Since the website was down for what felt like an eternity, I thought I’d give you a little update on what’s been happening in the meantime. I will start with what happened to the site, and then tell you what happened to our dividend-paying value stocks portfolio recently, and what changes that will have on our goals for the rest of the year.
- What Happened to There’s Value? A Review of Zyma Hosting vs. SiteGround*
- Recent Purchases – Royal Dutch Shell & Unilever
- JD Sports – Dividend Increase Follows Best Year Ever
- Changes to Cash Management and How We Will Fund Our Portfolio
- How these Changes Affect Our Goals
What Happened to There’s Value?
My blog started off with blogger last Summer. I was a bit concerned with the fact that you do not own your own content if you use blogger. I created the content, therefore I feel that it is mine. So I decided to switch to a paid for hosting package. I already my domain name and was using it through blogger, so I just needed to choose hosting.
Since I had not long started blogging, I thought I’ll just go with someone cheap, as I don’t need lightning fast servers, and I don’t receive 500,000 hits per month. I have absolutely no idea how I found Zyma, but I did and I chose them. It was a huge mistake. From day one, I was getting difficulties and confusion over quite a lot of things…
Zyma are Not a WordPress Friendly Host
Firstly, they did not support certain features of WordPress which I need to use, such as scheduled publishing. So I had a problem with that. Zyma are not a WordPress specialist, and boy does that show. I told them of my problem in that scheduled posts were not happening, and they told me I’d need to be switched to a different server. Which they did do… after going back and forth to them, and them not getting back to me to say it had been done. I had to chase them continually.
Error Messages Galore
Secondly, I started getting error messages when I published a post, or updated a page, or anything. This was an intermittent problem, but it happened at least once per week. Very aggravating, and there was nothing that could seemingly be done about it. This went on right up until the day my site crashed and was never to be seen again on Zyma.
Zyma vs. SiteGround*
I had enough, so paid for hosting with SiteGround* and started the transfer process. They are one of the nicest and easiest companies with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working. I was guided through the whole process, even though there was very little to do on my part.I received a call to my mobile (which I unfortunately missed), that was then followed up by an email (a real one! not automated!) thanking me for my business, and explaining what was happening.
Meanwhile, I asked Zyma to change my nameservers, which they didn’t do. They asked me to pay for another year renewal with my domain name instead. I was furious. I asked three more times for them to change my nameservers, which they ignored. They told me to contact nominet (WTF?) at which point I gave up after having sent several angry and disappointed messages. If a host tells you to contact nominet, it basically means they do not want to help you at all, whatsoever. Going directly to nominet is a last resort (even nominet say that on their own website).
Then There’s Value went down. SO I contacted Zyma again. It went back online very briefly the next day, but then it went down again. They said it was my fault, and that I should contact a WordPress developer to fix it. I was so angry by this point! So I came up with a plan. I realised I could try to transfer the domain name to namecheap*. Unfortunately, this didn’t work, as the name was already registered through eNom, who have a partnership with namecheap*, so they won’t transfer names between the two companies.
I was stumped for a day, then thought I’d try transferring the domain name to 123-reg from whom I had originally purchased it. It took three days from the request with 123-reg until I got a status update of ‘PendingRegistrarTagChange’. Nothing happened. I waited 6 days, and still nothing happened. So I asked 123-reg and they said that Zyma hadn’t bothered to change my IPS tag (nor do anything whatsoever). So I did have to go to nominet in the end. I paid £12 and got my domain name transferred to 123-reg. It took about an hour or two to appear in my 123-reg account. Then I changed the nameservers myself through 123-reg (a real boon to have a company that lets you actually have complete control over your own assets). In the meantime Zyma put a message on the website that said it had ‘been suspended’. It took about 6 hours for my nameserver changes to propagate… FINALLY I then got There’s Value back! YIPPEE
So the lesson learnt – never go with a host that doesn’t have a reputation for good customer service. Hosting is very competitive, there is no need to pay too much, but I advise you all to research it very carefully. Also, make sure whoever you register your domain name through lets you have control over all the settings e.g. MX records, nameservers, etc.
The worst problem about this whole affair is that Zyma just don’t care. They didn’t even care when @MustachianPost tagged them in a tweet suggesting that they try to make a customer happy. What business doesn’t care about their customers? A terrible one, one that doesn’t deserve to be in business in the first place. Anyway, on to more exciting things like dividend-paying value shares, which is what we love to talk about!
