July Dividend Income

After 34 years of clocking in and out of work and religiously saving at least 10% annually in my 401K every year, in good times and bad, I have decided to share my monthly dividend income to show what regular saving and investing can accomplish.

For the month of July I made $3,949.85; an increase of 34.06% versus this time last year. Another large increase versus the previous year as my dividend payout recovers from all the dividend cuts and freezes of 2020.  I should have one more month of massive YoY increases as my major portfolio repositioning that I did last year started to kick-in last September so growth should come down some.

In July I continued to receive dividend raise announcements from Ares Capital (ARCC), Cummins (CMI), Discover (DFS), J.M Smucker (SJM), Ryder (R), and Walgreens (WBA). Meanwhile EPR Properties restored 65% of their pre-COVID dividend payout.

On the home front my expenses have remained the same which means my savings rate has stayed steady at 24.9% but we did splurge a bit.  We bought an Epson projector and started having backyard movie night with the family.  Our first movie was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and it was a hit.  Everyone in the family had a good time and I even relaxed sipping on a Yuenling. Our next movie night we are showing Addams Family Values which is always good for a few laughs.

The only major addition to my portfolio for the month was Enbridge as I added 101 shares.  I have always been hesitant about the energy sector but was finally convinced on pipelines. The remainder of my buys were all small picking up just a few shares here and there of GIS, SJM, UL, WBA, and of course a weekly $130 contribution to my M1 account. 

Overall a great month for dividend raises, a few stock buys, and fun with the family.

7/1/21PPLPPL CORP$764.07
7/7/21MRKMERCK &CO. INC$132.44
7/15/21WPCWP CAREY INC$563.38
7/19/21BCEBCE INC$94.78
7/30/21BGSB&G FOODS INC $260.65
7/30/21OGEOGE ENERGY CORP$135.27
7/31/21M1 FinanceM1 DIVIDEND GROWTH ACCOUNT$31.55

Buys and Sells for the Week 7/23

A little whiplash volatility to start the week but by mid week things looked up and Discover Financial (DFS) gave me a 14% raise. Here are my trades for the week:

  1. Enbridge Inc. (ENB) – increased position – Did not expect my second limit order to trigger this fast! My third and final limit order is at $35.78/share wonder how long this one will take?. Grabbed 51 shares @ $37.71 and a 7.09% yield (at todays exchange rate).
  2. J.M. Smucker (SJM) – increased position – No surprises in their last earnings report and a recent 10% divvy raise…why the price drop? Grabbed 2 shares @ $127.37 and a 3.11% yield.
  3. General Mills (GIS) – increased position – GIS showed a little weakness in share price and dropped below $60/share. Grabbed 2 shares @ $59.12 and a 3.45% yield.
  4. Unilever plc (UL) – increased position – Inflation fears driving share price down and its been awhile since share price was in the the mid 50s. Grabbed 4 shares @ $55.60 and a 3.28% yield.

Buys and Sells for the Week 7/16

As I type this it is a blistering 91oF with high humidity to boot. The weather isn’t the only thing hot as my dividend stream was lit up this week. EPR Properties restored 65% of its dividend payout and I received dividend raises from Ryder (R), Cummins (CMI), and Walgreens (WBA). The EPR dividend came a quarter earlier than I expected as I was counting on it to offset possible future dividend cuts from AT&T (T) and PPL Corp (PPL). Trading was thin and here is my lone trade of the week:

  1. Enbridge Inc. (ENB) – new position – Started my initial position in ENB. Plan on buying two more installments but at lower share prices. ENB pays out their dividend in CAD so USD payout and yield vary depending on the current exchange rate. Grabbed 50 shares @ $39.31 and a 6.74% yield (at todays exchange rate).

Buys and Sells for the Week 7/9

Higher and higher, every time the market shows a little weakness it just comes roaring back. My Friday was a washout just watching the rain fall, may as well makes some trades. Here are my trades for the week :

  1. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) – increased position – WBA should be posting a dividend increase very soon (possible after the close). Grabbed 4 shares @ $46.72 and a 4% yield.
  2. J.M. Smucker (SJM) – increased position – SJM just raised their dividend 10% pushing the yield back above 3%. Grabbed 4 shares @ $130.33 and a 3.04% yield.

