AbbVie Buys a New Basket

AbbVie (ABBV), maker of Humira, a rheumatoid-arthritis drug, announced it is buying Allergan (AGN), maker of Botox. For AbbVie, the reason is to diversify its product portfolio and thereby its cash flow. Humira accounted for over 50% of AbbVie’s 2018 sales, and Humira is coming off patent in the US in 2023, which could severely cut its AbbVie’s sales of that product. With its acquisition of Allergan, AbbVie is attempting to position itself for future revenue diversity, as well as potential growth. With Humira coming off patent, AbbVie had to do something like this.

Mature Product

AbbVie is an example that a company needs to continue to grow in order to survive. Just like oil and gas wells get depleted and less productive over time, so to do drugs like Humira, in large part because the exclusivity goes away when the patent expires. With little in its drug development pipeline relative to the huge size of Humira, AbbVie has continued to hike its dividend. At ABBV’s current price of about $69/share, its dividend yield is about 6.3%. Compare this with 10-Year US Treasuries, which currently yield 2.0%. Companies can either invest their cash flow back into their business in the form of R&D or other internal expenses, or they can pay their cash flow out to their investors in the form of dividends. Companies such as ABBV that pay high dividends typically have not been able to find new products or new businesses in which to invest in an accretive way, and so they have instead paid out more of their cash flow to their investors.


AbbVie no longer wants to have all its eggs in the Humira basket, and so it is buying a new basket of products in the form of Allergan. Time will tell if the management team will be successful in integrating the new products and people that produce and market those products into a conglomeration that is not as dependent on a major cash cow product that is about to go off patent. As an investor, if you are looking at stock opportunities and see a company that pays a 6.3% dividend, make sure you dig into its story to determine why that company’s dividend is as high as it is. Perhaps you have a situation like AbbVie, where the dividend is high now but where there is a significant risk that the dividend might be much smaller in the not to distant future. Dividends are nice, but just know what you are getting yourself into.

4 Fun Things To Do That Cost Little or Nothing

I am in my later 50s and I hear a lot of people my age who are thinking about retirement but are concerned about what they will do with their time after they retire. It is a reasonable concern especially for those of us who work mega-hours and who perhaps have let hobbies or other interests lapse as they struggle to keep up at their job. It is difficult to transition from having a plethora of outwardly-directed tasks to having to decide what to do with yourself on your own each day. Moreover, it is likely that the paycheck will be no longer forthcoming and you will have to make do with less money. What to do when you are short on money and long on time? Here are 4 ideas:

One Thing To Do That Costs Nothing

Get a Library Card

Even if you might not enjoy reading books, there is likely something at the library that will be for you. Don’t believe me? Go to your local library and check it out (so to speak). Do you like to listen to books on CD, maybe in your car? The library is your source. Do you read books on an e-reader but don’t like paying for them? Your library likely has a way you can borrow e-books and have them sent to your e-reader, or even to your phone. Don’t have time to go to an actual library, perhaps because it is inconvenient for you? Your library’s website has so many resources on it that you may not even need to physically go to the library. If you enjoy buying things online and having them show up on your doorstep, you will also enjoy when you put a book on hold at your local library and you receive an email that your book is ready for you to pick up. It is a great feeling in no small part because you know that you will be involved with this great book for the next 3 weeks. If you do like to read, especially if you enjoy fiction, you then might want to join or form a book club so that you can share your thoughts about the book you are reading. The very best part? It’s Free! Library cards cost nothing. You may not even need to be living in a particular city to obtain a card for its library – sometimes even just being in the same state will work. You can find enough activities to take up an entire day or days just by getting a library card and working with the vast resources at your disposal at your library.


Vigorous physical training is great, as are training goals such as running a race or some other competition. However, for some people, it may be better just to go out and go for a walk. This costs nothing (I assume you will already have comfortable shoes) and is great for your health. Walking leads to other things, such as fresh air, looking at sights, people watching and spending time with friends or significant others while doing something wonderful together. Want to keep the rest of your body in shape? Do push-ups, sit-ups, and any other number of stretch exercises that you can find with a web search. You don’t have to spend mega-bucks per month for health club dues in order to keep in reasonable shape.

