Categories
Income Investing Wealth

Dividend Growth vs Median Wage Growth

In case you haven’t been paying attention, most people are broke as fuck. The days of middle class growth and prosperity ended a generation ago.

Need proof? Look at real (real = adjusted for inflation) median household income in the United States. For years it was declining. Median real household incomes were flat from 1999 to 2016.

This seemingly simple measure is a driving force behind many of the recent societal shifts across America and much of the developed world. This is because while the economy has grown, the average Joe has been left behind. The wealth created by the overall economy didn’t simply evaporate – instead it went to a select few.

The 1%.

The owners of capital.

Labor has been shortchanged for a generation and people are looking for answers. This is precisely why far-left and far-right views are growing in popularity. Both wings of competing political parties offer radical solutions (and scapegoats) to their constituents who – driven by desperation – eat it up. The same situation has occured many times throughout history, often with tragic results.

Luckily, real median household incomes have started to improve. Still, the experience over the past 20 years has been horrible.

On average, despite a couple good recent years, real household incomes in America have grown by 0.53% each year this millennium! Compare that to average real GDP growth over the past 20 years of roughly 2% (which is already on the low side, historically).

Now compare real median household incomes and real GDP to real dividends paid by the S&P 500. The chart below shows real dividends per share for the S&P 500.

On its own this line doesn’t provide much information to evaluate against real household incomes or real GDP. The chart below, however, shows year-by-year growth in S&P 500 real dividends.

The average annual growth in real dividends this millennium: 5.14%.

5.14% vs 0.53% growth in real income growth (dividends vs. wages) is a massive difference. Especially if you compound this over 20 years as you can see below.

At 5.14% annual growth, $100 of annual dividend income grows to $272.

At 0.53% annual growth, $100 of annual wage income grows to $111.

That’s 145% more income for the person who derives their income from dividends. This clearly shows that the owners of capital (shareholders) have far outperformed the providers of labour (workers) over the past 20 years. And this doesn’t even count the capital gains on shares during the same period.

So who would you rather be?

This is the reason why many people have chosen to transition from providers of labour to owner of capital by saving and investing heavily. The aim is to accumulate enough capital to replace labour income with dividend income + capital growth. It’s the path many use escape the rat race.

Categories
Wealth

Shortages and Inflation

The Covid lockdowns shut down businesses as people remained quarantined at home. Consequently, businesses drew down inventories as they worried about a depression-like economic environment.

What few foresaw was that many consumers would exit this pandemic richer than when they entered it. Portfolios and home prices have performed very well, while savings rates have skyrocketed. There is a lot of pent-up demand, and as lockdowns across America subside sales comps at US retailers are rising.

Rising demand coupled with depleted inventories is causing a shock-like rush to restock. Amit Mehrotra, head transportation analyst at Deutsche Bank explains:

“We look at sell-through rates of major retailers and compare them to how inventory per store is tracking. If you look at Dollar Tree for the most recent quarter, same-store comp growth was 4.9% but inventory per store was down 5.1%. That’s a 1,000-basis-point spread between sales and inventory. The spread for Walmart was over 700. At Target, it was almost 400. At Tractor Supply, it was a whopping 2,000 basis points. These are big numbers. It’s a critical sign.”

He adds:

“Inventories are flying off the shelves faster than companies can replenish them. That is why the inventory restocking cycle is still in the early innings.”

This resurgence of inventory restocking costs money and is pushing up all kinds of prices involved with manufacturing and shipping goods.

Baltic Dry Index up 428% over 1 year:

Copper up over 90% during past year:

Lumber up over 350% during past year:

What do this restocking scramble mean for you? Higher prices.

Inflation expectations have risen significantly over the past year, as indicated by 5 year breakeven rate. (The breakeven inflation rate represents a measure of expected inflation derived from 5-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Securities and 5-Year Treasury Inflation-Indexed Constant Maturity Securities. The latest value implies what market participants expect inflation to be in the next 5 years, on average.)

OK but what does this really mean for you? By some estimates the cost to build a house has risen by over $30,000. This increase is reflected in both new builds and resales. Expect to see price increases in day-to-day goods too. Proctor & Gamble has stated they will raise prices in September to fight higher commodity costs. Kimberly-Clark and Coca-Cola have also recently announced price increases. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Categories
Wealth

8 Financial Mistakes Made by 20-Somethings

1 Holding too much cash and not investing for years. Time is on your side and the earlier you start compounding returns the less you have to save over the long run.

2 Spending too much of your money to prop up someone else’s education or lifestyle. Friendships and relationships don’t last. Especially ones formed in your twenties. I’ve seen friendships dismantled over a couple hundred dollar loan. It’s good to be generous, but you need to be investing in yourself at this stage of your life.

3 Buying daily takeout food and drinks (yes, including coffee). Waste of money. Plain and simple. A little extra meal planning and you won’t notice the difference…that is except for the extra money in your pocket.

4 Working your ass off for your employer expecting something (other than your paycheque) in return. If you get a promotion and decent pay raise, then great. But many make the mistake of overcommitting to their early employers thinking management will make them whole.

5 Paying thousands of dollars for school, before actually knowing if you’re actually interested in the subject matter and that the education leads to a desired outcome. (Education for education’s sake is for the wealthy, and much of what can be learned in a liberal arts degree can be picked up by reading a few books.)

6 Marrying too early, for the wrong reasons or to the wrong person. Being married to the wrong person is hell. Getting divorced is even worse, and it’s financially devastating.

7 Waiting too long to get married. If you think you will someday want to get married, your 20s is prime time to find a high quality, compatible mate. Added bonus: dual incomes and shared expenses (e.g. housing) makes life more affordable. Of course, divorce is super-expensive so ensure you marry the right person (stable, financially compatible, trustworthy, etc.).

8 Forgetting that you’re in your twenties. This is the decade where you have the freedom and time to do whatever you want. See the world, meet people, invest in your mind and body in multiple ways.