Here is the dividend income report for December, 2018.
The monthly dividend income came out to $2313.99. The yearly income total for 2018 through the end of the month was $6971.76.
The income for December, 2017 was $1837.78, and the yearly income for 2017 through the end of December was $7536.98.
I had my money in individual stocks from 2010 until late 2017. In 2017, I sold almost all of my stocks except RLI, and I put the money into ETFS: domestic and international bonds, domestic and international real estate, domestic and international dividend stocks, and a utilities fund. I bought the ETFs in December of 2017, and got payouts from those funds in late December. So any comparison of the ETF approach with the individual stock approach needs to take into account that I was double-dipping in the markets in December.
I also got some dividends from individual stocks in 2018 even though I had sold in 2017. I guess this is an example of all that ex-date and record date stuff that I do not think long-term investors need to worry about. You can read about that stuff here. I held a lot of the stocks that I bought for five to seven years. I doubt that missing one quarter’s payment will condemn me to eating cat food when I am old.
In December of 2017, I got $816.26 from dividend ETFs. If we subtract that from the 2017 total of $7536.98, we get $6720.72. In 2018, I got $80.74 from individual stocks othe than RLI. Subtracting that from our 2018 total of $6971.76 gives us $6891.02. So 2017 was still my best year up until that point, and I made more with the ETF strategy in 2018 than I made with individual stocks in 2017. It may seem pedantic to these calculations, but I think it is an accurate way of looking at and comparing the two strategies. I don’t change strategies too often.
Or maybe I am changing tactics because I am still investing mostly in dividend growth companies, but just doing it in a different, more indirect way.
I did not re-invest all the money I got from selling the individual stocks, so I could have done better in 2018 than I did. I might put that money into a commodities fund, a yieldco fund, or an insurance company ETF.
One of the reasons I kept RLI is I think the insurance industry will do well going forward. Insurance against damage caused by climate change will be in high demand going forward. I will have to look into this more. RLI did lose money due to hurricane claims. But my shares are worth a lot more than I paid for them, both due to capital gains and reinvesting dividends.
One thing I like about this approach is that it is a lot less work. I track my money in GnuCash, and I also have a spreadsheet for my investments; there are some things that I do not know how to do in GnuCash, like moving averages, and I have formulas to compare the value of the shares against what is spent, and a few others. I used to keep track of when companies have press releases announcing their dividends, and what the record and payout dates were. I used to have to enter in a LOT of information for all the stocks I was in. Now there is a lot less.
On the other hand, I wonder if this will help me stay afloat when I am older. This has been a concern for a while. My income is increasing by about $500 to $1000 a year. This includes new money into my IRA and from more shares from re-invested dividends. I guess I thought there would be some acceleration at some point, but it does not seem to be happening.
Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each December from 2011 through 2018:
Here are the securities and the income amounts for December, 2018:
- Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF: $39.41
- Vanguard Total International Bond ETF: $10.59
- Vanguard REIT ETF: $199.20
- Vanguard Utilities ETF: $209.32
- Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF: $234.77
- RLI Corp: $30.75
- RLI Corp: $139.79
- Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF: $40.80
- Vanguard Total International Bond ETF: $223.82
- Vanguard International Dividend Appreciation ETF: $47.82
- Vanguard Global ex-US Real Estate ETF: $279.54
- Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF, Rollover IRA: $302.29
- Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF, Roth IRA: $451.20
- Vanguard International High Dividend Yield ETF: $104.69
RLI paid a regular dividend of $0.22, and a special dividend of $1.00. Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF and Vanguard Total International Bond ETF each had two payouts in December. For some reason bond funds have two payouts in December and none in January. I hold shares of Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF in two separate accounts.
Big Jim had a pretty good year.
Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use. Painting “Aparición de la Virgen a San Isidro sobre el cielo de Bolonia” by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, or just Goya (1746-1828). Goya does have a website, although this painting is not on it.