Dividend Paying Stocks Strategies

Guest Post by Donald Conrad fiduciary adviser, Conrad Capital Management

Dividend Paying Stocks are often a great option to traditional income investments. Investors measure dividend value through dividend yield, which is calculated by dividing annual dividends with the current stock price. Although the stock price tends to fluctuate, it might be a good addition to ones current strategy for those willing to hold for long term. In fact, the most popular dividend strategies such as the Dogs of the Dow, DRIPS, Proprietary Dividend Capture Strategy, to name a few, are straightforward and have relatively minimal capital requirements. The typical dividend is offered by mature companies that have graduated from the growth stage and are looking to provide additional investment incentives. Dividends may also lower a stock’s volatility as investors are more likely to hold dividend stocks longer than non-dividend stocks.

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There are four important dividend dates that investors should be aware of before investing in dividend paying stocks:

Declaration date – The board of directors announces all the important dividend dates, and the amount of the dividend payments.

Ex-Dividend date – An investor must purchase the stocks before the Ex-Dividend date to be eligible for dividend payment.

Date of Record – Two days after the Ex-Dividend date. The settlement of the trade needs to occur either before, or on the date of record, for investors to be eligible for the dividend payment.

Date of payment – The registered investors will be paid.

Dividend Investing Strategies

1)  The Dogs of the Dow is a high dividend yield investment strategy where the investor invests in the top 10 highest yielding Dow Jones stocks out of the 30. This strategy often offers diversification, less downside risk, and beneficial reward potential. The investor’s position is re-balanced after a year and a day to take advantage of more tax-efficient capital gains. To learn more about this and other variations to this strategy, consult your financial advisor.

2)  A Dividend Capture Strategy is when the investor purchases the stock before the ex-dividend date and then sells it ex-dividend, hence capturing the dividend. There may be many ways of doing this; thus it is important to work with your financial advisor to develop a strategy that best fits your needs.

3)  Dividend re-investments are another effective way for investors to take advantage of dividends where stockholders can increase their holdings and accumulate the value of their investment over time. Although investors will still have to pay taxes on reinvested dividends, a reinvestment strategy may be attractive to smaller investors looking to build a larger position in a company through dollar cost averaging. Some corporations also offer specialized dividend reinvestment plans called DRIPs, which are usually free of brokerage and transaction fees. Some corporations may even offer stock at a discount to market price through their DRIP programs. Ask your financial consultant about available dividend reinvestment plans that might be suitable for you and your investment goals.

Choosing a Dividend Investment Plan

While dividend investing can provide an attractive source of income for stockholders, it is important to consider the timing and efficiency of your investments. Be aware that dividends are taxed at different rates than income, and may cause administrative hassle if done incorrectly. Consult your investment advisor to ensure that your dividend investment plan maximizes return and best fits your needs as an investor.

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From Coast to Coast, Working People Fight for Stable Schedules

Update (12/6/16): Since we published this post, the Emeryville, California City Council unanimously approved legislation that will require large retail employers to publish work schedules two weeks in advance, pay extra compensation for last-minute schedule changes and provide opportunities for part-time employees to work more hours before hiring another person. This is just the latest victory in the fight for stable work schedules. Citizens of another California city, San Jose, will vote on similar rules in the November 8th general election.

In the years since the financial crisis and the great recession, working people have increasingly faced a big challenge to being able to make ends meet and provide for their families: unstable work schedules. But a few years ago, working people began to effectively fight back against the trend of corporations assigning unpredictable schedules and unsustainable hours. To address the issue, in late 2014 community leaders, labor advocates and people who work for large chain retailers in San Francisco came together and enacted the first set of comprehensive and meaningful standards. Now 40,000 people who work in retail and restaurant establishments have stronger guarantees of a fair and consistent schedule.

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Since that landmark victory, organizers and advocates have taken notice, launching legislative and corporate campaigns aimed at writing new rules to bring balance to our economy. Decision makers have taken note, and Attorneys General have launched investigations into abusive on-call schedules. As a result, many well-known retail chains have pledged to abandon the practice of insisting that employees keep their schedules open and lives on hold for shifts they may never be assigned to or paid for.

