At one time or another, we all have thought, ‘If only knew this when I was younger.’ I purchased my first dividend stock for income in 2003. Like many newly converted income investors, I was chasing yield. I quickly built a portfolio consisting of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and high yield, high risk stocks. My portfolio’s yield was consistently in the low to mid-teens. Eventually, after some unnecessary losses, I learned there was a better way to invest in dividend stocks. Here is what I learned…
Dividend Investing is About Future Yield, Not Current Yield
I was fortunate enough to accidentally buy some good dividend stocks and hold them long enough to figure out the “secret” of dividend investing. It is not necessarily starting with a high-yield investment, but ending up with a high-yield investment. This usually occurs by buying investments with a moderate yield, a history of growing dividends and letting time do its job.
Too often we take a short-term approach, to our long-term detriment. There is a reason we don’t see infomercials selling dividend growth investment strategies. For those looking to get rich now, a disciplined approach to investing that focuses on the long-term simply isn’t appealing.
Successful Dividend Investing is About Substance, Not Style
In my aggressive growth investing years, I equated dividend investing with old folks and the inept. That was simply not my style. Time and experience have taught me there are no style points awarded in building a winning investment portfolio. In the end the long-term performance (substance) of your portfolio is all that ultimately matters, not how you got there.
I find it interesting that the same people that complain about taking a beating in the market, are the same ones who will ridicule those that follow a dividend growth strategy. For me, I enjoy having a growing income and portfolio, while not having to follow the market’s every move.
You Can’t Beat the Herd, by Following the Herd
Through the years I have settled down quite a bit. Using well-defined investment allocations, I have set boundaries and guidelines to ensure I don’t over expose my portfolio to undue risk and I employ a meticulous process when selecting investments.
Let the talking heads start a stampede to buy a stock after it has seen a significant run up. For me, I prefer to take a contrarian approach and buy stocks when they are cheaper and their yields are higher. My focus is on quality dividend growth stocks with a long record of consecutive dividend increases, such as:
|Weyco Group (NASDAQ:WEYS)||2.53%||1.5%||29|
|Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT)||3.41%||9.0%||38|
|Cincinnati Fin. (NASDAQ:CINF)||5.23%||16.4%||50|
|Clorox Company (NYSE:CLX)||3.49%||20.3%||35|
|Southside Banc. (NASDAQ:SBSI)||4.22%||35.4%||12|
Starting in my 40′s, I will enjoy substantial investing success. However, if I knew in my 20′s or 30′s what I know now about dividend growth stocks, I would likely be retired now. The compounding power of growing dividends is tremendous. Start early, at some point time will change from your friend to your enemy.
Full Disclosure: Long KMB, ABT, CL, CINF, CLX. See a list of all my income holdings here.