I'm a 35 year old IT manager who realized his 401k and social security will likely not fund his retirement. That began my journey into the investing world. I did what any person would do when researching investments, I started looking for articles about investing, I started reading books on investing, and put Suze Orman & Mad Money with Jim Cramer at the top of my DVR list. Since I was studying investments, naturally I started talking with others about it, but I soon realized many people didn't understand investing either. It wasn't long before they started asking me what I thought they should invest in. I desperately wanted to give them an answer but I didn't understand it myself. That really intensified my study of investing even further. It didn't take long to realize most people in the financial world are trying to sell a product. You really can't blame them either, they went to school and now expect to earn a living from it. Like most careers, once you get the degree, unless you're really passionate about the field you are in, the study of the subject ends. There are so many factors that come into play when investing: diversification, liquidity risk, high returns, risk factors, commission fees, and management fees. Can anyone really consistently beat the S&P 500? There are plenty of studies shown that most money managers, people who do this for a living, have a hard time beating the market average. So why pay the higher management fees only to underperform the market? Indexing allows to match the market returns also while lowering the management fees. When I did a study of two index funds, VNQ (REIT) vs IWO (Russell 2000) starting from Jan 2005 investing $10,000 in both. I realized both with dividend reinvestment the portfolio value was about the same. The difference was the dividends. In the VNQ index fund, dividends were paying between $500 - $700 per year. While the dividends from IWO were still very small. IWO had a little higher capital gain though but didn't compare to the higher dividends. That really turned the light in my head towards stocks that have a long history of not only paying dividends, but increasing them too. I tried looking at ETFs based on the strategy but surprisingly none have a history of increasing dividends even though they invest in the strategy (which doesn't make sense to me). Once I realized that, I started my portfolio based off the buying strategies noted by DGI: 1. Diversify into different sectors 2. Dividend history > 10 years *only a select few get past this 3. Dividend yield > 2% 4. Dividend payout < 70% 5. Dividend growth > 7% 6. P/E ratio < 20% I'm currently long: MO, KO, KMB, TGT, WMT, MCD, ABT, WBA, ITW, MDT, CLX, PG, PM, PEP, ADP, CVX The goal is to understand when an opportunity is presented and show others why it is such a great opportunity.