But on-call scheduling is only one part of a larger problem for a significant number of people who serve our food and ring up our purchases. A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Davis found nearly 40 percent of employees experience varying work hours. Without the ability to rely on a consistent schedule and regular hours from their employers, men and women have a difficult time budgeting and providing for their families. Raymunda Alfaro, who has worked at a Taco Bell restaurant in Washington, D.C., for more than three years, said, “most of the time I don’t have the same hours or the same day off. It is hard for me to plan childcare in advance and to know if I will work the same hours every week.”

Lawmakers in Seattle, at the urging of groups like Working Washington, took up this issue, unanimously passing legislation that will ensure predictable schedules for tens of thousands of people working in the city’s retail and food service industries. And last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his intention to pass legislation addressing this issue in the fast-food industry.

Given this progress, corporations and their lobbyists are stepping up their opposition, justifying their scheduling policies as what they need to maintain operational “flexibility.” This opposition has led policymakers in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis to draw back from passing similar legislation. But even as these bills have been pushed to the side for 2016, legislative champions are laying the groundwork for a successful push in 2017.

RELATED: Yes, We Can Do Something About Insecure Work

As more retail chains end on-call scheduling, they’re proving that unfair scheduling practices are by no means necessary for these businesses to be successful. And despite what the Chamber of Commerce would like us to think, a majority of business leaders support predictive schedules measures.

For many people, the amount and regularity of hours they work can be just as important as the wages they earn. As more political leaders and companies hear the collective voices of working people uniting on what they need to sustain their families, we can expect to see more positive change. In the meantime, we must remember that just as these employers actively choose to implement erratic and unsustainable work policies, they can choose to end them as well.

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7 Photos Of The Fight For $15 Protests Prove Raising The Minimum Wage Remains A Crucial Issue Post-Election

It’s easy to forget with the election of our incoming president-elect that millions of people mobilized to fight for their rights long before Donald Trump announced his candidacy. One such movement is the Fight for $15 campaign comprised of a labor union-backed group of organizations fighting for a national $15 minimum wage. On Nov. 29, service industry workers and their allies took to the streets from coast to coast to demand a living wage, and these photos of Fight For $15 protests show why this movement isn’t going anywhere, even under a Trump administration.

Arguably more organized than the Occupy Wall Street movement, Fight for $15 activists planned and executed the National Day of Disruption, a series of protests around the country designed to make their voices heard. At the heart of these protests lies the desire for a working class unity that hasn’t been seen for quite some time. This unity would be predicated on the opinion that “white working class Trump voter” is a dangerous myth and that economic inequality affects all working class and poor Americans — both Democrat and Republican.

Below are some photos from Fight For $15 protests around the country that showcase the bravery and passion of those willing to speak up for their belief in a living wage.

A Moral Crusader Got Arrested In His Reverend’s Robes

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Sam Barber II, known in North Carolina as the president of the state chapter of the NAACP and a leader in the state’s multi-faith “Moral Monday” movement, was arrested along with 22 other protesters in Durham, NC.

Sit-In Protesters Peacefully Arrested In New York City

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With civil disobedience as the cornerstone of the National Day of Disruption, these NYC protesters peacefully accept their arrests because to many members of the new labor movement, getting arrested is worth it in their struggle for a living wage.

A Multi-Racial Coalition Of Activists

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This photo expertly illustrates the multi-racial coalition of advocates who show that the fight for a living wage is far from single-issue activism.

Solidarity Across Employment Types

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At the #FightFor15 protest in Tampa, FL, nurses and clergy members came out in solidarity with service workers.

Minnesotans Came Out In Droves

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People of all ages in Minneapolis came out to support the fight for a living wage.

Fort Lauderdale Made Some Noise

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Vuvuzela-wielding airport workers made a joyful noise alongside drummers as they protested for a $15 minimum wage and a union.

Chicago Participated Via Silent Protests

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With protests planned in 340 American cities, the National Day of Disruption certainly disrupted the post-Thanksgiving consumer narrative, and hopefully sent an important message to the incoming administration: that the fight for $15 isn’t going anywhere.

