Somewhere between disaster and "more of the same" is the world we all live in today, and it may go on in this same state for our lifetimes. No black swan, no collapse, no implosion of the Republic. Because there is no knowing I have given up trying to know or predict. I have one goal. Survival at a modest level under any foreseeable future. Let it be noted, I am a tiny investor. If all my Shearson Lehman deals hadn't gone south, I'd be a medium small investor. Now I trust no one. So. Really big companies. Really good divi histories. Really broad diversification. Buy and hold. Usually. Gold buried in my sister's yard. Cash under the mattress. Food in the basement. And a full expectation that we shall see a blistering correction before 2020. But, no telling. Let's talk about the big companies. I like big, strong and smart. I want a dividend that has history, a future, and a present. I want, five years from today, all investments made today to be yielding at least 5% based on cost. The higher today's yield, the lower the dividend growth rate can be. So I like the "Chowder Rule." Some examples of stocks in this category (I think) are T, SO, DUK, VZ, D, AEP, and so on. Based on my cost basis. The other extreme are a companies whose dividend growth rate leads to a reasonable expectation that it will yield 5% in five years. WMT, MCD, KMB, CL, EMR, TGT, and JNJ all are of the type. More or less, as of this writing. They will have their ups and downs. Bought right, in general, they should fit the bill. My third favorite category are resource oriented companies, mostly oil, whose history and business fit with my goals. OXY, COP, CVX, XOM, RDS, FCX, and BHP come to mind. These three kinds of companies represent my "core" investments. Outside the core, about 10% of the portfolio is more adventurous. To round out the stable with some diversity I also own some REITs; O, ADC, OHI. I also hold a very small portfolio of energy related companies like LINE, VNR, etc. And yes, I do own little tiny positions in a few gold and silver resources. While I fully expect metals to break below the floor they are forming here in late January, 2014, but I hold them as a little insurance. No position is over 5% of the portfolio value. Oils are overweighted on purpose as a group, perhaps foolishly, since oil may see a decline this year. Most positions are 2-3% of the total. I try and follow Chowder and Carnevale here on SA, and wish I had gotten the divi bug sooner in life, so I preach it ofter to others. As the markets unfold, I may of may not prove to have the mettle to be a buy and hold investor.