Rediscovering the Value of Yields in Recessions Epstein and White

For decades, the name of the personal finances game has been an asset or equity growth. High-growth tech stocks grew to dominate the market, some of which have grown to be among the largest companies in the world. And if you owned stock in those companies while they made their meteoric rise, your overall wealth may have ballooned in the process. But how confident do you feel with your wealth in those stocks? Would you feel comfortable with a 5% drop right now? A 10% drop? Maybe even more? If such a drop is a significant setback, ask yourself if your assets alone can reliably pay the bills.

Ask Your Money a New Question

If your retirement accounts have been invested in the general stock markets for the past decade, you’ve likely gotten used to the idea that equities in high-growth sectors tend to grow at faster rates than lower-growth value equities. Dividends and their percentage yields have been so low that the consistent double-digit growth usually dwarfed any benefit from a small, diminishing yield percentage.

But now, the tides have turned in the markets. And to protect your portfolio, it’s time to rediscover the value of yields and compounding interest rates. Firstly, when it comes to yielding stocks, don’t think about general stock charts or average year-over-year growth. Those charts don’t show your gains from compounding interest!

What Does Compounding Interest Look Like?

Compounding interest goes like this: $100 invested into an asset with a 10% interest/dividend rate becomes $110 at the end of the period. Then, $110 becomes $121 if reinvested, etc. But the stock chart doesn’t show that! All you’ll see is a note indicating the dividend yield along with a stock chart that likely shows modest gains of, let’s say, 2% in this example.

But remember to think about this: If you add your dividend percentage to the stock price at the end of each annual payment period, you’ll uncover the true growth of your investment. In other words, which of these provides the greatest return; 2% of 100, 2% of 110, or 2% of 121? If you apply compounding interest to even a modest growth rate in equity value, you could see even greater exponential gains.

In addition, stable yielding assets often don’t see declines as steep as high-growth stocks, helping maintain your asset value during downturns. However, not all yield-paying assets carry the same risk level.

Look Out for Yield Traps

There are some yielding assets available to you that can provide double-digit dividend yields but, in turn, see even steeper equity declines on a consistent basis. This type of investment is known as a yield trap because you could end up losing money altogether, even with such a high dividend yield.

Another type of yield trap may come in the form of a stock whose previous dividend payments are abnormally high and irregular, showing a higher percentage than what is realistic in the future. Check dividend history and payment reliability and consistency of each dividend payment before investing in a high-paying dividend stock.

Finding suitable assets to add to your portfolio is not as easy as it sounds. If you have questions about how to optimize your finances, Click here to sign up for a complimentary review of your financial plan.


Please Note: Epstein & White is a tradename. All services provided by Epstein & White investment professionals are provided in their individual capacities as investment adviser representatives of Mercer Global Advisors Inc. (“Mercer Advisors”), an SEC registered investment adviser principally located in Denver, Colorado, with various branch offices throughout the United States doing business under different tradenames, including Epstein & White. Information contained herein is for informational and illustrative purposes only and general in nature.  It should not be considered investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any type of securities or insurance products and no investment decision should be made based solely on any information provided herein. We provide this information with the understanding that we are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or tax services. We recommend that all investors seek out the services of competent professionals in any of the aforementioned areas.

Investment in securities carries a risk of loss, including loss of principal amount invested.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk. It should not be assumed that diversification or asset allocation protects a portfolio from loss or that such will produce profitable results. An annuity’s guarantee is subject to the claims-paying ability  of  the issuing insurance company.