Monday, October 16, 2017

Smile … you’re getting paid to wait!

It’s been a super busy hurricane season, and it’s not over yet ...

Three CAT 4 hurricanes have hit the U.S.

Harvey, Irma, and Maria made landfall in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, respectively.

And it was the first time in recorded history when two 150-mph hurricanes were in the Atlantic at the same time.

I’ve lived in Florida for decades. So I know what it takes to prepare for a monster storm that’s beating a path to your door. And when Hurricane Irma looked as though it was going for us, I didn’t waste any time preparing for the worse.

Plywood, screws, cordless drills, and generators flying off the shelves!

I needed a heavy-duty extension cord. So I went to Home Depot (HD). Finding one was a piece of cake. Paying for it was a different story …

The registers were fully staffed, and all the self-service machines were working. Even so, the lines at each were at least 25 bodies deep. Plywood, screws, cordless drills, and generators were flying off the shelves.

I was stuck at the far end of a checkout line. There was a fellow ahead of me who had a generator, a half-dozen pieces of plywood, and several boxes of screws on his cart; he looked frustrated.

I took a deep breath and smiled. Not out of arrogance because this guy had a heap of hard work ahead for the next few days, and I’d been through this several times before and was for the most part all set. 


I was thinking about what a great business this was. A true American success story.

Two guys and a dream

Home Depot started out in 1978 with two guys who had a dream to create a superstore that would offer a huge variety of merchandise at great prices and with a highly trained staff. 

Image source: Home Depot

Now Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement retailer, a Dow component with more than 2,200 stores in three countries filled with stuff every homeowner needs.

And what made standing in that line even better was knowing that a small piece of that man’s $1,000+ purchase would land in the pockets of individual investors, just like you and me.

Plus after the hurricane passes, he and thousands of others will be back. They’ll need things they can’t buy at Wal-Mart and Target, such as: face masks, sledgehammers, crowbars, plastic buckets, wheelbarrows, flooring, shovels, and sheetrock.

Get paid to wait

As investors, we all want to see our picks go up in value. But what I love about stocks like HD is that they pay you to wait. In fact, Home Depot has been consistently paying dividends since 2000.

Currently that dividend is $3.56 yielding 2.2%, which is slightly higher than the DIA’s 2.1% and the SPY’s 1.9%.

You can see in the chart below the share growth over the past 8 years. During the recession Home Depot cut back by discontinuing new store construction, closing 15 U.S. big box stores, and canceling 50 future store openings. Yet the company endured.

Since then shares have soared, and the trend is clearly upward. 

Chart source: TD Ameritrade

Rebuilding from the deluge of recent natural disasters will certainly boost sales and profits. Longer term, the demand for housing is on the rise according to the National Association of Home Builders. 

Moreover, according to Zacks, Home Depot has some of the strongest comparable store sales in the entire industry. Last quarter, sales and earnings reached historic highs. At the same time, online sales grew 23% and represented more than 6% of total sales.

Stock buybacks are on the rise too, which is a good thing for shareholders ...

Home Depot bought back 17.3 million shares for $2.6 billion last quarter. That took year-to-date buybacks to $3.9 billion. Management raised its fiscal 2017 buyback target from $5 billion to $7 billion.

Shares continue to hit new highs and are up about 24% so far this year.

Is this the time to buy HD?

I’ve owned HD since 2007. And in my opinion it’s a solid company with a track record of consistent growth and competitive dividends and worth considering for your portfolio.  

So if you do decide to pick up some HD shares, the next time you’re stuck at Home Depot behind a line of shoppers loading up on home supplies, don’t be impatient … SMILE … you’re getting paid to wait. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

No love allowed here ...

What's wrong with a little love? A lot, according to Washington bureaucrats. 

For the full story on what the FDA has against a small bakery and their secret ingredient, click here

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bottom feeding, blood sucking lawyers at it again ...

Bottom feeding, blood sucking lawyers going after the deep pockets of one of my favorite stocks: NEE …

Click here for the full story.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Healthcare costs delaying retirement?

If the price of healthcare in the U.S. is preventing you from retiring, check out these five destinations from International Living and make your retirement dream a reality.

And look which one is on the top of the list? My favorite travel spot: Costa Rica.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Obamacare, Trumpcare … either way you win with this tax break!

Congress and President Trump continue battling over replacing Obamacare (ACA) with the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

The House narrowly passed its version, 217 to 213, on May 4. Now it’s with the Senate where resistance is building from both sides of the aisle.

Several senators have cited the CBO’s estimate that the AHCA would lead to 23 million more Americans uninsured by 2026. What’s more, insurers could charge less-healthy people higher premiums.

