4 Stocks for Monthly Income

It’s pretty common for people to look into dividend stocks if they’re looking for monthly income. This is especially true for people who are retired, who are nearing retirement and the early retirement FIRE movement folks.

Dividends are the portion of the profits that’s paid out to its shareholders on a regular basis. Buying stock in the company makes you a shareholder and investor. Shareholders and investors used interchangeably a lot. The dividend amount and how often they pay are usually determined by the company and the majority of the companies pay every three months.

This is great but what if you use dividends as your primary source of income to live everyday. Or you’re looking for some passive income every month. This is where monthly income from dividend stocks comes into play.

Here’s a list of 4 companies that pay dividends every month.

  1. Realty Income (O)
  2. Main Street Capital (MAIN)
  3. SL Green Realty (SLG)
  4. STAG Industrial (STAG)

There are more companies that give a monthly income but some lack consistency, some don’t have a long history of paying dividends. The criteria I used to filter them down are –

  1. Companies paid dividends for around 10 years or more.
  2. No missed dividend payment during the 10 year or more time frame.
  3. Increased dividend payments over time.

Companies fitting these criteria gives a certain level of confidence as it shows longevity, consistency and commitment to their track record. This is particularly important because we have no control over the dividend policy of the company. You have to use the information that’s available online to determine whether these companies deserve your investment.

Most of the companies in this list are REITs (Real Estate Investment Trust). REITs are companies that own real estate properties and produce income by renting or leasing out their property.

The business model of these REITs on a very basic level is very much like you buying a house and renting out to make a small profit after paying your mortgage, property tax and maintenance. On a larger scale these are big corporations that have access to a lot of money and can buy big commercial properties and rent them out to other large corporations for lease agreements that are in excess of 5 years. 

Slight difference would be that they specialize in long term leases under a net lease agreement.

Here is a little bit more information about each of these companies.

1. Realty Income (O)

Realty Income is a REIT that focuses on commercial properties under a long term net lease agreement. A net lease agreement means that the renter is responsible for paying a portion or all the property taxes, maintenance costs etc. This is like having a rental property without any of the tenants problems.

Realty Income is so proud of paying dividends on a monthly basis that their company tagline is “ The Monthly Dividend Company”. Realty Income definitely has their investors in mind and know that people are mostly buying their stock for the monthly dividend. Their home page provides details on how the stock has performed since being listed in NYSE and how long they have paid dividends. I found this on Realty Income home page.

Dividend Metrics

  • Current Dividend Yield: 4.8%
  • Dividend per share monthly: $0.235
  • Dividend per share yearly: $2.81
  • 10 year Dividend Growth rate: 4.9%
  • Years paying dividend with increases: 28

Looking back to the last 10 years they have raised their dividend by an average of 4.9% on a yearly basis. Easy way to look at it is if you got $100 in dividends the first year, the second year you received close to $105 in dividends. The third year would be 5% on top of the $105 and so on.This is pretty good in my opinion since it’s above the regular inflation rate of about 2%.

Seeing an average of 4.9% annual dividend growth rate might seem very small and unimpressive because well it’s just 4.9%. Monthly dividend per share for Realty Income in 2010 was $0.144, 2015 was $0.191 and 2020 was $0.234. 

From 2010 to 2015 – an increase of 32.6% in dividend payout over a span of 5 years. From 2010 to 2020 – a massive increase of 62.5%. 

What’s really important to understand from this is that you can only enjoy these massive dividend increases if you have been invested in the stocks for 5 or 10 years. The 5 year and 10 year difference also demonstrates the need for being invested in dividend stock for a long period of time. The longer you are invested in a stock that raises their dividends regularly, the better you will do over time. 

Not being able to see the impact of what a 5% annual growth rate is probably the reason why it’s difficult for people to grasp onto the concept of the power of compounding, but that’s a topic for another day.

