From our earliest days in childhood, we've been drilled with the fact that we can't have our cake and eat it, too.
So why, as a grown-up, would I think that this long-established paradigm has changed? Well, it really hasn't, except that I believe I've found some investments that, counter to prevailing logic, offer cake both now and later. That's something readers of
The Millionaire Zone
like to see.
When I invest in a company, I seek rewards or returns on my invested capital. Now, popular investing mantras hold that you can either have your rewards today in the form of dividends, or in the future in the form of realized company growth. But usually not both.
Why? Because growing companies need capital to finance the growth, and the most economical source for that capital is internally generated funds -- reinvested earnings. If the earnings are reinvested, there isn't much left over to pay you as a dividend.
And many investors feel that paying a dividend sends a signal that a company doesn't have profitable growth opportunities. So some companies don't pay dividends to avoid sending this signal, but then throw away the cash with ventures or projects that don't really make sense.
If I have a choice, I prefer companies that pay at least some dividends. It's my capital, and I want at least some return on it now. If company management and employees are being rewarded for the company's success, I feel I should be, too.
Actually, what I really believe is that a well-managed company should pay its capital suppliers a decent return now and hold some capital in reserve to finance profitable projects. It keeps company management honest.
Management is then compelled to make the most of what they have left over -- no waste, please.
Click here for the video version of this story from Jennifer Openshaw.
So I poked around with an investment screener to locate stocks with a dividend of at least 2.5% and a five-year growth rate of better than 20%.
My picks are either from the
or the S&P Midcap 400, and are relatively safe bets with no unusual risk factors. Finally, they are from a wide assortment of industries, including banking, real estate, telecommunications and technology.
- Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) - Get Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (HBAN) Report. This full-service Columbus, Ohio, bank operates in five states and pays a 4.9% dividend with a projected 23% growth rate, and probably has play as a takeover candidate. Several other banks could have made my list, including Wachovia (WB) - Get Weibo Corp Sponsored ADR Class A Report (4.1% dividend, 26% growth) and Cincinnati Financial (CINF) - Get Cincinnati Financial Corporation Report (3.3% dividend, 37% growth). Note that my choices operate in areas with relatively less exposure to overpriced real estate.
- Worthington Industries (WOR) - Get Worthington Industries, Inc. Report (3.2% dividend, 28% growth). Now let's move to the manufacturing sector. There aren't as many choices here because of the overall slump in the sector nationwide. Worthington, another Columbus, Ohio, company, makes metal products like gas cylinders, steel studs and pumps, and pays 3.2% with a 27% growth rate. 3M (MMM) - Get 3M Company Report (2.5% dividend, 23% growth) and Waste Management( WMI) (2.8% dividend, 21% growth) also fit the pattern.
- Rayonier Inc. (RYN) - Get Rayonier Inc. Report (4.3% dividend, 26% growth). This familiar forest products concern has an interesting twist -- it is set up as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, to avoid paying corporate taxes on funds received from its extensive real estate operations.
- Verizon (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report (4.3% dividend, 55% growth). While the growth rate over the next five years will most certainly slow, Verizon is still a powerhouse in this space, with growing national brand recognition. And who knows, it may be the first to succeed in providing the telecommunications trifecta of voice, data and media from a single provider on a single bill.
- Microchip Technologies (MCHP) - Get Microchip Technology Incorporated (MCHP) Report (2.9% dividend, 29% growth). It isn't easy to find qualifiers in the tech space. The growth story is there, but most pure tech firms, even the big ones, pay little to no dividends. Microchip is a very profitable custom-integrated circuit manufacturer with a diverse customer base, supplying the guts for specialized applications in the automotive, security, medical equipment and industrial-controls industries.
You might be wondering why some of the traditional dividend payers, like utilities and energy companies, aren't on this list. Well, most do not meet the growth criteria. Does this mean they are bad investments? Heck no, but the growth story adds a very real kick to my picks.
So get out the party hats and dish up the ice cream. You can have your cake and eat it, too. And that's what we like in The Millionaire Zone.
Jennifer Openshaw, a passionate advocate for helping Americans improve their finances and build their personal fortunes, is CEO of
The Millionaire Zone and America Online's personal finance editor. In addition to appearing regularly on TV shows such as "Oprah" and "Good Morning America" and on CNN, Openshaw is host of ABC Radio's "Winning Advice" and serves as an adviser to some of America's top corporations. Her new book,
"The Millionaire Zone," hit bookstores in April 2007.