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  • AT&T And Consolidated Edison A 'Tell' Of 2 Champions: Part 3 [View article]
    ... And here I thought Chuck's title was a play on Dickens' classic "A Tale of Two Cities." Silly me!
    Aug 30 09:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T And Consolidated Edison A 'Tell' Of 2 Champions: Part 3 [View article]
    Another great article, Chuck, with plenty of food for thought.

    I own T and like it especially for its blend of business characteristics - part utility, part tech - which provides solid, dependable yield but also an element of growth that's lacking in the pure play utilities - of which I own many, though not ED.

    ED is a head-scratcher for me. Have looked at it many times, but always passed in favor of utilities with more growth or dividend growth (NEE, WEC) or friendlier regulatory environments (SO, D). Perhaps it makes a difference that I haven't been investing in ED for 20 years. Anyway, Tim McAleenan provides another useful perspective on ED in a recent article:

    Aug 29 01:20 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Can A Successful Dividend Portfolio Be Assembled In 2014? Part 1 [View article]

    Excellent points, and those are exactly the reasons I purchased the MLPs, utilities and REITs that I own, as well. Those 3 segments account for around 33% of our portfolio.

    Was just curious to understand better why they all fell into the Contenders bucket vs. Champions.

    I am expecting them to become future Champions, though!

    Aug 29 10:14 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can A Successful Dividend Portfolio Be Assembled In 2014? Part 1 [View article]

    Thanks for that context. I think your observations are correct, based on my digging on a few other utilities (LNT, AVA, SO, and D). While the specifics vary, timing does align with deregulation.

    And not just the borrowing, fuel type conversions, and consolidations but also financial engineering and energy futures trading - although Enron and the situation in California seems to have put an end to the worst of it. I saw, for example, that Avista suffered some losses around 2000 and shut down its wholesale sales and trading desk as a result

    The fact they are now Contenders supports your point, too, about the better Utils getting their acts together since.

    Aug 29 10:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can A Successful Dividend Portfolio Be Assembled In 2014? Part 1 [View article]
    I suspect you're right about the MLPs and REITs.

    Thanks for those facts and the article links. Hmmm. Not sure what to conclude. The reasons are varied, so it seems (from this small sample at least) to be more coincidence than industry trends in that particular time window.

    I own WEC and XEL but not TE or SCG. Will dig a little further into the other utility Contenders I hold.

    Aug 28 08:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can A Successful Dividend Portfolio Be Assembled In 2014? Part 1 [View article]
    "I look at my low conviction position the same way as a kind of back door cash account to use when stocks I really want come available."

    I do exactly the same, except I've started trimming or selling low conviction positions NOW and holding as actual cash.

    I'm worried when the overvalued stocks I really want decline in price to my buy zone, those nice gains on the "back door cash account" will have evaporated, too.

    Aug 28 08:01 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Safe Large-Cap Blue-Chip Dividend Champions For Your Retirement Portfolios: Part 2 [View article]

    I'm a Californian too and you're right about the state emerging (finally) from the brink of financial disaster. New budget shows sizable surplus and even restores some previous cuts in education and sets aside a "rainy day fund" for future emergencies. Whatever one thinks about our governor and legislature, they actually managed to turn the ship around (though not without some painful choices).

    From Washington Post July 15, 2014:
    "California ended the fiscal year with $1.9 billion left over in its state general fund, Controller John Chiang (NYSE:D) said last week, the first time the general fund ended with a positive cash balance since 2007, the year before the recession began. The state Department of Finance has projected a $4.2 billion surplus for Fiscal Year 2014-2015, which began July 1."

    Aug 28 07:40 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can A Successful Dividend Portfolio Be Assembled In 2014? Part 1 [View article]

    You make an interesting point about the number of Champions vs. Contenders ("the Champions of tomorrow") in your own portfolio. As I usually just look at the All CCC tab, I ran that same comparison. Was surprised to see I also own more Contenders than Champions (although the numbers are pretty close).

    Of course the Champion population of 106 is half the size of the Contender population of 236. So as a % of the eligible population my ownership of Champions is quite a bit higher still.

    The other observation that struck me is that, overwhelmingly, my holdings of Contenders fall almost entirely into 3 higher yield areas: utilities, MLP's, and REITs. I need to study this further to see if that's because of my DG selection criteria, or the trends within the Contender population itself.

    Food for thought....

    Aug 28 02:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can You Live Off Of Dividend Growth Income In Retirement? [View article]

    Fantastic article. Your graphical displays tell the "story" of the different dividend growth % scenarios much better than words.

    Our smart, experienced, respected financial adviser ran similar scenarios for us a few years ago but never ONCE mentioned dividend growth or living off dividend income vs. drawing down our investments. Needless to say, we have since parted ways and we are happily drawing only the income from our dividend growth portfolio plus distributions from one IRA where RMDs are now required.

    Our adviser did include Social Security, though. I agree with Mike N. it's an important piece of the equation (with its own variables in terms of when each spouse begins to draw SS). And for us, right now, Social Security is currently providing about 1/3 of our income - and nearly all of our "fixed income."

    Aug 28 12:45 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement Strategy: Every Dividend Growth Investor Should Own AT&T Right Now [View article]
    Nice article, RS.

