Payback is the amount of time needed for an investment to earn its cost, undiscounted. For example, if you buy a dividend stock for $100 that pays a $5 annual dividend, the payback is 20 years (100/5). Though not very sophisticated, payback can still help you screen for good, solid dividend growth stocks. I learned this lesson the hard way…
Dividend stocks are sometimes referred to as defensive stocks since many investors flee to them in an economic downturn. Their dividends, if sustainable, provide a minimum level of positive return. This cushions the downward pressure from the market. Better yet, great dividend companies not only sustain their dividends in a downturn – they actually raise them.
In my dividend database, I track nearly 190 stocks in 19 different sectors. Generally, the characteristics of certain sectors tend to match those that dividend growth investors are looking for, thus their constituents are often make better dividend investments. In the case of the stocks I track, nearly half of them are in these three sectors:
AT&T Inc. (formerly SBC Communications) provides telephone and broadband service, and the company holds full ownership of AT&T Mobility (formerly Cingular Wireless). AT&T Corp. was acquired in late 2005 and BellSouth in late 2006. Linked here is a detailed analysis and commentary.
Dividend growth investing in its classic form focuses on identifying solid companies with a long record of growing their dividends each year; and an expectation that they will continue to do so into the future. The focus is not solely on yield but a combination of yield and dividend growth. Often it is the lower yield, higher growth, security that will provide the best return over time.
My goal as a dividend growth investor is to build a steadily increasing income and not necessarily to outperform the market via capital gains. However, as numerous research projects have shown, a conservative dividend-based investment strategy has consistently outperformed the market over time.
Stocks Trying To Entice Investors With Their Dividends
The goals of an income portfolio are much different than those of a capital appreciation portfolio. The good news is an income portfolio consisting of quality dividend growth stocks can not only succeed, but excel during a market downturn. Dividend investors are focused on building a stream of steadily rising income from solid companies.