Dividend Mantra Sells Out

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indexmantra
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Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by indexmantra » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:19 am

I index my portfolio. A few years ago, I followed several dividend investing gurus like Dividend Mantra.

Now I see that he has sold his site: http://www.dividendmantra.com/2015/09/a ... beginning/

The "helpers" always find a way to earn a living, despite the fact that they have not provided much value to individual investors.

I stopped following their advice after I realized that he has failed to beat a simple S&P 500 index funds, and he pays a ton in taxes by refusing to invest through 401 (k) or IRA's. Picking stocks is a waste of time - this is why I index.

I think his investment advice is dangerous. His personal finance stuff on frugal living was good however.

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galeno
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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by galeno » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:32 am

IMHO income investing (chasing yield) has always been a fool's errand.
AA = 40/55/5. Expected CAGR = 3.8%. GSD (5y) = 6.2%. USD inflation (10 y) = 1.8%. AWR = 4.0%. TER = 0.4%. Port Yield = 2.82%. Term = 33 yr. FI Duration = 6.0 yr. Portfolio survival probability = 95%.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:43 am

DM carved out a niche. I did like his messages about saving a high rate and living simply. His vehicle of choice (individual dividend stocks in a taxable account) was suspect from a Boglehead perspective.

I like the community and would throw out subtle "index fund" related jabs in the comments. It is only so long before the blog growth begins to feel like a full time job.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by surfer1 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:52 am

I followed his blog as well and enjoyed his posts. I'm disappointed in him selling out, as it seems somewhat hypocritical. His blog was about financial independence through dividend income, alone. It's also unfortunate that the buyer seems to want to stop the very things that made the blog interesting and different with reporting earnings, personal budget, and real numbers.

Still, I congratulate him on the achievement. It's not easy to sell a web site and he was able to turn his blog profitable. So kudos to him!

Anyway, regarding the portfolio, it's high risk. He's 100% stocks, which has been doing fantastic for the past 5+ years. However, with the recent volatility, it's going to ride some big waves up and down.

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grayfox
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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by grayfox » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:12 pm

Wow, that is a great blog! The blogger shows the progress of a dividend growth investor month by month starting back in 2011.

I read some of his articles/ He seems like a real honest guy just telling it like it is. Hopefully he keeps making the monthly updates for the next couple of decades. His blog is a valuable record of dividend growth investing.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by InvestorNewb » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:22 pm

I wonder how much he got for it. I followed his blog too just for fun.
My Portfolio: VTI [US], VXUS [Int'l], VNQ [REIT], VCN [Canada] (largest to smallest)

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by AnimalCrackers » Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:47 pm

I used to follow that blog closely. DM was a lot more interesting to me before he quit his day job, bought a car, and moved to Michigan and back.
"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." -- philosopher Mike Tyson

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by LateStarter1975 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:39 pm

indexmantra wrote:
I stopped following their advice after I realized that he has failed to beat a simple S&P 500 index funds, and he pays a ton in taxes by refusing to invest through 401 (k) or IRA's. Picking stocks is a waste of time - this is why I index.
Is this really true that he failed to beat the S&P 500? I follow him too and I remember reading a post where he claimed he has surpassed the return of the S&P 500 by a significant margin, even though he claims he is more interested in the growth of his dividends.
I do think he has a remarkable story which is quite motivational...
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grayfox
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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by grayfox » Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:36 am

LateStarter1975 wrote:
indexmantra wrote:
I stopped following their advice after I realized that he has failed to beat a simple S&P 500 index funds, and he pays a ton in taxes by refusing to invest through 401 (k) or IRA's. Picking stocks is a waste of time - this is why I index.
Is this really true that he failed to beat the S&P 500? I follow him too and I remember reading a post where he claimed he has surpassed the return of the S&P 500 by a significant margin, even though he claims he is more interested in the growth of his dividends.
I do think he has a remarkable story which is quite motivational...
What does it mean "beat the S&P500"? That the dividend growth of his portfolio was higher than the dividend growth of the S&P500? Because that's what matters for a Dividend Growth Strategy.

Total Return is not an important performance measure for a dividend growth strategy. Just like dividend growth rate is not an important performance measure for Bogleheads. Total Return is not even important for Warren Buffet, who looks at growth of Book Value to gauge performance.

Different strategies have different performance measures.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by horste » Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:58 pm

LateStarter1975 wrote:
indexmantra wrote:
I stopped following their advice after I realized that he has failed to beat a simple S&P 500 index funds, and he pays a ton in taxes by refusing to invest through 401 (k) or IRA's. Picking stocks is a waste of time - this is why I index.
Is this really true that he failed to beat the S&P 500? I follow him too and I remember reading a post where he claimed he has surpassed the return of the S&P 500 by a significant margin, even though he claims he is more interested in the growth of his dividends.
I do think he has a remarkable story which is quite motivational...
I think this is the part of the blog that will be lost in this transition. His writing and blog has significantly evolved over the last year. It feels like a lot of the character had left, and started to mimic other dividend growth strategy blogs.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by jadd806 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:24 pm

My biggest gripe with that group of "dividend growth investing" bloggers has always been their skewed representation of historical performance. I have seen many articles where they compare top dividend stocks to the S&P 500 and of course, it always fits their agenda of showing outperformance relative to the index.

