Wouldn’t it be nice to buy stocks that only had upside. While we are wishing, why don’t we add in predictable earnings, predictable dividends and, of coarse, we don’t want to pay a premium for these investments. Does this sound unrealistic? Possibly, at face value, but there is a way to accomplish this. It won’t happen overnight, but it can be done. Here is how I have been able to do it…
Start With Quality Stocks
Just as ‘better ingredients make a better pizza’, higher quality stocks provide more predictable dividends and an increased chance of becoming one of these Golden Stocks. As with any income investment, I look for stocks that have consistently increased their dividends for many consecutive years and operate in businesses that do well over all parts of the economic cycle.
Add In A Generous Portion Of Time
This is not an overnight process. Most good things are worth waiting for. If you are to establish a long-term relationship with a stock, it better be a quality stock. Time is a powerful force, with it we can overcome poor choices, poor timing and bad decisions. Without it, we immediately are forced to pay for our indiscretions.
Strategic Selection Of Entry And Exit Points
Just typing the above made the hair on the back of my neck stand up — It sounds too much like market timing, for which I have no use for. However, all successful strategies have an element in them that encourages investors to buy low and sell high. Consider how asset allocation works. When one sector experiences a decline, the investor will buy that sector to keep his or her allocation in balance. Later when it rises, the investor may be forced to sell to rebalance their allocation. In much the same way, I tend to smile a lot when the market is crashing-and-burning. It is at these times when truly great stocks are being traded and rock-bottom prices. As we will see, these purchases are more quickly turned into Golden Stocks.
Three Golden Stocks
So what exactly is a Golden Stock? The concept did not originate with me, and others have different names for it, including ‘zero-basis stock.’ I don’t care for that name since, in reality it is nearly impossible to hold a stock with zero basis (at least the way the IRS calculates basis). A Golden Stock is one in which I have fully recovered my entire investment either through dividends or from partial liquidation or a combination of both. In my income portfolio, I am currently holding these 3 Golden Stocks:
3M Company (NYSE:MMM) | YOC: 4.4% | Yield: 2.3%
This stock was originally purchased in March 2009 when the market was at its low. In October 2010, I sold 50% of my shares. Proceeds from that sale, along with dividends received, account for 101.1% of my original investment.
Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR) | YOC: 3.5% | Yield: 2.3%
My EMR holdings were purchased in July 2009 and October 2009. The July purchase was at $31.64 while the October purchase was at $39.59. In February 2011, I sold 55% of my shares. Proceeds from that sale, along with dividends received, account for 100.4% of my original investment.
Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE:TEG) | YOC: 7.3% | Yield: 5.4%
TEG is different from the first two stocks in that its quarterly dividend has been frozen at $0.62/share since March 2009. I purchased one block in November 2008 at $43.81 and a second block in February 2009 at $36.83. In March 2011, I sold 67% of my shares. Proceeds from that sale, along with dividends received, account for 102.7% of my original investment.
More Golden Stocks On The Way
In addition to the above, several of my other income holdings are well on their way to becoming Golden Stocks. These include:
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) | YOC: 3.8% | Yield: 2.7%
This stock is in most every dividend growth investors portfolio. I have currently recovered through sales and dividends 21.2% of my initial investment.
Realty Income Corp. (NYSE:O) | YOC: 6.9% | Yield: 5.0%
This stock is hold-over from my yield chasing days. When I started investing the right way, I held on to a handful of the better high-yield dividend stocks. I have currently recovered through sales and dividends 26.8% of my initial investment.
Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED) | YOC: 5.5% | Yield: 4.7%
I have held a position in this stock since January 2005. Though its dividend increases have been rather modest, they have been consistent. I have currently recovered through sales and dividends 43.8% of my initial investment.
Commercial Net Lease Realty, Inc. (NYSE:NNN) | YOC: 7.9% | Yield: 5.9%
This stock is another hold-over from my yield chasing days. In May 2009, I sold 51% of my shares after NNN failed to raise its dividend. However, it later raised its dividend in August 2010 to keep its streak of annual dividend increases alive. I have currently recovered through sales and dividends 68.6% of my initial investment.
Health Care Property Investors Inc. (NYSE:HCP) | YOC: 6.0% | Yield: 5.0%
Yet another hold-over from my yield chasing days. I have held a position in this stock since March 2005. On paper, I should have sold this stock a long time ago, but it has continued to appreciate and to raise its dividend. It will likely be my next Golden Stock. I have currently recovered through sales and dividends 81.2% of my initial investment.
Needless to say, the statement that I will NEVER lose money on my 3 Golden Stocks is predicated on not purchasing any additional shares, which may or may not be the case. These stocks have already paid for themselves once, and given the right circumstances, I would be willing to let them do it again. Dividend growth stocks are truly stocks that pay you to own them.
Full Disclosure: Long MMM, EMR, TEG, KO, O, ED, NNN, HCP. See a list of all my income holdings here.