As many of you know, I invest exclusively in dividend-paying stocks, and I advise the same for my strategy report subscribers. If a company does not pay a dividend, I won’t even consider it. At my family investment company, our common stock portfolios are invested exclusively in dividend-paying stocks. We favor companies with strong balance sheets, stable businesses, and a long history of consecutive dividend payments and annual dividend increases. A steady stream of dividend income today and the promise of higher income tomorrow has appeal for conservative investors and those in or nearing retirement.
To generate investment ideas for our dividend-focused strategy, we occasionally run the obligatory stock screen, and we of course generate ideas through reading and other research methods, but one of our most fertile sources of investment ideas is Mergent’s Handbook of Dividend Achievers.
Mergent’s Handbook of Dividend Achievers is a compact, easy-to-use reference guide of U.S.-listed companies that have increased their dividend annually for 10 or more consecutive years. Only 7.3% of listed dividend-payers qualify. The handbook is published quarterly and is available for $53 at Amazon.com.
My latest copy of the handbook is the summer 2010 edition. In it, you’ll find a detailed one-page snapshot of each of the Mergent dividend achievers. You get a stock price chart, a quick business description, a summary of recent developments, and a seven-year history of selected financial data. The Mergent book also provides the number of years of consecutive dividend increases, as well as the 10-year dividend growth of each company. All in all it’s a handy little reference for the dividend-focused investor. If you are a do-it-yourself investor, I would advise you to pick up a copy.