Tuesday, October 20, 2020

My Single Biggest Takeaway After 3 Years of Dividend Investing

It was just a few weeks ago that I reached a massive milestone on my dividend growth investing journey, which was the 3 year mark of when I began investing and it was almost exactly 3 years ago that I received my very first dividend ($1.35 courtesy of GPC).

It has been such an amazing journey over the past 3 years, which aside from beginning my investing career, also led to the very birth of this blog, as well as my work on Seeking Alpha.

In this blog post, I'll be discussing my biggest takeaway after 3 years of dividend investing. If you haven't read my previous two posts of this series, be sure to check out my lessons learned after one year as a dividend investor and my lessons learned after two years as a dividend investor.

If you had told me just 9 months ago that 2020 would be a year in which my portfolio sustained 8 dividend cuts and 1 dividend suspension, I sure wouldn't have believed you!

Yet that is exactly what has transpired since the dividend cuts began to trickle in this spring and into the summer as a result of the unprecedented government response with the goal of curbing the spread of COVID-19.

To date, my portfolio's net annual forward dividends have declined by $73.858 this year as a result of dividend announcements that have been increases, cuts, and suspensions. 

When considering that the weighted monthly average of my annual forward dividends is around $1,135 year to date, this works out to a 6.5% decline in my annual forward dividend income as a result of dividend announcements.

While this news would have been deflating to the me of 9 months ago had you left out the details of the extent to which the world has been locked down since early this spring, I find it absolutely amazing that even in the midst of a global pandemic and the resulting aggressive government response to combat the virus, my portfolio's net annual forward dividends declined by merely 6.5%!

Despite all of the twists and turns that this year has taken along the lines of COVID-19 and unexpected expenses on my end that somewhat limited my ability to deploy capital at the rate I intended at the beginning of this year, my net annual forward dividend income of $1,282 at the time of writing this post is an all-time high.

I would argue that out of my numerous takeaways on dividend investing the past few years, this is my most powerful yet. My portfolio experienced its worst year of dividend announcements this year and I encountered a few thousand dollars of unexpected expenses during the year, but my portfolio's net annual forward dividends is the highest it has ever been.

This really goes to show that dividend investing in the form of fresh capital investments (even when capital is somewhat limited), dividend announcements (which in any "normal" year would lead to mid-single digit growth in annual net forward dividends for my portfolio), and reinvestment can overcome even the most challenging years.

Concluding Thoughts: 

I hope that this blog post was a ringing endorsement of the effectiveness of dividend investing in an average person's ability to actively work toward achieving financial independence.

2020 has been one hell of a year to be an investor in terms of volatility, but if there is a single investing strategy that has allowed me to sleep well at night even in the midst of a global pandemic and an election year, it has been dividend investing.

Even in a year of chaos, dividend investing has been one of the few constants in my life, which is why I firmly believe dividend investing is by far the most powerful investing strategy for most regular Joes and Janes.


What's your biggest takeaway from 2020 as a dividend investor?

How has your dividend income fared this year from a dividend announcement standpoint?

As always, I greatly appreciate this audience's readership and welcome any comments that you may have in the comment section below.

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