10 Stocks I Own

by Bear Jack Gebhardt on June 14, 2017

Stock-MarketWishing to live in a more open society, it recently struck me that we all keep our personal money matters way too secret. I suspect it has something to do with the old Puritan belief that money is dirty, and that the love of money is the root of all evil. We don’t have to love money to talk openly and honestly about it. So that’s what I’m doing in this post.

An old friend getting ready to retire in the next couple of years asked me, once again, about my investment strategy and about specific stock investments.  “I don’t play the stock market, “ I warned  him. “I don’t try to buy low and sell high. I just look for a  stock that will provide steady income, that I can hold on to.”

Of course, I love to buy low and sell high. But that’s not my primary goal, or primary strategy. My primary goal is simply to establish a little extra monthly income to supplement  Social Security. I buy income stocks not only for my monthly expenses and a to do a little travel, but also because if I get hit by a cab my kids will inherit  that monthly income stream. Which seems like a good thing.

So I look for stocks that have good fundamentals, a good dividend (I  like 5% or so)  and good prospects for the future.  What Warren Buffet calls “sleep easy” stocks.  Finding such stocks takes time, and is never perfectly accomplished.  Still, good fundamentals, good dividend, good prospects is the ideal.

So here are ten stocks in which I am currently invested and in which I have the largest  holdings.

  1. 1. Triton International, (TRTN) which at $31. 67 a share has a 7 % dividend yield. I love Triton. This is the world’s largest shipping container company. As long as people keep shipping stuff all over the world —as long as Walmart keeps importing stuff and we keep buying it —Triton should keep on going. I’ve ridden Triton up and down and up and down, adding to my holdings over the years. I have absolutely no idea where the price is going next.  That’s not what I look for. As I said, I buy income. And I believe the global economy is here to stay. That’s why I own a shipping container company.
  2. Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) at $22.43 a share pays a 7.8% dividend.   I’m a little embarrassed by this one. It’s a coal company. Nobody likes coal companies. So that’s why it pays such a high dividend. I’m in the process of (slowly) selling my position in this one, because, like everybody says, coal is on the way out. But their fundamentals are good, and the dividend is strong. And, of yea, coal is what powers the computer I’m writing on. It’s going to take another five years or more, at least, and maybe double or quadruple that time. (I do hope it’s quicker) for us to walk away from the coal fired plants giving us electricity. In the meantime, Chicago gets its electricity from the coal that Alliance digs. And the scrubbers are  getting better and better. Like I said. I’m a little embarrassed about this one. I’m slowly selling, when I find a good place to put the proceeds.  I’m willing to take a lower dividend for cleaner energy.
  3. Con Ed (ED), which at $83.33 pays a 3.33% dividend. What can I say. It’s Con Ed, one of the biggest utility companies in the world. As long as people keep paying their utility bills (which 99% of the people will do, because we all like hot water and our lights on at night) Con Ed should keep paying its dividend. We inherited this one from my mother-in-law. It’s a good mother-in-law stock. If you’re nervous about putting money in the stock market, Con Ed is a good place to start. Whether it will go up from here or down from here, I don’t know. I just buy income. Con Ed has income, and shares it.
  4. 4. AT&T (T) which at $38.88 pays a 03% dividend.  Again, this is a mother-in-law type of stock, though I bought it myself. (I like mother-in-law stocks. That’s another way of saying, “sleep easy” stocks.)  It’s AT.&T. What can I say? Sure, you can argue for, against, up, down… but it qualifies.
  5. Costamere (CMRE) at $6.79 a share, it pays a 5.89% dividend. This is a relatively new one for me. It’s a Greek shipping company.  All shipping companies took a real beating recently when one of the largest shipping companies declared bankruptcy. And Greece as a country is in hot water. But to me, Costamere seems undervalued at this price. And the dividend seems strong. I like shipping companies, to go along with my container companies. Again, I believe globalization is here to stay.  I could be wrong.
  6. Eaton Vance Tax Advantaged Global Divide Fund (ETO) at $22.02 pays a fat 8.99% dividend—and a somewhat tax advantaged dividend at that. For folks who prefer a mutual fund over single stocks, you might want to look at this one. I do own a number of other mutual funds… most of which have not done squat. Research says people can do just as well as a mutual fund by selecting individual companies on their own. Who knows. I do like this one, and it pays nice, and it pays every month. Its my largest mutual fund holding. I have no idea where it’s going from here.
  7. Main Street Capital (MAIN) at $39.22 pays a 5.36% dividend. This one also pays every month. This is a financial services company—basically they loan money to other companies. They do a pretty good job of it. Twice a year they have “special dividends,” which is also nice. Not fancy at all. But steady and with a good reputation.
  8. Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) at $56.20 pays a 6.69% dividend. A number of years back I noticed that many, many gas stations in our town started showing up under the Shell sign. I wondered what the heck Shell was up to. Of all the major oil companies, Shell has the highest dividend. Of course they have a crummy reputation—as do all major oil companies. But I still use gasoline because I regularly drive my car. I notice other people do too. When I fill up, I generally try to find a Shell station, which isn’t hard at all. I grin a little, standing at the gas pump,  knowing I’m selling gas to myself.
  9. Ciner Resources (CINR) at $28.80 a share, pays a 7.88% dividend. This is the newest addition to my portfolio, and I don’t have a very big position, but it may get bigger. Ciner owns a soda ash mine in Wyoming and they sell the stuff all over the world. I didn’t know soda ash was used for so many things, like  flat glass, container glass, detergents, chemicals, and a long, long list of other stuff.  I generally shy away from companies that depend on just one particular mine or factory — but this one intrigues me, first, because it’s in Wyoming, and I just might go look at what they’re doing, and second because soda ash is such a little known but widely used material. I’m going to look deeper into it.
  10. Public Storage, PSA at $207.04 pays a 3.86% dividend. I love Public Storage. This seems to be another of those things that people will continue to use no matter what the economy is doing. At 3.86% dividend, it’s not bad—three times what some banks are paying. But when I first bought it, they were paying 5%. They still pay the same dividend, the price has gone up.

