I select stocks for each investment day based on one or more of my spreadsheets, selecting only “qualified” dividend paying stocks for this taxable account. I try to choose what I perceive to currently be the best choices for my weekly investments. They must also be ‘eligible’ for the sharebuilder AIP.
Beginning with the October 27th investment day, I will begin picking 6 investments paying ‘qualified’ dividends with upcoming ex-dividend dates (estimated by TDM program or declared) for each semi-monthly investment and will also be changing to the 2nd & 4th Tuesday for investment days each month.
The current dollar amount for each investment in the AIP (Automatic Investment Plan) is shown near the bottom of the ‘Equal Weight’ spreadsheet (as shown below);
The formula I use for determining each investment amount in the ShareBuilder® investment plan is also shown on the ‘Equal Weight’ spreadsheet. I divide the total number of investments remaining through the end of March by the amount of cash available to invest.
The (discontinued for new accounts as of 9/1/15) Costco Advantage plan @ $10 per month gives me 12 ‘free’ AIP trades each month, which mean the first 12 trades each month actually cost $0.833333 each, with any additional AIP trades each month costing $1.00 each, amounting to an actual cost of $0.866667 each in months with 5 Tuesdays (defined as ‘Investment Day’ by Capital One Investing). Any Buy orders made outside of the regularly scheduled AIP purchases as well as any Sell orders cost $4.95 with this plan. Of course, the first month is ‘FREE’, which means I am not charged $10 for that first month. This also means that, for this year only, each trade will then cost (26 weeks X 3 trades each week = 78 trades divided by total cost of $10/month for 5 months plus 2 ‘extra’ weeks of 3 trades each week @ $1 each = $56 which results in a total cost per trade of ~$0.717948), barring any sale trades or ‘impulse’ buys @ $4.95 each. Not too shabby IMHO, but YMMV!
I think it’s only fair to mention that there is an account opening ‘bonus’ of $250.00 which makes the cost per trade a negative figure for a period of time. So, I’m now actually “paid” to make trades, at least for a short time.
UPDATE 8/15/15: The above was based on a weekly investment schedule. Effective immediately after the 8/25/15 investment day I will change to an investment schedule of twice a month (That date is a Tuesday, and sharebuilder usually invests with the ShareBuilder® Plan on Tuesdays, because “For whatever reason, calendar makers didn’t build a lot of market holidays or other types of regularly scheduled holidays on Tuesdays. This makes it the best day for us to schedule and run the ShareBuilder® investment plan.”) I will begin by investing on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, but will change that to the 2nd and 4th Tuesday (and back again when necessary) to avoid a holiday ‘interfering’ with my investing process. I will therefore still be making 6 investments twice a month. The end result is the same number of investments (12) per month, but the timing and dollar amounts will be slightly different. Also, there will not be any “additional AIP trades each month costing $1.00 each”. Selections will be made the week prior to the investment day, and subsequently this update will then only be issued twice each month. Of course, I could go back to investing on a weekly schedule at any time (~every Tuesday), and back to twice monthly (~1st & 3rd and/or 2nd & 4th Tuesday, and/or any combination thereof), or even once monthly (~1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Tuesday). This would also affect my other blog posting frequency, of course.
Here’s a look at my scheduled investments for next week;
The (approximate and cumulative) cost per trade calculation appears on the tradelogs, next to the other calculations for the ind-PandA account on the lower left. Confused? Yeah, me too. This amount is now included in the total for trade fees and that total is now included in all calculations of profit/loss.
It appears that “Advantage” pricing for the “ShareBuilder® investment plan” is now defunct as well. You can still have the “ShareBuilder® investment plan”, but each trade will cost $2.00 and there is no monthly fee and subsequently no “free” trades. The upshot to this is you can invest in as many or as few shares as you like, turning the plan on or off at will, with no effecct on trade fees or costs. The downside, of course, is that now trades cost more, albeit only slightly more than ‘other brokers’.
As always, YMMV!