Showing posts with label dividend strategy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dividend strategy. Show all posts

Friday, November 13, 2015

Time in the market is your greatest ally in investing

The more I learn and experience about investing, the more convinced I become that doing nothing is the best strategy for long-term success in a portfolio.  I believe that time in the market is more important than timing the market. This is the conclusion I reach in an earlier article on the topic:

"The lesson to long-term investors is clear; it doesn't matter whether we are in a bull market or bear market. The goal is to dollar cost average each month in quality dividend growth stocks selling at attractive valuations, reinvest dividends, and hold patiently for the next 20 – 30 years. I cannot emphasize quality factor, since the quality companies are more likely to survive a deep recession unscathed, and continue paying and growing dividends, even during the hardest of times. "

When I was much less knowledgeable and experienced, I operated under the assumption that it is easy to just switch in and out of stocks, and thus outguess the markets. In reality, this was a foolish approach, since nobody can consistently go in and out of stocks. This is because it costs a lot in terms of taxes, commissions and time to sell a company and buy another one. The biggest cost of course is opportunity cost, since in the majority of scenarios I would have been better off, had I simply stayed put, and allocated my dividends in the best ideas at the time. Hence, the only time I have considered selling is if a dividend is cut, or a position becomes so overpriced or take such a weight in my portfolio, that it would be prudent to trim or eliminate it.

Friday, October 30, 2015

How to Increase Dividend Income

I expect that this year, I will be able to cover something like 60 - 80% of my targeted annual expenses from dividends alone. This means that my forward dividend income will cover 60% - 80% of my expenses. My forward dividend income is the amount of dividend income I will receive over the next year from investments I have today. It assumes no reinvestment of dividends and no new capital being added.

I believe that sometime around late 2018, my forward dividend income will be able to exceed my target monthly expenses and also have a neat little margin of safety as well. A margin of safety is important, because I want to have the luxury of never having to work for money again. A retirement where I have to spend time at a low paid part-time position does not seem appealing to me. This is why I believe generating a little more in dividend income than I need to is important, even if that means working an extra year.

As I get closer to the finish line, I am starting to get a lot of ideas on how to increase dividends faster. You might remember this post that I wrote over an year ago. I think it is time to re-visit the ideas, and add some more meat.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Are low prices a justification to buy?

Should I use stock prices in my screen?

I read several blogs on investing. I have noticed that several authors have been talking about purchasing a stock that has gone down in price over a certain period of time. It looks like looking at a list of stocks at a 52 week low or looking at biggest losers year-to-date has been a criteria to some investors. I am going to explore this idea in this article, and share my ideas on the topic.

Before I go any further, I want to mention that I am looking for companies that I can purchase at an attractive entry price, which can grow earnings and dividends above the rate of inflation, and can generate a decent yield in the process for me.

At first, it actually seems like a nice idea to look for companies, which have declined in price. This could be one way to identify shares that could be theoretically cheap. We all know that a company’s cheap stock price can always get cheaper in the process. Of course, a stock price that has gone down presents an opportunity to buy more shares for the same amount of capital. In addition, by buying more shares, the investor can end up purchasing more dividend income in the process.

So this sounds like a win-win ( win) at first glance. Why am I writing an article about it?

Well, the problem with just looking at price relative to its high for the year or its close from the previous year is that price itself doesn’t tell you the whole story. What matters is price in relation to fundamentals, as long as those fundamentals are growing.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Excess Cash Flow is essential for successful dividend investments

As I keep learning more about investments, and expand my horizons through continuous reading about companies and by reading books about investing, I get to see recurring themes or certain aspects in a new light. Sometimes, I might read about an aspect about investing and brush it aside, although a small dot is kept within my brain waiting for the right moment to be connected to my overall investment strategy. My “eureka” moment of using tax-deferred accounts for income investing in retirement occurred in 2013. A few years ago, I had another “eureka” moment, which was related to using cash flow for analyzing investments. I started analyzing cash flow along with the income statement and balance sheets as I started reviewing pass through entities such as REITs and MLPs.

