One thing I do is keep a simple calendar that shows me at a glance my anticipated cash flows, when to expect upcoming dividend and rent payments, as well as key expenses. You may want to do so as well.
When earnings announcements occur, companies usually also announce the ex-dividend date (the date before which one must own shares in order to receive the next dividend payment), the payment date and the date of the next earnings call.
For stocks I already own, using a calendar lets me plan when I’ll need to take action with these payments, whether to reinvest them and, if so to start thinking about where to place them.
If I’m considering buying stock then I want to know the ex-dividend date. I’ll mark it on the calendar with an “x” followed by the day of the month (“x14” for the ex-dividend date falling on the 14th day of the month).
These dates are also useful to know when unloading shares. Sell on the ex-dividend date or after and you’ll have received the dividend payout, locking in the dividend as cash. However, when trading opens on the ex-dividend date, the share price will already have been adjusted down by the amount of the cash payout. So in theory your sales proceeds will be a wash – though share prices constantly fluctuate.
It’s also good to know when to expect the annual report, and keep an eye on analysts’ earnings “guidance”.