Jam today or jam tomorrow?
This was one of the questions raised by a thought-provoking article "Dividend Growth vs. High Yield: Some Surprising Findings" on Seeking Alpha.
First consider income on a notional £/$ 10,000 investment, with income reinvested:
- In year 1 the 6%-yielder yields £/$ 600, in year 2 £/$ 660 (10,600*.06), then £/$ 674, etc.
- In year 1, the dividend-growth share yields £/$ 300, in year 2 £/$332 ($10,300*.0323), then £/$369, etc.
Of course, this comparison would change with different assumptions - and higher yield usually means higher risk (although there are some pretty safe 6% yields available through corporate bonds). You might also argue that total return is important. A fixed interest investment is unlikely to increase in value, while the share price of a dividend-growth share might increase. (However, if the dividend is growing at the same rate as the value of the company you might expect the company share price to remain broadly stable, in an ideal financial world.)
Also, inflation is important - discounting (or the reduction in the real value of future income streams) would tend to favour the current high-yielder over the future high yielder.
However, I think that the basic message for income investors is still similar - jam today probably beats jam tomorrow.
Do you agree?
I am not a financial advisor and the information provided does not constitute financial advice. You should always do your own research on top of what you learn here to ensure that it's right for your specific circumstances.