Portfolio Update – Recent Purchases
We recently added to our position in Royal Dutch Shell. We managed to grab it when it hit £20.01 thanks to a successful limit order, placed through our broker. This means that our cost basis was reduced by a couple of £, and thus with the ensuing share price rise immediately after we bought, we are now back into positive gains. The new purchase gave us 41 more shares, which means that we added about £38.38 to our annual dividend income, based on the last dividend.
We also initiated a position in Unilever, thankfully the day before it went ex-div. I am sure that I do not need to introduce Unilever to you. They’re a favourite of many dividend investors, due to their lengthy dividend history. We previously didn’t have any exposure to the consumer goods industry. I had considered PZ Cussons as it cropped up on our monthly dividend stocks watch list a few times over the last 6 months. However, Unilever is a stronger company, and even though the PE was a bit higher, the quarterly payment swayed me. I love the fact that they switched to paying a quarterly dividend since 2009. It’s quite rare for British companies to pay on this schedule, instead usually preferring to pay an interim and final dividend, often split 35:65 for some reason. Anyway, this should add at least £8.50 to our annual dividend income, based on the last dividend. However, I am planning to buy more Unilever hopefully over the next few months.
JD Sports Update
I am happy to say that one of our stocks, JD Sports, has reported its best result ever! JD Sports is a retailer of sports fashion e.g. Adidas, Nike, Reebok, and Puma. All the top brands. They tend not to sell tat, and they usually have a really good selection for women and children in every store, unlike some other sports fashion retailers who do not. I quite often buy trainers from JD, as they always seem to have just what I need. I bought shares in JD Sports last year, after having discovered it had a pretty good dividend record. Not massive dividend increases every year, but above inflation for 7+ years, excellent dividend cover, and a low PE were what drew my attention. Their latest results show that revenue is up 25%, operating profit before tax is up 23%, so the final dividend has been increased by 4.2% – which is a bit stingy I think, but an above inflation increase is still welcomed! You can check out the final results through the official report here.
Changes to How We Will Fund Our Portfolio
We recently decided to combine our regular savings pots into a lump sum to invest every month. This will hopefully turn out to be more than just a normal portfolio update. This may also sound very risky to some of you, but we have a 6 months’ emergency fund, we keep a balance in our current accounts, and we also have credit cards if the worst came to the worst. This means that we can buy more shares in dividend paying value stocks every month. Of course, there are risks, but I think we have anticipated these. Hopefully, this will also help us to rapidly grow our dividend portfolio over the foreseeable future. Pooling our money will mean that we can put at least £720 per month into M’s NISA portfolio.
Previously, we were putting a minimum of £150 and and maximum of £1000 in every month, depending on where we had to travel and what we had to do/buy that month. I hope this will help to smooth out our savings and investments, as I kind of hated them being completely different amounts every month. This new way will make it almost like an autopilot. Aside from the share research that I do very regularly anyway, all I need to do is set up my monthly share purchase for the stock(s) of my choice.
I have also set the dividend payments to come back to me automatically, rather than stay in my account. This is what I used to do in the very distant past, when I first invested in dividend-paying stocks. However, since the dividends will now be partially used for cashflow purposes, it made sense to do it again. I was reminded of the idea recently by mate Trevor from Dividend Life, who does the same method. It makes cashflow management much easier if you just have one account where everything comes into, instead of several accounts as we have at present.
How these Changes Affect Our Goals
The new monthly pooled monies mean that, on average over a year, we are probably adding much more to dividend paying stocks that previously anticipated. Now, as it stands, we are expecting to receive £203 in dividends by the end of the year. However, clearly we will probably receive much more than this due to the new monthly additions. Our original goal was to receive at least £165 in dividends, so we will easily beat this. We will probably need to make some withdrawals from the NISA, as some of this money will be needed at particular times e.g. when the car tax is due. So, I am not really sure whether to update our goals or not, as our dividend income depends on how much we need to withdraw, and when the ex-div dates fall.
The other thing is that we are trying to smooth out the cashflow a little, by investing more in quarterly-paying stocks, and being really careful of the ex-div dates when buying AND selling, so as to maximise our returns. We can buy stocks for £1.50 but selling costs £10. However, since Interactive Investor charge £20 per quarter, which goes towards your trading credit (if you trade). With the dividends coming back to our account every month, I am hoping that we will not have to sell very often, and thus just use the quarterly credit without having to pay any extra.
Anyone got any ideas as to the best way to manage this?! Any thoughts on anything from the above? Let me know, leave a comment below!
photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/cuteimage