Friday, August 28, 2015

A Dividend Portfolio for Early Retirees

I am often asked the following question in some variation: If I were starting a dividend portfolio today, and had a lump sum to put to work, how would I invest it?

The goal of an early retiree is to have the flexibility to do what they want, paid for by their nest eggs.
Dividend growth stocks should be an ideal strategy for these individuals, because they provide a relatively safe stream of income which is always positive and is more stable than relying on total returns. The risk with traditional approaches to retirement such as the 4% rule is that you might have to sell assets when prices are low or stagnant, which could deplete the nest egg that you worked so hard to accumulate.

With dividend investing, you are essentially living off the dividends generated by the portfolio. This is similar to living off the fruit from a tree you have planted twenty years ago. Selling chunks of your portfolio in order to finance expenses in retirement is similar to cutting the tree branch you are sitting on. By cutting off the tree that gives you fruit, you won’t get any more fruit. However, by focusing on the fruit (income), you not only receive more fruit over time, but you also can benefit from long-term appreciation in the companies you have invested in ( the tree grows too). It is a true win-win for long term dividend investors. I also believe that dividend growth investing addresses many risks that retirees face these days.


Some of the risks that retirees face is longevity risk, inflation risk, and investment risk.

To put it in simple words, longevity risk is the risk that you would run out of money in retirement. This is why it is so important to only live off the income generated from your portfolio, and avoid selling the assets that generate it, in order to pay for expenses. A portfolio that generates enough income for you, would also reduce complexity in trying to live off the pile of capital you accumulated during your working years. You won’t have to suffer through the complexity of figuring out optimal percentages of your portfolio that need to be sold in order for you to live in retirement. Dividends are a more straightforward approach, where you invest your cash in companies that distribute a portion of profits every 90 days to you, and then you live off that cash. In order to reduce the chances that income will decrease and hurt your chances of staying retired, you need to diversify, build portfolio slowly over time, and focus on companies that have catalysts for growth by purchasing them at attractive prices. The goal is for this dividend machine to pay you a growing stream of income for decades, therefore keeping your retired status.

Inflation risk is the risk that your income in retirement will not increase as fast as inflation, and therefore it would lose purchasing power over time. Over time, the US economy has experienced annual inflation of about 3%. While a 3% decrease in purchasing power might not be felt over a couple years, over a 24 year period it would result in doubling of price level ( or decrease of your purchasing power by 50% in 24 years) For example, if your portfolio generates $30,000 in annual dividend income that grows at 6% per year, your income will maintain purchasing power as long as inflation is below 6%. Therefore, a 3% annual inflation rate would actually leave some margin of safety in dividend growth income. Historically, dividends have increased a couple percent above the rate of inflation, driven by growth in earnings. Therefore,by relying on dividend growth stocks, an early retiree should be able to mitigate inflation risk successfully.

Investment risk is the risk that your investments will not work out as well as expected. If investments do not succeed, you might have to go back to work. This is a scenario that you will try to avoid as much as possible. In order to achieve that, you need to slowly build a diversified income portfolio that consists of at least 30 - 40 carefully chosen companies that have a proven track record of dividend increases. You need to focus on those companies that have the durable competitive advantages that would allow them to still be in business 20 – 30 years from now. The securities you purchase should be representative of as many sectors as possible. It is no surprise that a typical dividend portfolio holds consumer staples such as Coca-Cola (KO), Clorox (CLX) and Colgate-Palmolive (CL) to name a few. These are companies that provide essential products or services to consumers, who are loyal to their brands and purchase products repeatedly. In your analysis, you should also focus on catalysts that would allow for growth in earnings and dividends over time.

Another very important thing to look for is entry price. Investors should avoid overpaying for dividend stocks, because this reduces their margin of safety, and could result in lower returns, even if the company they picked generates record profits in the decade after it was purchased. Investors also need to focus on companies that can afford paying their distributions, and to repeat it one more time focus on companies that can grow dividends. A nice starting list is the file of dividend champions, that Dave Fish updates every month on his site DripInvesting.

So if I were starting a portfolio from scratch today, which companies would I be looking to buy over the next year? I have listed a few companies, which I believe are good values today, and offer decent growth in earnings and dividends in the future. Using a broker like Motif Investing, all 30 could be purchased for a one time fee of $9.95. Of course, this is just a snapshot in time - if you asked me 6 months ago, I would have told you something else. If you ask me 1 year from now, the list might change.