What I have not seen is them taking into account stocks which were good picks for their strategy in the past which have since been bankrupted/delisted. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, one could always say "I wouldn't have bought XYZ back then because..." but it would be nice to see how such companies affect the returns of this strategy.

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indexmantra
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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by indexmantra » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:08 pm

grayfox wrote:
LateStarter1975 wrote:
indexmantra wrote:
I stopped following their advice after I realized that he has failed to beat a simple S&P 500 index funds, and he pays a ton in taxes by refusing to invest through 401 (k) or IRA's. Picking stocks is a waste of time - this is why I index.
Is this really true that he failed to beat the S&P 500? I follow him too and I remember reading a post where he claimed he has surpassed the return of the S&P 500 by a significant margin, even though he claims he is more interested in the growth of his dividends.
I do think he has a remarkable story which is quite motivational...
What does it mean "beat the S&P500"? That the dividend growth of his portfolio was higher than the dividend growth of the S&P500? Because that's what matters for a Dividend Growth Strategy.

Total Return is not an important performance measure for a dividend growth strategy. Just like dividend growth rate is not an important performance measure for Bogleheads. Total Return is not even important for Warren Buffet, who looks at growth of Book Value to gauge performance.

Different strategies have different performance measures.

Those who fail to beat their benchmarks invent excuses why total return doesn't matter.

The sad part is that Dividend Mantra probably spends 500 - 1000 hours/year managing his portfolio, which has failed to beat a simple S&P 500 index fund. So after wasting 5000 hours on his portfolio, he is no better than simply spending a few hours/year to set up an IRA and put money in his 401 (k).

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by Toons » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:13 pm

"I did like his messages about saving a high rate and living simply"

Brilliant!selling a piece of common sense advice :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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WolfpackFan
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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by WolfpackFan » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:26 pm

Not at all surprising. He moderated out any comments on his posts that respectfully called into question his methods. It's a good thing VW wasn't into giving out big dividends or a lot of his readers would be screwed.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by ogd » Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:16 pm

grayfox wrote: What does it mean "beat the S&P500"? That the dividend growth of his portfolio was higher than the dividend growth of the S&P500? Because that's what matters for a Dividend Growth Strategy.

Total Return is not an important performance measure for a dividend growth strategy. Just like dividend growth rate is not an important performance measure for Bogleheads. Total Return is not even important for Warren Buffet, who looks at growth of Book Value to gauge performance.

Different strategies have different performance measures.
I'm sorry grayfox, but this is complete nonsense. You don't judge a strategy by the very criterion you used to pick, or really by arbitrary measures you invent.

Warren Buffett does not grade himself on Book to Value -- he uses that measure to pick stocks that will have higher returns. Can you imagine him coming to a shareholder meeting and announcing proudly "I know our returns have been terrible for 10 years, but that doesn't matter -- our Book to Value is lower than ever!"

Total return deserves a privileged place for a reason: if I have higher total return than you, I can buy your portfolio, but more of it, and beat you on any measure you care to put on the table. Dividends, growth, capital gains, you name it. That's why it's the ultimate measure. That's why "total return investing" is simply "investing".

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by novaboglehead » Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:39 pm

After seeing his dividend income, he could've saved himself a lot of time and made a few more bucks by dumping all his money into either Vanguard's Equity Income or High Yield Dividend Index fund.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by Nicolas » Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:24 pm

novaboglehead wrote:After seeing his dividend income, he could've saved himself a lot of time and made a few more bucks by dumping all his money into either Vanguard's Equity Income or High Yield Dividend Index fund.
But then he wouldn't have a blog. Well maybe he would have one but no one would care about it. And he's making a lot of money by selling the ad space.

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grayfox
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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by grayfox » Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:32 pm

ogd wrote:
Warren Buffett does not grade himself on Book to Value -- he uses that measure to pick stocks that will have higher returns. Can you imagine him coming to a shareholder meeting and announcing proudly "I know our returns have been terrible for 10 years, but that doesn't matter -- our Book to Value is lower than ever!"
1. What is Book to Value? Is there even such a thing. I am not familiar with it. What I wrote is that Warren Buffett looks at Growth of Book Value.

