How Not to Spend Your Money !

“The objective is to accumulate a sufficient amount of investments so that it provides you with a very comfortable income stream “

My philosophy is “The best way to make money is not to spend the money you have”. This concept seems a little difficult for some to understand, at least in my own immediate family. When I try to explain this concept to them I get blank stares or looks of total confusion. I firmly believe though once you grasp this fundamental concept you can be on your way to financial Independence and Freedom. Notice I did not use terms such as  “Millionaire” , “Rich”, “Wealthy” and similar terms or phrases because that is not what my objectives are. The objective is to accumulate a sufficient amount of investments so that it provides you with a very comfortable income stream and is continually growing in size. Of course there is usually many ways of accomplishing goals and objectives but one area that I believe most people seem to ignore is also what I believe on of the most simple ways.  Not spending you money in the first place! In this article I am trying to give you ideas of how not to spend your money. When you don’t spend it you have more to invest and you can produce more income for yourself.  In a previous article I explained how much money each $1,000 dollars would produce in potential future income.

So with the mindset of not spending money let’s see some potential ways to achieve our goals.

Areas to Save Money ( Apply the Golden Rule of Investing)

  • Alcohol – Drinking alcohol can cost you in many ways but just the basic cost is worth avoiding it. If you must drink, then try to buy it yourself and mix your own drinks, you will save 90% of the cost. Easily save $500 per year.
  • Cigarettes – I will not lecture anyone here but just pointing out not only are you hurting your health but you are hurting your future income. I was surprised to learn of cigarettes going for $5.00 a pack. If you smoke a pack a day that’s about $2,000 a year to invest.
  • Fancy Coffee – Did you realize you can make your own coffee at home for about $8 per month versus $120 – $150 per month for the coffee bar brands? Add on another $1,400 in savings !
  • Expensive Vacations – Vacations are important in my opinion but you should look at ways of vacationing that is more affordable. Instead a $5,000 vacation look for ways to cut it in half – Another $2,500 to invest !
  • Prestigious Automobiles – Do you really have to have an expensive or prestigious automobile? In today’s market there is little difference in the quality of cars. What you are really paying for is the honor of sporting a name. Is driving that name brand vehicle really worth the cost of your future income? I would say that only you can answer that question but for me, the answer is a resounding no! Purchase a car with a monthly payment of $300 per month versus $ 600 per month and you will have another $3,600 to invest !
  • Expensive Makeup – I’m certainly no expert on makeup but I have noticed that some of the department store makeup is 10 times the cost of the makeup in other stores. I have yet to see a pretty woman and say to myself “I bet she is wearing the more expensive makeup”. In other words ladies – I don’t believe men know the difference! Let’s cut back $20 per month for a yearly savings of $240
  • Expensive hair-styling – A haircut is a haircut – Why pay more for a product? Is a $100 haircut really better than a $`15 haircut? Probably not. Even at two cuts per year – $170 saved !
  • Fast Food and Expensive Restaurants – Eat out less often and you can easily save $50 per week which amounts to $2,500 per year saved.
  • Telephone – Why pay $ 800 for the privilege of owning an I-phone when you can get a nice phone free instead? Saving $800 would pay you $128 per month in retirement! $800 saved.
  • Cable TV – I remember when they first introduced cable TV – It was billed as Ad free – Not so much any longer, now you are paying to watch ads. Out of thirty minutes of programming they are squeezing in as much as 15 minutes of advertising! All trying to talk you into spending money on things you don’t need. Dumping cable could add as much as $16 per month in retirement income each month! $1,800
  • Designer Clothes and Shoes, Accessories. Many people justify the exuberant prices by saying that they represent higher quality – but in most cases, they don’t! You are paying for the “privilege” of sporting a popular name. The amount saved here varies widely with each individual but I know most could save $500 here and not even notice it.
  • Designer Bottled Water – Did you realize in many cases you are paying 3 times or more for water than gasoline? – Insanity! easily save $260 per year!

These are just a few of many possible areas to cut back or eliminate spending but it amounts to over $16,000 per year in savings ! This could be a big boost to your Income Portfolio !

The point I am trying to make here is that there are plenty of ways that we waste money that we could be investing for our future. Just by eliminating a couple of items from above could put you well on your way to investing for a more than comfortable retirement!  Take a moment and read them again. Now decide which ones you can eliminate and make a pledge to yourself to start investing that money each month instead. Your future self will be eternally grateful that you did!

