Not all Millionaires are Equal –
Some are Richer than Others !
Here’s Why !
Here’s a fictional story about three individuals. Mr Regular, Mr. Knowledgeable and Mr. Fancy Dancy. The story is entirely fictional yet I believe many will believe it is someone they know, perhaps even about themselves.
Let’s consider two Millionaires – A regular old Millionaire (Let’s call him “Mr Regular”) that has a Fancy Dancy Stock Broker at some Fancy Dancy Brokerage Firm making his Investment decisions for him ( Let’s call him “Mr. Fancy Dancy”) and a another millionaire who is a Dividend Income Investor ( Let’s call him Mr. Knowledgeable).
Mr. Regular is a busy guy, He has done well in life and has set aside a portion of his income for retirement. Mr. Regular always thought of investing in the stock market a risky venture and decided early on that he best leave that the Mr. Fancy Dancy at the Fancy Dancy Brokerage firm to do that for him. After all, how could Mr. Regular ever expect to find the time to learn about investing, it is a really complicated venture and if done incorrectly he could end up losing all his money and have nothing to retire with.
Having accumulated just at a million dollars just before his retirement has left him feeling very good about his keen foresight of hiring Mr. Fancy Dancy of the “Fancy Dancy Brokerage Firm, to handle his financial affairs. That is he was feeling very good about his decision until his latest visit with Mr. Fancy Dancy only a month before he officially retires. The first thing his old buddy Mr. Fancy Dancy tells him is about the “4% rule”. Most studies come to the conclusion you will need to make your money last for at least 30 years and that the maximum you can withdraw each year to last the entire 30 years is 4% of your savings ( adjusted for inflation). So he is told his withdrawal will have to be limited to $40,000 per year in order to last for the expected 30 years of his remaining life. This comes out to $3,300 per month. Added to his $1,500 Social Security this comes out to about $4,800 per month. Not bad considering but Mr. Regular is not happy at all. He was bringing home over $10,000 per month with his job (his salary was $125,000 per year) and now he finds out that he will have to live on half that amount in retirement. Mr. Fancy Dancy explains to Mr. Regular that this is just the way it has to be. He has him in bonds and stocks (chances are 60% equities and 40% bonds) and they are returning about 2.5% in his investments. Mr. Regular is now desperate and is trying to think of ways to reduce his cost of living in order to make ends meet. Possibly selling his beautiful home and moving to a lower cost area, cutting back on expensive hobbies like golf or cutting back on vacations. He is even thinking about working part time then he suddenly finds out that he will lose $1 of his social security for every two dollars he earns over a certain amount so that limits his prospects there also. So Mr. Regular has to make a decision, take a drastic cut in his lifestyle or continue working until he has much more than one Million saved for retirement. By holding off he can better retire and because he will have a shorter life expectancy at that point he can safely withdraw a little more than 4% , maybe as much as 5%.
As it turns out Mr. Regular is friends with Mr. Knowledgeable. Mr. Regular shares his story with Mr. Knowledgeable. Mr. Knowledgeable tells Mr. Regular his thoughts about Mr. Fancy Dancy at the Fancy Dancy Brokerage Firm. He tell Mr. Regular while Mr Fancy Dancy is a nice guy that the reality is that he is there to make money for himself and that is understandably his primary focus. He further explains to Mr. Regular that he is a Dividend Income Investor (DII). As a Dividend Income Investor he controls his own portfolio and only buys individual stocks. In this manner he immediately earns more on his investments because he cuts out the middle man.
Mr. Knowledgeable continues to explain to Mr. Regular that he too has One Million dollars saved for his retirement, but he has no worries what so ever about maintaining his life style while in retirement and does not limit himself to the 4% rule, is not worried about running out of money even if he lives to be 115 years old. Okay, now Me. Regular is fascinated and asks him to please continue explaining more about his investment philosophy and about Dividend Income Investing.
Mr. Knowledgeable gladly offers to explain the Dividend Income Investing philosophy. First he explains that as previously stated he has one million dollars invested for his retirement. His current yield on cost is 9%, meaning that his returns from his dividend income is $90,000 per year. This equates to $7,500 per month. When he adds this to his Social Security of $1,500 per month his total income in retirement is $9,000 per month. This is only around one thousand dollars a month shy of what he was making at his full time job. Or in other words he is only taking a 10% pay cut by retiring. In addition some of his stocks will increase their dividends from time to time giving Mr. Knowledgeable a hedge against inflation. In the event of a a company announcing a dividend cut ( believe it or not this is a rare event ) Mr. Knowledgeable simply sells that stock and finds a similar yielding stock to replace it.
So what are the mechanics of the Dividend Income Investing?
- First buy only Dividend paying stocks.
- Never buy stocks below 4% dividend yields.
- Try to buy stocks with yields in the 4-11 % yield range.
- Identify stocks that are out of favor but are good solid companies that have sound financial fundamentals yet pay higher than usual dividend yields.
- Don’t follow the “herd” – when everyone else is running to get out of a stock, that’s the time to start planning your purchase. Recent examples are oil stocks, Retail REITS, Coal stocks, Tobacco stocks. Just because they have become out of favor or socially unacceptable to many doesn’t mean the company will not continue to make money. Use logic and ask yourself basic questions – how many more years will this company be around? Is the market just overreacting to some bad news? Are things really that bad? – Quite often the answer is that everyone is just overreacting. This is when the great buying opportunities present themselves.
- Don’t buy Speculative stocks – you know like the next great tech company that will make you rich. 99% of the time you will only get poorer – not rich.
- Don’t buy ETFs and Mutual Funds – You are paying dearly for the middlemen.
So is really that easy ? The answer is yes. Of course you have to keep a close eye on your investments and it does take a little work to find stocks that will average a yield of greater than 9% but it is far from impossible. In fact I have managed to do that with my personal portfolios for some time now. I, and many others like me are reaping the rewards of Dividend Income Investing. Follow the advice above, and keep focused on what is important, the Dividend Income!
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