Consider Your Portfolio's Yield Target

Mar. 9.11 | About: BlackRock Strategic (BDT)

This is the second in a series of articles elaborating on the 9 Steps To Build and Manage a Dividend Portfolio.

The average dividend yield of a portfolio says a lot about the portfolio itself. To calculate the portfolio dividend yield, simply add up the annual dividends from all holdings, and divide by the total stock portfolio value.

Depending on the type of portfolio you have, it may be useful to divide it into sections. For instance, a given portfolio might consist of cash, Treasuries, bonds, non-dividend-paying stocks, and dividend-paying stocks. In this case, to get a meaningful average yield, isolate the dividend stock component of the portfolio, and divide the dividend income from that component by the total worth of that component.

Average Yield = (Total Dividend Income) / (Total Dividend Stock Worth)

Dividend Growth Portfolio

An average yield between approximately 2.5% and 5% is suitable for those who aren’t planning on living off of their dividend income any time soon. Most importantly, the focus is on total returns, which implies a combination of the current dividend and growth of EPS and the dividend. Some companies with low yields will be the best investments for total return, while some companies that pay large dividends will also qualify as companies providing significant total returns.

Those with more time have more options. Slightly riskier investments, such as cyclical or deep value investments that provide more upside along with more risk may have a solid place in this sort of portfolio.

Current Income Dividend Portfolio

An average yield between approximately 4% and 6% is more suitable for those who are planning on living off of their dividend income now or in the near future. The yield target will depend to some extent on how much wealth you’ve amassed. If you don’t have quite enough, you’ll have to seek out the highest safe yields you can get, while if you have an abundance of wealth, you can focus on moderate yields with higher levels of safety and growth.

The three things to look for are:

  • A level of income that allows you to realistically meet your goals
  • Income that grows at least with the level of inflation without touching your principle if possible
  • Dividend Safety (don’t chase unsustainable high yields)

MLPs and REITs may be of use in a current income portfolio, along with utility companies, telecoms, and several of the dividend aristocrats and achievers.

Disclaimer: These are approximations for the purpose of providing examples. Consult a financial planner and/or make your own decisions regarding your specific portfolio arrangement. It’s important to combine a dividend portfolio with other asset classes for reasonable diversification.