Ravens Game Day 6 Pack (Week 3) – Goose Island Sofie

Welcome to the Raven’s Game Day 6 Pack – a series where we highlight things that are either new or different.  Either way, they’ll go well with football on the TV.

Week 1 – Troegs Hop Knife

Week 2 – Stone Enjoy by IPA (Follow Up)

1-IMG_2749It’s week 3, the Ravens just escaped with a victory vs the Browns, and were going high class for this weeks game day 6 pack.  Alright…so it’s a 4 pack.  You get the idea.  Let’s get right into the description by Goose Island:

Fermented with wild yeasts and aged in wine barrels with orange peel, Sofie is a tart, dry, sparkling ale. A subtle, spicy white pepper note, a hint of citrus from the orange peel and a creamy vanilla finish make Sofie an intriguing choice for Champagne drinkers and beer drinkers who are fond of Belgian Saisons.

1-IMG_2750Wild yeast?  Wine barrels?  Champagne drinkers!?!  What’s going on here?  I’ll tell you.

1-IMG_2751Sofie is no doubt, high class among beers.  It’s color is bright and golden yellow.  The head is frothy and white.  The carbonation bursts up from the bottom of the glass.  The smell is full of fruit: green apple, white grapes, pear, a hint of lemon.  In fact, if not for the yeast aroma, you might think you were smelling a cold white wine (I’m no white wine expert but Pino Grigio or Riesling…maybe).  Even the packaging is high class.

The taste is light, effervescent, and is full of fruit like a white wine, a bit sour like a good saison/farmhouse ale, and is backed by a smooth grain base.  The alcohol sits towards the back, not getting in the way of the flavor, but staying prominent enough to keep up the wine feeling more than I expected.


I love the fruit flavors developed through the combination of wild yeast and wine barrel aging.  I think this beer proves how wide and varied beer can be- it can cover the spectrum from light and refreshing to dark and heavy to almost sparkling wine.  Almost, but better in my opinion.  If you want to try something different this week, give this a shot.  If you (or your significant other) prefers wine, give this a shot.  If you like Belgians, farmhouse ales, or sour beers, give this a shot.  At $13 for a 4 pack, this may look expensive compared to what it sits next to on the shelves, but if you compare it to the price of wine (per volume), I’d say its a pretty decent deal.  And definitely worth a shot.


Dividend Champion Stocks – September 2014


Welcome to the September 2014 edition of the Dividend Champion Stocks series, where we take a look at all of the best dividend stocks for long-term investments, and try to pick out the best (of the best).  These charts are based off of the CCC table maintained and updated by Dave Fish at dripinvesting.org.  The criteria for screening/sorting is as follows:

  • Yield > 2%
  • P/E < 25, though less than 20 is preferred
  • Market Cap > 2 Billion
  • Dividend Growth Rate (all timeframes) > 6%

It proves to be pretty simple to determine which stocks have statistically performed the best in the past by looking at a combination of current yield, price per earnings, and dividend growth rates over the last 1, 3, 5, and 10 years.  This is exactly what the “TI Rank” attempts to do.  You may recognize is as a modified Tweed Factor, which uses only the 5 yr DGR, while mine uses all four values (either way the goal is the same).  As always, past performance is no guarantee of the future, but it can indicate which companies are best set up for (and most dedicated to) continued growth for decades to come.

With that, we start with the best, of the best, of the best, SIR.  Name that movie.

Champions (25 Years or more of annual dividend growth)

Picture1These companies are the cream of the crop.  They have the best combination of yield, P/E (meaning that you are paying less for the same amount of earnings as you would with many other companies), and they have solid dividend growth rates backed by decades of increases.  There are many good companies that you won’t find in this table, because it’s difficult to maintain such strong growth decade after decade without becoming “overbought.”  Take KO for example, DGR of 9%, yield close to 3%, decades of growth, but…P/E above 22.  Does this make KO a bad investment?  Not at all- it’s barely up at all on the year, making all that much more attractive of a buy.  What separates KO from the above investments is the combination of higher DGR, and lower prices.

Take a look at the dividend growth rates on the right side of the chart (disregard the high numbers for HP as they are a short term increase) and imagine putting your money in the bank and earning 18, 11, 9, or 6% interest on your money.  Investing in these companies is a lot like that.  But it could go down you say!  And you’re right, but look at the No. Years column- 27 to 42 years of dividend growth.  These companies have survived lean times and market downturns and continued to increase profits and dividends all the while.  If you begin to think long term, you’ll realize that you stand to gain more long term even if you do lose some in the short term.

Speaking specifically about the above companies, CVX, XOM, and HP are perennial inclusion in this table.  They simple make more money and increase dividends more than almost all other companies do.  HP is a special case, as they recently raised their dividend by a large amount to bring in into the current yield range- don’t expect big double or triple digit increases to continue much longer, if at all.  Increases in the teens would be reasonable though.  MCD is also thought of as one of the best dividend growth stocks of all time (which many people might think is odd), and is down 3.6% on the year driving down its P/E and its dividend up.  WMT, along with TGT (which narrowly missed making this table) have shown excellent growth over the last 40 years- chances are good that you shop at one of them (if not both) pretty regularly…and so does everyone else.  WAG makes an appearance on this table after a drop in price due to an overreaction to the news of them not doing the whole corporate relocation outside of the US thing, which is just stupid.  Your still buying the same company as earlier in the year, or last year- it’s just a better price now.  These companies are pretty much no-brainer investments.  Buy them now…collect increasing income for life.

