Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go shopping again. I didn’t buy anything that is tangible, but something that can provide tangible benefits, hopefully for literally decades to come. I bought some more partial ownership in a company that’s provided stable or growing dividends since World War II.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.B) is a company that I already owned a small stake in, but I was able to double my stake in the company with a purchase of 3 shares at a price of $54.49 per share with the $4.95 per trade fee that TradeKing charges. While Shell just posted a pretty big loss in the billions in the last quarter, much of this was related to writeoffs that are intended to position the company for future profitability. I personally do not believe that oil will remain at current levels forever and that the return of higher oil prices will lead to some pretty good profits for major oil companies like Shell.
I did not, however, buy the stock because of expected capital gains. I bought it for the $3.76 dividend that each share provides on an annualized basis. That means that each share that I own will pay me passive income of $0.94 each and every quarter. Shell has promised to keep the dividend in tact for the next year at least, and with its 70-year record of not cutting dividends, many analysts believe that the payout is safe in the short run. I am among those who believe this.
I’ve noted frequently that passive income is the best income, and I truly believe this. A purchase that I make today could theoretically return more money than the initial purchase every year a within a few decades. That’s a powerful example of the time value of money. Therefore, I’m purchasing stocks for the dividends that they provide. This latest purchase of RDS.B is no different. The three shares that I was able to get should add $11.28 to my annual income, and I’ll have to do no additional work over the next year to benefit from this purchase.
My latest purchase brings my total expected annual dividend up to $69.86. This is nearly $6 per month, and if looking at the income as an attempt to buy time away from work, my dividends should allow me to take 3.5 hours off from work (at an estimated $20 per hour). This might not seem like much, but about three months ago, my expected dividend income was a big, fat goose egg–zero, zilch, nada. I’ll earn this money in my pajamas each night, in my swimming shorts over the summer, and in my business casual clothes during most of the year. The companies that I’ve invested in will continue to make money around the world at all hours of the day and night, and I think that’s pretty awesome. Over time, I believe that dividend income should be able to provide quite a bit of supplemental income in retirement (or even allow for a bit of an early retirement if I can accumulate enough of them.