You may also want to go back to review even necessary items like home and car insurance. I recently reviewed my own Home Owners policy and car Insurance policy. I found that they had slowly crept up in price over the years and after some investigation and a couple of quotes I was able to reduce my homeowners policy by $600 per year and my car insurance by $400 per year for a total sayings of $1,000 per year ! Amazing is the fact that I did not give up a single thing to save this money except for a few moments of my time.  It didn’t take one thing away from my lifestyle and certainly my friends could care less about what insurance company I have. I would recommend you make this part of an annual review of your expenses so that you can be sure you are not overpaying.

The choice is yours alone – I can’t talk you into making wise choices; only you can do that for yourself. Decide now to make this philosophy part of your life. Take action now for your future self, for your children and for your family.

If you do decide to take action on making cuts to your everyday expenses please consider:

  • Keep a diary and write down every penny you spend for a couple of months to become aware of just where you are spending ( Especially pay attention to the discretionary spending)
  • Set a goal – (IE I will cut $200 per month in spending)
  • Take action at cutting expenses
  • Dedicate those savings to your Investing account
  • Review your spending on a periodic basis – say annually in the same month every year so you remember – A suggestion is to perform the review each year when you do your taxes.

My message – It is easier to not spend money than it is to save money.

have your own ways to save money ? How about sharing them with us. We love to hear your comments !




Dividend Decreases for May 2017

“Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust is headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “

The following are notable Stock Dividend  Decreases for the Month of May , 2017


TEGNA is a Digital content provider. TEGNA operates 46 television broadcast stations. Its Digital Brands include: , Career, G/O Digital, and Premion.

In its May 2017 Dividend Announcement TEGNA has Reduced its Quarterly Dividend by -50% from $0.14 to $0.07 per share.

Its new annual Dividend is now $0.28 per share.

ARES Management, L.P (ARES)

“Ares affiliates manage several publicly traded funds(2), which allow retail and institutional investors to access our expertise across Credit and Real Estate. We believe that expanding investor access to alternative investments provides diversified sources of return and attractive solutions for investors seeking higher levels of income.”

Their funds include : ARES Capital Corporation (ARCC), ARES Commercial Real Estate Corporation (ACRE), and ARES Dynamic Credit Allocation Fund (ARDC)

In its May 2017 Dividend Declaration ARES Management Reduced its Quarterly Dividend -53% from $0.28 to $0.13 per share.

Its new annual dividend is now $0.52 per share.


Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc. (WHLR)

Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust is headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia. It  was formed with the primary objective of acquiring, financing, developing, leasing, owning and managing income producing assets such as strip centers, neighborhood centers, grocery-anchored centers, community centers and free-standing retail properties.  WHLR’s portfolio consist of approximately 70  properties that are located primarily in the Southeast United States .

In a recent May, 2017 Dividend Announcement Wheeler decreased its quarterly  dividend from 0.42 to 0.34 per share

Its new annual Dividend is now $1.36 per share.

Stage Stores, Inc. (SII)

Stage Stores are Headquartered in Houston, Texas and was originally formed in the 1920’s as two separate family businesses, Palais Royal and Bealls. Today they operate under the following Brand Names: Bealls, Goodys, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage. Stage operates 820 stores in 38 states.

During its May, 2017 Dividend announcement Stage Stores has Decreased its Quarterly Dividend from $0.15 to $0.05 per share.

Its new Annual Dividend is now $0.20 per share.

Terra Nitrogen Company, L.P. (TNH)

Terra Nitrogen is a materials company engaged in the mining, processing and distribution of Nitrogen and related products such as Urea Ammonium Nitrate

In its May 2017 dividend announcement Terra Nitrogen has Decreased its Quarterly Dividend from $1.22 to $0.96 per share.

Its new Annual Dividend is now $3.84 per share.

Time Inc. (TIME)

Time Inc. has many iconic brands including Southern Living, Cooking Light, Health, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Money Magazine and of course Time Magazine.

Time Inc. in its May 2017 dividend declaration has Decreased its quarterly Dividend -79% from $0.19 to $0.04 per share

The new annual dividend is now $0.16 per share.

Medley Capital Corporation (MCC)

In its May 2017 declaration of its dividend Medley capital has decreased its quarterly  dividend by -27% from $0.22 to $0.16 per share.

The new annual dividend is now $0.64 per share.

Southside Bancshares (SBSI)

Southside Bancshares is a holding company for Southside Bank based out of Texas.

Related Articles – Double Fun – Double Pleasure  ;

Southside Bancshares Decreases Stock Dividend!

In its May 2017 declaration Southside Bancshares has Decreased its Annual Stock Dividend from 5% to 2%.

