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The Ultimate Way to Protect Your Money from Wall Street Scams

InvestorEducation / Dividends Aug 15, 2010 - 06:22 AM GMT

By: DailyWealth

InvestorEducation

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleDr. David Eifrig writes: "Dividends don't lie."

It's one of my favorite Wall Street sayings. Accountants can mess with a company's books in all kinds of ways, but they can't fake a cash payment. And if a company can pay a dividend, it's almost always making money.


In the past 20 years, we've seen Merrill Lynch's Henry Blodgett touting stocks he privately dismissed as crap (actually, his term was worse)... Bernie Madoff mailing phony account statements to hoodwink clients out of $18 billion... Corrupt lenders building a multibillion-dollar firm based on worthless "liar" loans... And that's just a sample. There's nothing new about accounting fraud.

The irony is, protecting yourself from these convoluted shell games is simple... Demand a cash dividend from your investments. It's hard to pay shareholders year after year if you're cooking the books.

A dividend is money a company pays its shareholders. Every quarter, the company counts its earnings and pays out some portion to its owners (the shareholders). Essentially, it's your cut of the profits.

Focusing on dividend-paying stocks is one of the great secrets to building wealth. And fortunately, the market is giving us a rare chance to load up on some of the world's greatest dividend payers at good prices.

Most investors dismiss dividends. In fact, some alleged professional stock-pickers refuse to even consider companies that pay a dividend. After all, they argue, the company should be plowing all the money back into the growing business. If the company reinvests the cash in itself, the company can grow even bigger, right? Wrong.

Here's what investors who only focus on capital gains are missing: Nearly half of your total long-term returns from investing in stocks come from dividends.

Sure, you want the company to use some of its earnings to grow, but you also want to get your money back along the way. In fact, among the most important rules to investing (along with asset allocation and position sizing) is defining your exit strategy – how will you get your money back?

When you invest in a small startup, you're happy to let your money grow as the business grows. But what happens when the growth slows? Do you sell the stock?

Not if it's still a good business. You don't want to lose out on reaping the success of the business as it evolves into a larger, steadier company.

Dividends are a simple way to pay back owners who've invested in the business. By keeping some of the money and paying the rest to shareholders, dividend-paying companies can continue their growth while rewarding shareholders at the same time.

Right now, I love those rewards. We have a rare moment in modern history when the yield on dividend-paying stocks matches the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes. We haven't seen this setup in more than 35 years.

As investors reach for income and safety, they've bid down the yield for 10-year Treasurys to historic lows – now 2.95%. I understand the rush to safety. But giving $1,000 to the government to get $30 a year for 10 years is a poor choice, especially when there's no upside.

If you want to wait to earn $300 over 10 years, so be it. But you can do better by looking at other securities paying at least that same 3% yield... investments where you can get all the capital gain potential of a stock and a growing income stream.

For example, three months ago, I recommended pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly (LLY) to readers of my Retirement Millionaire advisory. We locked in a 5.6% annual payout. Lilly's paid a dividend for 125 consecutive years and increased it 42 years in a row. It's almost impossible to have a business better managed than that.

When companies like LLY establish a decades-long history of paying out money to shareholders, it reflects their commitment to managing the value of the business through down times and up times.

The No. 1 fear of retirees is that inflation will erode the value of their money. If you're on a fixed income like Social Security, it's imperative to own securities that will keep up with future prices and pass some of that growth back to investors. Dividend growers are your best answer here. And as I mentioned, they have a built-in safety mechanism...

In the past 30 years, I've seen Wall Street lie and cheat... from Blodgett to Madoff. The simplest, most effective way to fight back is to demand a dividend. Companies that pay dividends are sending you real money – and dividends don't lie.

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Doc Eifrig
P.S. If you like this kind of common-sense thinking about investing, you'll love my newsletter Retirement Millionaire. Twice a month, I share tips, secrets, and myth-busters about health, wealth, and how to live a rich retirement. In just the past two months, we've saved readers $3,568.60. Get the details on a risk-free trial subscription here.

http://www.dailywealth.com

The DailyWealth Investment Philosophy: In a nutshell, my investment philosophy is this: Buy things of extraordinary value at a time when nobody else wants them. Then sell when people are willing to pay any price. You see, at DailyWealth, we believe most investors take way too much risk. Our mission is to show you how to avoid risky investments, and how to avoid what the average investor is doing. I believe that you can make a lot of money – and do it safely – by simply doing the opposite of what is most popular.

Customer Service: 1-888-261-2693 – Copyright 2010 Stansberry & Associates Investment Research. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. This e-letter may only be used pursuant to the subscription agreement and any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, LLC. 1217 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore MD 21202

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Daily Wealth Archive

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