DRIP PORTFOLIO
Drip Port Changes

Drip Port asked you for improvement suggestions in an online survey, and the managers are now implementing changes. The column will move to three times a week, and it will focus on teaching and discussing Drip investing strategies, finding new investment ideas in new industries, and it will analyze important Drip company news.

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By Jeff Fischer (TMF Jeff)
July 25, 2000

We recently conducted a Drip Port survey on the "Drip Basics" discussion board. We did this because, as we take the pause that refreshes, we want to improve the Drip Port before we begin to move forward again with renewed direction. One of the questions on the plate is whether to spend more time looking for new investments, or more time talking about Drip investment strategies -- portfolio allocation, diversification, and so forth.

One direction that we're taking here at the Fool is to use the portfolios more and more as strategy teachers, rather than as lessons on specific stocks in our portfolios and daily news coverage of those stocks. Of course, we want to strike a good balance, because the Fool offers real-money portfolios and it wouldn't be Foolish of us to ignore our holdings. However, we also want to focus on what is most important more often.

Our holdings are important to us personally, and how we analyze them hopefully helps you analyze your companies. But to many readers, our strategies are most important. When you teach an investor an investment strategy, you teach them how to fish (to use a tired analogy). In contrast, simply providing a stock purchase decision is akin to simply handing someone a fish. Picture a gray fish flopping in your hands. Now picture a new fishing pole in your hands instead, and a clear blue ocean stretched before you. Which scenario would you rather have, long-term?

One way to make the Fool's teaching purpose more clear may be to rename our strategies as just that -- strategies. Rule Breaker Port, which is listed under "Fool Investing Strategies," would be renamed Rule Breaker Strategy. The Rule Breaker's portfolio would still exist, of course, and the holdings would be reported upon, but the emphasis would be on how to use the strategy, rather than the current holdings in the Fool's model Rule Breaker Portfolio.

Drip Port would become Drip Strategy, or something close to that. Again, the real-money port would remain standing -- growing, living, and breathing -- but our focus would be on teaching different Drip strategies, and the portfolio would often only serve in the background as a real-money example of a Drip strategy.

These are some of the thoughts running around our heads as I present results from the Drip Port survey. First, thank you to everyone who responded and thank you for all of the great suggestions that you posted, too. They've all been heard and recorded.

Our first survey question was, "How often do you read the daily Drip Port column?" The results were:

46% Typically read it every day.
26% Read it a few times a week, so they miss some columns.
19% Only read headlines that grab me.
2% Don't read it.
7% Read it periodically (once a week) but read all the past columns.

We asked this because it leads to our second question: Would you rather...

49% Have daily Drip Port columns much like now?
51% Have three columns per week and have them strive to be more useful?

The results to this poll were close. About half of you who responded prefer a daily Drip Port column. The other half would prefer three columns per week, assuming that the columns could be more in-depth and, ideally, offer more utility and value per paragraph.

We next asked, in question three, "If you can only name one thing, what is it that you like best about Drip Port columns?" You responded:

29% Learning about specific industries/companies for long periods.
20% Finding new investment ideas.
30% Learning more about valuing companies.
21% Learning more about Drip investing in general.

These results were interesting, too, because they were quite evenly spread across the board. This tells us one thing: We can continue to write about all of these topics regularly and always serve someone. So, we should strive to strike a good balance between offering new industry studies and new investment ideas, and learning and teaching about Drip investing and strategies in general, as well as teaching about valuing companies from a Drip perspective.

Finally, we asked, "Which was the best movie of the following choices!!?"

42% Star Wars
35% Raiders of the Lost Ark
9% Jaws
14% Blade Runner

A Fool, av8meil, pointed out that Harrison Ford was in three of these four movies. Maybe now we know why Brian Graney likes to pretend that he's Harrison Ford, Mr. Big Movie Star, every Halloween.

Following the survey and the suggestions that you posted, we are going to move the Drip Port column to three times a week starting the week of August 7. The columns will run on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We'll work on a schedule that covers both Drip strategies and new investment studies every week. So, we can have our cake and eat it, too. We'll also be flexible by having space for a column that discusses news events each week they occur. When they don't occur, we'll have more space for discussing strategies and investment studies.

Our hope is that running three columns a week will result in more valuable content, because Drip writers will have more time to prepare columns. We also want to make it easier for you to keep pace with the content, and still have time to participate on the discussion boards, too, which are one of the richer experiences the Fool has to offer. By running columns three times a week, we'll have more time to interact on the discussion boards -- answer your questions, pose new ones ourselves, and simply discuss investing in general in an interactive way.

Finally, just a heads-up that we are sending our money to buy our first five shares of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) this week, a little behind schedule. But it is being sent now.

Fool on!

Your Turn:
Do you have thoughts on the changes taking place in Drip Port? Do you have more suggestions for improvement? Please share them!

Drip Portfolio

7/25/2000 Closing Numbers
Ticker Company Day Chg % Chg Price
CPBCAMPBELL SOUP3/81.33%$28.56
INTCINTEL CORP7/82.08%$140.88
JNJJOHNSON & JOHNSON-15/16-0.99%$93.50
MELMELLON FINANCIAL CORP-3/4-1.86%$39.56

  Day Week Month Year
To Date
Since
7/28/1997
Annualized
Drip .46% 1.05% 2.35% 34.11% 74.23% 20.37%
S&P 500 .70% -.39% 1.37% .36% 57.06% 16.27%
S&P 500(DA) .70% -.39% 1.37% .36% 59.68% 16.91%
S&P 500(DCA) n/a n/a n/a n/a 28.08% 8.61%
NASDAQ 1.21% -1.58% 1.60% -.98% 156.73% 37.00%

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Cost/Share Price LT % Val Chg
9/8/199722.9909INTC45.671$140.88208.46%
11/14/199715.019JNJ78.956$93.5018.42%
11/5/199834.9399MEL34.051$39.5616.19%
4/13/19988.337CPB54.179$28.56-47.28%

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Cost Value LT $ Val Ch
9/8/199722.9909INTC$1,050.02$3,238.84$2,188.83
11/14/199715.019JNJ$1,185.84$1,404.28$218.44
11/5/199834.9399MEL$1,189.74$1,382.31$192.57
4/13/19988.337CPB$451.69$238.13($213.56)
  Cash: $0.08  
  Total: $6,263.63  


Key
• S&P 500 (DA) = dividend adjusted. Dividends have been added to the total return of the index.

Note
Drip Port launched with $500 on July 28, 1997, adds $100 to invest every month, and the goal is to own $150,000 in stock by August of the year 2017. Due to the slow nature of dollar-cost-averaging and our relatively significant starting costs, we do not expect to seriously challenge the S&P 500 for the first three to five years as we build an investment base. The long-term advantages of dollar-cost-averaging still overcome the short-term disadvantages, however. Final note: our investment in Campbell Soup is frozen due to fees instituted in its investment plan. Click here for a history of all Drip Port transactions.