As many of you know, I am a big fan of Warren Buffett and his writings. One of the recurring themes in his annual letters to shareholders and interviews is that he look for companies that generate excess cash flow, without requiring much in terms of capital investment to grow or maintain the business. In other words, he looks at businesses from the aspect of a business owner, in order to determine how much cash he can safely extract from them, without jeopardizing the investment success of the enterprise. The maximum amount of cash that could be distributed from a business to its owners is referred to as owner’s earnings. This is roughly equal to cash flow from operations, minus cash flows for investment such as Capex. The fact that Buffett likes to extract cash from businesses he owns through Berkshire Hathaway is one of the reasons why I believe he is in fact a closet dividend investor.

There are generally two types of businesses that generate a lot of free cash flow. While I focus mostly on earnings, I do look at cash flow from operations, and then take out the expenditures needed for investing activities. That way I come out with the cash flow that is available to be distributed. This of course is a very high level view of the situation, and I do encourage everyone to review each situation one company at a time and delver into specifics.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Costly Misconception about foreign dividend stocks

There is a misconception about foreign dividend stocks which can cost you thousands of dollars of lost dividend income. I see this misconception so frequently when I interact with dividend investors, that I have decided to note it, and end it once and for all.

Let's look at the dividend payments from a few companies in US dollars and local currency.

The first company is Nestle (NSRGY), a global dividend powerhouse which has managed to boost dividends in Swiss Francs (CHF) for 19 years in a row. You can see that since 2001, the dividend payment in Swiss francs has been up.

If you look at the payment in US Dollars however, you would think that dividends were cut in 2009 and 2015.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Quality Dividend Stocks versus Growth Stocks ( Part 2)

This is a continuation of the article I posted yesterday.

I focus on companies that provide essential products and services to their consumers. These customers use those products and services on a regular basis, and are usually loyal to those companies. The companies I focus on tend to be boring and enjoy slow but steady growth over time. These are our well-known dividend growth stocks. My favorite list is the one that David Fish updates every month.

These boring companies generate so much in excess cash flow, that they decide to remove temptation from management, and send that cash to shareholders. These companies do not need to use all of their profits in order to grow and maintain their competitive position. This is because there is little disruption in the way people eat, drink or take care of personal hygiene. Despite all of that, most companies are able to sell more, innovate, and generate more revenues. This all translates into more profits, more dividends and incidentally pretty decent total returns.

In fact, many of these great cash machines tend to get in the habit of continually raising dividends to their loyal shareholders, every year like clockwork. These companies prefer loyal long-term shareholders, and not a bunch of super caffeinated daytraders. The dividend payment is portion of the total return that is always positive, more stable than capital gains, and can never be taken away from you. In my reviews of individual dividend champions, which lists companies that have managed to regularly increase dividends for at least 25 years in a row, I have uncovered quite a few that were able to achieve this no small feat because their businesses were outstanding. There are only 106 companies on the dividend champions list, out of at least 10,000 publicly traded companies in the US, which explains why membership in this elite list is a small miracle.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Quality Dividend Stocks versus Growth Stocks

One of the biggest misconceptions that inexperienced investors make is to chase hot growth companies. The allure behind many of those companies is that they are in new and exciting industries that offer a lot of potential. New and exciting industries move the world forward and make everyone’s life easier. Unfortunately, investors do not always earn a lot of money this way.

When I first became interested in investing about 15 – 20 years ago, I thought that the way to make money is by investing in hot growth tech companies like Amazon (AMZN), AOL, Yahoo (YHOO), Ebay (EBAY) etc. The problem with this statement is that when you have a new and disruptive industry, you also have a high failure rate of companies in that industry due to the speed of change. For example, today we have all witnessed the success of Amazon and Ebay. However, a lot of companies that were selling at insane valuations in 1999 – 2000 are no longer with us – those include companies like CD Now, The, etc. When you have untested growth companies that sell at insane valuations, coupled with a high probability of business failure on those companies, you have a situation where an investor can lose a lot of money, even if they were conceptually right.

Today, we are seeing this with companies like Tesla (TSLA), ShakeShack (SHAK) and Twitter (TWTR). They sell at insane valuations, and will only make money to investors if they do much better than their already rosy projections for the future. Investors seem to have forgotten the importance of pricing and valuation in security selection.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to properly weight dividend portfolio holdings

There are different ways to weight a dividend portfolio. I am going to examine the three most popular methods in this article. Then I am going to reflect on the method I use.