For the past five years, since retiring from daily work, I’ve averaged about 6% return on our investments. I’m certainly no Warren Buffet, nor much of a risk taker. But I’m fairly comfortable being a shareholder in these companies, and absolutely comfortable receiving their dividends. I have investments in some other companies, but these are where a fairly good percentage of our retirement income comes from.

I would be interested in feedback, at whatever level you care to offer it. (“From You shouldn’t invest in those dirty s.o.b.’s” on up. ) Or if you have other ideas about stocks and investing, let me know. I love talking about stocks. Hope this was interesting….

Yours in communal prosperity… .


Announcing: Monk Stock Talks

by Bear Jack Gebhardt on November 19, 2012

UPDATE: This happened to be the ONLY sharing of stock purchases I ever posted…And it just so happened to be the WORST stock pick (or at least one of them) that I ever made.  Let that be a warning about getting your stock info here!!

On the other hand, my wife and I do live a modestly comfortable lifesyle with support from the dividends from our stock portfolio, which  I attend to every day. I might recharge this “Monk Stocks” column, but let my first foray be a warning!

Yours in peaceably profitable prosperity— Bear



I bought a little bit of SandRidge Permian Trust (PER) this morning at a little over $17.00 a share. It seems to be a solid little oil and gas “trust” company with interest in over 1300 producing wells. The reason I bought today is because it pays (at these prices) a very nice 14% dividend, but also because I’ve been buying big and little pieces of SandRidge over the past year or so and wanted to average my cost a little. (I bought at mostly higher prices–as high as $23.00– but also a little bit at a lower  price $16.00)

So what’s a lay monk doing buy stocks? In these days, it’s a little bit like hoeing the garden, planting an orchard, having a milk cow. Yes, all of our “monk actions” are supposed to be for the love of God (the love of love, the love of truth, beauty and world peace). Yet money is part of God’s creation, too, yes?

This first “Monk Talks Stocks’ column is not to defend or detail my stock investing but rather to simply let my friends and fellow travelers know that I do intend to (somewhat regularly) write about stocks and investments, theory and practice, hopefully with at least a modicum of  compassionate and a holistic frame of reference. I would appreciate comments and feedbacks.

Very quickly, even though I’m an ex-stockbroker, let me forewarn you that my basic interest is no longer trying/hoping to make money by trading in and out of the market. I’ve finally come to understand that nobody really knows what is going to happen in tomorrow’s market, even though the stats might give a good hint (much like the NFL.) These days, I’m no longer trying to predict the future but rather simply “purchasing current income.” Thus, I’m on the lookout for sound ”current  income,” sources, rather than capital gains from buying and selling.

In other words, rather than hoping to make a killing (or even make a little money) by buying low and selling high I’m much more interested in current dividends and distributions of a company. Thus, I look at silly old things like the fundamentals of the company (net asset value, revenue and income growth, debt level, etc.) their past dividend record, their ability to pay future dividends, their competition, their long-term outlook, and what kind of management is in place, as well as, to a lesser degree (because it tries to predict the future), the supposed long-term outlook for the industry sector.

I would of course love to buy low and sell high, but I’m basically looking for vehicles that  provide regular cash income. Once those vehicles are in place, and the income is flowing, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference (theoretically) if the market values these vehicles higher or lower than what I originally paid for them, as long as income is secure. Of course, I prefer to see my stock prices go up, and tend to go uggh when they go down, but with this “purchase income” approach, the ups and downs of the market (e.g., particular daily stock prices) generally don’t have too much influence on my monthly cash flow. The hardest part of this “buy income” strategy is transcending the deeply ingrained emotional attachment to principle, which we have been taught is “absolutely precious.”   I’ve learned (somewhat) to let principle fluctuate  on  a daily basis (which it always will in the stock market) and rely instead on the steady cash flow, seeing it as even more “precious” than so-called principle. It’s called the “sleep easy” method of  investing. Where you buy an income stock and let it pay for years and years without trying to time the market, e.g. get in and get out with the highs and lows. I’d rather sleep easy, and let my  investments pay regular returns.

If you’re interested in hearing what I’m doing in the market (my “yay’s” as well as my moans and groans), with no promises about getting rich, and maybe participating in the conversation about how to invest and still stay peaceable with at least a modicum of social responsibility, check back here and/or let me know at bear@zenmoneygrubbing.com

Be back at you soon…


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