2. Main Street Capital (MAIN)

This is the only company on the list that is not a REIT. Main Street Capital is an investment firm that provides long term debt and financing to lower middle market and middle market companies. That’s just a fancy way of saying providing loans to companies with annual sales up to $1 billion.

Main Street Capital has found a nice sweet with the companies they are helping out with loans. The companies they are helping out are usually too big to get any loans from the SBA (Small Business Administration) and at the same time too small to get any consideration by Wall Street. Main Street Capital as their company name is pretty smart branding if you think about it.

Dividend Metrics

  • Current Dividend Yield: 7.6%
  • Dividend amount monthly: $0.205
  • Dividend amount yearly: $2.46
  • 10 year Dividend Growth rate: 5.1%
  • Years paying dividend with increases: 10

After reading through Realty Income’s 10 year dividend growth rate of 4.9% and further breakdown of the dividend amounts in 2010 vs 2015 vs 2020, I don’t think there is a need to have the same breakdown for each company. You get the general idea behind it.

I found something very interesting about their dividend policy. They have a very conservative dividend payout on a monthly basis and have a special dividend like a bonus paid out 2 times a year. This was cut for 2020 for obvious reasons. I like that they try to be safe with this so when they have a difficult year like 2020, they are not looking to cut or pause their regular monthly dividends. The $2.46 dividend is without the special dividends so once business picks up again, the total dividends will be closer to $3.00 per share a year.

3. SL Green Realty (SLG)

SL Green Realty is another REIT. It is the largest office space landlord in Manhattan and its primary focus is to acquire more properties in Manhattan and maximize value.

I am not very sure of investing in a office space focused landlord in Manhattan with all the work from home. 

SL Green Realty is a very new player in the monthly dividend game. They have had dividends since 1997 but they always paid on a quarterly basis until recently. The switch to monthly dividends occurred in March 2020. Dividends since 1997 shows a good track record but that is very deceiving. SGL fell on some hard times during the financial crash and cut their dividends to $0.1 every quarter until 2010. From 2010 onwards they have steadily raised their dividends to $0.295 every month in 2020. To make this a fair comparison, calculating the dividends on a monthly basis they have raised it from $0.03 to $0.295 over 10 years. That’s a huge 785% increase in dividends over 10 years.

Dividend Metrics

  • Current Dividend Yield: 5.8%
  • Dividend amount monthly: $0.303
  • Dividend amount yearly: $3.64
  • 10 year Dividend Growth rate: 24.4%
  • Years paying dividend with increases: 10

4. STAG Industrial (STAG)

STAG Industrial is another REIT. They focus on industrial and logistics properties – think of warehouses and distribution centers for all the online shopping you do. This is one of the companies I can think of that has done extremely well during the pandemic, especially considering that Amazon is their biggest tenant and rents about 40% of their properties.

Similar to SL Green Realty, they also paid dividends on a quarterly basis and slowly transitioned to monthly dividends in October 2013.

Dividend increase for STAG industrial is quite small and you can’t expect a big dividend hike if their history is any indication. Dividend increases have been $0.01 on a monthly basis every year since 2015. The tiny dividend hike is the disappointing part of owning STAG stock but I think the future is very bright for them since their main properties are distribution centers and warehouses. eCommerce sales are only going to go up from here so they are well positioned to take advantage of that. 

Dividend Metrics

  • Current Dividend Yield: 4.7%
  • Dividend amount monthly: $0.12
  • Dividend amount yearly: $1.45
  • 5 year Dividend Growth rate: 1.1%
  • Years paying dividend with increases: 9

Conclusion

You might get the impression that I am suggesting to invest in all 4 of them. My suggestion would be to pick one or two from this list based on how you think their future is going to look like. The performance of these stocks for the last 10 years only goes so far and nobody can predict the future.

Each of these have their own pros and cons. If I had to pick two from this list I would put Realty Income first because they have paid dividends for a really long time and then I would take STAG industrial because I believe they are in an industry that has a lot of potential growth.

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