The first method is weighting portfolios based on market capitalization, and then adjusting weights based on free floats. The logic is that as a company becomes more valuable, it should have a higher weight in a portfolio, whereas a company that is less prosperous should have lower weights since its capitalization is lower. This method is preferred by many index funds, as it makes it easier to just buy a basket of several hundred or thousand securities, and then passively hold them. It is viewed as a self-cleansing mechanism, where prosperous companies gain higher weightings, while less prosperous companies are eventually flushed out. The dangers behind this method is that a speculative company with no material profits and elevated valuations could get a higher weighting due to stock price being bid up by speculators. This happened with a lot of indexes such as the S&P 500 during the tech boom in the late 1990s, when they added companies like Yahoo! (YHOO) at several hundred times forward earnings. The results were disastrous, and pulled down the expected returns for all index investors. On one side, it is a good idea to give higher weighting to the companies that are prospering. On the other side however, you could end up in a dangerous situation where the most successful companies will get large and command a large piece of the pie. However, these large companies might end up dominating that portfolio. In fact, the 50 largest components of S&P 500 account for 47% of the portfolio.  Apple (AAPL) accounts for almost 4% of the portfolio. Through July of 2015, just six companies in the S&P 500 accounted for most of the index gains. I wonder if this is a repeat of 1999 - 2000, or not.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Does Market Capitalization Matter in dividend investing?

One criticism of Dividend Growth Investing is that it focuses exclusively on large cap stocks. The common complaint is that if you buy a small cap today, it can grow out to be as big as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Coca-Cola (KO), Exxon-Mobil (XOM), or Wal-Mart (WMT) etc.

In theory this sounds like a great idea. The problem of course is that this complaint completely ignores reality and facts. The reality is that when each of the companies I mentioned above became dividend achievers ( meaning that they had regularly increased dividends for at least ten consecutive years in a row), they were big companies already. Yet somehow, they managed to grow earnings and dividends for decades. This is the beauty of a stable company which has a successful business model that showers shareholders with cash each year.

In reality, if you were able to buy each of those companies when they just became dividend achievers, you would have banked a boatload of dividends. Plus, there would have been a pretty sizeable growth in share prices over time.

I looked at each company at the time they became dividend achievers. I calculated the returns as of September 21, 2015, assuming that someone put $100 at the end of the year in which they achieved that status. Check the table below. It is interesting that those companies that were already deemed as large-caps at the time delivered phenomenal  results to investors. For example, a $100 investment in Exxon at the end of 1992, with dividends reinvested, would have turned to $891.73. That investment would be generating $35.48 in annual dividend income. This means that the investor of 2015 will be getting their original investment in cash every three years.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Financial Independence Is Easier to Model with Dividends

The biggest advantage of dividend growth investing is the ability to set a goal, and track progress towards that goal. This is because dividend income is more stable than stock prices, which makes it easier to check how I am doing relative to my goals. Stock values on the other hand are much more volatile, which makes reliance on them for retirement planning much more speculative in nature. If noone can forecast stock prices accurately, then how can someone rely on stock prices for their retirement planning?

Let’s look at two different scenarios. Imagine, that in the first scenario, the goal is to have $500,000 in 20 years. Based on the 4% rule, you will sell 4% of your assets per year and hope that you will not be retiring at the top of a major bull market ( like the one we had in 1999 - 2000). You save some money every year, and the stock market generally rises. By year 19, your portfolio is worth more than half a million dollars. You decide to wait for another year, in order to beef up your portfolio. Unfortunately, this happens to be the first year of a bear market, where stock prices fall by 30% in the first year, and then 20% in the next one. Are you ready to retire, or not? You seemed ready and above target in year 19, but in year 20 you seem to be behind your goal. You decide to keep on working for an unknown amount of time until the stock market rebounds.

In the second scenario, the goal is to generate an annual income of $20,000 in 20 years. You save the same amount of money, reinvest dividends, and could not care less if markets are up or down. You can afford that, because dividends are more stable than capital gains, and go up almost every year. The only time dividends on the S&P 500 fell significantly over the past 90 years was during the Great Depression of 1929- 1932 and during the Great Recession of 2008. Since 1960, the only significant decrease in annual dividend income was in 2008. That is a success ratio of over 98%. I define significant as any decrease in annual dividend income that is larger than 4%.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dividend Stocks I Purchased In the Past Month

I like to keep my investing simple. I purchase shares in companies I believe to be attractively valued, when I see a track record of raising dividends and having the fundamentals to support further dividend increases. For each dollar that I invest in, I end up earning anywhere between 2 to 4 cents per year in dividend income alone. The initial amount will then grow above the rate of inflation over time. It is that simple – for each dollar I put to work today, I earn an average lifetime income of 3 cents right from the start. To reach financial independence, I need to both cut costs and increase the level of passive dividend income to meet those expenses.

