Thursday, 3 September 2015

August 2015: Dividend Income, Trading Activity and Portfolio Snapshot

Every month I am going to be providing a breakdown of the dividend income received from my shares. The overall monthly total will be included on the main “Dividends Received” page.
  • Babcock International--£13.03
    • Bought 1 new share
  • Banco Santander--£2.78
    • This was actually c.£3.36 but had 21% deducted as withholding tax as it was paid cash rather than as a SCRIP. Future dividends are returning to SCRIP so will not be subject to this.
  • National Grid--£19.71
    • Bought 2 new shares
  • HSBC Income Index Funds
    • FTSE 250--£7.07
    • FTSE All-Share--£4.37
    • European--£4.74
Total for July: £51.72 ($79.46).

August has been a slow month for dividend income. Even after June and July having been around the £70 mark August is a much weaker one at £51.72. In fact, this is the lowest monthly income I have received since February this year. Still, it is not too bad.

August has always been a slow month for me as very few of the companies I hold payout at this time. However, fortune steps in through the means of my ETFs as all three of my main "income" ETFs payout in August with two of them being the sole dividend from the fund.

Historic Performance Comparisons

So, how does August 2015 compare to August 2014? Rather nicely actually. Last year I managed to scrape together £24.52. This means that I have doubled my income from last year.

What is more, last August the income came from only the ETFs and one other company (Banco Santander). You may have noticed that the Santander dividend cut made quite a dent on my income. Last year I received £11.03 (with fewer shares) from that one holding alone. It still remains an attractive long-term hold (and a good yield) but it has slashed my income somewhat.

As I noted last month, Q2 2015 left a massive quarterly target of £392.56 to beat. I don't expect Q3 2015 to beat this. Nonetheless, with £124.39 already chalked up just two months into the quarter I am already ahead of the £107.82 I earned in Q3 2014. Excellent news! What is more, September looks to be very strong which will hike me much higher I hope.

You can see more on my progress on my Dividends Received page. 

April and My Annual Goals

So how does August look in relation to my annual goals? Let's take a look:

Total Dividend Income: August--despite a modest total--still represents another pretty solid step towards my new 2015 dividend goal of £1100. So how close am I to my target now? Well, with this month's cash I am now at a total of £681.50 for the year. This leaves me at an excellent 61.95% towards my total after 8 months:

Monthly Average Income: With June and July being in the low £70's and August in the low £50's needless to say that my monthly average income (which was at  one point threatening the £100 mark) has been dragged yet lower. It now sits at £85.19. 

I am still amazed by this figure. If I could retain this throughout the rest of the year I would have an annual income of nearly £1025. As such, I am currently below the monthly average I would need to cross my £1,100 target line.

Am I worried? Not really. Rather excitingly, September and October are expected to be particularly strong months. Indeed, next month--on current predictions--should see me with an income total triple that of August. Hopefully this should put my income for the year back on track to beat this goal. We will see! 

Monthly Expenses: July, you may remember, was a tough month expenses wise for a variety of reasons. Alas, August was also a bit tough. Certainly, it was better than July. But I did have a couple of "unusual" expenses drop into my budget this month. 

One was a charity donation I give every year. Another was the purchase of some new walking boots for a short four-day holiday we had in the New Forest (my first one in years). All told, both contributed about £250 to my expenses.

Thanks to careful budgeting though I managed to keep everything else in order including dining out which could have been terrifying whilst on holiday. 

As a result of this, my expenses for this month came out at £920.43. To be honest, I am pretty chuffed with this. Especially if you take out the two "extraordinary" expenses mentioned above then my expenses total would have been just £672.43. That is a great underlying expenses rate which I hope I can maintain going forward.

This higher figure does, of course, impact on my average monthly expenses figure. So, how does it look after August? Without the "extraordinary" expenses included, my average monthly expenses this year would be at about £810. However, with them included it jumps up to £841.73. That is quite a hefty jump up after spending most of the year watching the rate plummet. 

At this figure, though, I am still (just) below my average expenses total for last year of £845. However, as you can see, it is pretty much the same. I hope that the next few months should see this pulled down again. However, we do need to plan a trip to Ireland for a wedding in October which complicates this a little.

Work Freedom Day: And what about my Work Freedom Day? How many days have I bought myself for this year? The answer is despite a month which saw lower income and higher expenses I have earned another 2 days. My dividend income now gets me up to 24 January 2015

Obviously this has left me a little adrift for reading my target of 10 February 2015 by the end of the year! However, hopefully the combined effects of higher income and lower expenses in the near future should get me back on track.

Portfolio Additions

August was a slow month due to limited funds with regards to new purchases. However I did manage to top up one position:
This new addition should add about £30 to my predicted annual dividend income. This is very good news indeed.

