A common disclaimer in financial circles, and especially when it comes to the sale of mutual funds, is that “past performance does not guarantee future results.” And while this certainly is true, what’s also often true is that history repeats itself. This latter maxim is particularly applicable when it comes to companies that have a proven record of increasing the dividend they pay to shareholders each year.
Some companies increase their dividend during boom times, only to leave them flat or even pull back on them when times are tough. We saw this on numerous occasions in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the Great Recession, particularly in bank stocks.
However, whether times are good or bad, happy or sad, there is an elite group of companies that have increased dividends each year for multiple decades. It’s this elite group of companies that income investors, including those actively looking to boost retirement portfolios, want to look at first when trying to find the best stocks to own.
Of course, just getting a consistent dividend increase isn’t enough of an allure if you aren’t getting a good yield on your money. What income investors need to uncover are companies with an outstanding track record of increasing dividends each year — and that also pay a very attractive yield.
Fortunately, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you as we’ve found 5 of the highest yielding stocks that also have increased their dividends each year for multiple decades.
1) Leggett & Platt
The company is famous for its engineered components and products, particularly its residential furnishings business. Leggett & Platt (NYSE:LEG) also makes products for automobiles, and other commercial and industrial furnishing operations. The company also has furnished investors with an increase in its quarterly payout for the last four decades. LEG shares offer an annual dividend yield of 4.28%, making it a superb choice to furnish your income portfolio with a consistent, high-yield winner.
Diversified utility company Vectren (NYSE:VVC) has been delivering power via natural gas and electricity to residents of Indiana and central Ohio for, literally, the last century. Vectren also has increased its dividend to shareholders every year for the past 52 consecutive years. But the best part of owning VVC is the 4.9% dividend yield shareholders get. Stability and yield are two big reasons why income investors should think about adding VVC to their portfolio power mix.
3) United Bankshares
Regional financial stalwart United Bankshares (NASDAQ:UBSI) operates in the mid-Atlantic region of the country, and that’s proven to be a winning area for income investors. United Bankshares has increased its dividend each year for 38 years, and it currently boasts an annual dividend yield of 5%. Unlike those too-big-to-fail, bailed-out financial institutions headquartered on Wall Street, United Bankshares never failed to keep shareholders happy on the dividend front, and has proven its fiscal mettle for nearly four decades.
Formerly known as Philip Morris, parent company Altria (NYSE:MO) is perhaps the premier tobacco company in the world. The maker of the über-popular iconic brand Marlboro has lit up shareholders portfolios for the past four-plus decades, increasing its payout every year for 42 years. The shares currently offer an annual yield of 5.30%, a hugely attractive metric for income investors. If you want to make sure you have plenty of fire in your dividend portfolio, then you may want to think about buying a pack of MO shares.
5) Old Republic International
Insurance giant Old Republic International (NSYE:ORI) is responsible for underwriting a huge number of auto, boat, home warranty and corporate insurance policies, and the success of this enterprise has helped the company write a bigger check to shareholders each year for the past three decades. The company’s stellar 30 years of increased dividends is fantastic, but what’s even better is its current yield of 6.59%. If you want to insure that your income portfolio has consistent dividends and high yields, then think about taking out a stock policy underwritten by Old Republic.