Ticker
Name
Years Increase
Industry
Yield
P/E EST CURR YR
ACE
ACE Limited
23
Insurance
2.63%
11.46
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
ACN
Accenture
11
Financial Services
2.21%
20.26
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
AFL
AFLAC Inc.
32
Insurance
2.82%
9.56
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
AMP
Ameriprise Financial Inc.
11
Financial Services
2.33%
12.89
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
DEO
Diageo plc
5
Beverages-Alcoholic
3.37%
17.5
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
ETN
Eaton Corp. plc
6
Machinery
4.06%
11.79
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
GIS
General Mills
12
Food Processing
3.10%
28.37
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
GPC
Genuine Parts Co.
59
Auto Parts
2.99%
17.47
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
GWW
W.W. Grainger Inc.
44
Electronics-Wholesale
2.11%
18.53
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
HCP
HCP Inc.
30
REIT-Health Care
6.09%
N/A
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
HSY
Hershey Company
5
Confectioners
2.57%
21.80
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
IBM
IBM
20
Technology-Hardware
3.41%
12.91
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
JNJ
Johnson & Johnson
53
Drugs/Consumer Prod.
3.20%
16.76
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
KMI
Kinder Morgan
5
Oil&Gas Services
6.21%
N/A
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
LMT
Lockheed Martin
12
Aerospace/Defense
2.93%
17.95
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
MMM
3M Company
57
Conglomerate
2.86%
18.63
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
MO
Altria Group Inc.
45
Tobacco
4.01%
20.58
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
O
Realty Income
22
REIT-Retail Stores
5.04%
N/A
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
OHI
Omega Healthcare Investors
13
REIT-Health Care
6.40%
N/A
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
PEP
PepsiCo Inc.
43
Beverages/Snack Food
3.10%
20.60
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
TROW
T. Rowe Price Group
29
Financial Services
2.81%
15.1
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
UL
Unilever
19
Consumer Products
3.37%
20.51
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
UNH
UnitedHealth Group Inc.
6
Health Care Services
1.48%
18.05
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
UNP
Union Pacific
9
Railroad
2.61%
14.36
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
UTX
United Technologies
22
Conglomerate
2.83%
13.13
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
VZ
Verizon Communications
10
Telecommunications
5.06%
18.81
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
WFC
Wells Fargo & Co.
5
Banking
2.90%
12.73
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
WPC
W.P. Carey Inc.
18
REIT-Prop. Mgmt.
6.72%
N/A
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
WMT
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
42
Retail-Discount
3.09%
13.53
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
XOM
ExxonMobil Corp.
33
Oil & Gas
4.13%
12.9

Some investors are not excited about dividends yields in the 2.50% - 3% range today. That is because they lack the vision and patience of being long-term share owners in a business. A company that yields 3% today, but can grow earnings and dividends in a way that it could double them every 7 – 10 years would generate a lot in future dividends to the shareholder. In fact, the reason to purchase dividend growth stocks is that you would receive very high yields on cost in the future, without having to reinvest any new capital. When purchasing an investment, it pays to take a long-term view on it, in order for the power of compounding to take care of you.

Of course, this list is not a recommendation for you to buy. It is a list of companies I will buy if I were starting out. I also know to monitor my positions, and dispose of dividend cutters immediately.

Full Disclosure:

Relevant Articles:

Dividend Companies I purchased in August
Dividend Stocks Provide Protection in Any Market
Create your own dividend ETF with Motif Investing
How to value dividend stocks
How to become a successful dividend investor

13 comments:

  1. The yoc on OHI seems a bit low.

    regards

    D.I

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was using Motif and actually have decided to focus more on building up a portfolio buying full shares through E*Trade. Your site has been a great help and inspiration and I thank you for your education, clarity, and professionalism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can own partial and full shares with Motif.

      Delete
    2. I reread your motif post. Not sure how I missed it. The service they provide is just what I have been looking for.

      Delete
  3. DGI,
    Of the 48 stocks in this recent retiree's portfolio, 16 are on your list. 4 others were sold in the last couple of years, and one of those sales was a big mistake (LMT). Anyway, I am curious about a couple of the picks due to the valuations, specifically GIS and HSY. The P/E ratio for both of these seems high out of range for your metrics.

    BTW, I just added to KMI, UNP, UTX, and TROW during the market pullback. Very happy to get shares at a discount.
    Thanks,
    Keith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Keith,

      GIS is right there on the valuation front. When I wrote the list, HSY was slightly over 20 times earnings. I decided to keep it, though you are correct that it would be cheap below $83. Around December however, it would be cheap below $90 (2016 eps). There were a few other companies that were considered for the list, but the rapid prices made me take not add them.

      I have found that selling stocks usually is a mistake on my front.

      Good luck in your investing and purchases. I wrote about mine on Monday. I may write about purchases next month.

      DGI

      Delete
  4. As someone who is presently retired & living off a small pension & have a few index funds, what would your 30 stock portfolio look like? I would assume more utilities & consumer staples, as I am not looking to build for twenty years from now, but want income now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't believe in chasing yield just because I am retired. I think both a 30 old or a 60 year old should invest for the next 30 years.

      Delete
  5. Nice list DGI, thank you.
    Just curious as to why you haven't included KO? They've raised their dividend for 53 consecutive years.

    Thanks

    SAK

    ReplyDelete
  6. For lazy folks like myself, SCHD is not a bad way to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does look like a decent choice. It would be interesting to check how SCHD does during the next recession.

      Delete

Questions or comments? You can reach out to me at my website address name at gmail dot com.

Popular Posts