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The 8 Rules Of Dividend Investing

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The 8 Rules Of Dividend Investing by Ben Reynolds, Sure Dividend

The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing systematically rank the best dividend growth stocks for long-term investors so you know exactly what stocks to buy and sell.

All of The 8 Rules are supported by academic research and ‘common sense’ principles from some of the world’s greatest investors.

The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing are more than just ideas

They are applicable to real-world investments.

The Sure Dividend 20 Stock Model Portfolio (which is based on The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing) has outpeformed the market since inception (7/7/14).

The image below shows total returns for the portfolio versus the S&P 500 (as measured by SPY):

  • 20 Stock Model Portfolio annualized return:  14.1%
  • S&P 500 annualized return:  4.4%

Each of The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing are listed below:

  • Rule #1:  The Quality Rule
  • Rule #2:  The Bargain Rule
  • Rule #3:  The Safety Rule
  • Rule #4:  The Growth Rule
  • Rule #5:  The Peace of Mind Rule
  • Rule #6:  The Overpriced Rule
  • Rule #7:  The Survival of the Fittest Rule
  • Rule #8:  The Hedge Your Bets Rule

Dividend Investing Rules 1 to 5:  What to Buy

Rule # 1 – The Quality Rule

“The single greatest edge an investor can have is a long term orientation”

Seth Klarman

Common Sense Idea:  Invest in high quality businesses that have a proven long-term record of stability, growth, and profitability.  There is no reason to own a mediocre business when you can own a high quality business.

Financial Rule:  Invest only in stocks with 25 or more years of dividend payments without a reduction.

Evidence:  The Dividend Aristocrats (stocks with 25+ years of rising dividends) have outperformed the S&P 500 over the last 10 years by 2.88% per year.

Source:  S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Factsheet

Dividend Investing

Rule # 2 – The Bargain Rule

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”

Warren Buffett

Common Sense Idea:  Invest in businesses that pay you the most dividends so you can increase dividend income stream

Financial Rule:  Rank stocks by dividend yield.

Evidence:  The highest yielding quintile of stocks outperformed the lowest yielding quintile of stocks by 1.76% per year from 1928 through 2013.

Source:  Dividends:  A Review of Historical Returns by Heartland Funds

Dividend Investing

Rule # 3 – The Safety Rule

“The secret of sound investment in 3 words; margin of safety”

– Benjamin Graham

Common Sense Idea:  If a business is paying out all its income as dividends, it has no margin of safety.  When a business downturn occurs, the dividend must be reduced.  Invest in businesses that have higher income than dividends to help ensure dividends won’t be cut during business downturns.

Financial Rule:  Rank stocks by their payout ratios.

Evidence:  High yield low payout ratio stocks outperformed high yield high payout ratio stocks by 8.2% per year from 1990 to 2006.

Source:  High Yield, Low Payout by Barefoot, Patel, & Yao

Dividend Investing

Rule # 4 – The Growth Rule

“All you need for a lifetime of successful investing is a few big winners”

– Peter Lynch

Common Sense Idea:  Invest in businesses that have a history of solid growth.  If a business has maintained a high growth rate for several years, they are likely to continue to do so.  The more a business grows, the more profitable your investment will become.

Financial Rule:  Rank stocks by the lower of long-term earnings-per-share growth or dividend growth.

Evidence:  Growing dividend stocks have outperformed stocks with unchanging dividends by 2.4% per year from 1972 to 2013.

Source:  Rising Dividends Fund, Oppenheimer

Dividend Investing

Rule # 5 – The Peace of Mind Rule

“Psychology is probably the most important factor in the market – and one that is least understood”

– David Dreman

Common Sense Idea:  Look for businesses that people invest in during recessions and times of panic.  These businesses will have a relatively stable stock price that will make them easier to hold for the long run.

Financial Rule:  Rank stocks by their long-term volatility and beta

Evidence:  The S&P Low Volatility index outperformed the S&P500 by 2.00% per year for the 20 year period ending September 30th, 2011.

Source:  S&P 500 Low Volatility Index: Low & Slow Could Win the Race

Dividend Investing

Dividend Investing Rules 6 & 7:  When to Sell

Rule # 6 – The Overpriced Rule

“Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered”

– Unknown

Common Sense Idea:  If you are offered $500,000 for a $250,000 house, you take the money.  It is the same with a stock.  If you can sell a stock for much more than it is worth , you should.  Take the money and reinvest it into businesses that pay higher dividends.

Financial Rule:  Sell when the normalized P/E ratio is over 40.

Evidence:  The lowest decile of P/E stocks outperformed the highest decile by 9.02% per year from 1975 to 2010.

Source:  The Case for Value by Brandes Investment Partners

Dividend Investing

Rule # 7 – The Survival of the Fittest Rule

“When the facts change, I change my mind.  What do you do, sir?”

– John Maynard Keynes

Common Sense Idea:  If a stock you own reduces its dividend, it is paying you less over time instead of more.  This is the opposite of what should happen.  You must admit the business has lost its competitive advantage and reinvest the proceeds of the sale into a more stable business.

Financial Rule:  Sell when the dividend payment is reduced or eliminated.

Evidence:  Stocks that reduced or eliminated their dividends had a 0% return from 1972 through 2013.

Source:  Rising Dividends Fund, Oppenheimer

Dividend Investing

Dividend Investing Rule 8:  Portfolio Management

Rule # 8 – The Hedge Your Bets Rule

“The only investors who shouldn’t diversify are those who are right 100% of the time”

– John Templeton

Common Sense Idea:  No one is right all the time.  Spreading your investments over multiple stocks reduces the impact of being wrong on any one stock.

Financial Rule:  Build a diversified portfolio over time.  Use The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing to rank high quality dividend growth stocks.  Buy the highest ranked stock of which you own the least each month to build your diversified portfolio over time.

Evidence:  90% of the benefits of diversification come from owning just 12 to 18 stocks.

Source:  Frank Reilly and Keith Brown, Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management, page 213

Invest In High Quality Dividend Growth Stocks with The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing

The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing have been put to use by thousands of investors  who read the Sure Dividend Newsletter.

Here’s what some of them have said:

“I have read, studied, taken action sometimes and pondered investing according to over 100 advisors. I thank you for your best in breed advice as a new member of your subscription audience. I really believe I am, thanks to you, conducting my stock investments correctly now for the long run.”
– Bob W

“This is EXACTLY what I was looking for, and it gives a straightforward answer on the best stocks at any given time. It takes all of the confusion out of this, and makes it so simple.”
– Brad B

“Of all the newsletters that I have ever taken-yours is simply the absolutely best. How I wish that I had been able to have found it —several years ago”
– Ed E

The Sure Dividend Newsletter includes detailed analysis of the Top 10 dividend stocks every month ranked using The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing.

Dividend Investing

It also has a list (ranked in order) of over 180 dividend stocks with 25+ years of dividend payments without a reduction.  In short, it has everything you need to add high quality dividend growth stocks to your portfolio.

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