The businesses of the top 10 companies in the Vanguard Dividend Achievers fund could easily be part of your Saturday morning errands, especially if the kids and family are visiting. You could start the morning by leaving the house with a can of Diet Pepsi, stop by a Chevron station to fill up the tank, then swing into Walmart for some baby supplies like Pampers and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for the little ones and Ibuprofen for yourself just in case you use the self-checkout lane. Hop back in the car, zip over to ExxonMobil for a car wash, scoot across the street for a Coke and a Big Mac, and catch a glimpse of a new IBM RFID billboard—you know, the one with the chip that knows it’s you that’s coming—flashing “you forgot the eggs.”
Whew. Just thinking about all that errand running is enough to wear a person out. A better way to start your Saturday would be to admire the dividends the companies in the Vanguard Dividend Achievers yield as a group, which is just over 2% per year. This is good, but you know what’s better? Young Research’s Retirement Compounders (RCs) program, which includes some of the common stocks I just mentioned, yields 5%, and is up 10.2% YTD. That’s a significant feat, considering that the Dow transports, industrials, and utilities yield 1.63%, 2.56%, and 4.28% and are up 12.5%, 5.7%, and 1.2%, respectively.
If you compound 5% for the next 15 years, you’ll turn $1 million into $2 million. If your kids start with $100,000 today and compound it at 5% for 30 years, it will become $430,000. And if they start their kids today with $10,000 and compound it at 5% for 45 years, they’ll have a tidy $90,000. That can be a lot of fun to imagine. Compounding dividends at a rate of 2X, 4X, or even 9X can make it happen.
How can you do that when buying into scary trailing price-earnings (P/E) ratios for the Dow transports, industrials, and utilities at 35, 13, and 14, respectively? Those are certainly not screaming values, but if the market P/E contracts, it’s nice to have a dividend payment as a safety net. Furthermore, with gold around $1,350 per ounce, investors want a store of value. During inflationary or deflationary times, companies that pay dividends, such as those dealing with commodities or consumer staples, tend to have pricing power. Others, such as huge multinationals, like a weak U.S. dollar when competing with stronger currencies.
Nevertheless, getting the right mix of stocks isn’t easy. Neither is beating the yield in funds like Vanguard’s Dividend Achievers fund. The RCs have done a good job at both of late. That said, you’ll still have to run your Saturday errands.