When Walt Disney was asked to explain the biggest problem in his life, he answered: “Money. I always needed more money.” When we think big picture about the ways in which we can make money, there are generally two positions:
(1) We can sell our labor for an hourly wage. If you make $10 per hour and work 8 hours per day, you get $80 pre-tax. Simple enough.
(2) We can run a business. In that case, the money we make is the difference between profits and expenses, adjusted for taxes. Again, simple enough.
The problem with both of these options is that they are finite ways to make wealth that involve the constant pressure to perform: when you are selling your time for money, you receive one paycheck and that is it. It is all finite. As soon as you spend that money on rent, food, electricity, clothes, and whatever, it’s gone. If you run a small business, you always have to satisfy customers, and the second you lose a step or two, your money declines.
Unless you are doing what you love and have decent job security, that is a high-pressure way to live. You are living your life on a constant treadmill, exchanging your life’s energy for a temporary resource that will eventually be depleted.
The desire to avoid basing my existence on selling my time in exchange for a paycheck is what led me to seek out dividend growth investing. The ownership of common stocks are the easiest way to start getting money into your pocket without a constant devotion of energy on your part.
Right now, Coca-Cola is a $176 billion company that the Board of Directors has chosen to cut up into 4.5 billion pieces that we call shares. Each ownership unit currently costs $40. For every $40 that you can set aside to buy shares of the soft drink giant, you will be earning $1.90 per share in profit, $1.12 of which the Board of Directors will send in the mail to you as a cash dividend, and the other $0.78 will be retained by the company to pay down debt, buy back stock, and grow the company so you can get even more dividends in the future.
And boy, is Coca-Cola good at giving you more dividends in the future. Since going public in 1920, Coca-Cola has never gone a year without returning some of its profits to shareholders. The company has been raising the dividend every year since President Kennedy launched the Bay of Pigs invasion. This is a company that knows a thing or two about making shareholders rich, if you give the company enough time to work its magic (for the past two decades, Coca-Cola has never had a dividend increase lower than 6% annually).
But the thought of generating money from Coca-Cola stock should make you ecstatic. It should make you happy as hell. Some people hate saving money because they would rather spend it on consumption. The problem is, once you buy something, that is it. Game over. If you want more money, you are going to have to work more. That is not the case with dividend stocks investing.
For example, let us say you need $100 to buy a pair of good tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals game. If you are making $15 per hour, you are going to have to give up 6-7 hours of your life (and probably more, once you figure in taxes) spent working to come up with the funds to afford these seats. And once you spend the money, that is it. Game over. If you want to go to another Cardinals game, you are going to have to give up 6-7 more hours of your life to afford the seats. It is an endless cycle.
However, let us say that you have 120 shares of Royal Dutch Shell in your common stock portfolio. Every ninety days, the Board of Directors elects to send you a $0.90 dividend check for every share of common stock that you own, which will continue and probably increase as long as we still use oil and natural gas. Just for being a part owner, you are going to get $108 sent to you every ninety days. Voila! Not only do you get $108 to buy your baseball tickets, but you have another $108 coming into your account ninety days after that. And then you are going to get another $108 ninety days after that. And after that. And then the dividend will go up, and your check amount will increase.
It is a never-ending virtuous cycle when you get in the habit of owning productive businesses that throw off cash. The question then becomes: What are you doing in your life to get passive cash coming in the door just for waking up in the morning? Coca-Cola and Shell Oil are just two examples. Imagine what happens when you load up your portfolio with thirty additional names that share the same characteristics.
That would give you 128 dividend checks per year. On any given day that you wake up, there would be a 35% chance that you would have a dividend cash deposit showing up into your account. How sweet is that? That is what my website is all about. Most people are in the habit of paying banks, credit cards, creditors, and so on interest every month. I want you to change that relationship and have banks and excellent companies pay you money every month. When you are simply selling your time for money, you are caught in a vicious. The big changes in your life come when you start making decisions that send money into your checking accounts without any additional effort, energy, or expenditures on your part. That is how you make big changes in your life. Get it started, my friend.