$50,000 In Dividends So Far... Here's How I Did It

StreetAuthority Network

Not too long ago, I hit a big milestone. 

I officially received my 50,000th dollar in dividend income from my Daily Paycheck portfolio.

I'm not trying to brag. Instead, I want to show you how I did it, and how you could possibly too. 

A little less than four years ago, StreetAuthority co-founder Paul Tracy challenged me to build a portfolio of dividend stocks that would pay out more than 30 dividend checks a month -- one for every day of the year. He even gave me $200,000 and a dedicated brokerage account to get started.

I collected the very first dividend from my real-money portfolio on December 24, 2009 -- just a few weeks after launching The Daily Paycheck advisory. It was issued by Invesco Value Municipal Income Fund (NYSE: IIM).

My first dividend was for $18.13, or 7 1/4 cents per share for my initial holding of 250 shares.

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It doesn't sound like the most promising start. After all, $18.13 won't get you very far toward retirement -- that is unless you reinvest dividends and have a bit of time. As of today, I've received 46 dividends from IIM for a total of $953.02. My latest dividend was for $23.37 -- 28.9% more than my very first dividend. IIM did raise its monthly dividend to 7 1/2 cents per share back in August 2011. But most of the dividend growth is by way of dividend reinvestment.

You see, I reinvested my very first dividend back into IIM. The following month, I had incrementally more shares generating incrementally more income. 

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My next big milestone came in November 2010. That was the first time I received more in monthly dividends than the average Social Security retirement benefit. For the calendar month, I received $1,281.04. For me, it was a validation that The Daily Paycheck strategy could be an important retirement-building tool. Even if an investor only had a few years until retirement, a dividend reinvestment strategy could significantly boost their ultimate retirement income.

The dividend that put me over the top that month was from the Reaves Utility Income Fund (NYSE: UTG). This closed-end utility stock fund has delivered a total of $1,461.52 in dividends since my first purchase back in December 2009. UTG has also raised its monthly dividend twice since then.

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The $50,000 Milestone Buster 
In July, I reached yet another milestone: I received a dividend that put me over the $50,000 mark. On July 1, I received a $41.82 dividend from the media company Gannett (NYSE: GCI), boosting my total dividends collected to $50,030.26.

I profiled Gannett in April 2012, not long after the company raised its quarterly dividend to 20 cents, up from 8 cents per share. This month, I collected $42.15 from GCI, bringing my total to $246.95. Of course, the icing on GCI's cake has been its appreciation. GCI's share price has risen 94% since my initial purchase. 

The Steady Income Generator Foundation
It's probably not a coincidence that all my milestones have been reached with holdings from my "Steady Income Generators" portfolio. They may not have the juicy yields associated with my "High-Yield Opportunities" portfolio. And they don't increase their dividends as quickly as the holdings in my "Fast Dividend Growers" portfolio. But month after month and quarter after quarter, my "Steady Income Generators" portfolio delivers dependable income.

Even steady dividend payers can become income growers as long as you reinvest dividends. For instance, if you invested $100,000 in a 6% dividend-yielding security you would receive $6,000 a year. But if you took that same, steady investment and reinvested your dividends, in five years time your holdings would be generating $9,368 a year. The longer your time horizon, the more income your holdings can generate -- up to 274% in 20 years.

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All my three of my portfolios work in concert to deliver income growth. But I've come to think of my "Steady Income Generators" portfolio as my strategy's workhorse. It doesn't get the recognition of a racing thoroughbred, but it gets the job done, delivering milestones, day in and day out.

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