Eat and Drink At Home

If you have more time because you are no longer working as much, you will be able to plan meals, go to the grocery store, buy stuff and cook at home. Say No to going out every day or to expensive home delivery from restaurants. Of course, it still costs money to buy stuff at the supermarket but not nearly as much as it does to go to restaurants every day. Moreover, you will be able to buy and eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables that are better for you than you would likely buy for yourself at a restaurant. If it isn’t enjoyable for you currently to plan and cook meals, that may be because you don’t have enough time to do so now. Maybe that will change if you suddenly have more time. This could lead to having dinner parties at home and getting to know your friends, neighbors and relatives even better.

Drink Cheaper Alcohol

I read a lot of posts that suggest people should make their own coffee instead of buying it from Starbucks or the like every day. A similar thing goes for alcohol. Instead of going out for drinks, stay in and drink. It’s safer and cheaper. Also, do you really need always to drink expensive IPA’s or Cabernets? Would a regular old beer suffice? As to wine, there are so many options, and if you drink in volume, perhaps you should consider being satisfied with wine that doesn’t cost as much. Maybe not Two Buck Chuck, but there are a lot of good mid-priced wines. Same thing for the hard stuff. Just like those $5 cups of coffee, the expensive beers add up over time, and you might be just as happy with the cheaper stuff.


Saving or not spending money is central to financial planning. Figuring out what to do with your time while cutting back on your expenditures is also an important part of your finances. With some of these 4 ideas I put forward here, you can work toward accomplishing all of your goals at the same time.

Flooding Danger

Your standard Homeowner’s Insurance policy will not cover you in the event your home suffers a flood. If you are concerned that your house is in a flood zone, you may be able to purchase separate flood insurance through the US Government’s National Flood Insurance program, but it will probably cost you a big premium with a hefty deductible to purchase the insurance.

Missouri River Flooding in March, 2019

In The News

Floods are very much in the news. Heavy rains in the US Midwest caused the Missouri River and some tributaries to overflow, which caused massive flooding in states like Iowa and Nebraska. In the Northeast, if it rains heavily during the late Winter or Spring while the snow is melting, various rivers, creeks and streams will flood. The low-lying Houston area is prone to flooding when a tropical storm hits or even with some heavy rain. One can discuss why this might be happening or if it is happening with increased frequency, but property is being damaged and people’s pocketbooks are suffering.

Flood Zone?

This article from the Wall Street Journal points out that your house might be in a flood zone without you knowing it does because home sellers may not have to disclose prior flooding and because FEMA flood maps may be out of date. Your lesson: Don’t rely on information from others, including the US Government. Instead, rely on your own common sense. Make sure the house you are looking to buy is on high ground, and/or is elevated above ground level. Live somewhere that water flows away from, not where water flows to. If you already own your home, buy the flood insurance (if you can), and also have a drainage or another type of protection plan so that your home doesn’t flood. Installing a drainage system for your property might be money very well spent if it prevents your home from flooding.


“I rent, and I have renter’s insurance, so I’m covered if it floods, right?” Well, unfortunately, you are not. Renter’s insurance is like homeowner’s insurance in that, if water comes up from the ground (as with a flood), damage is not covered. If you rent, the same logic applies: Use your common sense. Rent on an upper floor, if possible. Live on high ground, and keep your valuables out of harm’s way in the event of a flood.


If you live in an area with lakes, rivers, creeks, harbors, or other bodies of water, and you are concerned you may be in a flood zone, your concerns are valid. A 3rd standard deviation-type storm may hit and your property could flood. Your best course of action is to use common sense and to take steps ahead of time to prevent flood damage rather than to seek compensation or reimbursement after the flood happens.