I have been on this journey for eight years now. It is becoming a second nature by now:

1) Earn money,

2) Think of ways to earn more money,

3) Save Money

4) Think of ways to save more/cut expenses

5) Invest those savings wisely

6) Keep thinking how to be a more impactful investor

7) Reinvest dividends during accumulation stage

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Survivorship bias in Dividend Investing - Part 2

This is the second part on suvivorship bias in dividend investing. In part 1, I laid the grounds that investors who put their money to work in dividend growth stocks are not suffering by survivorship bias ( despite the efforts of greedy money managers to portray ordinary investors in a negative light)

I wonder if the same type of logical analysis on survivorship bias is performed by investors who are encouraged to invest in US Equity markets, when they are told how an investment in the S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrials average would have performed over the past 10, 20, or 50 years. If you consider the event of purchasing shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) due to its history as an example of survivorship bias, then you should not be using historical data on S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrials average over the past 50 years either in order to prove your point about equity investing. Somehow, this point is lost on so many investors. When discussing long-term returns on equities over the past two centuries, you often hear about the US or UK stock performance. However, you never hear about the performance of a Chinese stock investor or a Russian stock investor from the middle of the 19th century till now. My great-grandfather was born and lived in Eastern Europe more than 100 years ago, saved almost his entire salary working in the coal mines and invested his savings in agricultural land. Unfortunately for him, the communists nationalized his land when they came to power. If he were in the US, he would have died a rich man after decades of compounding. Too bad he weren't.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Survivorship bias in Dividend Investing

Survivorship bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that "survived" some process and inadvertently overlooking those that did not because of their lack of visibility. This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways.

In this article I am going to discuss two areas which some investors believe are examples of survivorship bias. I believe one of them is an example, while the other is not.

Basically the danger of survivorship bias is that investors make up their mind on what works or doesn’t, using an isolated example, without even bothering to consider any factual evidence. This is dangerous because those investors would then search only for ideas supporting their conclusions, and reject those that do not do so. Therefore, investors might end up missing out on important information, because they only focused on the facts that supported their original ideas in the first place.

For example, I have been reading statements from many investors about how profitable it is to be buying stocks after dividend cuts. Common examples provided are General Electric and Wells Fargo, which would have returned several hundred percent since cutting dividends in 2009. Furthermore, dividends have increased since those cuts, thus resulting in high yields on cost for investors that were smart enough to buy in 2009 (this writer was not that smart to buy at the bottom, though I have my doubts that those who claim to have bought at the bottom are telling the truth (the sole exception that is verified is Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger)).

Monday, September 14, 2015

How I Manage to Monitor So Many Companies

One of the many questions I receive from readers relates to time spent managing my dividend portfolio. The truth is that I have multiple short-cuts, which I utilize to get the right information for me. The other truth is that I try to be efficient with my time.

There are several resources I utilize for doing research.

- My broker

My broker Interactive Brokers is a very helpful tool I utilize. I receive notifications about upcoming dividend payments, which essentially provides a signal when dividends are raised. In addition, I receive notifications of upcoming dividend payments and upcoming quarterly releases on the companies I own. A very helpful tool is the fact that I receive my paper annual reports mailed to me. The months of March through May are characterized by receiving a lot of paper annual reports.

The most helpful thing I learned about monitoring companies, I learned from studying Warren Buffett. The Oracle of Omaha essentially purchased a few shares in many companies, in order to receive their annual reports and significant shareholder correspondence. When you own a small piece of a company, it is much easier to monitor that business. This knowledge will accumulate over time, and would make you ready to act when the right opportunity presents itself.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Is time spent learning dividend investing worth it? (Part 2)

This is the second and final part on the article from Tuesday. Please refer to the first part that was posted on Tuesday.