I’ve got $5,500 in my Roth that needs to be allocated before the year’s end, and i’ll be looking to supplement existing $500 positions in these companies I already own, and/or opening new $1,000 positions in the ones I don’t.

Contenders (10-24 Years or more of annual dividend growth)

Picture2While not possessing 3 or more decades of annual dividend growth, the companies in this group still offer a history of growth for 10 or more years, fantastic combinations of the big 3 (P/E, Yield, DGR), and are for the most part all recognizable names.  Out of the table of 21 stocks/companies, I bet you recognize at least 13, and probably know what at least 17 of them do to make money (even if only by the company name).

The top 3 companies in the table offer extremely high dividend growth, especially within the last few years.  Keep in mind that the top two are relatively small companies (in the world of dividend growth stocks) and are subject to more risk and more potential reward.  The bigger companies in this table (denoted by the MktCap column) would all be solid long-term buys, given their current valuations, yields, and dividend growth rates.  For the sake of discussion, let’s say everything bigger than 50B shares, which would be TXN, QCOM, TEVA, COP, OXY, LMT, IBM, and MSFT.  Thats actually kind of a diverse group, spanning the Information Tech, Health Care, Energy, and Industrials sectors.  If you bought equal amounts of each stock, you would start with a yield of 2.66%, an average P/E of 16.55, and have an average dividend growth rate of 20.5%  Not bad.

Of course that’s just one way to break down the table.  For my part, I’ve got CBRL, QCOM, IBM, and MSFT on my watch list for purchase this fall.

Challengers (5-9 Years or more of annual dividend growth)

Picture3With the Challengers table, you get a lot of companies that look really solid in a few areas- making them very tempting for purchase.  But remember, the newer the company is the the dividend growth game (in this case 5-9 years), and the less you know about it, the more research is required on your part.  I don’t think you need to spend days researching companies to gather enough information to make an informed decision, that would be time prohibitive.  On the other hand, you want to have a solid understanding of what the company does, how it makes money, and how it plans to make more money each year for years to come.  That’s easy to understand when you are dealing with companies on the top two tables, but more difficult with many on this table.  I prefer to make the majority of my investments from the two upper tables, and save a few purchases per year to allocate to newer companies with higher growth prospects (accepting the risk that comes with only a few years of dividend growth).

If you are looking for a higher yield stock to bring up your overall value, you might look to SDRL, TGH, RCI, or MAT.  But beware, each one has risk factors that need to be considered.  SDRL has seen a recent decline of 20% (making it a better investment than when I bought it earlier in the year), TGH and RCI are based outside of the US and may be subject to taxes depending on what type of account you purchase them in.  MAT has declined this year due to lower sales.  I’d like to see some prolonged upward movement on MAT before jumping in.

Perhaps you like the prospects of high dividend growth, but you aren’t comfortable with the top three companies in this table.  Consider good old TUP.  Who doesn’t know and understand that company?  Yes, they are small, but they have very solid numbers.  Some people don’t like investing in direct sales companies such as this (Nu Skin from the above table is another one) so consider that also.

I’m personally considering TUP, CMI, MAT, BAX, and HD from this table.  If I see any of these make a significant drop within the next few months, I will likely buy one or two of them.

Bonus Group – Low yielders with excellent dividend growth

Picture4There’s a group of stocks with excellent growth prospects that never makes my tables, as their yields are painfully low.  Some lower than 1%.  When investing in these companies you need to absolutely have loooong term in mind.  That said, all of these offer very attractive growth rates for both the dividend and the stock price, and could very well end up paying you a higher effective dividend (based on your cost) than many of the above companies, if you are willing to wait on being rewarded.  I don’t own any companies from this group, though I would like to pick up some V, and possibly some UNP and LOW.  CVS is too similar to the WAG and RAD that I already own, TJX and GAP make me uneasy as I’m just not sure about how I feel regarding the clothing market (though their numbers are solid), and I just hate Comcast.  I’ll probably add V within the next year, and will watch the others near 2% yield- if any of them see a significant drop in price, pushing yield up over 2%, I will strongly consider buying.

Thanks for reading.  Until next time!

2014 NFL Schedule Matrix

Last fall, I found a 2013 NFL schedule similar to the one below sitting in a recycle bin at work.  It only had home/away, Thursday, and Monday games denoted, but it still proved to be pretty useful for discussion of upcoming games, planning which ones were worth watching, etc.  If you are into fantasy (either the whole season thing or the week to week thing) this would probably be great, though I’ve never had time for it.

A few weeks ago, I looked for a new one for the 2014 season, but only found a few poorly formatted ones, so I made my own.  My goal was to make something you could print out (without obnoxious colors) that in one page would show you when and where all games were in any given week.  There are separate colors for Thurs, 1pm Sun, 4pm Sun, 8pm Sun, and Monday.  There are a few Saturday games near the end of the season, and there is one oddball 9:30 AM game in London (colored Orange).

2014NFLScheduleSo there you have it.  Print it out, hang it up on your desk at work or at home and never have to look up your team’s (or any team’s) schedule again this year.