Category Archives: Dividends & Income

1 Investing Mistake You Want To Avoid And 5 Lessons Learned

There are so many investing mistakes an investor can make. So, it’s helpful to see the mistakes others have made and learn a lesson or a few. 

One investing mistake I’ve made time and time again was booking profits on solid stocks. Some investors believe it’s not wrong as long as you make money. I agree there’s some truth in that but not the whole truth. (I’ll elaborate at the end of the article.)

There was a number of reasons why I booked profits, and I’ll illustrate with the examples below why I was wrong. 

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The Stock Got Too Expensive?!

I sold out of Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY)(NYSE:RY) in August 2016. At the time, I thought the top Canadian bank was close to fully valued and I expected to be able to buy the stock back at a lower price.

From my selling point, the stock went on to deliver total returns of about 12%. What’s more? Fast forward three years, RY stock looks fairly valued to me right now trading at about 11.6 times earnings at about CAD$102 per share. 

Lesson Learned: In your lifetime of holding quality stocks, for sure there must be times in which they become undervalued, fairly valued, or overvalued. If your goal is to build a solid portfolio and use stocks, such as Royal Bank, as stable foundation stocks, you should aim to buy when they’re fairly to undervalued and hold for a long time. 

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How to Create a Passive Income Portfolio

To create a passive income portfolio, you can invest in bonds or stocks that generate interest or dividend income without you having to lift a finger. I prefer to invest in stocks which have outperformed bonds in the long run.

I also like the concept of investing in stocks because I’m owning stakes in businesses and benefiting from their profits (although I also take on their risks). This is markedly different from purchasing bonds for which you’re lending your money to governments or corporations for interests in return.

In fact, dividend investing is my favorite way to generate passive income. There are so many safe dividend stocks to choose from. Even in a booming stock market like today, you can still find quality businesses at good valuations.

Here’s how to create a passive dividend income portfolio:

  • Buy stocks that offer safe dividends at good valuations
  • Diversify but don’t di-worsify
  • Aim for a low-maintenance portfolio that’s replicable, scalable, and can be largely automated
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Buy stocks that offer safe dividends

The U.S. and Canadian stock markets offer yields of 1.8% and 2.8%, respectively. There are plenty of safe dividend stocks that offer higher yields of about 3-6%.

However, typically, the higher the yield of a stock, the slower its dividend growth will be. (Sometimes, high yielders don’t increase their dividends.) Similarly, low yield stocks tend to increase their dividends faster. Typically, dividend growth stocks are safer and better than stocks that simply maintain their dividends.

Buy stocks at good valuations to protect your invested capital and maximize your gains.

Here are a few examples.

A high yield example

NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT (TSX:NWH.UN) owns a high quality portfolio of medical office buildings and hospital properties in major markets in Canada, Brazil, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand.

The healthcare REIT generates stable cash flows from having a high occupancy of about 96% and a weighted average lease expiry of 13 years. Additionally, it gets organic growth from having more than 70% of its net operating income indexed to inflation. It also has CAD$370 million projects in its development pipeline that’ll also add to growth.

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Which Stock is More Likely to Cut its Dividend?

Vermilion Energy (TSX:VET)(NYSE:VET) and TORC Oil & Gas (TSX:TOG) are trading at multi-year lows and offer yields of 10% and 7.6%, respectively. Which is more likely to cut its dividend?

There are some things that management can’t control, such as commodity prices, and there are some things that they can control, such as capital allocation (i.e., how much cash flow to allocate for reducing debt, sustaining the business, investing in growth projects, and paying dividends).

Looking at how the companies have handled their capital allocation in the past can give an idea of which oil & gas producer will more likely cut its dividend.

Vermilion

Vermilion’s stock has maintained or increased its cash distribution or dividend every year since 2003. Since 2003, VET’s total payout ratio (which accounts for sustaining capital, growth capital, and dividend) has expanded to as high as 162%, but the company didn’t once cut the dividend.

VET places a high priority on its dividend. If history is indicative of the future, then VET will try to maintain the dividend even when the operating environment is tough.

Notably, VET doesn’t have the tendency to buy back stock like other energy companies, such as Suncor Energy (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU) and Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ)(NYSE:CNQ). Last year, the capital the company returned to shareholders was 100% dividends.

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