This is the first time it has reduced the dividend in 17 years !

GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)

GlaxoSmithKline is a pharmaceutical Drug Manufacturer of a wide range of vaccines, consumer health products and prescription medicines. It is based in the United Kingdom.

In its May 2017 dividend announcement GlaxoSmithKline has Decreased its quarterly dividend by -17.4%. Its quarterly dividend was reduced from $0.23 (Euro) to $0.19 (Euro) per share.

Its new Annual dividend is now $0.76 ( Euro) per share.

Frontier Communications Corp (FTR)

Frontier Communications provides Internet and Communications services to urban and rural ares in 29 states.

Frontier Communications has announced in May 2017 it has Decreased its Quarterly dividend -61.9%

Annually it decreased from $0.42 to $0.16 per share



For a Complete list of Dividend Decreases for May 2017 please visit our

Dividend News Page


Use tax Refunds to Add to Investment Income

“What if you started a new tradition with your annual tax refunds”

According to USA Today the average tax refund is $3,096. That is a good chunk of money. While I don’t have any information on what people use their refunds for my own observations are that people immediately run out and spend the money on things. Some items they maybe in need of and probably most items are things that they want but really don’t have a real need for.

What if you started a new tradition with your annual tax refunds – Investing it into income producing stocks? Done properly you not only save your money but it starts producing a steady income for you that will serve you for the rest of your life.

It only takes a few short actions on your part to do just that. Have a plan ready for which stock(s) to Invest in. If you don’t already have a Brokerage Account make sure to open one. Go to the account and under trade stocks enter the stock symbol and the number of shares you are buying and at this point you will be asked what type of order. I choose Market order 90% of the time and its that simple. Now sit back and wait for your dividends to roll in.

By the way if you are the “average ” person and have $3,096 to invest at 8% you yearly income will be $247.68  or about $20.64 per month. Not bad, you still have your money and now it is producing more money for you. You are now a Dividend Income Investor and can start building an income stream for your future.

Or… you could have blown it on something you probably not even remember by your next refund………….. the choice is yours ! Choose wisely !

Remember the Golden Rule of Investing !

Like our advice? Follow us to get even more great ideas about investing and developing income streams.

We would love to hear your thoughts or comments !

My Real Estate Adventure

“the purchase, renovation and rental of a one hundred year old property that has been converted to a 4 unit apartment building.”

Ever wonder what it would be like

To buy a Rental Property ?

This is the first article in a series that will chronicle my adventures in Real Estate investment property in detail. Including the purchase, the renovation , the mistakes along with the good, and hopefully the rental of the units and the overall outcome of my experience.

Well wonder no more ! I have done just that and you can follow along my journey with no financial risk to you what so ever. This will be a series of articles I plan to write to document my journey through the purchase, renovation and rental of a one hundred year old property that has been converted to a 4 unit apartment building.

First the history behind my purchase. I was visiting my oldest daughter that lives in south Georgia. The visit was one of several trips I had made last year as I was planning on moving there from Virginia. My wife had died from cancer a couple of years back and it was just myself and my two youngest children so I thought it would be nice to buy a home in Georgia that we could move to in order to try and bring back our family together. One thing I have realized is the importance of family.

We had looked at countless homes in the South Georgia area and even in the northern Florida area and to a lesser extent in a eastern area of Alabama. Unfortunately nothing seemed to meet our needs, at least not at convenient times. I had found several properties on Zillow that were very promising and met the needs of what we were looking for in a home, but it seemed like every home we liked at the time someone beat us to it. I decided that it was time to try a new approach. I saw a 2 acre lot in a great neighborhood. It had a lake, a couple of ponds and only had a total of 36 lots in the community with No Homeowners Association !( I am strongly against HOAs and have vowed to never buy a home that is in one again) So, I bought the lot. My intentions were to build a home on the lot for my youngest children and I to live. I found the home plans we liked, met with a builder and started exploring loans for the construction.  In January 2017 my children had a long weekend off from school so I went to talk to the builder about the project. It was during this trip that I stumbled across this old property that was listed for sale for $120,000. I scheduled an appointment with a real estate agent to look at it and learned that it was actually a 4 unit apartment located in the most desirable part of town.  I also learned that it had been mostly vacant since 2007, having been purchased in 2009 by an investor who I later learned, lost the house when he went to prison (sorry, no details on why he went to prison). I looked at every square inch of the structure and noticed that there was indeed quite a bit of work that was needed to be done to make these apartments livable but what I was really looking for was to make sure that the “bones” of the home were in good shape. I could see a lot of potential for this Bank owned property. At this point I was  torn – Build the home of my dreams or buy an investment property. I had a lot of serious thinking to do.

