Dividend Aristocrats

Aristocrat. Maybe the word brings to mind a sense of nobility- but in the dividend world, aristocrats are about stability.

The dividend investing world's aristocrats are the most consistent payers with the best track records.

Dividend stocks are of varying quality. A company isn't required to pay a dividend, and if they do, they aren't required to keep it up. Once a company maintains or raises their dividend every year for 25 years, they join a earn the title of Dividend Aristocrat, showing investors that they're serious about returning cash to their shareholders.

What bestows Aristocrat status?

- In the S&P 500
The Standard & Poor's 500,  is a stock market index based on the market capitalizations of 500 large companies having common stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. The stocks of the S&P 500 are selected by a committee, rather than by a strict set of rules.

-Raise the dividend, or maintain it for 25 years.
The list of dividend aristocrats tends to slowly change. A company with a great dividend track record may cut their dividend during hard times, getting themselves kicked off the list. Or a younger company may "come of age" and reach its 25th year of consistent dividends, and earn its place among the aristocrats.

Who are the dividend aristocrats right now?
As of right now, in 2017, the 52 companies making up the Dividend Aristocrats are:

  1. 3M Company (MMM)
  2. AFLAC Inc. (AFL)
  3. AbbVie Inc. – (ABBV)
  4. Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
  5. Air Products & Chemicals Inc (APD)
  6. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co (ADM)
  7. AT&T (T)
  8. Automatic Data Processing (ADP)
  9. C. R. Bard (BCR)
  10. Becton Dickinson (BDX)
  11. Bemis Company (BMS)
  12. Brown-Forman (Class B shares BF/B)
  13. Cardinal Health Inc. – (CAH)
  14. Chevron Corp. – (CVX)
  15. Cincinnati Financial Corp (CINF)
  16. Cintas Corp (CTAS)
  17. The Clorox Company (CLX)
  18. Coca-Cola Co (KO)
  19. Colgate-Palmolive (CL)
  20. Consolidated Edison Inc (ED)
  21. Dover Corp (DOV)
  22. Ecolab Inc (ECL)
  23. Emerson Electric (EMR)
  24. Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM)
  25. Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT)
  26. Franklin Resources (BEN)
  27. General Dynamics (GD)
  28. Genuine Parts Company (GPC)
  29. W. W. Grainger (GWW)
  30. Hormel Foods Corp (HRL)
  31. Illinois Tool Works (ITW)
  32. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
  33. Kimberly-Clark (KMB)
  34. Leggett & Platt (LEG)
  35. Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW)
  36. McCormick & Company (MKC)
  37. McDonald's (MCD)
  38. Medtronic (MDT)
  39. Nucor (NUE)
  40. PPG Industries (PPG)
  41. PepsiCo (PEP)
  42. Pentair – (PNR)
  43. Procter & Gamble (PG)
  44. S&P Global (formerly McGraw Hill Financial, Inc. SPGI)
  45. Sherwin-Williams (SHW)
  46. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (SWK)
  47. Sysco (SYY)
  48. T. Rowe Price (TROW)
  49. Target Corporation (TGT)
  50. VF Corporation (VFC)
  51. Walmart (WMT)
  52. Walgreen Boots Alliance (WBA)

Why Dividend Aristocrats?

-The Consistent Cash
Dividend Aristocrats pay out predictably, and it's very nice to get that income. Many people use dividend payments as a replacement paycheck, so the consistency factor is really important.

-They're big and stable.
Dividend Aristocrats have to meet certain size requirements, so you know you're not investing in some fly by night company. Rather, they've got 25 years of success under their belts, so they're a naturally lower risk set than the market at large

Why not Dividend Aristocrats?

- Maturity is a plus for those seeking stability, but it also means you miss out on using that same money to get in on the early days of a hot startup. See: Opportunity costs

- Dividends paid out mean less control of your tax situation. If you invest in a pure growth company, you don't have to realize your gains until you're ready.

- If the company is paying dividends, it doesn't have the cash anymore to grow itself because it gave it to you.

Do you like dividend aristocrats?

This is not intended to be investment advice. I'm not an adviser, nor am I your adviser, and you should always get a few opinions and info sources before taking any actions!

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