Portfolio Update and More

portfolio update

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.

  1. What Happened to There’s Value? A Review of Zyma Hosting vs. SiteGround*
  2. Recent Purchases – Royal Dutch Shell & Unilever
  3. JD Sports  – Dividend Increase Follows Best Year Ever
  4. Changes to Cash Management and How We Will Fund Our Portfolio
  5. 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

27 Comments

  1. M,

    Glad to hear you increased your exposure to Shell and that you now also own Unilever! Big fan of both companies, and not just for the tax efficient dividend payment.

    I was surprised to find your site offline a couple of days ago. It’s no fun when things go dark because of unforeseen circumstances. All things considered I think you’ve got it up and running again fairly quickly.

    Also, did you ever notice that we’re using the same WordPress theme? (Mine is modified quite a bit to my personal tastes though).

    Cheers,
    NMW
    No More Waffles recently posted…Dividend Income for April 2015My Profile

    1. Hey NMW, thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, big fan of both companies and I’d love to increase my holdings in Unilever quite significantly in the near future. But also looking towards beverages, as you know.

      The site has had several themes since last August, but I’m finally happy with this one, it’s very flexible and doesn’t have any word glitches that I’ve often noticed with others I’ve tried.

      Thanks for your support,

      Cheers

  2. Glad to see you back and thanks for the updates on what’s been happening!

    The Zyma thing sounds like a nightmare but hopefully that is all over now!

    An extra thought… I would consider writing a full post called “Zyma – Hosting Review” or even “Avoid Zyma hosting” or something like that so that if anyone is considering them in future that post is more likely to get to the first page on google rankings? I just think the info is somewhat hidden in this post.

    It might sound a tad spiteful but really I would look at the other side of the coin in that you will be helping people avoid making a bad decision to go with them.

    Check out the top result for this search term: https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=zyma+hosting+is+shit

    I bet you’d wished you’d google that before signing up to them!
    theFIREstarter recently posted…Download Free Magazines From your Library with ZinioMy Profile

    1. You know what, I think I will write that post. It’s not spiteful, as I genuinely want people to avoid the mess I found myself in and the utter apathy that Zyma showed me. Companies like that should not even be allowed to exist.

      Thanks for forwarding the search results too. It’s funny, because I looked to reviews as part of my decision to go with them in the first place, and I hadn’t seen any bad ones. Now looking at a few results from this search, I found tons and tons of terrible reviews. Oh well!

      Thanks for stopping by, as always great to hear from you!

      Cheers

  3. TV,

    I thought about the blog content ownership too, but I am not and probably never will be at the point where I need to worry about it. Otherwise congrats on the purchases and growth. I want to add more UL next month (I wanted to add them last month), their price has run up a bit of late, but that happens with good companies from time to time. I like their recent increase announcement too.

    – Gremlin
    Dividend Gremlin recently posted…April Review / May Preview, 2015My Profile

    1. Hey DG,

      Thanks for stopping by. I guess it’s not much of a problem if your blog is just a little diary so to speak, but I guess the fact that I wouldn’t own the content I’ve created made me feel uneasy.

      UL fell today, perhaps you could pick up some more shares tomorrow?

      Cheers

  4. I was wondering what happened to your site for awhile there. I kept coming back to check. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that. Hey, only when we run into issues, that’s when we learn and grow. I’m sure you know a lot more about web hosting and server switching than you did before the whole process. That’s why I love owning my own website.

    Wow, it’s great that you were able to buy at the lower end od Dutch shell. I’m going to have to check out the limit order option.
    Vivianne recently posted…Recent buyMy Profile

    1. Vivianne,

      thanks for your support, I really appreciate it. And you’re right – we do learn and grow as we come across obstacles and work out how to overcome them.

