all makes sense. So just start and keep at it, remember showing up consistently is all it takes when talking about achieving your goals. In this case showing simply means keep investing.

So without further delay the overview :

DateStockCurrencyAmount
21-06-2019

AegonEUR15,00
20-06-2019Icahn EnterprisesEUR1,77
20-06-2019Vanguard dividend appreciationEUR1,26
18-06-2019HAL Trust EUR53,14
14-06-2018DOW incEUR1,86
13-06-2019Deutsche PfandbriefbankEUR100,00
13-06-2019MicrosoftEUR8,14
05-06-2019UnileverEUR8,21
TotalEUR136,24

Option trade diary #3 – NN

Another edition of the options trading diary , in this case other insurance company. Nationale Nederlanden. This insurer is an investment for the long term, yielding an excellent dividend and has been optimizing on multiple fronts. The low interest rates will remain a problem however , but for now this has not been a factor in the growth and the flow of dividends.

As I am planning on owning the stock I have written a put option, one that ends next month on the 19th of July and has a strike price of 34 euro’s.

Just a quick reminder of what this means, when the share price dips below 34 euro’s I have an obligation to buy 100 shares NN at 34 euro. Which is a discount of 3,8% on the share price on the moment of writing the option.

For a period of 3,5 weeks I received 35 euro’s. If the price of the stock stays above 34 euro I will get too keep this. It’s a very short running option so you always have to be aware of the risk of getting assigned.
You can always buy back the option and write another one which expires further in the future. Or let the option run it’s course and get 100 shares at 34 euro’s.

So far so good , at the time of writing this post the option has lost 50% of it’s value.

Option trade diary #2 – ASR

ASR this time, an insurance company from the Netherlands, one that hasn’t been on a lot of radars. Most people look towards bigger firms like NN, or Munich Re in Germany. To name just 2. For me ASR has been interesting for some time now. People always need insurance and as an insurance company ASR is doing a nice job. It’s been up in recent years due to good results and product development. Also the margins are pretty good. So is the dividend.

Recently the stock has been under pressure due too interest rate concerns and general turmoil. Which means people buy up bonds and this impact insurers , amongst others. As the market always has a bit of a knee jerk reaction, I think this stock will be recovering , and if not I am happy owning a few. So I sold a put option
for December 2019 strike price 34 euro’s. For which I received 165 euro’s.

It’s now a matter of time, either I will have too buy at 34, roll the option for another time in the future or receive the premium. Either way I will be content. Especially with the last possibility. Let’s wait and see.