Growing Dividends is the Secret to Wealth

Dividend Growth, Dividend Investing

For the dividend-focused investor, nothing is better than one of your stocks announcing a dividend increase. So you can be assured that this Seeking Alpha headline caught my eye: 100 REIT Dividend Hikes

Investing for dividend growth is a sure-fire way to build your wealth over the long term. The article explained that 100 real estate investment trusts (REITs) had increased their dividend rates so far in 2022. Last year there were 120 rate increases in the REIT sector.

This many increases bodes very well for one of my favorite investment strategies…

REITs own commercial properties or invest in real estate-related debt securities. The Nareit includes 213 publicly-traded REITs in its All REITs Index. These companies operate as pass-through businesses, which means they don’t pay corporate income taxes as long as they pay out at least 90% of net income as dividends to investors. The REIT dividend rules make the sector a good place to look for attractive dividend-paying stocks.

A few years ago, I researched the returns from growing dividend stocks. I found that investors earn an average annual compound total return that, over the long term, will be very close to the average dividend yield plus the average dividend growth rate. For example, if an REIT (or shares of any stock with growing dividends) has an average yield of 4% and the dividends grew by an average of 10%, investors in that stock will have seen a 14% compound annual total return.

While the shorter-term market cycles will pull returns above and below the expected results, owning a dividend growth stock for ten years or more will push the returns very close to mathematical expectations.

When researching dividend growth stocks, look first at the historical dividend growth rate. You want to see the average growth rate and how many years the company has been increasing its dividend. For example, industrial property REIT Prologis, Inc. (PLD) has increased its dividend for eight consecutive years with an average of 10.5% dividend growth. Add in the current 2.5% yield, and you have a low-teens return potential.

I like putting together a list of growing dividend stocks with the yields, growth rates, and how long the dividends have increased. With such a list, you can create a portfolio of stocks with the most attractive total return potential.

It’s an approach that can fast-track your retirement by increasing your income by up to 108% in just seven months. Click here to see how this could work for you.

Once you invest in this type of stock, you must watch the annual dividend growth rate to ensure the company keeps increasing the payout to meet your expectations. If the growth rate slows, you should consider selling and replacing that stock with better total return potential.

National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA) is one of my recommended REITs, having grown its dividend rate by almost 15% over the last six years. NSA yields 3.5%, putting the total return expectation close to 20% per year.

Hoya Capital Real Estate put out the article referenced above. The firm launched its own fund, the Hoya Capital High Dividend Yield ETF (RIET), a year ago. The fund invests in the REIT sector for a combination of high current income and dividend growth. The current yield is 6.9%. I have made this fund one of my Dividend Hunter recommendations. To see how to get my full list of recommendations, click here.

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