Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two More Dividend Increases

Two more of the companies I own in my DRiP portfolio raised their dividend this week.

First, Fortis Inc. (Toronto: FTS) increased its dividend 3.5% from $0.28 to $0.29 per quarter. This is a small increase, but the company is in the power generation business, and in a recession less power is consumed as businesses decrease their products output and thus their energy consumption.

Second, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) just announced this morning that it was raising its dividend 11% from $0.18 to $0.20 per quarter.

These will have only a small impact individually, but they do add up. :o)

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Review: Financial Goals

As the end of the year approaches, it is time to review my financial goals for 2010 to see how I did.

Financial Goal 1: Increase my Net Worth -- Success

In fact, I should call this a smashing success. I reached my objective of a $125K net worth mid-year, due to a combination of the market recovery and an increase in the value of our house. If things bear out, I should end 2010 with a net worth of $137K.

For 2011, I will raise that objective to a net worth of $160K.

Financial Goal 2: Increase my Dividend Income -- Success

Last year, I established a steep objective of $1300 in dividend income from my non-registered investments (DRiP portfolio and TFSA account). I made actually it! Thanks to the year-end dividend from CGI, my dividend income for 2010 will be $1306 -- right over my objective.

For 2011, my objective will depend on how I end up paying for my new car. If I purchase it outright with no financing, I will have to gut both my TFSA account and my DRiP portfolio, so I should only expect dividend income of about $750. If, on the other hand, I can get attractive financing and decide to go that way, I'd like my dividend income to climb to $1700.

What are you financial objectives for 2011?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Credit Card Change Follow-Up

Last year, I switched my main credit card to MBNA's SmartCash credit card (see my post). At the time, I estimated that I would get back about $360 in cash for the first year (taking into account the sign-up bonus) and $288 for each year after that.

So I did a quick check-up on how much money I got back since signing up for the new card. By my calculation, I actually got closer to $400 back. Based on that, I can probably expect something like $300 every year, which is 50% more than what I was getting back with my old card.

Not bad at all.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Canadian General's Year-End Dividend

Yesterday I mentioned that I was waiting to see what what the end-of-year special dividend would be for Canadian General Investments (Toronto: CGI).

Well, this morning the fund announced that it will pay a special cash capital gains dividend of $0.76 per common share, payable on December 24, 2010.

This brings up CGI's dividend this year to $1.00 per share, for a 5% yield. Considering that the stock has also moved up 30%, this makes for quite a profitable investment this year.

I've just moved most of my shares of CGI into my TFSA, so my year-end dividend will be sheltered from taxes. I did this because this "special cash capital gains dividend" is treated as regular income, instead of the preferencial tax treatment of a normal Canadian dividend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dividend News

Some recent news regarding my dividend-paying companies...

Enbridge (Toronto: ENB) has announced an increase to its dividend, from $0.425 to $0.49 per quarter. That's an increase of 15%. Cheers!

Bank of Nova Scotia (Toronto: BNS) and Bank of Montreal (Toronto: BMO) both announced good quarterly earnings. Things continue to look good for our Canadian banks, but no dividend increase yet. I had slight hopes that BNS would announce one.

Other companies in my portfolio that should soon announce dividend increases are Fortis (Toronto: FTS) and 3M Company (NYSE: MMM). I am also waiting to see what the end-of-year special dividend will be for Canadian General Investments (Toronto: CGI).

All of those companies are part of my DRiP portfolio, although I also own some shares of 3M in my RRSP.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Net Worth Update

As of December 1st, my net worth was $137 993 (up 0.9% from $136 763). If I exclude house-related assets and liabilities, my net worth was $95 888 (up 1% from $94 916). Things are slowing down for me as the end of the year arrives. A quick dip of the stock markets at the end of November had an impact there.

Assets ($197 251, up 1.46% from $194 419)
  • Bank Accounts $5 754 (up 7.8% from $5 335)
  • Emergency Funds $2 678 (up 4% from $2 575)
  • RRSP Accounts $60 361 (up 0.5% from $60 061)
  • Non-Retirement Investments $30 411 (down 0.8% from $30 643)
  • Home $98 430 (stable)

Liabilities ($60 488, down 0.6% from $60 856)

  • Credit Cards $3 482 (down 9.2% from $3 834)
  • Mortgage $56 324 (down 0.4% from $56 583)
  • Line of Credit $0 (stable)


  • Debt / assets: 0.303 (down from 0.307)
  • House value / total assets: 0.498 (down from 0.499)

There has been a delay in replacing the planned windows, so this expense has not come through yet. It is not yet certain if the cheque will be cashed before the end of the year, either, so its impact may only be felt at the beginning of 2011.

Christmas shopping has also begun, so I expect a temporary rise in credit card debt. As usual, though, the balance of all my credit cards will be paid in full each month. It is simply that during the Christmas period, I spend a bit more money -- I'm not adding any long-term debt here, it is simply a question of cash-flow since almost all of my expenses go through my credit cards. I pay no interest at all, and collect the rewards.