Fastenal: A Great Company at a Fair Price

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I actually need to get back in the kitchen in a minute.   If you’ve been following our journey for the past two years, you’ll know that I always prepare (what I call) a Florida surf-and-turf for Thanksgiving.  Past years have included Ahi Tuna, Wild Boar,  Carribbean Jerk Chicken, Stone Crab, and TONS of Vension.  This year I’m doing Grouper Mojo Sliders and a Shreaded Turkey Stew.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go hunting this year……..

To regular readers, not that any of our readers are REGULAR, it should come as no surprise that I am very impressed with Fastenal as a company.  While the business model of most retailers keep them out of our portfolio, Fastenal strikes me as a cut above.  In fact, Fastenal is one of two retailers in our portfolio…..and I the other (which was a mistake) will soon be sold.  Over the past year, we have built a position currently worth $12,000 dollars and paying an annual dividend of $336.  The dividend payout is far from joining the $500 Club (companies that pay my wife and I $500+ per year like Coca-Cola/BHP Biliton/General Mills/General Electric/etc), but I am very pleased with the company.  It has continued to grow, although at a slower rate than in the past, and prosper.  Management has even found a way to expand the top and bottom lines, while maintaining industry high profit margins.  In the coming years, I expect the rate of growth to continue to slow…….but with fewer new stores to open…….free cash flow should expand significantly.

Anyway, the article I wrote for Seeking Alpha this week was a new type of article.  Instead of giving the overview of a given company, I decided to walk readers through my decision to own the company.  Step by step.  I talk about management, operations, valuation, and assign a fair value to the company.  I look forward to reader feedback on the article.

Read the full Seeking Alpha article HERE.

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**Please keep us in mind if you partake in the shopping extravaganza this weekend.  If you use our Amazon Affiliate link on the right side of this screen, you pay the same low price….but Amazon pays a small commission to us.  (Special thanks to the readers that used this link over the past month).

Ask The Readers: Who/What Do You Work For?

In last week’s Ask The Readers segment, I asked the readers about how they handled giving….and receiving bad news. There were a variety of answers, as you might expect to such an open ended question. Check out the responses below, including the only person who has ever told me that he/she prefers receiving bad news… giving it.

Mrs PoP responded that she’s a mixed bag.

…..For personal stuff, I follow my own variant of my grandparents’ advice – ‘If you can’t say anything nice, then STFU’……But for business, let’s not waste anyone’s time beating around the bush.” Continue reading

My Evolution as an Investor….

My hope is to always be learning and growing.  Everyday, in every aspect of my life.  Clearly, this isn’t always possible…….but it’s something to shoot for.  I’ve been actively investing for more than 20 years now, and I’ve come to a conclusion.  Actively managing our own diversified portfolio, of individual stocks, won’t fit our lifestyle for much longer.  A few years out, I can see the need to transition to a portfolio consisting of maybe 25% or 30% individual stocks…..and the rest being index ETFs and cash.  I am starting to feel it’s arrogant for me to think that I have the time and focus to invest all of our capital, in a diversified way, in ONLY individual stocks.  I simply don’t believe there are enough companies that are both:

1. great enough to deserve our hard earned capital, and

2. comprise a diversified portfolio.

With these ideas in mind, I published an article on Seeking Alpha this week…..which outlines the index ETFs that will make up the core of our future portfolio.  See the full Seeking Alpha article here.  Next week I will publish an article about our desired allocation in these ETF, based on my wife and being our mid 30s.  As always I look forward to reader feedback!