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No. of Recommendations: 2
As of this week, the former iPIG portfolio has matched the dividend-like income it received in 2020. With the already declared remaining dividends headed this way, the portfolio will receive more dividend-like income in 2021 than it did in 2020, but the dividend growth is unlikely to have kept up with the 6.8% inflation rate published in the most recent CPI by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I blame myself for not paying enough attention. Recall that last year, the portfolio saw a better than 11% increase in dividend-like income ( ). So staying ahead of even 7% inflation should be in the realm of feasible.

Looking back, here are some things I could have done differently:

1) Maintain sell discipline with valuation. Thanks to the incredible market runup, there are positions in the account that are well above my fair value estimate. When I more actively managed this account, I would sell if what I could keep after commissions and taxes was at least 20% above my fair value estimate for the business. With better sell discipline, I could have freed up cash to buy more fairly valued dividend growth companies and thus improved the growth in income. Instead, I have exactly 0 sales in this account this year.

2) Look harder at the companies that have eliminated their dividends. There are now two companies in the account that no longer pay dividends. One of them has now not paid dividends in four years and has not given any indication of reinstating its dividend, despite having stabilized its operations. While it may remain a decent investment overall, that's not exactly the profile one would want in an account focused on dividend growth.

3) Recognize political risks. At least one company in the account has had its growth prospects slashed based on the political situation in the United States. While I believe its current income generating capability should remain strong for many years to come, its ability to grow its dividend has been impacted by the political challenges it faces with expanding capacity. Again, a reasonable current income is fine, but it is not the sole objective of this dividend-growth focused account.

The key question is what will I do about it? In all honesty, I don't know. If there's anyone still here, I'd appreciate your perspective on the three options below -- or any other options you'd suggest I consider.

One option is what was pointed out here: , close out the account and use the proceeds to pay off the mortgage. Due to strong overall market performance, the account value is currently sitting above our mortgage balance. While I'm not necessarily a fan of paying down a mortgage balance, I do understand the cash flow benefits of paying off a mortgage balance. Especially with inflation soaring far faster than my salary and contractor income has grown, having the extra monthly cash flow from not carrying that debt burden would be a blessing.

A second option is to use the vacation time I have between next Friday and the beginning of 2022 to "sharpen my pencil" and do the overdue portfolio reviews that would help me bring the account more in line with its stated goals and investment philosophy. It's a strategy that I am comfortable with and believe has long term potential, but it is one that does require a higher level of operating discipline than I have given to it in 2021.

A third option is to transfer the account balance into my more aggressive options-focused account to combine all our after-tax investments in one place and give me a larger capital base to work from in a single account. By combining accounts, I'd feel more comfortable taking out cash every month to cover the principal and interest payment on the mortgage to make it "feel" like we've paid off the mortgage while still keeping most of the money invested.

Thanks in advance for your perspective.

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