Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Why I Chose Dividend Growth Investing

While I'm a huge proponent of dividend growth investing, I don't believe I've ever taken the time to explain my the rationale for why I'm a dividend growth investor. Ever since I learned about the DGI movement 5+ years ago, I've become absolutely obsessed with it and the possibilities that it can bestow upon someone that diligently and consistently invests capital over time. Without further ado, here are five reasons I'm a dividend growth investor.

First Reason: I Love To Own Companies Whose Products I Know And Love

As I alluded to in my blog post discussing the tangibility aspect of dividends, this is one of the major selling points for dividend growth investing, in my opinion. One can drive into their town and be greeted with the likes of companies such as Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) gas stations, Exxon Mobil (XOM) gas stations, BP (BP) gas stations, a CVS Health (CVS) store, an AT&T (T) store, and within those stores products of companies such as PepsiCo (PEP) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

The core of my portfolio is comprised of companies whose products and services I use on a constant basis. As a shareholder in PepsiCo, I find myself buying Aquafina water on a weekly basis while also eating Lay's chips on a weekly basis. Simiilarly, my phone's wireless service is through Cricket Wireless, which as you might guess, is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T. 

Graham of Reverse The Crush had an excellent piece on method investing a couple months back, and before that article, I didn't even know it but I was also somewhat of a method investor. 

It's really great when you're able to purchase pieces of ownership in a company whose products you believe in and use on a consistent basis, which is one of the major reasons I chose DGI.

Second Reason: I Can Focus On Cash Flow To Measure The Success Of My Portfolio

The benefit to DGI is that rather than focusing on the value of your investment portfolio, you're able to continually focus on the income the portfolio is producing for you. This reduces the chances of you acting on your emotions and doing something stupid that you shouldn't do.

I believe the mere fact that most investors dramatically underperform the broader market is because they let emotion influence their investment decisions. Part of that could be because rather than seeing the companies in their investment portfolio as excellent companies to own for the long-term, they choose to rent them and try to flip them for a profit.

I view stocks in a completely different manner. While net worth is a cool metric to gauge your progress, I prefer focusing on cash flow to measure the success of my portfolio. After all, portfolio value is entirely dependent upon the mere opinions of the market over the short-term. However, as the legendary Ben Graham put it, "In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine." I believe that while the market is inefficient over the short-term and medium term (and this presents opportunities for stock pickers that indexing simply doesn't), everything evens out eventually and stocks receive the valuation that they deserve over the long-term.

At the time of my writing this article, I am receiving $544.40 in annual dividend income from dozens of excellent companies simply for owning their shares. Given that I don't plan on selling these shares ever (unless fundamentals of the companies deteriorate), I really could care less about the value of my portfolio. I'd actually prefer it go down so I could double or triple down on the stocks that I own.

Third Reason: You Don't Have To Sell Your Portfolio Off Constantly To Raise Capital

I won't explain this point in too much detail as I believe the post by Jason Fieber over at Dividend Mantra titled "Why I Vastly Prefer Dividend Growth Investing to Index Investing" so eloquently proves this point.

As one may guess, yield matters and with the S&P 500 currently yielding a paltry 1.86%, this simply isn't enough for most investors to live off of unless they have over 50 times expenses saved up. 

Having to sell of wonderful assets at valuations that are dictated by the market because of the extremely low yield seems undesirable to me when an investor could pick companies that are more fairly priced with higher yields to support one's lifestyle without having to sell off assets just makes more sense to me.

Fourth Reason: DGI By Its Nature Invests In Only Quality Companies

While there are the inevitable General Electrics in every portfolio eventually, the companies an investor invests in as a dividend growth investor are by their very nature fantastic companies. The bedrock of most DGI portfolios in this community is built upon the Johnson & Johnsons, PepsiCos, and Realty Incomes of the world.

As one could imagine, it takes a fantastic company with a great business model to sustain dividend increases long enough to become a Dividend Champion or Aristocrat. 

Even if a company contributing 3% to an investor's overall dividend income completely suspends their dividend, the other 97% of an investor's dividend income will likely increase more than enough to make up for the elimination of the dividend by that one company in the portfolio. 

Fifth Reason: I Love The Process Of Investing

While DGI may not be for everyone due to the amount of work that goes into the selection process of stocks and monitoring them periodically, I love investing. I wouldn't have it any other way. While I also enjoy following my Milwaukee baseball and basketball, and Green Bay football, there's just something about investing that I enjoy more than my other hobbies and I can't really put it into words. 


