January 2019 Dividend Income Update
Welcome to my first dividend income update for 2019!
For those of you new to these posts on my site, for the last few years, every month I discuss our approach to investing using Canadian dividend paying stocks.
To recap though, here is our overall hybrid-investing approach in some key accounts:
- Approach #1 – we own a number of Canadian dividend paying stocks for income and growth. At last count, we own 27 different Canadian stocks within our non-registered account and within our Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). We own these stocks because we believe buying and holding our DIY bundle of Canadian dividend-paying stocks will, over time, provide some steady monthly income for future wants and needs in retirement. That’s what these monthly income updates are all about!
- Approach #2 – we’re owning more units of low-cost U.S. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) inside our RRSPs over time. We believe in doing so because investing beyond Canada’s borders will provide additional and much needed diversification. (I believe that now, I didn’t always think that way.) Also, by reinvesting all the distributions paid from these ETFs every quarter, we are focusing on long-term growth inside our RRSPs. We still own some Canadian stocks and some U.S. stocks inside our RRSPs, (names like AT&T, Verizon, Procter & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson to name a few) but we’re buying and holding more U.S. ETF units every quarter going-forward.
But back to approach #1 – these monthly income updates focus exclusively on our Canadian dividend paying stock journey using our TFSAs and non-registered account.
I suppose I could include income updates from other accounts like our RRSPs, my Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA), but I’m lazy when it comes to currency conversion and other factors for such updates.
Besides, we’ll eventually need to draw down our RRSP and LIRA assets.
Why dividend investing?
I could write many posts about this, and I have – I believe it works for me, but my answers boil down to the following:
- The income received from these Canadian companies we own is real; I do not have to hope for just stock price gains to fund our retirement. There will be tangible income I can spend without selling stock shares to do so.
- I can count on many of these Canadian companies to increase their dividends over time, helping to protect us from inflation. Just as an example, Suncor (SU), Great-West Life (GWO), and Bell Canada (BCE) all recently increased their dividends within the last month!
- The dividend income earned inside our non-registered account and TFSAs, helps me stick an investing plan I believe in. This behavioural benefit is huge. Sticking to any plan, especially one you believe in, will save you in transaction costs and help you avoid poorly timed investment decisions. Win-win.
- I can control the portfolio turnover, not a fund manager I have to pay.
- With my buy and hold and reinvest the dividends approach, I don’t have to pay a money management fee.
- Dividend-growing companies tend to be solid performers so you get dividends and capital gains over time.
Those are just some of the reasons I/we own dividend paying stocks – and we’ll continue to do so.
Since my December 2018 update was posted, where I highlighted we crossed a new significant milestone of $17,000 per year in dividend income, I received a few questions about my investing approach and journey to date.
Let’s answer those questions now before I share my January 2019 tally.
I have been scouring the site trying to find out how much your initial dividend portfolio was worth.
Well, it wasn’t worth as much as it is now – see above my chart from December 2018. But we’ve done a lot of saving and investing since late 2008, when I really started my shift into dividend paying stocks and lower cost ETFs across my portfolio.
I’d have to go back and get the actual numbers but I recall my RRSP value in big bank mutual funds was about $80,000 or so, some ten years ago. Beyond my LIRA, that was the only retirement account I owned.
Since then, we’ve worked hard to max out contributions to our TFSAs (x2); max out contributions to my RRSP (already done for 2018 tax year) and we’re focusing on maxing out my wife’s RRSP in the coming year or so.
I really enjoy your site and reading about your journey. You keep it very personal and easy to read which is very appealing.
I’ve invested in some of the same stocks you have in recent years but my questions are:
- Have you considered using a low-cost ETF like XIU or ZCN or VCN to use for your Canadian portfolio?
- Do you think by owing banks, utilities and telco stocks directly you’re putting yourself at risk?
I have considered owning XIU and other Canadian ETFs (actually I owned XIU for a few years) but I’ve decided to unbundle my Canadian ETF for income and growth.
Until these Canadian banks, utilities and telco stocks stop increasing their dividends every year or so, I probably won’t consider switching my strategy. I’ve basically built my own Canadian dividend ETF except it doesn’t cost me any on-going management expense fees.
Do I think I’m putting myself at risk? Maybe a bit. Dividend investing has risks for sure including under-performing the market. But then again, if these top Canadian companies all stop working, all go under, at the same time, everyone is going to be in a world of financial hurt – including the passive funds like ZCN and VCN and XIU that invest in these companies at well.
January 2019 Update
Thanks to a few dividend increases already in early 2019, and our maxed out TFSAs, our dividend income expected from Canadian dividend paying stocks we own is now approaching $18,000 per year from our non-reg. account and TFSAs. That is huge for us…
To put that income into perspective, without touching the capital OR using any money saved from our other retirement accounts that income might pay for the following, for life:
- Ottawa condo property taxes at $500-600 per month. Even if property taxes increased every year going forward by 3-5%, which I expect, some dividend increases from the 27 companies we own should help offsite property tax increases every year.
- Our current home maintenance and home insurance costs or our future Ottawa condo fees ~ $500 per month (that includes building insurance). Again, those fees will rise over time but so will our dividend income.
- Enbridge gas bill. We are now earn enough dividend income from Enbridge (ENB) stock in our non-registered account alone, each year, to pay for the Enbridge gas we use in our current house (or will use in our future condo).
- Hydro bill. Between various utility stocks we own, like Fortis (FTS) and Emera (EMA), we are now earning enough dividend income from these two utility companies to cover our hydro bill every year.
Pretty great right!???
Once again, with all the praise of dividend investing mentioned above, I need to tell you dividend paying stocks provide no guarantees long-term. Companies cut dividends, change their Dividend Reinvestment Plans and in some other rare cases, cancel their dividends altogether. These things have happened to me and they can happen to you. Stock selection is not without risk. In fact, no investment is without risk.
That said, I feel as long as we diversify our stock selections across many Canadian companies, I believe it’s a sensible income-oriented strategy that ties in nicely with my growing low-cost ETF investing approach inside our RRSPs.
I have full confidence more dividend increases will occur in my portfolio in the months to come, from our Canadian banks in particular.
With more dividend raises, that will mean more income; more shares will be reinvested and more shares reinvested will deliver more income over time. I know you get the idea of compounding. When it comes to our stocks – I love it.
Got questions for my investing journey? Fire away. Happy to help answer and provide insight. Let the journey continue!