To begin, let me say that I am a firm believer in a dividend income investing strategy. I believe that for a more financially secure retirement, dividend income investing gives prudent investors the best possible path towards a better retirement than just about any other strategy. I also believe that dividend income investing is not the only path to financial security.
Recently, I have read a plethora of articles on Seeking Alpha from some of my esteemed colleagues, which advocate only dividend growth investing for all age groups, even for the very young investor.
While I agree that over the course of a lifetime, this strategy can give an investor of any age the best opportunity for a secure retirement, I disagree that it is the perfect wealth creation strategy for everyone. My personal opinion is that a young investor can gain enormous wealth at a young age, by taking a prudent approach towards growth stock investing. Even aggressive growth stock investing.
Two Portfolios For One Investor
I have been tracking two portfolio models on Seeking Alpha for investors who share the same goal; financial security for a lifetime.
The Team Alpha Retirement Portfolio is a dividend stock investing portfolio with a core group of stocks that have one primary focus; income.
Our Team Alpha portfolio now consists of Ford (F) Chevron (CVX) Apple (AAPL), McDonald's (MCD), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), AT&T (T), General Electric (GE), BlackRock Kelso Capital (BKCC), KKR Financial (KFN), Procter & Gamble (PG), CSX Corp. (CSX), Realty Income (O), Coca-Cola (KO), Annaly Capital (NLY), Cisco (CSCO), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Healthcare Select Sector SPDR (XLV), and iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index Fund (PFF).
This portfolio has a dividend yield on cost of 4.71% right now, and if an investor were to begin investing in this model right now, with an equal dollar allocation in each stock, the yield on cost would be roughly 4.27%, which might not be the highest yielding portfolio, but it beats the overall market average, as well as the historical inflation rate of roughly 2.7%.
For anyone near or in retirement, the stocks in this portfolio not only offer balance and diversification, but a solid income stream, with a dash of potential capital appreciation. It is far from risk free of course, and dividends in some of the stocks, if not all of them, can vary. That being said, the portfolio has also increased in value by over 39% in roughly 15 months. I would say that this path has been fruitful thus far.
Now let's say you are a young investor between the ages of 21-25 or so, and you have already embarked on your future financial security by having a great education, landing a wonderful job with an above-average income and a bright future. This young investor is also maxing out all tax deferred savings options, creating an emergency cash reserve fund, and has begun buying dividend income stocks, such as the ones noted above, to build a sound financial future.
By the time this investor is 65, if disciplined over the course of 35-40 years, a very bright, financially secure retirement is likely.
Is that all there is?
I believe that there are plenty of young investors who not only want the secure future, but they also want an opportunity to create great wealth at as young an age as possible. If successful, not only will the future take care of itself, but the present could be the most amazing time of life; youth, health, wealth and future financial security.
What better time in life, than at the earliest stages of investing, to use an aggressive growth stock strategy, with a "smart" percentage of investable funds, than in your early 20s with a 40-year time horizon? I believe that given the above investor profile, a prudent aggressive growth stock investment strategy can create great wealth at a very young age. By giving this investor a time limit of 2-5 years for the strategy to either succeed or fail, the young investor MIGHT never have to worry about money ever again, PLUS who would disagree that having a lot of money at an age when you can do anything you want, is not desirable?
I am NOT selling pipe dreams folks. This scenario has taken place more than you know. Just consider: some young investor who fits my profile, back in March of 1986, plunks down a few thousand bucks for 100 shares of a brand new company called Microsoft (MSFT) for about $21.00/share.
For every ONE share of MSFT purchased back then, the young investor would own a split adjusted 288 shares of MSFT today. That works out to 28,800 shares today, worth roughly $820,000. Not only that, but the stock now has a dividend of $.92/share per year. The income derived from that aggressive growth stock investment of $2,100 would now be paying the investor more than that every single month!
Twenty-six years ago, MSFT made no money, had no earnings, and no revenue. It was embarking on a journey that many thought was a pipe-dream.
Microsoft is just one example and I am certain investors of ANY age can name a bunch of other companies that became our own "coulda, woulda, shoulda" investments, that we passed up because we either did not fit the investor profile I noted above, or were told that it was too risky.
IBM, Apple, Oracle, Intel....I can go on and on, but each of these companies have similar stories to tell. Owning shares in some of these one time risky stocks, would have made an investor incredibly wealthy at various times. Of course there were, and are, risks. I submit that an investor fitting a similar profile to what I described above, would have a far greater reward for the risk at an age that they can afford to recoup part, or all of any losses incurred. This investor would STILL have the foundations of a secure retirement anyway.
So, the Young And Restless Portfolio was born.
This portfolio is only 3 months old but has increased in value by over 40%. Netflix (NFLX) was part of the portfolio but the share price more than doubled and we took profits. Each of these companies has the potential to create enormous wealth if their businesses pay off.
Actually, Google and Amazon are already established but I believe are just scratching the surface of growth. Facebook and Zynga are too young to determine how far they will go, if they go at all, but to me, they are ground-floor opportunities, much like Microsoft was back in 1986.
Achillion is a tiny bio-pharmaceutical company with zero debt, lots of cash and several phase II drugs in the hepatitis C battle. If this little gem gets a piece of the $20 billion market, who knows what the shares will be worth.
Risk Versus Reward
I am not advocating that a young investor SHOULD take an aggressive approach. I am suggesting that each investor is different, and some of these investors should at least take a look at the approach. This quiz, developed by Rutgers University, could offer some help in determining whether you might fit the profile of a higher-risk investor.
When evaluating risk versus reward, not only is it important to know what these aspects are for individual stocks, but also for our own individual circumstance. If an investor is risk averse completely, perhaps individual stocks of any kind should be excluded. Not just the aggressive growth stocks, but the large, blue chip, dividend-paying stocks as well.
That is the decision that each of us must make as captains of our own "ship." I like this particular article which, put things into perspective for many.
To all of you recent grads who just entered the workforce, here's some advice: Don't ask mom and dad for advice about retirement.
You may think they know everything, but after living through (and perhaps even contributing to) the dot-com asset bubble and the mortgage meltdown, your parents have probably screwed up their own retirement plans. Why would you let them screw up yours, too?
Perhaps I am not the typical dad. I told my own son to quit his job and go out on his own at 24. I told him that there would be no better time to fail than in his youth.
I believe it is something to think about.