2. It is obvious that you have never carefully read any of Buffett's Shareholder's Letters. Because if you had, you would have seen at the very top of the letter, a table comparing:

(1) Annual Percentage Change in Per-Share Book Value of Berkshire
(2) Annual Percentage Change in S&P 500 with Dividends Included
Relative Results (1) - (2)

for each year going back to 1965. For example, http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2010ltr.pdf
Look at the table at the top: Berkshire’s Corporate Performance vs. the S&P 500

The very first sentence in the letter calls out growth in book value:
The per-share book value of both our Class A and Class B stock increased by 13% in 2010. Over the last 46 years (that is, since present management took over), book value has grown from $19 to $95,453, a rate of 20.2% compounded annually.*
note: 2015 Shareholder Letter was the first year Buffet showed both change in Per-share Book Value of Berkshire and in Per-Share MArket Value of Berkshire. So after 50 years of running B-H, he only now showed any kind of total return number..
Last edited by grayfox on Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by grayfox » Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:44 pm

indexmantra wrote:
Those who fail to beat their benchmarks invent excuses why total return doesn't matter.

The sad part is that Dividend Mantra probably spends 500 - 1000 hours/year managing his portfolio, which has failed to beat a simple S&P 500 index fund. So after wasting 5000 hours on his portfolio, he is no better than simply spending a few hours/year to set up an IRA and put money in his 401 (k).
If you want to test his stock-picking ability, compare his performance against something like Vanguard Dividend Growth Fund (VDIGX) or Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Index Fund Investor Shares (VDAIX). But I would look at the amount and growth of dividends, rather than total return, because growth of dividends is the stated goal. It may turn out that he would have been better off in the Vanguard fund than picking his own stocks.

But suppose you want to use total return to compare his strategy against a Boglehead strategy. Mantra reports that on October 1, 2015 his portfolio balance stood at $211,444,20.

Suppose that, when he started in 2010, you had convinced him to abandon his crazy dividend growth strategy and, instead, apply Boglehead principles. Have a balanced portfolio, stocks and bonds, with a target asset allocation, and rebalanced. If he had made identical investments, would he have more or less than $211,444.20?

First off you should chose a typical Bogelhead portfolio. That would _not_ be 100% S&P 500. A more typical Boglehead benchmark would be Vanguard Balanced Index Fund Investor Shares (VBINX). Or even Wellington or Wellesley.

Compare how the same amount invested in VBINX would have done versus dividend Mantra's $211,444,20 result using dividend growth stocks.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by indexmantra » Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:15 pm

Grayfox,

This is what I posted above:

"I stopped following their advice after I realized that he has failed to beat a simple S&P 500 index funds, and he pays a ton in taxes by refusing to invest through 401 (k) or IRA's. Picking stocks is a waste of time - this is why I index."

Comparing his performance to a benchmark like S&P 500 is the way to do an apples to apples comparison. Dividend Mantra has invested exclusively in equities, and never in fixed income. This is why comparing his results to S&P 500 is a better benchmark. VDIGX could be fine too however.

Total returns is all that matters in investing.

Actually if you wanted to make a fair comparison, you should subtract any investments that he made using the advertising money that were generated by his website. Based on my calculation, a substantial amount of his investments is derived from his ability to write about investing.

For example, he has probably earned over $100,000 in advertising income on his site this year alone, by writing about his dividend portfolio that only has $200,000 in it.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by grayfox » Sun Oct 04, 2015 1:30 am

You say that investing in S&P 500 index had higher return than dividend Mantra's portfolio of dividend stocks.

Well, did you do that, invest in S&P 500 and have better return than Dividend Mantra? If so congratulations! If not, why didn't you?

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by IPer » Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:22 am

Wow, this is almost as funny as what they write about Dave Ramsey! :oops: :oops: :oops:
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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by edge » Sun Oct 04, 2015 7:56 am

I took a minute or two to peruse the site. I have no idea why people waste their time reading blogs like that one.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by ogd » Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:21 pm

grayfox wrote:
ogd wrote:
Warren Buffett does not grade himself on Book to Value -- he uses that measure to pick stocks that will have higher returns. Can you imagine him coming to a shareholder meeting and announcing proudly "I know our returns have been terrible for 10 years, but that doesn't matter -- our Book to Value is lower than ever!"
1. What is Book to Value? Is there even such a thing. I am not familiar with it. What I wrote is that Warren Buffett looks at Growth of Book Value.
Thanks for the correction. I was thinking Book to Market, as in factor investing. The point I was making had to do with not using the same criterion that you pick stocks to evaluate your performance, and it got a little ahead of me in this case. My bad.

But the argument stands that even if WB does use the Book Value per share (not per market value) as a grading factor, if his returns had been terrible everyone would more or less politely ignore that table and we would have no Oracle of Omaha. One can imagine the two diverging if he kept buying production assets that did not do well going forward.

