“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”
I wonder what Einstein would have said in a world where bank savings products pay less than 1%, the five-year Treasury bond yields 1.9% and the S&P 500 dividend yield also sits at 1.95%? These historically low investment yields take away the power of compound investment growth through the reinvestment of interest or dividend earnings. To benefit from the eighth wonder of the world, you need to find high yield investments that pay sustainable, well above average dividend yields.
The InfraCap MLP ETF (NYSE: AMZA) sports a hard to believe 23% dividend yield. There is a range of reasons why that yield is so high, but at this point the quarterly dividends are sustainable at the current or close to the current level. If that is the case, AMZA is an investment that you can use to compound income and share count growth by over 5% every quarter.
For example, if 500 shares of AMZA were purchased in March 2015 (just before the energy sector crash) and you reinvested dividends every quarter here is where you would sit today. Your quarterly dividend earnings would have grown by 57%, from $255 to $400. Shares owned would be up 62% to 813. However, AMZA is an MLP focused ETF, and the MLPs crashed right along with the energy sector in 2015 as crude oil dropped from around $100 to less than $30 per barrel in 2016 before rebounding to where it’s been lately hovering around $50. AMZA shares are valued at about half if what they were early in 2015.
But with a disciplined dividend investment strategy that share price drop is not necessarily a bad thing. In March 2013, when AMZA was $21 per share, the dividends from 500 shares purchased 12 additional shares each quarter. Now in the 2017 third quarter, the dividends on the 813 total shares own would buy 45 shares. Reinvesting as the share price has fallen has increased your share purchasing power by 275%. I know it feels like a twisted way of thinking to be benefitting by 275% from a share price that has dropped by about 50%.
The underlying MLP fundamentals make this strategy work. While stock market values have gone into a bear market, MLPs for the most part have been able to sustain and in many cases, grow distributions paid to investor. As a result, AMZA is earning the same cash income per share from its portfolio at $10 per share that it was at $21 per share. You’re just now able to buy it on sale.
The fund managers also sell call options to boost portfolio income. Call option income potential is generally better when volatility is high, as it has been for MLP values. The energy infrastructure sector did need to adjust for a lower crude oil price world and they have done so. I forecast that MLP distribution growth will start to accelerate, which will bring up individual MLP values and the AMZA share price. That process may take time, but remember that the plan is to reinvest the 5% dividend earned each quarter, so a slow recovery is not a problem.
If you want to build an income stream growing at 5% per quarter, 20% per year, buy AMZA shares and reinvest your dividends every quarter.