Portfolio Update

Today I started experimenting with Google docs and decided to revamp The Stoic Investor Portfolio.  There is nothing different about the holdings, just the format I’m reporting it in.  I tried to include data that I thought would be useful to current dividend investors and those who are thinking about getting their feet wet.  So lets look at what is included and why.

  • Market Value vs. Cost basis.  This is important for one main reason; it allows you to see how market pricing changes.  These are just a few stocks out of thousands and a portfolio with different holding will look very different.  What is important to consider is not the gains or losses themselves ( although it would be important if you think there is something fundamentally wrong with the company) but how you would feel seeing these kinds of changes.  Sure, it’s nice to see MCD up close to 30% but then take a look at SFL.  It is important to know how you would feel with such fluctuations.  For me, this portfolio is being constructed with the goal of producing income.  The market value is determined by current prices and prices changes daily depending on how market participants are feeling and thus acting in terms of buying and selling.  Therefore, market noise is just a distraction that I try to tune out as much as possible.
  • Yield on Cost vs. Current Yield.  Yield on cost allows me to see what kind of income I’m actually getting off the capital I’m investing.  Current yield is income I would get if I were to purchase stocks in the company at today’s prices.  Lets use MCD as an example.  MCD is a great company, but it is pricey at the moment.  Based on the price I purchased MCD for last year my yield today is 3.6%  The current yield is 2.8%.  I may buy more MCD in the future, but it will be after a big pullback.  Current yield is always moving because it is based on price.  For a quality company that is raising dividends consistently, it may pay off to be patient and get in at a good yield.
  • Actual Dividends.  This is what it is all about.  Seeing the amounts here let us see what is actually happening.  Some of the companies I have are not dividend growers.  NYB is an example.  It has a nice yield, but it’s not growing.  I knew that going into my investment in NYB but expected it to be a steady and dependable payer.  MCD and T on the other hand have nice histories of increasing their dividends.  This approach gives me a mix of high current yield as well as a growing yield.  I think it’s important to actually see what a portfolio is doing in terms of income production. Fellow blogger DividendMantra has a great portfolio that produces income as well.  Take a look at it and see how different portfolios are constructed and how they do in terms of dividend income.

Tracking investments and using Google docs is all new to me.  I certainly don’t have all the answers and I’m continuing to learn things almost daily.  If you have any suggestions on how to better improve my use of Google docs or how I go about tracking performance, leave me a comment and let me know.  This is what makes blogging fun, the writing as well as the interaction with others who have similar interests.

8 thoughts on “Portfolio Update

  1. Enjoy the pretty and neat structure that Google Spreadsheets allow you. I started off with it right from the get go and have been really happy with the way it functions.

    The only thing that kinda sucks is manually updating the prices/yields/weights etc. once a month. It only takes about 20 minutes right now, but that will grow with the size of my portfolio (in terms of position numbers).

    It looks good! Best wishes.

    • Hey DM, Thanks for stopping by. I think I’m going to like the Google doc features. It will take me a bit to learn exactly everything that I can do, but over time it should really benefit me.
      I’m not sure what you use to track your finances, but Quicken has been a really nice software. I bought initially to track income and expenses, but I like it now for how great of a job it does keeping track of investments. Everything that is included in the Google spreadsheet came from the Quicken file. The update feature is nice because you can add your account information (bank, brokerage retirement etc) and then it will automatically update the information about the instruments you hold in that account. It’s actually quite helpful.

  2. I love spreadsheets! I tend to use Excel instead of Google Docs, so that I can’t play with my spreadsheets while at work 😉 I have so many spreadsheets now that I stopped counting…

    As for investments, I keep a worksheet of all the data for my Schedule D. I have columns for date acquired, date sold, number of shares, ticker, cost basis, sales price, and gain or loss. I then break the groupings up by year and a special grouping for “Unrealized losses/gains”. I also have a grouping for “Future transactions” representing future stock vests.

    • Wow Leigh, you’re like some kind of spreadsheet ninja! While I don’t have the mad skill you possess, I am learning. Creating the portfolio in Google docs was a first. I use Excel for my income/expense tracking.

  3. I use google docs in my blog, and have been happy with it. It’s similar to excel which I am familiar with. I only wish there was a way to show my whole portfolio at once without scrolling. There might be a way, but I don’t know how to do it.

    My favorite metric is something I call “yield at purchase,” the yield I got when I first bought the stock. It’s fun to compare it to YOC after a few dividend increases. It shows me the compounding taking place. I don’t post it on my blog, but I keep track of it in my own records. Comparing YOC to current yield only shows how much the investment’s price went up/down. Market noise, haha.

    Hey I’m really likiing your blog, you have a lot to say. Just bookmarked it.

    • CI– That is the same thing I don’t like, the scrolling. I thought it was just me not knowing how to make the adjustment, but I guess not. I’m still dialing in the metrics I want to measure and what is most useful for me. I guess it’s different for everyone depending on what is important to you and what you’re interested in achieving. Mine is a work in progress.

      Thank you for the compliment CI. The interaction with other readers is what I’m enjoying about blogging. I was hoping to find a means for sharing my thoughts with others and developing my understanding beyond what I could do on my own. You guys are offering that with your comments and I greatly appreciate it.

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