Friday

Dividends Can Be Your Best/Worst Investment - There Is No Free Lunch

It is no surprise that with interest rates at historic lows that traditionally fixed income investors are going elsewhere for yield.

That's good and bad.

The good is that many investors, once shy of the stock market are participating now, the bad is that they are slowly becoming overly dependent on the stock market for yield.

It's great to find a stock that you like with a dividend yielding 4-5% however it doesn't take much of a move to the downside to wipeout your 4-5%.  Of course, those investors, many retired investors, say they won't sell when the next downturn comes but I have my doubts.

I have always liked the rule of thumb, your age (as a percentage) in fixed income and the rest in quality equities.  For example a 55 year old would have 55% in fixed income and 45% in equities.  Your risk tolerance would then dictate the kind of equities you invest in.  

However, with fixed income investments paying almost nothing, its hard.  I get it.  But do not succumb to the wall street 'trade' or 'whim' of the day thinking that fixed income and dividend paying stocks are the same thing - they couldn't be much different.

BTW, do not buy bonds now for fixed income.  Interest rates will surely go up and when they do bond prices will get crushed and bond funds (which use leverage) will get destroyed.

As much as it hurts to do so, fixed income these days is cash, money market and CD's.  There is no free lunch!