Dividends are one of the most powerful tools that an investor has at their disposable. Sure, most dividend stocks pay under 4%, which seems like a small number at first glance. You could pay hundreds of dollars for a stock and only receive a few dollars or cents as payback each year. So what’s the big deal?
First of all, dividends count towards a stock’s total return. The S&P gains an average of 8% per year. If a stock gains 6% during a year, but also pays a 3% dividend, it has effectively returns 9% during that year.
Second, dividends are free money that go directly into your account. You can spend your newfound money on whatever you’d like. In the old days, some investors had checked mailed directly to their door. Nowadays, dividends will end up in whichever brokerage account you use.
Many investors like to reinvest dividends to further increase their holdings. For example, pretend you own a stock worth $100 that pays a dividend of 2% (or $2). If you automatically reinvest that dividend, you’ll buy another $2 of that stock. That only buys you 0.02 of a stock, but compound interest can greatly increase that number over time.
You’ll own more of a stock, which means you’ll receive more in dividends. Additionally, if the stock price goes up, that 0.02 holding in a stock will increase too. Compound interest is a great way for you to increase your holdings over a long time.
Now, it’s time to take a look at dividend aristocrats – stocks in the S&P 500 that have consistently increased dividends for the past 25 years. These are tried and true companies that have stood the test of time and are still attracting investors.
|3M Co.||MMM||3M provides over 90,000 jobs and operates in over 70 countries. 3M is most famous for its safety gear including masks, adhesives, and protective equipment.|
|McDonald’s||MCD||McDonald’s is perhaps the world’s most famous restaurant. They have over 37,000 outlets and serve over 69 million people each day. While its food isn’t known for being healthy, the company has tried rebranding itself by adding salads, fruits, and other items.|
|Clorox Co.||CLX||Clorox is nearly synonymous with cleaning products thanks to its multitude of sprays and wipes. The company also owns Burt’s Bees, Formula 409, Pine-Sol, and many other notable brands.|
|Johnson & Johnson||JNJ||Johnson & Johnson has over 250 subsidiary companies and sells goods in over 175 different countries. Some of its notable brands include Tylonel, Neutrogena, and Band-Aids.|
|Procter & Gamble||PG||As one of America’s oldest consumer staples companies, Procter & Gamble seems to have its foothold in nearly every area. Some of its most famous brands include Febreze, Gillette, Vicks, Dawn, Tide, Bounty, and Crest.|
|Coca-Cola||KO||Coca-Cola is one of America’s most recognizable soda brands and one of Warren Buffett’s favorite stocks. As people’s eating habits have shifted towards healthier foods, Coca-Cola kept up by introducing sugarless alternatives to its classic formula.|
|PepsiCo||PEP||As Coca-Cola’s most prominent rival, PepsiCo remains a strong contender in the food world. In fact, PepsiCo is the world’s second largest food and beverage company, second only to Nestle. Fortunately, PepsiCo doesn’t rely solely on soda as it’s acquires Gatorade, Quaker Oats, Tropicana, and more.|
|A. O. Smith||AOS||A. O. Smith Corporation manufactures water heaters and boilers in North America and supplies some water products for Asian markets. It might not sound interesting, but the company has been around since 1874 and makes over $2.5 billion in revenue each year.|
|Walmart Stores||WMT||f anything proves the power of dividends, it’s the Walmart stock. In 2019, Bernie Sanders claimed that each Walton Family member earns more a minute than a Walmart employee earns in a year. The Washington Post ran the numbers and while there’s no need to go into full detail, just know this: The Walton Family earns about $3.1 billion annually in dividends alone. That’s a lot of money!|
|Walgreens Boots||WBA||Walgreens is another one of America’s favorite retail chains. It seems as if you can find one of its 9,277 stores on nearly every street corner. Walgreens also doubles as a pharmacy and is the second-largest U.S. pharmacy chain behind CVS Health.|
|Medtronic||MDT||This medical device company makes most of its profits in the U.S., but headquarters in Ireland for tax purposes. They produce devices and therapies for everything from Parkinson disease to chronic pain.|
|AT&T||T||AT&T might be most well-known as a mobile provider, but it’s made big moves in the television market due to its 2018 acquisition of Time Warner. Investors should look out for its future foray into the 5G space.|
|Caterpillar Inc.||CAT||Caterpillar has been manufacturing heavy machinery for nearly 100 years. They make on-road trucks, gas turbines, agricultural machinery, and much more.|
|Chevron||CVX||Chevron is mostly known for its oil and gas, but the company has delved into alternative energy as well. The company has over 30 years of paying dividends and shows no signs of slowing down.|
|General Mills||GIS||One of the world’s leading consumer goods companies, General Mills produces everything from Pillsbury to Cheerios. It’s impossible to walk down a grocery store aisle without seeing at least one of their products.|
Dividend aristocrat stocks are great buys for anyone interesting in growing their income. These companies are always finding new ways to stay relevant in an ever-changing market and show no signs of stopping or slowing down. Filling your portfolio with dividend aristocrats is a great way to ensure that you’ll be set for life.