      Cheers

  5. Thanks for the update. Your hosting travails sound “fun”!

    Good buy with Unilever, I think. I have held them since very early on in my investing life (so early, in fact, that they are not in my stocks and shares ISA!). However, rather like you with BAE, because I got them so cheaply then I have been reluctant to top up since (see http://bit.ly/1QvTnj9 …the prices I paid may make your eyes water!). I really must, however as they deserve a much bigger place in my portfolio.

    If the USD/GBP exchange rate was more in favour of conversions to USD I would also like to add some of their American cousin (Procter and Gamble) to my portfolio.

    I have held PZ Cussons–as you may remember–since December when their price was very nice indeed chiefly because of the uncertainty around Nigeria (due to oil prices and the forthcoming elections, chiefly). It was a good buy (see http://bit.ly/1FnMigi if you’re interested in my write up). They have been consistently higher since.

    I think over the long-term they are a good supplement to Unilever. A bit more volatility (though still very stable) but with a higher growth profile. I like them both. Maybe PZ Cussons needs a top up as well!

    As we already know, both you and me were attracted by RDSB’s price drop. Though you got an even better deal than me! A great long-term purchase, I think. The BG bid will, I believe, pay off handsomely in the end.
    Dividend Drive recently posted…My Weekly Top 5: On Here, Over There (and Over To You)–25 April 2015My Profile

    1. Yeah I know how you feel about not being willing to add when you got such good bargains previously. I did have the opportunity to buy UL at £26, but decided to go with something else instead. Then again nearly bought PZ Cussons in the Winter, but again chose something else with a lower PE I think.

      Cheers!

  6. Hi M,

    Glad to see your site back up and running again! So when you purchased your domain originally, you then transferred to it Zyma and essentially lost control of it because they don’t offer a web page setting where you can change the DNS settings?

    My own experience with domain names is that they’re cheap the first year with a hosting plan and then they seem to become more expensive to renew the second year! I’ve always had full control with the DNS registration at both ISP’s I’ve used and my most recent domain transfer went through smoothly; it was after the transfer when I reset the DNS servers and lost my site for a day…

    It sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of thought about your financial process and it looks simpler now which is always good. The more it can run on autopilot, the better! For Savings (which I define as putting money aside for a 1+ year target), I use a mixture of cash, stocks and bonds although I do use mutual funds there to keep the accounting simple.

    Other than trying to balance out stock holdings based a dividend calendar or ladder, which is really difficult and may limit your investment choices, the only other alternative I can think of is a cash buffer. Say you expect $240 in a year but are only paid twice a year, then make an account somewhere with $240 in it, withdraw $20 in installments once a month and pay the twice yearly amount into that account to keep it topped up. Once the buffer is seeded with money it doesn’t cost anything more to maintain although you do tie up that amount of cash.

    Thanks for linking over to DividendChampions.UK too! I’ve just added all my dividend history for each company to the site today. And assuming I remember not to change the URL, you can link straight to the dividend page as long as you know the symbol name.

    Best wishes,
    -DL
    Dividend Life recently posted…The value of reputation and your portfolioMy Profile

    1. Yes, you’re right. I have literally no idea what possessed me to transfer the domain name. I guess I was thinking that it’d be easier to manage everything in one place… how wrong I was! At least your site was only down for a few hours, whereas mine was down for about a week!

      That cash buffer sounds like a great idea. I’ll move some money today to set it up! As the dividend income grows, we’ll rely on it less hopefully.

      Can’t love the UK Dividend Champions project enough! You Da Man!

      Cheers

  7. Hi M,

    I’m glad you’ve finally got it all sorted. That sounds like a right palaver.

    I’m considering making a switch much like you’ve described and Mr Z above. It’s interesting to hear your experience. It sounds like it might not be as time consuming as I expected it to be. Did you do the switch yourself or did someone help you with it. Is it easy for anyone to switch from blogger to another platform? If it is, I might do it sooner rather than later.

    Congrat’s on the investing front – RDSB and Unilever are two solid companies for the long term!

