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Hello 2021, goodbye 2020! What’s there to say about 2020 that hasn’t been said already? The year started out hopeful, despite knowing it was going to be a very contentious election year as the year unfolded. Who expected it to turn to s**t so fast? By spring the world found itself in lockdown and the economies of the world suddenly slammed on the brakes, causing stock markets around the globe to crash faster than 2008’s financial crisis. As if that wasn’t bad enough, summer brought a level of civil unrest in the country that hadn’t been seen since the late 1960s. Autumn brought a second, more deadlier wave of the virus and an election that didn’t get totally resolved on election day. Overall, 2020 was a particularly unpleasant year for many and the new year started with guarded optimism.

For me, the year started well as the bull market had been quite kind to the total value of my dividend investing portfolio. But come March, my portfolio’s value had dropped by nearly 50%. Yeah, that was a stomach wrenching time. But I didn’t panic sell, stayed the course, and only sold just enough stocks (often at a loss) to get needed cash. After March, the stock market slowly clawed its way back, steadily climbing back up to pre-pandemic valuations. My dividend portfolio has not returned to its previous heights, mainly due to stocks being sold off and some stocks not fully recovering. But if you had the cash, the year offered enormous investing opportunities, especially in March.

Income Totals

So how was my 2020 total dividend income? Here it is, along with previous years’ dividend income totals:
2008 $ 251.63
2009 $1349.98 (436.5% over 2008)
2010 $3453.20 (155.8% over 2009)
2011 $4074.18 (18% over 2010)
2012 $4086.27 (0.3% over 2011)
2013 $4513.42 (10.5% over 2012)
2014 $5780.63 (28% over 2013)
2015 $7361.25 (27.3% over 2014)
2016 $8541.46 (16% over 2015)
2017 $9588.70 (12.2% over 2016)
2018 $10317.15 (7.6% over 2017)
2019 $10415.55 (0.95% over 2018)
2020 $ 8628.29 (-17.2% below 2019)

Grand total of 12.5 years’ dividend income: $78361.71

As you can see, my annual dividend income growth rate slowed significantly from 2016 to 2019 and, for the first time, declined in 2020. The regular selling of stock assets, which began in 2019, is taking its toll on my dividend income. Also, dividend cuts took their toll as well. Cuts have usually been offset by buying more stocks, but when no new stocks are acquired, then unmitigated dividend cuts become more painful.

Quarterly Performance

Here’s how 2020’s quarterly dividend totals add up:
2020 Q1: $2421.27 $2517.72
2020 Q2: $2648.76 $2162.18
2020 Q3: $2553.11 $2029.37
2020 Q4: $2694.01 $1919.02

Quarterly income varied, but is clearly downward trending. Obviously, that’s NOT good. Why? For the same reasons mentioned above: dividend cuts, selling of stock assets, and no new dividend stock investing.

Dividend Cuts

Dividend cuts have been a regular part of my dividend quest, so here’s how dividend cuts played out in 2020:

CLM cutting its dividend from $0.2053 per share to $0.1853 (a -9.74% cut). That amounts to a $4.50 per month cut.

EDF trimming its monthly dividend from $0.18 to $0.17 (-5.55%), thus reducing my monthly income by $2.50.

EDF slashed its dividend from $0.17 per share to $0.08. NCV trimmed its dividend back from $0.0525 per share to $0.0425. Finally, NRZ cut its dividend to the bone and then some, severely cutting it’s quarterly dividend from $0.50 per share to $0.05, a 90% reduction.

EAD slightly trimmed its dividend from 5.97 cents per share to 5.90 cents per share (-1.2%), which is just a slight nick. HQL, with its ever fluctuating quarterly dividend, cut its dividend from last quarter’s 37.0 cents per share to 34.0 cents per share this quarter. ZTR sharply reduced its monthly dividend from 11.3 cents per share to 8.0 cents (a -29.2% cut!). Finally, USA cut its quarterly dividend down from 17.0 cents per share to 14.0 cents (a -17.6% cut)

EAD slightly trimmed its monthly dividend from $0.5390 to $0.5381. PNNT cut its quarterly dividend 33% from $0.18 per share to $0.12 per share.

EAD trimmed its monthly dividend slightly from 5.81 cents per share to 5.75 cents per share. That’s so tiny a cut that it’s scarcely perceptible. FGB slashed its quarterly dividend from 13.50 cents per share to 8.25 cents per share (a -38.9% cut, or -$44.62 per quarter for me).

EAD’s dividend was trimmed down slightly, from $0.0575 to $0.0571 cents per share.

EAD, as its dividend was slightly trimmed from 5.71 cents per share to 5.67 cents per share.

EAD cuts its dividend. In November, it was cut from 5.67 cents per share to 5.62 cents per share.

HQL cut its quarterly dividend from $0.41 per share to $0.40 per share for its December payout.

Dividend Increases

Dividend raises are rare for my dividend investing portfolio, but they do happen. Here are the few dividend increases I saw in 2020:

EHI raising its monthly dividend from $0.0635 to $0.066 (+3.94%), raising my monthly income by $1.00 which certainly helps to mitigate EDF’s dividend cut. Also, EAD nudged its monthly dividend up from $0.059 to $0.0591, raising my monthly income by $0.02.

NRZ doubling its dividend from $0.05 to $0.10.

HQL raised its quarterly dividend an impressive $0.07 per share, from $0.34 to $0.41. Nice! USA raised its quarterly dividend from $0.14 to $0.16 per share.

Stock Sales

60 shares of RA for $21.5712 per share in early January ($1294.27), then later 40 shares at $21.935 per share ($877.40)

40 shares of RA at $13.3865 per share ($535.46)

40 shares of RA at $14.71 ($588.40) on April 7th and then my final 40 shares of RA at $15.0144 on April 22 ($600.58).

80 shares of NRZ on May 27th at $7.36 per share ($588.80).

80 shares of NRZ at $9.05 per share ($724.00). Later in the month, I sold another 80 shares of NRZ at $7.80 per share ($624.00)

80 shares of EAD for $7.486 per share ($598.88).

20 shares of EAD at $7.4838 per share ($149.68), then 60 more shares of EAD at $7.3217 ($439.30).

50 shares of CHW at $8.541/share ($427.05) and later another 50 shares of CHW at $9.00/share ($450.00)

I sold off all of CHW in three separate trades during December: 50 shares at $9.30/share ($465.00), 50 shares at $9.54/share ($477.00), and 100 shares at $9.58/share ($958.00).

Total value of 2020 stock sells: approximately $9797


Looking through this site’s divided income numbers for the past six years, I’ve developed a picture of my slowly growing dividend income by measuring it in increments of hundreds of dollars and their frequency of appearance each year. As you can see in the table below, progress has been slow but steady for 2014-2019, but 2020 slipped a bit.

Goals, Past and Future

My first order of business is to stop the dividend income from continuing its deterioration. This can only be done by improving my income so I don’t need to sell off stocks. Once the decline has been arrested, then I can work on acquiring more dividend stocks and rebuild my dividend income to its prior levels and beyond.



Image Credit: mohamed_hassan (