    People will make a lot of other sacrifices before they cancel their cell phone service, internet, or TV. Despite competition in all these arenas, T has held up well.

    Like others here, I own T for its generous and reliable >5% dividend as part of a diversified DG portfolio. Not expecting cap gains (and not planning to sell), so in that regard it has not disappointed.

    As there's no ignoring the competition, I also own VZ. Figure I'll let them continue to fight it out (and Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.) in this market. Either way, I win. :)


    Long: T (full position, still adding), VZ
    Aug 27 05:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Can A Successful Dividend Portfolio Be Assembled In 2014? Part 1 [View article]

    Great topic, great questions and great comments so far.

    I’m a recent retiree, 2 years into my SDI and DGI journey. I’m still very much building out the portfolio, and with a 25+ year horizon to go, I find this article, and Bob’s questions, still quite relevant.

    My advice to those just getting started:

    First: have a plan! Bob’s a stickler for this and now I understand why. My fuzzy investing path (and actions) became crystal clear when I answered a few key questions: how much did we need, and when? How fast did it need to grow? What could we expect from pensions or social security? The rest – our diversified stock portfolio - then snapped into place: number of holdings, yields, dividend growth rates. etc. For example, I am now 88% equities and our plan calls for 2-3% maximum positions, a blended yield of 4% and DGR >8%.

    Second: make your “watch list” of core (buy and hold as long as possible) and non-core (hold while meets goals, but OK to trim or sell) and buy price ranges. I wholeheartedly endorse the comment above about paying for a few inexpensive tools (I use FAST Graphs and Morningstar Premium) that hugely simplify this process.

    Third: I agree with those who suggest holding some cash is a good idea right now. So perhaps establish starter (vs. full) positions now in fairly valued core holdings, i.e., quality CCC’s like the Champions in this article. My biggest mistake as a new DGI was not prioritizing my initial buys and building the foundation first. Luckily, I’ve been able to exit most of the lower quality holdings with gains. I’m now using that cash to redeploy to core. Regarding “buying when the market is high,” as the P/E’s here show (and also Chuck Carnevale’s recent articles), many Champions are fairly valued or within their usual historical premium. After establishing starter positions, you can monitor and cost average down via DRiP or dips as better valuations present. And, until they do, you’re being paid to wait.

    Fourth: Keep non-core or speculative positions small for now and build cautiously. These are the ones most likely to drop – i.e., become more affordable - in a correction or downturn.

    I am still buying in this market: added recently to T, CVX, XOM, MCD and HCP (from this article) and other Champions such as PG and KMB. No, they’re not “on sale” to the extent they were several years ago. But they are still time-tested, fairly valued, great companies. And, in 5 years, as I continue to add on dips and collect their (rising) dividends, I know I’ll be very glad I bought in 2014!

    Happy investing to all.


    Long: MO, T, CVX, XOM, HCP
    Aug 27 02:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Growth Investing: It's Not The Number Of Shares, But The Invested Capital That Matters [View article]

    Agree completely with your assessment.

    And I look forward to that article. :)

    Aug 25 09:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New Dividend Challengers Should Carry Warning Labels: "Caution! Not Recession Tested!" [View article]

    Loved this article, and the title is accurate, no matter *which* new Challengers you may have picked. They have indeed not been recession tested if they have only been increasing dividends since 2009.

    Some commenters here seem to take things WAY too personally and it devolves into what feels like (to me) nit picking on semantics. Your patience in responding is admirable. Those of us that have read ALL your articles know exactly where you are coming from.

    So please just keep doing what you are doing. There is great value in it for many who are on a similar journey - and even those who are not.


    PS And please comment as often as you like about SDRL. Even though I own it, it's not a SWAN holding. If someone feels you comment too often, that's *their* problem, not yours!
    Aug 24 06:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • New Dividend Challengers Should Carry Warning Labels: "Caution! Not Recession Tested!" [View article]

    Thanks for your interesting observations, with SDRL and HSY as examples.

    Yes, the Challengers list has surged this year, as much a reflection of where they were in 2009 vs. their commitment to dividend growth or how they will fare in the next big down market.

    Since dividend growth reliability is an key element of my investment plan, I want to know a company has been "recession tested" at least once before I invest. So whereas before, 5 years of DG may have been enough for new purchases, now my minimum is 7-10.

    Always exceptions, of course (long SDRL, but it's a smallish position and I consider it speculative). And, like you, before I even look at the dividend history, I require a Value Line financial safety rating of 1 or 2 for most holdings.

    Aug 22 03:24 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 25 Dividend Champion Investment Opportunities: Something For Every Retired Investor, Part 1 [View article]

    Great context and overview. I own 9 of the 25 featured champions.

    I'm holding but not adding - yet - to the three I own that are undervalued from a historical P/E standpoint (AFL, MCD, and T). Their challenges are clear, being widely covered and analyzed, so at least it's possible to make a reasonably informed decision based on goals, investing time frame, etc.

    I like the growth and yield aspects of the small and mid-caps and would love to add a few more dividend champions to my watch list. However, the difficulty in conducting sufficient diligence is a barrier (for me).

    I'm curious what others consider adequate diligence on champions in the small and mid-cap arena (especially in post-accumulation, i.e., retirees), and how they go about it.

    And... looking forward to Part 2 - and the rest of the series.

    Aug 21 09:13 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment