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You wrote, Hey Joel, long time since we've chatted!


Any ideas on your side?

Not much new, really. My new job makes finding time to research investment ideas a little difficult. That and I've been a little discouraged that what I see can do that much better than the market in general.

I've put most of the money from income and called securities from 2013 into broad index funds. I'm also still holding a bunch of cash. The cash and bond / preferred positions have actually been holding back my portfolio from meeting/beating the stock market averages; but its comforting to see those regular interest and dividend payments from my fixed-income investments.

I also took a stake early in '13 in QCOM (tech common), ARMH (tech common) and NLY-D (REIT preferred). I added to a position in PMT (REIT common) and have been thinking about researching NLY again with an eye to the common (or to closing the preferred position since the common's yield is almost too good).

I've also joined an investment club (talked into it by coworkers). They/we have one investment I keep wanting to go back and review for my own portfolio - CTSH. It's done outstandingly well in 2013, so I've become concerned that it might be ahead of itself now. Even so, it seems like a good issue to follow and might be worth taking a stake on a pull-back. The one problem is that it's kind of a tech play too...

As for the QCOM & ARMH purchases ... I normally try to avoid purchasing much tech because I've been burned by it in the past because I tend to see the promise of the tech and have a hard time seeing the bigger picture. However I've been working in fields where these two are dominate suppliers for quite a while now and I don't see anyone that can really challenge them anymore so I felt I had to take some kind of position when the opportunity presented.

Broad index funds are once again my largest holdings followed by a small collection of preferreds. I also have some core LTBH stock holdings in stuff like CVX, VZ, PFE & GIS. (I also have a few smaller issues.) I'm still holding onto 3 bond issues, all trading above par but only 11 bonds in total, so they're just a small niche in the portfolio now. I'm also still about 10% cash. I don't have any option positions or other defensive hedges outstanding, nor do I really think we're on the verge of any major collapse though I don't think anything has really been done to prevent a repeat of the last one. But then I really didn't call the last one either - I just took advantage of it after it was obvious.

I'd like to retire around the end of the decade. I think I just need to double my portfolio one more time. I'm kind of hoping to see another crash between now and then. Those seem to bring lots of opportunities. Between them, my investments are likely to become increasingly boring in an effort to participate in some gains without taking on too much risk.

- Joel
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