Luckily, some of that will also come in 2015 with the interim dividend payment (which my top-up came prior to the ex-dividend date for) being paid in September. My top up has thus pretty much doubled the original income I was expecting from LGEN. Nice.

Portfolio Snapshot: Risers and Fallers

Below is the breakdown my holdings in terms of their weighting. I also include whether they:
  • ▲ = Moved  up places during the month;
  • = Moved down places during the month;
  • = Same place as last month;
  • = New addition this month. 
    •  = Large top-up purchase this month.
    •  = Large sale this month.
5Legal & GeneralLON:LGEN512£1,293.82£1,371.814.94%4.45%
8Royal Dutch Shell "B"LON:RDSB65£1,105.57£1,401.754.22%7.19%
12Babcock InternationalLON:BAB73£707.37£709.882.70%2.44%
14Hansteen HoldingsLON:HSTN597£686.55£689.252.62%4.35%
16Imperial TobaccoLON:IMT21£660.14£599.642.52%4.20%
18Old MutualLON:OML326£646.56£623.662.47%4.39%
19BHP BillitonLON:BLT58£646.03£1,020.522.47%7.06%
20Stock SpiritsLON:STCK330£644.69£658.912.46%1.40%
21Rolls-Royce HoldingsLON:RR86£639.41£682.442.44%3.06%
22National GridLON:NG72£615.54£637.302.35%5.01%
25BT GroupLON:BT.A126£548.88£506.662.10%2.85%
26PZ CussonsLON:PZC171£545.56£519.432.08%2.51%
28Banco SantanderLON:BNC98£396.54£515.861.51%3.67%
29Seeing MachinesLON:SEE6600£313.50£499.161.20%0.00%
32XL GroupNYSE:XL3£72.75£55.240.28%1.72%
33South32LON:S3258£41.35£0.000.16%-- %
TOTAL ($)$40,281.78$44,260.81


A few months I explained my new method for linking my investing activities to my charitable giving.

This month has seen an additional £2.23 added to my charitable microfinance account. This means that 2015's dividend income has resulted in £22.81 dropping into that account so far. This is a hefty £19.87 ahead of last years total by this stage in the year.

For my standard charity giving total August added a reasonable 25p. My total for 2015 is now £2.82. That is about £1.88 ahead of 2014 up to this point in the year.

How did you do?

How did your dividend income look for August? What new holdings did you pick up or old ones topped up? 

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[Creative Commons image from Flickr user 401(k) 2012]


  1. Hey D2, great to see you posting again after a bit of a break. I topped up RDSB due to the recent price drops, and I might top it up again this month, who knows? September is typically one of the worst months on the stock market, so I am hoping that it will get crushed to some extent so that I can grab some bargains towards the end of the month!


    1. Yes, I am glad to still find time to post my updates! I am pretty happy with my progress at the moment.

      RDSB is still massively attractive. My RDSB dividend later this month will be reinvested straight away. Easily picks up another share which is good!

      Something that has been catching my eye is PZ Cussons. Again they have been knocked down thanks to a combination of general market depression and issues in Nigeria. Cunningly they have taken the opportunity to buy-back more of the shares in their Nigerian subsidiary. Very clever of management as well as other recent purchases which seem to be going well.

      I may have a root around the back of the sofa and see if I can find any funds to push to the market. I'd like to get at least one buy in!

  2. Hi DD
    It might be lower than the other months but it's still a solid month of dividends received - basically, you will be getting at least this every year, with chances of it increasing every year!

    I bought more BLT and made a new (small) purchase of Bloomsbury Publishing. Unfortunately, the buys were made before all the shares plummeted - ah well, it's not like I'm trying to time the market, I'm just buying when it's most economical for me to do so!

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Yes, I am pretty happy with it all told. Well ahead of last year's average as well.

      You're absolutely right. I should be seeing at least the same next year. None of the individual holdings I expect will cut their dividend. Most should grow and grow quite well over the next year.

      BLT is tempting at these prices. But I was already more exposed to commodities than I liked. I will sit that out for now! Bloomsbury is a good buy. It has often tantalised me (as you may remember when I was discussing it with M). I may dive in eventually!

      Thanks. Same to you!

      PS: I have my Monkey Stock Challenge selections here. Where do you want me to send them?

  3. Love to read about your success here. You still made more money than me, so you should be happy :-)

    Generally, UK shares are in a down move in my portfolio at the moment. I own GSK, BP and HSBC. Only Admiral is doing great + having a great dividend in October.

    I hope all of those keep on paying what they promised...

    1. Glad you enjoy reading the updates, BM. Yes, it is a pretty solid month. Not spectacular, just solid.

      Yes, the whole UK market is very much depressed at the moment. Long-term still looks attractive. I have a lot of dividend payments this month so I am happy to see low prices as I am still automatically reinvesting dividends. More bang for my buck!

      Keep up the good work!