When you are choosing dividends so that you can begin building an income stream, it is important to consider your options and choose carefully. There are a few items you should consider as you look for the best dividend stocks, and one of them is payment history. You want to follow the trends in dividend payment at the company so that you can get an idea of whether or not the company is likely to continue at the same rate.
Some of the things to pay attention to when considering the dividend payment history of a company include:
Dividend Yield Average
The dividend yield average can tell you a lot about a company’s dividend. When a stock is trading with a yield above its average it could possible be considered undervalued, or under bought. When a stocks is trading with a yield less than its average it may be over bought. The yield average can also help you get a quick idea of where the stock stands now compared to recent years. Stocks with a dividend yield far above its average may be in trouble unless this higher than average yield is due to significant dividend growth.
Dividend Growth Rate
One of the things you can do is look at the dividend growth rate over a period of five years. You can get this number annualized, but year to year there may be more volatility. If you want a number that smooths the volatility, the five-year dividend growth rate can be helpful. The hope, of course, is that you see an increase in dividends over time. Our general target is to find stocks that have a dividend growth rate of 5% or more.
Dividend Payment History
Another thing you can do is check to see how long the company has kept with its schedule. Has the company been paying out dividends at a steady rate for the last five years? 10 years? 25 years? The long the company has of solid dividends, the better off you are likely to be. Our safe dividend list covers companies that have increased its dividend for 25 years or more.
Also look at the history of dividend cuts. During times of economic trouble, it is common to see cuts, but you want to see also that the dividend was raised against after the trouble eased. A red flag is if you look and see that dividends cuts have proceeded even thought the rest of the industry is doing well, or if economic growth is happening.
Net Income Growth Rate
This is a look at the rate at which the company’s income grows. Understanding how the company’s income is increase is important. This is because dividends are based on profits. If a company’s past performance shows that the net income is decreasing, it could be a sign that dividends will be cut soon.
You also want know the outlook and performance of the industry as a whole. Look at the past performance of the industry to get an idea of whether or not things have been moving steadily forward. Next, consider the possible prospects for the future. If the company is in a company that has seen steady growth for the last few years, and has good prospects to continue on course, then it is likely that the company will see success and the dividends will keep coming.
In the end, there’s no way to completely predict what any company will do with its dividends. However, if you look at the company’s past performance, you can get clues as to what might happen next. We also like to use analyst ratings to help predict future price targets on the highest yielding dividend stocks.