Discussion: Do you DGI? If not, what investing strategy do you use? As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to replying to your comments.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

April 2019 Dividend Income

May is already upon us, which is pretty difficult to believe. The time sure flies by between work, school, the blog, and writing for Seeking Alpha. Watching the Bucks make their deep playoff run also helps pass the time. In just three months, I'll be finished with my undergrad days and possibly most formal education aside from a certification or two. With that said, the passage of another month means it's time to examine what April provided to us in dividends.

$31.67 in total dividends, of which $31.42 were from Robinhood companies and the remaining $0.25 originated from M1 Finance.

Overall, I received $31.67 in total dividends during the month of April. Of this, $31.42 came from 10 companies in my Robinhood account while the remaining $0.25 came from 11 companies in my M1 Finance account.

This is an incredible 196.3% YOY growth rate compared to the $10.67 that I collected in April 2018. Moreover, it's a 22.7% quarterly growth rate compared to the $25.81 in dividends that I collected in January 2019.

Breaking it down, the $5.86 difference in April's dividend income versus that of January's dividend income include the following:

An additional $1.60 received from Altria (MO) due to my first dividends received on the two shares I purchased shortly after the ex-dividend date.

An additional $0.01 received from WP Carey (WPC) from the most recent dividend increase.

An additional $0.02 received from Realty Income (O) from their most recent dividend increase.

An additional $0.76 from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as their dividend fluctuates from quarter to quarter.

The notable subtraction from January to April is Pepsico (PEP) as their dividend schedule is a bit wacky with a dividend being paid in January and then March rather than April, and then June and September as expected. This made a $1.86 difference.

Notably, I received my first dividend from my 4 share position in Philip Morris International (PM) stock. This provided an additional $4.56 for me in dividends.

An additional $0.61 from Iron Mountain (IRM) as I received my first dividend on one of the shares I bought a couple months back.

An additional $0.13 from Genuine Parts Company (GPC) from their most recent dividend increase.

An additional $0.02 from PPL Corp (PPL) from their most recent dividend increase.

I also received an additional $0.01 from my M1 Finance account compared to January.


Overall, April marked my first $30+ month for the first month of the quarter. I also am continuing to make strides in increasing my income for the first month of the quarter with some anticipated purchases in the near future, which I will discuss in more detail soon. While my first month of the quarter income will never equal the other months, it would be ideal to come close to evening out my dividend income with the middle and end month of the quarters just for a steadier, less lumpy dividend income.


Did you reach any significant milestones in April? Did you add any new dividend payers like I did? As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to reading and replying to your comments.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Expected Dividend Increases for May 2019

Can you believe it? It's the end of April and the year is officially one third of the way over. The Milwaukee Bucks are continuing to make their push toward their first ECF appearance in 18 years and I believe they'll do us loyal Bucks fans proud this season despite that nasty blowout loss in Game 1 against the Celtics. With that said, it's time for us to analyze our dividend increases from April. Buckle in because this was quite the month!

April Dividend Increases:

Increase #1: Exxon Mobil (XOM)

Exxon Mobil (XOM) announced a 6.1% increase in their quarterly dividend from $0.82 to $0.87/share. This was actually slightly higher than the raise that I was expecting from them. This increased my annual forward dividends by $1.20 across my 6 shares.

Increase #2: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced a 5.6% increase in their quarterly dividend from $0.90 to $0.95/share. This community has always said JNJ is as steady as they come and having received my first raise from them, I certainly back that statement! This increased my annual forward dividends by $0.40 across my 2 shares.

Increase #3: Enterprise Products Partners (EPD)

Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) announced a 0.6% increase in their quarterly dividend from $0.435 to $0.4375/share. This was another increase that was exactly as expected and it increased my annual forward dividends by $0.10 across my 10 shares.

Increase #4: Southern Company (SO)

Southern Company (SO) announced a 3.3% increase in their quarterly dividend from $0.60 to $0.62/share. This was yet another increase that was exactly as I expected it to be, and I couldn't be happier with it. My annual forward dividends increased by $0.40 across my 5 shares as a result of this increase.

Increase #5: EQM Midstream Partners (EQM)

EQM Midstream Partners (EQM) announced a 1.3% increase in its quarterly dividend from $1.13 to $1.145, which was slightly below my expectation. This increased my annual forward dividends by $0.24 across my 4 shares.

