Our last post described the first criterion we use when choosing a stock to buy. We stick to companies listed on the S&P 100. These are safe, solid companies that have a proven track record. They’re not going to post meteoric gains but won’t you lose any sleep worrying about the bottom falling out either. The name of this blog is, after all, Passive Dividend Income, so we don’t want to be spending lots of time working on or worrying about our portfolio. Having said that, let’s move on to step 2.
Remember our analogy of purchasing a piece of camping equipment (or whatever you want to imagine buying)? We decided to buy from a major supplier – one we feel we can count on to be there if we need them. What else do I want from my purchase? I want the equipment to last so I can enjoy it for years to come. I want it to ADD value to my experience. This is like the dividend a company pays – it’s going to add to the value of my portfolio and, when it comes time to retire, is going to provide the income I’m looking for.
Some companies choose to distribute a portion of their earnings to their shareholders. This is called a dividend. Our goal is to build a stream of income from our investment portfolio and this income will be in the form of dividends. That means it’s important to choose stocks that pay the highest rate. As you learn more about companies on the S&P 100 you’ll see that most of them pay a quarterly dividend but you’ll soon discover that the rate of return of those dividends vary considerably from company to company.
For example, on December AT&T Inc (T:NYSE) closed at 34.64 and paid a quarterly dividend of $0.48 which is a return of 5.5% (0.48 x 4 times/year divided by 34.64). This means for every $1000 you invest in this stock, you’d be paid $55 in dividends. By contrast, on the same date FedEx closed at $149.65 and paid a quarterly dividend of $0.25 which is a return of 0.67%. For every $1000 you invest in FedEx, you’d be paid $6.70 in dividends. As you can see, the stock you choose makes a HUGE difference. The first step in our strategy is to look up the dividend for every company on the S&P 100 and assign a score to each one based on the dividend it pays. While this score is mostly arbitrary, it serves as a means of ranking the companies based on several factors (the dividend is only one of 5 factors we consider) that we use to make a choice. It’s a way of removing emotion and bias from our investing choices. We’ll see the criteria for assigning scores in a later post.
And that’s step 2. Short and simple. Buy shares in companies that pay the best dividends.