Dividend investing has been a passion of mine since 2005 when I realized that I wanted to reach financial freedom the traditional retirement age.? Once I discovered the advantages of dividend-paying stocks I was hooked for life.? I like the idea of holding stock in a company that returns its profits to shareholders.? Add that to the benefit of compounding returns and dividend growth that increases those payout each year and anyone can see the benefit dividend stocks provide.? After a lot of research and reading I knew that dividend investing was for me.
If a dividend investor had to focus on only one factor when evaluating a dividend stock it should be dividend growth.? Many people start off investing in stocks with the highest yields only to see the dividend cut and the stock tumble.? That is the basis for the HPR rating I developed to help me rank dividend stocks. You can see all of the top rated dividend stock lists here.? It's not a perfect science but it does help filter out many of the winners from the losers and its no coincidence that many of my top ranked stocks make up the majority of holdings for some of the top dividend growth funds (example: Vanguard Dividend Fund).? Even still? it is important for me to say that my dividend lists are not buy recommendations.? They are just a starting point for others to do their own dividend investment research.
To aid in that research I've created a couple of dividend investment tools.? The first and most important tool shows dividend history over a 20 year period.? It graphs out the increases and decreases over this time period and also displays it in a chart.? At a minimum I want to see a company increasing its dividend by 7% a year or more over a 3 and 5 year average. ?This dividend growth combined with a dividend yield of 2% or more (ideally 3%) helps me achieve a minimum targeted return of 9% per annum. ?If the company has a longer history of dividend growth then its always fun to look back and see what the emphasis has been on growth and this tool helps do just that.
The other tool I created is one I rely on frequently for planning and sometimes just for fun.? It's a very beefy dividend calculator.? It has two modes, portfolio or individual stock.? The portfolio mode is obviously a more general approach to help with an overall scenario.? It lets you take into account an average yield and return of all of your investments.? The stock mode gets pretty advanced because it accounts for the number of shares you own now and how many you'd own if you used a DRIP program.? Both modes actually give you the option to reinvest the shares and both provide a very detailed breakdown of total return and what the investment account would look like at the end of any given period.
Other tools are always in the works and if any readers have ideas I'd love to hear about them.? I'm always interested in creating useful tools for the dividend community.