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Dividend Investing: A Perfect Strategy for Young Investors

Start with these four, solid dividend payers

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Imagine your perfect day. You wake up when you are rested, without the need of any alarm clocks. You then do some working out , followed by having a nice healthy breakfast.

youngInvestorsB.pngYou then read at your leisure, have a lunch later in the day to beat the 11:30 to 1 p.m. crowds, and then review your brokerage accounts. You notice dividends from several companies are deposited today, and you decide to transfer them to your checking account. You check for any major items concerning your portfolio holdings, and spend a few hours researching a new dividend stock.

After that you get more time to concentrate on your activities, be it volunteering at the local homeless shelter, mentoring high school students, learning a new language or simply catching up on some good books. Later that day, you might decide to enjoy a few with your mates/gals. This dream is brought to you by dividend investing.

This is my retirement dream in a nutshell. The reason I started Dividend Growth Investor blog in 2008, is to write down ideas on how to make it happen. I believe that dividend growth investing works for all investors, regardless of their age. However, I do realize that older investors might have a preference for higher yielding stocks, while youngsters like myself can afford to build portfolios across the yield spectrum.

One of the most common misconceptions about dividend investing however is that it is not a good strategy for building your nest egg, and therefore it is not suitable for younger investors. Being a youngster myself, I (not surprisingly) disagree.

Younger investors are typically told to take a lot of risks early on, because they have time to recuperate those losses. I find this saying to be very dangerous for young investors. The problem is that taking risk is important, but it should not be mean gambling. Investors should only be taking on large risks when they have a strategy with positive expectancy of a positive return, while risk is minimized.

If you invest in penny stocks, social media stocks, or if you bought dot-coms during the tech boom of the late 1990s, you took huge risks but you were likely making concentrated gambles. There is a cost to gambling, because losing your entire nest egg of $10,000 at the age of 24 means you will be poorer by $800,000 by age 70. This calculation assumes a 10% annual return for 46 years.

In contrast, with a typical dividend growth strategy, you get a slow and steady approach that will lead to a monthly passive income that will pay your expenses in retirement. Starting out early will be beneficial, because you would gain the necessary experience through trial and error, and find out the nuances that work out for you. This would make you successful, and ensure you maintain your success in investing. A big part of investment success is not losing too much in your investment career.

With this dividend strategy, we are focusing not on net worth per se, but on target annual dividend income. If your goal is to have a net worth of $1 million dollars, but you end up investing it in a relatively illiquid asset such as a personal residence, you might not be able to retire entirely on it. In some parts of the US, you might have to pay $20 – $30 thousand in annual property taxes plus paying for upkeep, maintenance etc. If instead you had a rental property generating $4,000 in monthly income or a portfolio of dividend stocks generating a similar amount, you might be set for life.

I believe that a new investor who does not have a lot of money today but who plans on accumulating their “financial nut” over the next years will be perfectly able to utilize dividend growth investing. With this strategy investors turbocharge the dividend income growth of their portfolios by putting money to work every month in stocks that regularly boost dividends, and then reinvesting those dividends selectively.

Since 2008, I have been on a mission to build up my portfolio income. Every month, I save an amount of money that I deposit in my brokerage account. I scan the market for investment opportunities all the time, followed by analyzing prospective investments. I identify dividend stocks for further analysis either by running my screening criteria against the dividend champions or contenders lists, by looking at weekly list of dividend increases as well as through interactions with other investors and the general method of my inquiry into business.

I do a complete stock analysis of each company I find interesting, in order to gauge whether the company in focus has any competitive advantages, pricing power and whether there are any catalysts for further expansion in revenues and profitability going forward. I focus on companies that can grow earnings over time, which will provide the fuel for future dividend increases. A rising earnings stream is also positively correlated with an increase in stock prices. You can have your cake and eat it too with dividend growth stocks.

My goal is to acquire the quality companies identified for purchase at attractive valuations. Entry price does matter to an extent, because a lower price provides a higher margin of safety in the investment and is equivalent to a higher dividend income.

Of course, if you plan on holding stocks for 20 – 30 years however, it would not really matter whether you purchased Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) at $70 per share or $75 per share. If you overpay today however, it might mean that your returns in the first five years might be below average, until the growing earnings result in a valuation compression that would make the stock attractively valued today.

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