Expected Dividend Increases for May:

Expected Dividend Increase #1: International Business Machines (IBM)

It appears as though IBM is breaking from its usual pattern of announcing dividend increases in April, so I'd expect IBM to announce a raise in May. Given the Red Hat acquisition last year, I'd assume management will deliver a raise to the tune of around 4%, increasing the quarterly dividend from $1.57 to $1.64/share. This would increase my annual forward dividends by $0.84 across my 3 shares.

Expected Dividend Increase #2: Lowe's Companies (LOW)

LOW is a wild card and could also be announced in June. Nonetheless, I would expect that LOW will continue its trend of strong dividend increases, with a 15% dividend increase. This would mean the quarterly dividend would increase from $0.48/share to $0.55/share. If this does happen, my annual forward annual dividends will increase by $0.56 across my 2 shares.

Expected Dividend Increase #3: Leggett & Platt Incorporated (LEG)

I expect that LEG will continue its recent trend of increasing its quarterly dividend by $0.02 per share. This would equate to a 5.3% increase in the quarterly dividend, from $0.38/share to $0.40/share. If this does occur, my annual forward dividends would increase by $0.40 across my 5 shares.


April provided me with $2.34 in increases, which would take $58.50 in fresh capital deployed at a 4% yield to match. This is really the power of DGI on a small scale at work here! Overall, I'm expecting $1.80 in dividend increases for May due to IBM likely delaying their dividend increase from April to May. This would take $45.00 of fresh capital to match, assuming a 4% yield.


How many dividend increases are you expecting in May? Do you have any stocks that aren't mentioned on this list?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

My Recent Financial Epiphany Involving Seeking Alpha And My First Job

The past couple of years have been a renaissance of sorts in financial terms for me. It was just the other day that I stumbled upon a financial epiphany. I have essentially worked my way up from a two year degree in accounting to a four year degree in accounting. I went from a cashier job at the soon to be closed retail chain Shopko that barely paid above minimum wage to my current position that pays over 60% more than that. I'll even soon be achieving one of my goals for 2019 as this June I will be moving into an entry level finance/accounting position at my current employer, with a new wage that will be over double what I was making preceding July 2017.

As great as all of that news is, the point of this article is to discuss my experience with Seeking Alpha and how it compares to my experience at my former cashiering job with Shopko.

Since I began writing for Seeking Alpha in December 2018, I've been incredibly blessed to build up the following that I have thus far. The 20 articles that I have wrote to date have allowed me to build a base of nearly 1,000 followers. While this is still a small number of followers compared to the more popular writers on Seeking Alpha, the significance is not lost on me in a few ways.

First, that many followers is actually more followers than people that live in smaller towns. Secondly, I've only been writing for Seeking Alpha for 4 months and the momentum is starting to snowball much in the same way a dividend portfolio snowballs with each passing month and year.

Aside from the benefits which include making me a better writer, researcher, and investor, writing for Seeking Alpha has proven to be somewhat financially rewarding. How rewarding, you ask?

In Q1 2019 alone, I earned over $1,200 gross income on the 16 articles I wrote while spending around 100 hours writing, editing, and replying to comments on those articles. While earning $12/hr on side hustles isn't exactly going to make me a millionaire in my 20s, it's important to note that even after the roughly $300 in self-employment, federal, and state taxes, I'm earning $9/hr.

The significance of that is that it's still more than the $7.51/hr I earned dealing with disgruntled customers at my former workplace as a cashier. While a lot of people wouldn't feel comfortable giving this much information, the reason I do this is as a sort of time capsule for me to look back on some day and more importantly, to inspire others.

Writing for Seeking Alpha was something I thought about doing for over a year (credit to my friends and family for encouraging me to do it btw), but I kept putting it off with the excuse that I wasn't qualified and didn't know what I was doing.

It's important for us all to remember or to have someone remind us that dreams are worth pursuing for the reasons I outlined in this post.


The lesson in this are 1) the master at anything was once just a beginner like you, so great things take time and dedication 2) once you find your hobby or your passion, it becomes pretty manageable to monetize it in the Information Age we live in 3) Side hustles like Seeking Alpha are a great way to not only earn more income, but to invest more, become a better investor, and ultimately be able to possibly become financially independent much faster and 4) Side hustles also could evolve into lucrative enough work for you to ditch your day job and focus on your side hustle with your investments to back you up, if you please.


Do you earn more from your side hustles or hobbies than you earned from your first job? How does that make you feel? As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to replying to your comments.