The report also found that effective 2019, the GOP plan would "directly alter the premiums faced by different age groups, substantially reducing premiums for young adults and raising premiums for older people." 

However, the majority of both sides agree one point:

Keeping Health Savings Accounts

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were created by the Medicare bill President George W. Bush signed on Dec. 8, 2003. They’re designed to help individuals save for qualified medical expenses that come with high-deductible health plans.

Eligible expenses include: doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, dental care, long-term care insurance premiums, COBRA premiums; and Medicare Part B, Part D, and Medicare Advantage premiums.

HSAs give you a rare triple tax break:

1. A tax deduction for the amount you put in.
2. The money can be invested and grows tax free.
3. Withdrawals are tax-free when used to pay qualified medical expenses. 

Just because you have a high-deductible health plan doesn’t mean you qualify for a HSA ...

Your plan must have a deductible of at least $1,300 for individual coverage and $2,600 for families. The maximum out-of-pocket for these plans are $6,550 for individuals and $13,100 for families.

You can contribute up to $3,400 for single coverage, or up to $6,750 for family coverage.

Suppose though, that you save nice chunk of money in a HSA while working but don’t have many health care expenses in retirement? No problem. At age 65 or older you can take taxable withdrawals and use the money for anything you want. 

For further details, see IRS Publication 969

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Experts expecting surge in demand for luxury senior housing

Demand for high-end senior housing is poised to take off, according to a recent article in National Real Estate Investor.

Charles Bissell, managing director of valuation and advisory services with commercial real estate services firm JLL, based in Richardson, Texas said,

“It is a strong sector right now, and it really all goes back to the health of the economy and the health of the housing market. When seniors have the ability to sell their houses and generate significant proceeds from those sales, they are a lot more bullish about going into a luxury community.”

[You can read the full article here.]

One REIT that I like in this sector is LTC Properties, Inc. (LTC). The company builds and now operates more than 200 seniors housing and health care properties across the U.S.  

For the first quarter of 2017, the company reported income of 78 cents per share, which was in line with analysts’ expectations.

I bought shares of LTC in Sept. 2014 for $39. They’re now selling for about $47. Over the past 52 weeks, prices have ranged from $43-$54. But with a 4.82% yield, plus the upcoming demand for their product, I don’t mind waiting for a comeback.

Until next time,


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You’re on Medicaid? Get to the end of the line!

A new study found that Medicaid patients have slightly longer waits at medical appointments than those with private insurance.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Double-dipper nabbed!

I wrote about Section 8 housing In What You Must Know BEFORE Becoming a Greedy Landlord. And I gave some of the advantages and disadvantages to consider before you jump into that market.

This landlord in Miami allegedly found a way to make even more money off his Section 8 rentals … easy but not one I’d recommend.  

Friday, May 5, 2017

Where to buy …and where NOT to buy … your next rental

Despite rising prices throughout the country, investors are still finding attractive places to buy single-family rental properties. And this article from National Real Estate Investor tells you where. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Solid returns for landlords expected in 2017

Report shows that single-family rentals should continue to give investors strong returns in many parts of the country.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Would your tenants hide damage from you?

A survey in the UK found that 27% of tenants wouldn’t tell their landlords about major damage to their rental properties. And most would opt to repair it themselves.

It would be interesting to see a similar survey in the U.S. because my experience is not that favorable.

App offers better way renters can connect with landlords

According to its developers, this app can improve cash flow, save time, and keep tenants happy. 

Click here to read all about it. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

What kind of insurance do landlords need?

In What You Must Know BEFORE Becoming a Greedy Landlord I wrote that you should let your insurance company know that you are renting out your property. I also said that a good umbrella liability insurance policy can protect you even better if you have several properties.

Here is a helpful article that further explains insurance for landlords.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why landlords should watch for pot growers ...

“… keep an eye out for tell-tale signs that your rental is being used as a cannabis farm. A home used as a cannabis farm can cause devastating damage to a property and can lead to a voided insurance policy. Think I’m being paranoid?

“There have been cases where ceilings and walls have been knocked through, as well as houses ruined by water damage and fires. 

“On top of financial costs, you could face legal action if it can be proven that you were aware of criminal activities or received money, including rent, as a result of illegal drug activity.”

And I provided a few ideas on what to look for. 

Click here for an example of a Canadian landlord who has paid a hefty price and wishes he had acted sooner.   

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One of the perils of being a landlord

Pair killed landlord, lived with her body 2 weeks.
Click here for the full story. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Hearing from the locals ...

Stopping by a small barbershop in Havana gave me a chance to hear from the locals about the economic issues they face and what they think of our new president.