    JD Sports have have a fantastic time, and it’s one of those stocks I wish I had owned. They’re on my watchlist, but there always seems to be another stock looking more attractive when it comes to the time to buy shares.

    Great to have you back, and keep up the good work!

    Cheers
    Huw

    1. Huw,

      thanks so much. I found it quite easy to make the switch in the first place, I read quite a few tutorials on how to do it, then I just did it myself. Everything seemed to work just fine. This is if you switch to WordPress anyway, as there is plenty of support from various sources.

      I’m happy with JD Sports, but I probably won’t add any more as they have appreciated almost 50% in less than a year. I might even sell them and take the profits elsewhere, as their dividend increase per year is not that high, considering the amount of revenue and profit increase they’ve had recently.

      Cheers

  8. Good to see you back online TV!!!
    Just went through your detailed explanation and……..boaaaaah! This company Zyma shouldn’t even exist, nor be called a company at all!!!

    Glad for you it’s all over by now!

    Welcome back and enjoy your new hosting service!

  9. Hey M

    As I mentioned previously, Siteground was on my shortlist and I reckon at some point, I will switch. Just not ready to pull the trigger yet, maybe later in the year or next year. I would never have known to go for a web host which needed to be Word Press friendly, as I too would have just gone for the cheapest, but in my preliminary research, I saw lots of good reviews about Siteground and now I have yours! 🙂

    The cost is what is probably putting me off right now, although not that much, it’s still more than freebie Blogger. I guess instead of investing my earnings from online side hustles, I could divert such earnings towards the upkeep of the website..hmmm.

    Still looking to buy Unilever at some point – as I don’t buy shares every month, I’m always spoilt for choice on who to pick and even when I make a list, I get distracted at the last minute! I use HL and AJ Bell, both who allow the £1.50 regular investing for shares.

    Anyway, as I said before, great to see you back. I hope you won’t mind me and Mr Z bugging you for advice when we switch our blogs haha! 🙂

    Have a great weekend!
    weenie recently posted…Changes Afoot at WorkMy Profile

    1. Yes, the cost of setting up hosting put me off at first, but the management of a site through WordPress is about 1000x better than blogger. Plus, if you had adsense or other ads on your site, you might make some money from those and they would essentially pay for the hosting, without even having to divert some of your side hustle money. Plus, you have complete ownership and control over your own content, unlike with Blogger.

      I didn’t know HL did £1.50 also, that is good to know!

      Have you thought about making an investing checklist? So that you don’t get distracted?

      Cheers

  10. Hey,

    Good to see the site back up and running!

    When you transferred across from blogger was it a pain at all? I guess you have to leave all your old content behind. I’m thinking about it at some point!

    (Figuring out ISA providers is a pain. I’m with A J Bell and they seem ok. £1.50 for regular investing on purchases. Assuming you’ve seen this? http://monevator.com/compare-uk-cheapest-online-brokers/ )

    Mr Z
    Mr Zombie recently posted…Make Financial Independence a probable probabilityMy Profile

    1. Hey Mr Z,

      Thanks for all your support through our downtime, we really appreciate it. When we moved from Blogger last year, it was not a problem at all. We used a plugin on WordPress to transfer all our old posts and comments, and it worked like a dream, but you must never delete your old site.

      Monevator’s comparison is a very useful resource, although I would love to see the format changed to make it a bit more user-friendly. There are a fair few sites that offer the £1.50 buying. We use AJ Bell for two of our accounts, and we have two with Interactive Investor.

      Cheers

      1. No worries mate!

        That sounds pretty easy! May be asking for some advice in a couple of months! 😀 It would be nice to have a little more control over things.

        Yeah I agree, it’s a bit clunky, but there is a lot of info there.

        Whoa, that’s a lot of accounts!
        Mr Zombie recently posted…0.8% is all it takesMy Profile

        1. Mate, thanks. Let me know when you want to switch and I can give you all teh stages that I did in order to preserve my comments etc.

          CHEERS!

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