Annual Dividend Income vs. Median Household Income

Sitting at the half way mark for 2021 I updated my map of how my dividend income compares to the median household income for each state in the U.S. This is a fun little exercise I like to do to see how my passive income is measuring up.

All the baseline household income is from Census Bureau data and adjusted for inflation. While the annual income I use is my current forward dividend income.

% of Median Income20202021
80% & higher57
65% to 79%1723
50% to 64%2518
less than 50%42

In the 80% & higher category I improved by 2 states as I welcome West Virginia and North Carolina into the 80+% club.

In the cellar dwellers, I went from 4 to 2 states as the states of Washington and New Hampshire moved out of the less than 50% category. This leaves just Massachusetts and Maryland as the last two cellar dwellers.

My largest improvement was the 65% to 79% category as 6 states moved up one spot on my list.

The only issue I have with the current data set is the numbers were adjusted for average 2020 inflation rate and as we all know inflation has been much higher the last few months. It will be real interesting when I revisit this 6 months from now and readjust for 2021 inflation.

Buys and Sells for the Week 7/2

I went two weeks without buying a stock but that changed this week. Not a lot of trades but I’ll take what I can get. Here are my trades for the week :

  1. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) – increased position – WBA posted better than expected earnings but investors did not like their high single digit to 10% earnings growth forecast for the remainder of the year and sent the stock price lower. Grabbed 8 shares @ $48.93 and a 3.8% yield and 8 shares @ 47.69 and a 3.9% yield.

M1 Portfolio Mid-Year Update

It has been 6 months since I last updated my M1 portfolio stats here on the site.  During that time there have been some very minor adjustments and now is a good time to summarize how it has grown, changed and what future changes I would like to make.


I started the year making weekly contributions of $120 but in March I received a raise at work and was able to increase it to $130 or an extra $520 annually.  My total contributions for the first 6 months totaled $3,280. 

I do not foresee this changing for the remainder of the year but 2022 will be a different story as my middle daughter will graduate college and if she gets a job that should reduce my expenses and I may be able to increase an additional $40 per week around this time next year.

Portfolio Performance

My portfolio balance at the beginning of the year was $7,634, adding in the 6 months of contributions that is a total of $10,914.  My portfolio balance at the end of June was $12,994 which represents a total gain of $2,080 for a total return of 19.05%.  The S&P500 YTD return was 14.41% but a better comparison would be to compare to dividend growth ETFs VYM and SCHD. VYM’s YTD return was 17.49% and SCHD’s YTD return was 20.79%, this places my return neatly in between the two.

The portfolio yield has dropped from 3.21% to 3.01%. This is a reflection of the capital gain growth that has exceeded dividend growth. However when I compare it to VYM and SCHD, they yield 2.79% and 2.89% so I am receiving a slightly better yield.


My portfolio holdings grew from 55 to 58.  In my Telcom pie I was never happy with just two holdings (AT&T & Verizon) and expanded the pie to include Canada’s two largest telcom companies BCE Corp. (BCE) and Telus Corp (TU). 

The third addition was Organon (OGN) a spin-off from Merck in early June and I have yet to decide if I wish to keep it.  OGN currently does not pay a dividend, but I will hold for now and see where it is going. Interestingly M1 Finance changed their policy on spin-offs and they now notify you to allow you time to adjust your pie. Prior to this M1 would just sell the spin-off shares so this is a very welcome change.

Possible Portfolio Changes

Going forward I am evaluating expanding my pies and here is a summary of the additions to my portfolio.

Technology Pie – I am late to the Broadcom (AVGO) party but it is shaping up to be a worthy addition. I would probably reduce TXN and IBM to 20% and GRMN to 15%. This would allow me to add AVGO at a 15% allocation.

Industrial Pie – For industrials I am considering adding Packaging Corporation of America (PKG) and Watsco, Inc.(WSO). As far as a % allocation I would most likely just redistribute every holding equally for simplicity.

Utilities Pie – Looking to expand my electric utilities a bit with the addition of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (PNW) and OG&E Corp (OGE). I don’t want to disrupt my water utilities too much so I can reduce their allocation from 16% to 15%. I would spread the remaining allocation evenly across the electric utilities (an 11-12% allocation).

As of yet I have made none of the portfolio changes described above, but will continue to evaluate if worth making some or all of the changes.