I believe that most of the accumulation of knowledge with dividend investing is upfront. This means that the time spent learning about a company such as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is in the initial phases of the research process. Time spent updating the story should not take nearly as much time as the time to learn about the company initially, Dividend investing is appealing, because after spending time accumulating knowledge about a company, and building a portfolio of good ones at cheap prices, I am essentially getting paid a growing amount of dividend for decades afterwards, even if I don’t lift my finger after that.

With a passive portfolio of dividend paying stocks, you are going to save a ton on annual management fees. If you bought mutual funds, even low cost index ones, you can end up paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees. Even a 0.10% annual fee could be a lot when you manage say $1 million today or $10 million one day. As discussed above, if you use a financial adviser, you would end up paying at least 1% for the "advise" and the high fee mutual funds that go along ( or maybe even pick up some costly annuity) But if you learn how to invest your own money, and devise a plan to accomplish your goals, you will save a ton in costs. If you stick to your plan through thick or thin, you will be able to accomplish your goals. For the do it yourself dividend investor, there are ways to minimize commissions to the minimum, so theoretically it is possible today to buy blue chip stocks for practically no cost and hold them for decades. This is essentially what an index fund on the  S&P 500 index fund does. It holds stakes in well-known companies such as Exxon Mobil (XOM), Apple (AAPL), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Coca-Cola (KO), but it charges an annual fee for this service. Since those companies are well-known, I have found it easier for me to just buy them outright and avoid paying the annual management fee. The only place where I actively invest through index funds is in my workplace 401 (k) plan. For the majority of workers out there, who confine their investing to their workplace 401 (k) plan, low cost indexing is possibly the best approach due to tax efficiency and employer match. Even then, learning about types of contributions and plans, minimizing fees, investment options available, and asset rollovers, can be tremendously beneficial.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Is time spent learning dividend investing worth it?

I believe that time spent learning the ropes behind dividend growth investing is worth it. In this article I will discuss why I believe that to be the case. As usual, I will use my experience as a successful dividend investor for this article. In my case, learning about investing has provided me with tangible benefits of being three years away from achieving financial independence, after starting my journey in the middle of 2007. I also have gained intangible benefits to learning such as using knowledge acquired in investing to advance in my work or to find a better paying job. An even better intangible benefit has been the ability to connect with other investors, through this online community called Dividend Growth Investor.

As a person I enjoy learning. When you learn a skill there is never a guarantee that you will earn anything from that knowledge. But there is never a guarantee for anything in life either.

The time you spend learning is not wasted – knowledge accumulates like compound interest. When I spent four years obtaining a college degree I didn’t know if I would find a job afterwards. I paid money to obtain that degree, spent time acquiring knowledge and worked hard to achieve and maintained a high GPA. At the same time I worked 40 - 60 hours/week at several minimum paying jobs in order to pay for my degree, and in order to avoid getting any debt in the process. Would I have been better off spending 40 - 60 hours/week only working those minimum paying jobs and investing the difference? No way I would have been better of this way – this is the reason I decided to study hard, so that I have the opportunity to earn more than a minimum wage salary. While I had no idea whether anyone would hire me after graduating, I decided to make a calculated bet, and take the plunge. This investment in knowledge paid off for me. I believe that it can help anyone who is willing to invest in themselves.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The value of dividend growth in retirement planning

Some regular readers might remember that in my retirement planning, I estimate that I will be able to allocate my capital at yields between 3- 4% and dividend growth between 6 – 7%. If I am lucky, the above numbers will result in roughly doubling of dividend income every seven years or so. This means that if I had a dividend portfolio that generated $1000 in annual dividend income today, I could reasonably expect that through meticulous and opportunistic reinvestment of dividends and through the power of dividend growth, I will be able to double this to $2000/year in seven years.

In order to generate $1000 in annual dividends, one needs anywhere from $40,000 invested at 2.50% to $25,000 invested at an yield of 4%. Of course, in a somewhat efficient marketplace for common stocks, investors who require higher current yields today tend to forego some of the expected dividend growth. On the other hand, some are fine sacrificing some current yield today, in order to capture estimated dividend growth in the future. As discussed previously, there is a trade-off between dividend yield and dividend growth. The balance is determined based on investors reasonable expectations against the realities of opportunities available at the time.