That night my family and I discussed the property and while all agreed that it was potentially a good investment not everyone agreed that I should purchase it.

The next day I returned home to Virginia( of course my mind was on this the whole 9 hour drive back)  and over the next few days I pondered the deal and started doing research on how much it would take to renovate the property and bring it up to modern standards. After my research I estimated it would cost about $90,000 to renovate the property to but adjusted that total to $110,000 just for a built in contingency. So with a purchase price of $120,000 and added costs of $110,000 my grand total would be $230,000. Not bad for a $5,000 square foot apartment building. That would be a cost of about $58,000 per unit. Now I had to determine if I could make money on the apartments when finished. My research showed the going rate in this rural area of Georgia was about $600 for a two bedroom apartment. This building had 1 three bedroom / 2 bath apartment (1,500 square feet) and 3 Two Bedroom 1 bath apartments (1100 square feet each). Since this was considered the upscale part of town and I believed I could get about $3,000 per month for the units. On a side note the single family home directly  across the street  sold for $370,000 and it was only three thousand square feet. So after reviewing these numbers my mind was made up, This was a deal I could not pass by. I decided to make the bank an offer.

I knew just how long the bank had been sitting on this property, having to pay taxes of over $3,000 a year and keeping the lawn cut, not to mention carrying this on  their books so I made a low ball offer in February 2017 of $55,000 for the property. The bank rejected my offer and to make  a long story short we finally came to a sales price of $85,000 for the property. That was $35,000 below their asking price! I was elated. My two youngest children, not so much. If everything goes as planned (I know it seldom does) this will bring my total investment price to $195,000. Not bad for an expected return of $3,000 per month. This would mean the apartments could pay for itself in as little as six years.

So now I had made an offer, it was accepted, so I wanted to obtain financing for the project. I had just sold my main home so I had the money to pay cash but remember what this site is all about – making money and one of my main philosophies is to Never give up your cash if you don’t have to. In this case I needed about $195,000 ( $85,000 for the apartments and $110,000 for the renovation). By leaving this money invested I was confident I could earn a minimum of 8% on the money (Approximately $16,000) while loans were going for around 4% or less. Unfortunately I found out that regular banks with regular mortgages would not lend money for homes that were not “move in ready” so I had to go to a local bank which gave me a five year loan with a balloon payment so I decided to only go with financing the $85,000 and I would finance the renovation costs out of pocket.My new plan was to take care of major items like Electrical and Plumbing up front and the finish each apartment one at a time. In this manner I can spend a minimum amount of money on each renovation and as I get the first apartment finished I can rent it out to help offset the cost of renovation on each following apartment. At least that is my plan, we will see if I can make it work in reality.

Now I had to find Insurance for the apartments. The bank required it but of course I would be very ignorant to not get insurance on the property. As a side note : I also purchased a Title Insurance Policy at closing. I have learned that for very little cost , in this case $275, you can protect yourself. One example I remember specifically was an instance when I lived in a town-home. A builder built units behind ours on another piece of property and started selling the units. It turned out the builder somehow built the town-homes on someone Else’s  property and there was a big fight for the ownership. I don’t know whatever happened as I moved away but I did  learn that you need to protect yourself from these rare types of circumstances. You just never know of the unknown lurking in the shadows of a property. Getting back to the insurance; the first quote I got for rental insurance was for $5,000 per year ! They were telling me that the building I was paying $85,000 for would cost them $888,000 to replace! This would make it one of the most expensive properties in town.  Just a little more than I expected. Actually the quote was more than double what I was expecting. I sought other quotes but the other companies refused to give me a quote on a rental property because it was currently unoccupied. I ended up having to get a “Builder’s Insurance” policy because the building was vacant and would be under renovation. Even on that, one company quoted me $2,000 and another $850 for six months. No one would give me a quote for a permanent rental policy until the home was finished except the original company. So of course I took the $850 policy. It covered the property for $200,000 which was sufficient to cover the money I would have invested into it.

I originally had hoped for all the units to be renovated within six months but because of my new renovation plan of paying out of pocket and renovating one apartment at a time instead of all four simultaneously , I now expect it to take about 8 months to complete. Once the renovation is completed and I have people living in the apartments I can return to the bank and apply for a more conventional loan with more favorable terms. I plan to start advertising the apartments slightly before they are finished in order to rent them as quickly as possible. I am currently leaning towards a 15 year mortgage but I will be in a better position to make that determination at the time I have all the facts. After the original fiasco with obtaining a mortgage and an Insurance policy I will not just assume it will be an easy process this time.

