Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Difference Between An Income Investor and a Dividend Growth Iinvestor

The difference between an income investor and a dividend growth investor is time and the understanding of how compound growth works. If you are 67 years old and need income today, you will likely select a different group of stocks than an enlightened 27 year old that doesn't necessarily need the income today. The 27 year old has the luxury of time to grow a superior yield, while the 67 year old may be forced to assume additional risk to buy a higher current yield.

Here are some of the reasons an investor might forgo current yield in hopes of future gain...

Dividend Growth Provides For Inflation

Inflation is the silent killer for many retirement portfolios. Over time, prices tend to increase. If you rely solely on a portfolio of long-term fixed income securities, you will lose purchasing power each year as inflation robs your portfolio. Dividend growth rates on traditional high-yield stocks (e.g. utilities, REITs, etc.) are often less than inflation. However, most blue-chip dividend growth stocks grow their dividends well in excess of the annual inflation rate.

Dividend Growth Often Provides For Higher Value

The combination of a good starting yield and respectable dividend growth will often provide the investor with greater long-term value when compared to alternatives with higher current yields and lower growth dividend rates. The only way to know for sure is to run the numbers using a model such as my D4L-PreScreen.xls.

Compound Dividend Growth Is Powerful

Compound interest is what occurs when interest previously earned is added to the principle and is considered when calculating future interest – i.e. earning interest on interest. Compound dividends are like compound interest on steroids. Like compound interest, dividends are being reinvested. However, these dividends are growing which provides and added boost.

Conservative View Of Dividend Growth

The dividend growth rate is a key metric in many calculations. As such, I use a conservative estimate as follows: The minimum dividend growth rate of the 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 year compound annual growth rate or 15%, if dividends grew on average in excess of 15% for each consecutive 4 year periods, within the last 10 years of history.


If time is on your side, you should investigate if certain lower yielding stocks with a dividend growth rate fits into your long-term investment strategy. When making this evaluation, it is important to note that the sustainability of the dividend growth rate must be evaluated on a go-forward basis. Like high-yield stocks, there is increasing risk as the dividend growth rises.

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