I buy dividend growth stocks, because I want to earn dividend income that grows over time. When this annual rate of dividend growth is above the annual rate of inflation, this means that I have maintained purchasing power of my income. However, I have heard arguments that one could maintain the purchasing power of their dividend income, provided they reinvested the dividend back into securities that pay high dividend yields. Therefore, if you own a stock yielding 4% that never increases dividends, but you reinvest dividends at same or other security yielding 4% at the moment, your income will increase by 4% for the year. If inflation is below 4%, you would have essentially slightly increased purchasing power.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Preventing Blind Spots in Dividend Investing

In a previous article I described why dividend investors should look beyond typical dividend growth screens. I am basically finding that investors who take the time to study the numbers for every individual business one at a time, are much more likely to uncover hidden gems. I believe that investors who rely on pure quantitative screens, might develop blind spots that would prevent them from identifying hidden opportunities.

For example, investors who blindly followed the S&P Dividend Aristocrats index in 2007, would have sold their shares of Altria (MO), right before it more than tripled in value. The index committee erroneously thought that when a company splits in three, its past record no longer matters, even if original shareholders were earning higher dividend income from the shares of companies they received. For any smart dividend growth investor, this would not have caused them to sell, but to simply hold on and enjoy the growing stream of cash dividends every year.

In another example, I have the list of stocks in my portfolio input into Yahoo! Finance. When I have spare funds to invest in dividend stocks, I might go to Yahoo! and look at valuation metrics of companies I own. As I was reviewing the valuation of my portfolio holdings, I noticed that some of the companies I own seem very overvalued on the surface.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Do not get emotionally attached to a dividend position

As someone who has been investing in, and writing about dividend paying companies for over seven years, I have accumulated a lot of observations about investor behavior. One of the issues I have observed is when investors get emotionally attached to a dividend stock they owned. While it is important to invest in companies you understand and believe in, it is equally important to also know when a company is no longer performing up to par. It is important to objectively evaluate and identify companies in a portfolio that are no longer pulling their weight, in order to stop adding to those companies and possibly even sell them. Failure to do so could result in permanent loss in capital, and permanent loss in capacity to generate dividend income.

Many investors I have interacted with over the years have liked the types of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Procter & Gamble (PG), Coca-Cola (KO) to name a few examples of successful dividend growth stocks from the past few decades. And I agree that these companies are great, with wide moats, strong competitive positions and global platforms for selling branded products at a premium price. However, while these companies are great there is not such a thing as a buy and forget investment.

It is important to monitor your dividend stocks regularly. Monitoring is important, because things change and people cannot predict what will happen to a business 20 years from now, using the information of the past or present. A healthy and growing company today might find itself in a declining industry and have its fortunes decimated. Investors should purchase stocks with the intention of holding on for the long run. However, if any warning signs are spotted investors should not add more funds to position, and even consider selling. Newspapers enjoyed an economic moat for decades. The internet ruined the moat of companies like Gannett (GCI). Other companies might decide to change business model and embrace hot growth industries, while disposing of their core stable cash generating assets in the process. Prime case in point is Enron. Another one was french water utility Vivendi, which turned itself into a media conglomerate.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Are you ready for the next bear market?

It is not a secret that stock prices have been rising for 6 - 7 years in a row now. This makes it easy to hold on to stocks, and believe that we will have smooth sailing until we reach our goals and objectives.

In my investing, I do like to think about different scenarios. What if my quoted portfolio goes down by 50% in 2016?

I know a lot of investors who are focusing only on total returns would be unhappy. Imagine if you saved for 20 years, and accumulated a net worth of $1 million. Then boom – in one year, half of your net worth, blood,sweat and tears – gone. Would you panic?

I myself would likely be indifferent to a 50% stock price drop. As a dividend investor, I am somewhat insulated from stock price fluctuations. This is because I focus on the earnings power of the business, and the dividend payments that the businesses in my portfolio generates. It is very comforting to keep receiving cash, even when the quoted value of investments throughout the world is falling. When everyone else is hurting, I have the luxury of generating cash from my investments, which I can then deploy at ridiculously low valuations. As long as the underlying fundamentals of the businesses I own are intact, I can ignore stock price fluctuations. This is one of the most important traits of successful dividend investors. Those who do not understand that, are usually the ones that have not made any money in stocks to begin with.

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