One of my long-term goals is to build up a decent amount of wealth that can produce a nice level of passive income over the long haul. While I’m not likely to get to the $1 million per year in passive income, I believe that several thousand, if not tens of thousands in annual income, is definitely doable over the next couple of decades. When trying to earn money in pajamas, one of the best ways to make this happen is through dividend income. This is passive income that accumulates as a return on capital from allowing great companies to use said capital to operate and grow their businesses. As I’ve said before, passive income is the best income.
Earning more money is always a good thing. The bad thing about earning more money is the time that it usually takes to do so. There are, however, some strategies that can be used to make more money without putting in any additional effort. Investing for dividends is one such strategy. Here is an article that lists three great reasons for investing in dividend paying stocks. The final reason is key. Even stable dividends pay out more over time. “How can this be?” you might be wondering. The answer is simple–COMPOUNDING.
There is one step and one step alone that is required to compound the your gains, provided that the dividend is left stable by the company paying it out. This one step is reinvesting. There are a couple of different avenues that can accomplish the reinvestment of dividends. The first is through a DRIP program. The DRIP stands for Dividend ReInvestment Program, and in this situation, an investor automatically reinvests the dividend into additional shares of the company that originally paid out the dividend. This will basically increase the dividend payout by the annual yield. A dividend yield of 3 percent that gets reinvested will see the annual dividend payment raise by about 3 percent over the course of a year because the number of shares that our hypothetical investor has should increase by about 3 percent. This is an increase in income that’s more than inflation has been over the past few years–all without lifting a finger.
Several brokerages, such as TradeKing, allow you to automatically DRIP your dividends into companies that permit dividend reinvestment. TradeKing is currently offering a $50 bonus for new signups under my referral link listed above. You would get $50 for meeting the requirements, and I would also get $50. You don’t have to sign up with my link to invest through TradeKing, but I greatly appreciate any support you might feel like giving. This bonus could be used to buy a share or two of many great dividend-paying stocks.
Automatic reinvestment is one strategy, but there is another. I use the DRIP in my Tradeking account, but I have to use the other strategy in my Loyal3 account because DRIPing is not an option. This involves stocking up on dividend payments until a certain minimum amount of cash is reached. The minimum investment through Loyal3 is $10, and I pay no fees for my investments on this site. You can check out my review of Loyal3 here. Those who invest through a TradeKing, Scwhab, or any other investment account can also pool dividends to diversify. It’s probably best to pool until a decent amount of money is available so that you can keep the transaction cost to a minimum. For example, a share of AT & T costs around $40 a share right now. Through TradeKing, if you were to purchase only one share, you’d pay $4.95 in transaction fees, which effectively adds about 12 percent to your purchase price. It would also eat up more than the $1.92 in dividend income you’d get in the first year. It would be year three before dividend income would exceed your transaction cost. If you were to hold off until you could buy 10 shares, the transaction fee would drop to slightly more than 1 percent of the purchase price, which will definitely help long-term returns.
I decided in January to use my dividends from my Loyal3 account to diversify. Any additional purchases would come from new funds, while dividend income would just sit until I reached $10 in the account. During the first week of April, I reached the requisite level to make my first purchase from my dividend income stash. I decided that I would buy shares of Unilever (UL), which is a massive international consumer goods company that produces everything from butter to deodorant. I again started to pool the dividends after making this small $10 purchase, except now, I would be adding the small dividend from Unilever into the equation. My first payment came in June, and added $0.08 to my account. Admittedly, this was a very small amount of money, but it allowed me to inch toward another purchase a little bit more quickly.
I hit $13 worth of dividends in my account by the first week of July, as my payment from Coca-Cola pushed me across the necessary $10 threshold. Again, I put the accumulated dividends toward more UL. Last week, I got my second payment from Unilever, and it was up to $0.17 over the course of a quarter, still not a huge amount, but an increase over the course of three months that allows me to edge ever closer to another purchase. This morning, I awoke to find that a dividend payment of nearly $4 from McDonald’s had posted into my account. This brought my account total $11.49, and I made my third purchase of Unilever stock for $11. If all goes according to plan, I will see a payment of around $0.25 for the fourth quarter in December.
I admit that I’ve put more capital toward my account with Loyal3 over the past nine months, but it’s been great to see that my dividends are growing and allowing me to purchase additional dividends. Even if I never added any additional capital to my account, I should be able to grow my dividends as companies decide to give dividend increases and I reinvest my dividends. This is the power of compounding. Of course, I’m hoping to have enough capital available to pay my bills and to invest each and every month going into the future, but seeing additional dividend income come in without doing more than making a few clicks and keystrokes is positive reinforcement. It’s exciting to see my dividend payments going higher and higher over time.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor. This article is not a recommendation to buy any security. It is intended only for educational/entertainment purposes.
I am long all stock listed in this article.
If you’ve found this article interesting, be sure to sign up to receive updates to the site at the top of the page. You can also follow me on Twitter.