I also intend to source as much as I can from the local community that is contractors and vendors. I want to let the community know I support them and appreciate their support of me. This is a rural small town and I want to make sure we are are all working together to make our community a better place. I believe that in turn the community will support me also.

One thing is certain, this is going to be a challenging project, especially when you consider I currently live out of state. At the same time it excites me with the possibilities of taking a property that so many others had failed on to turning it into a updated and modern income producing property. That is rewarding to me into itself but the income will be icing on the cake. Who knows, if this goes well I just might take on additional projects. And of course I still plan to have a home built in a couple of years.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my Real Estate Adventure and will join me as I post updates along the way. It should be interesting to watch unfold. I have owned Rental Properties in the past but they were always single family and required little or no renovations. So here I am in the beginning stages of a huge renovation project with my two youngest children believing I have gone insane while my two oldest children seem to be excited about the project.

Will the project come in on or under budget? Will I meet my timeline? Will I be able to get at least $3,000 per month in rental income? What unknown challenges will I face? Will I want to continue and make this a full time business in the future? We will answer all these questions and more so follow along as I document my largest renovation and rental project ever!

Comments or thoughts? Please share them with us.

PS: I would also like to say I welcome design ideas also. One discussion I am already having is Kitchen counter tops – Should I go with Granite or should I go with a lower cost item like a Laminate counter top , will the granite bring in more rent ? The more suggestions the better and the more discussion  the merrier!

Six Stocks for a 9% Portfolio

“She has $40,000 to invest so her monthly income will be over $305 per month. “

Looking for stocks that will give you an average yield of over 9% with very little risk?

My sister recently asked me to come up with a portfolio of stocks that she could earn 9% on an investment from. These are the current stocks I recommended for her. The actual average yield will be 9.16% . She has $40,000 to invest so her monthly income will be over $305 per month. I have recommended that she invest $6,666 into each stock so the are equally weighted.

Here are my picks:

  1. Blackstone Mortgage Trust (BXMT) – 8.12%
  2. Vector Group – (VGR) – 7.64%
  3. Whitestone REIT (WSR) – 9.85%
  4. Care Capital Properties (CCP) – 8.28%
  5. Newtek Business Services (NEWT) – 9.13%
  6. New Residential (NRZ) – 11.96%

As always do your due diligence before investing your own money.  I own all the stocks listed with the exception of NEWT which I plan on adding within the next 30 days.


Thoughts or comment? We would love to hear where you stand on these picks.

The Rule of 72

Very simple and straight forward. So now you know what the Rule of 72 is !

Have you ever heard of the Rule of 72? What is the Rule of 72 and why do investors need to know it?

The Rule of 72 is actually a very simple way of determining how long (number of years) it will take to double your investment. There are also variations like the rule of 70 and the rule of 69.3 but since the rule of 72 is the easiest to remember that is what we will concentrate on.

First keep in mind that this method is a shortcut method because to get 100% accuracy requires more complicated mathematics. The accuracy of this method is very close though so it will serve the average investor very well.

To determine the number of years it will take your investment to double you simply divided 72 by the actual number of the interest rate yield ( not as a percentage) and the resulting number is the approximate number of years it will take to double. It is most accurate when using rates between 6 % and 10% but will still come relatively close for other yields.

An example is:

My investment has an average yield of 7% – how long (number of years) will it take to double ?

72 / 7 = 10.28 years

or for 6% = 72/6 = 12 years

or for 8% = 72/8 = 9 Years

or for 10% = 72/10 = 7.2 years


Very simple and straight forward. So now you  know what the Rule of 72 is !

Lowe’s Has Acquired Maintenance Supply Headquarters

This acquisition fits in with “Lowe’s previously announced plan to expand upon its relationship with its Pro customer base. “

In a press release date May 18, 2017 Lowe’s Companies (LOW) has announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire  Maintenance Supply Headquarters for $512 Million dollars.

Maintenance Supply Headquarters is a Huston, Texas based company that operates 13 distribution centers located in the western. southeastern and south central United States.  It covers 29 geographical areas and has a catalog of more than 5,300 products and services which targets maintenance and restoration of multi-family dwellings.

Press Release  

Lowe’s Investor Relations

This acquisition fits in with Lowe’s previously announced plan to expand  upon its relationship with its Pro customer base.