And the argument stands that total return is the ultimate measure, because as a small investor if you want to optimize for the most X or Y (dividends or book value or whatever) in your portfolio, getting a higher return then buying more X and Y at the finish line would always win. This doesn't quite apply to a conglomerate that buys X and Y wholesale as opposed to instantly on the market, but it does apply to the small investor. If your target is dividends, and I had higher returns, I can beat you at your target anytime I want.
grayfox wrote:Compare how the same amount invested in VBINX would have done versus dividend Mantra's $211,444,20 result using dividend growth stocks.
If VBINX had done worse (which is not a given), it would be because the 100% stock portfolio had more risk. It's possible / likely that a dividend person has all kinds of mental accounting about risk, but this doesn't change how much risk they actually took. There are plenty of 100% stock bogleheads and there are even a few that go above 100%. I don't envy them their returns and I don't think they have any particular insights like this guy claims to have.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by indexmantra » Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:59 am

grayfox wrote:You say that investing in S&P 500 index had higher return than dividend Mantra's portfolio of dividend stocks.

Well, did you do that, invest in S&P 500 and have better return than Dividend Mantra? If so congratulations! If not, why didn't you?
Yes, since I started indexing I have done better than his portfolio. I also kept more of my money because I used a tax-advantaged account to purchase those index funds. My favorite part is that I invest automatically every month through a payroll deduction. As a result, I don't have to spend 1000 hours per year simply to do worse than investing in S&P 500.

I do not earn $100,000 in online income talking about a portfolio worth $200,000 however. I do have integrity, which is why I would never live a life where I have to deceive others for a living. It is not my cup of tea.

When someone asked Jason about this thread and the fact that he has failed the outperform a simple investment in the S&P 500, he never really provided a specific response to the question. He could have easily proven that he has indeed beaten the stock market. Instead, he provided some vague responses.

I would encourage investors to be more skeptical about people on the internet who try to be motivating. They are very likely full of BS.

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by LateStarter1975 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:18 pm

When someone asked Jason about this thread and the fact that he has failed the outperform a simple investment in the S&P 500, he never really provided a specific response to the question. He could have easily proven that he has indeed beaten the stock market. Instead, he provided some vague responses.
That's interesting...so he was actually asked about this thread? Where did he provide his response to the question? I would to go read how he defended himself.
Honestly, I do think he has a powerful motivating story. But I just find it too tasking to research all the stocks in his portfolio (he now has more than 72) and keep up with the news about all those companies. I'm just so thankful for index investing.....it provides an alternative and effective way to invest especially for all those lazy investors like me who can't pick stocks.
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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by BahamaMan » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:33 pm

I always roll my eyes when people tell of their Dividend Stock Picking Strategy...... They assume that the rest of us are complete idiots. :oops:

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by latenightrob » Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:49 am

indexmantra wrote:
grayfox wrote:You say that investing in S&P 500 index had higher return than dividend Mantra's portfolio of dividend stocks.

Well, did you do that, invest in S&P 500 and have better return than Dividend Mantra? If so congratulations! If not, why didn't you?
Yes, since I started indexing I have done better than his portfolio. I also kept more of my money because I used a tax-advantaged account to purchase those index funds. My favorite part is that I invest automatically every month through a payroll deduction. As a result, I don't have to spend 1000 hours per year simply to do worse than investing in S&P 500.

I do not earn $100,000 in online income talking about a portfolio worth $200,000 however. I do have integrity, which is why I would never live a life where I have to deceive others for a living. It is not my cup of tea.

When someone asked Jason about this thread and the fact that he has failed the outperform a simple investment in the S&P 500, he never really provided a specific response to the question. He could have easily proven that he has indeed beaten the stock market. Instead, he provided some vague responses.

I would encourage investors to be more skeptical about people on the internet who try to be motivating. They are very likely full of BS.

I am new to Bogleheads site as I followed a link from the DM site. reading the responses here and the idea regarding whether jason could beat the index funds, I don't think that was really he's motivation and didn't care about that. I can not speak for him but I do remember reading though a lot of his post and comments after and the feeling I got is as follows.

- he understood the principle $$ would go up and down. as long as the dividends kept coming he was good
- everyone will have their own unique set of circumstances, risk tolerances etc and his way wasn't for everyone
- he didn't use 401k b/c he wouldn't be able to access the money in his forties plus he didn't work for an employer that matched
- I think? he didn't use index funds b/c he didn't want to pay the fees as they add up over time and why not pay yourself..

Again I am not speaking for him and am only paraphrasing ideas that I remember after reading his posts.

In my situation I'm 42 and the bulk of my $$ is tied up in 401k, 403b, IRAs and I started to think about figuring out how to retire early and that lead me to DM's site and now here. I look forward to going though this site and hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! :sharebeer

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Re: Dividend Mantra Sells Out

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:50 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (stupidity of others). See: Non-actionable (Trolling) Topics
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While the blog is about investing, the discussion is more focused on the owner "selling out" - which is getting contentious.
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