Barron’s conversation about dividend investing

A conversation with Barron’s Lawrence Strauss and Lauren Rublin on dividend investing in the current economic and financial climate.  The replay should be “free” but you may have to register with Barron’s to hear it. https://tinyurl.com/ya5apobb Note: The views expressed here are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer. Nothing written here should be construed as investment advice. Consult your investment advisor for specific recommendations. 

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Another battle in the neverending war between clarity and confusion….

A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal starts off with a promising title, “Why Many People Misunderstand Dividends, and the Damage This Does.” June 7, 2020 . That is most certainly true. After nearly two decades helping to manage dividend portfolios, I can say that even institutional investors and pension fund consultants still seem to trip over the basic math of dividend investing. Unfortunately the newspaper article only adds to the confusion when the author, an academic, asserts that “Paying dividends doesn’t benefit investors, because a dividend of $1 simply reduces the stock price by $1—just as withdrawing from …

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NBN Interview with Tyler Cowen: You mean big business is good?

You mean big business is good, contributes to our general welfare, and is not generally guilty–with notable exceptions–of all of the charges made against it?  That’s the argument libertarian economist Tyler Cowen makes in his book Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero (St. Martins, 2019) Most NBN listeners will raise an eyebrow to that claim, but most of those same NBN listeners are up for a good back-and-forth on the virtues and demerits of our market system. And to that end, being familiar with Cowen’s arguments–made in this book and his many other publications and platforms–is very useful.  The shift …

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Random Book Project #1

I’m launching something I call the Random Book Project. Its purpose is to give additional “life” to some of the books that I have collected over the years and are gathering dust on my shelves. These books are disappearing in the digital age. They are left in a decreasing number of public and university libraries, before they are ultimately “de-accessioned.” Some hardbacks end up as color coordinated staging in steak houses and boutique hotels. The Random Book Project attempts to give these books at least a minimal digital presence for works that Project Gutenberg and Google Books will likely skip. …

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Are the Generals fighting the last war?

In Dealing with the Russians (Polity, 2019), Andrew Monaghan argues that Western policy makers are using an outdated Cold War model of ideology, language and institutions, which is wholly unsuited for understanding, engaging, and countering where necessary Russia in the 21st century. One of England’s leading experts on Russia, Monaghan argues Western policy makers need to let go of the past Cold War rhetoric and come up with modern tools to manage the current stage of the three-century long “Russia and the West” policy conundrum. Listen to the New Books Network interview here.  

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New York Times column on dividend investing.

A recent column by Jeff Sommer in The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/24/business/coronavirus-stocks-investing-dividends.html) highlights some of the challenges faced today by investors seeking income from their stock holdings. While the economic shutdown has certainly created an adverse environment for the public-company cashflows that have historically been paid out in dividends, income-seeking investors will want to consider a few additional perspectives beyond what is raised in the Times. First, Sommer implies that because stock ownership has shifted from individuals a century or half century ago, to mutual funds, pension portfolios, and other institutional accounts now, that dividends are somehow less felt on …

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“Go East, Mr. Douglas….”

Bill Douglas needed money. He always needed money. And now, reeling from a very expensive divorce, and with a new wife, he needed even more money. Douglas had come from a modest upbringing, the son of an itinerant preacher who had ended up in the Pacific northwest. He worked his way through a local college—after getting the first year free on a scholarship—and then crossed the country to New York, where he worked his way through law school. Douglas advanced very quickly in the legal profession, but his expenses regularly outstripped his income. He borrowed. He did one-off writing jobs. …

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