YOUR TURN

Share your photos with us on the Union Built PC Facebook Page, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Union Built PC UNION STRONG eNewsletter for articles, tips and guides like this delivered straight to your inbox.

 

 

Photo source: Twitter

 

Yes, We Can Do Something About Insecure Work

A recent New York Times editorial claimed it is simply impossible for “good jobs” to equate to a “good life” for Americans. So a logical conclusion can be drawn, that “bad jobs” (or non-secure work) could ever equate to a “good life”.

Politicians routinely promise that, if elected, they will create more “good jobs,” which are understood to be jobs with solid wages, regular ours and, perhaps, generous employer-provided benefits. During this year’s Presidential Campaign, Hillary Clinton promised “the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II” by a means of a misture of tough trade negotiations, investment in domestic manufacturing, infrastructure investment, research and development, regulatory relief for small business and a tax credit to subside apprenticeships. President-elect Trump proposed to protect American workers from competition with illegal immigrants, the offshoring of jobs by United States-based corporations and harmful practices by trading partners like China.

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But far from the campaign stops and Capitol Hill, Americans are asking; shouldn’t we all be able to enjoy “good lives,” even if we have “bad jobs,” or those defined as insecure work… one’s with low wages, irregular hours and poor or no employer-provided benefits?

Well, according to an important new study from the International Labor Organization, which highlights smart policies that have been used to improve insecure work.

DOWNLOAD: International Labor Organization Study on Non-Secure Work

The comprehensive study by the ILO documents the rise of “insecure” or “non-standard” forms of work – temporary work, seasonal work, casual or intermittent work, daily work, involuntary part-time work, on-call work, temp agency work, subcontracted work, and employment misclassified as independent contracting—around the world in recent decades.

For most working people, these “non-standard” working arrangements have meant greater economic insecurity, including lower earnings, greater likelihood of unemployment, limited control over work hours, less predictable schedules, lower likelihood of union representation, greater occupational safety and health risk, and reduced access to on-the-job training and unemployment and retirement benefits.

The ILO study identifies policy choices that have made “non-standard” work less insecure, including the following:

  • Ensuring equal treatment for part-time workers with regard to wages, working conditions, freedom of association, safety and health, paid annual leave, paid holidays, maternity leave, pension benefits, protections against discrimination, and termination of employment;
  • Ensuring equal treatment for temp agency workers with regard to wages, working conditions and freedom of association, and protecting agency workers against discrimination;
  • Preventing abuse by setting limits on the use of temp agency work, casual work, on-call work or labor subcontracting, in certain circumstances;
  • Assigning joint liability for labor and employment obligations to lead firms in subcontracting networks and user firms in multiple-party arrangements;
  • Establishing minimum guaranteed hours for part-time, on-call and casual workers, and limiting the variability of working schedules;
  • Cracking down on misclassification of employees as independent contractors by, for example, establishing a presumption of an employment relationship or legally defining contracts for certain kinds of services as employment contracts;
  • Using collective bargaining to regulate insecure work by, for example, turning contract work into regular jobs; ensuring equal treatment of temporary, temp agency, casual and part-time workers; guaranteeing minimum hours; and negotiating worker-friendly schedules;
  • Ensuring that all “non-standard” workers can organize and be represented effectively in collective bargaining;
  • Broadening the scope of collective bargaining to all workers in a sector or occupational category;
  • Strengthening remedies against anti-union discrimination, especially discrimination against temporary and on-call workers;
  • Forming alliances between unions and other organizations, such as day labor worker centers, to address issues of concern to insecure workers;
  • Promoting fiscal and monetary policies that lead to full employment;
  • Making social protection programs more inclusive by lowering thresholds for hours, earnings, duration of employment and minimum contributions

Insecure work is not inevitable. Nor is the impossibility of a “good life”. Non-standard employment, including temporary work, part-time work, temporary agency work and other multi-party employment arrangements, disguised employment relationships and dependent self-employment, has become a contemporary feature of labor markets the world over. What is key is that the policies and regulations in place protecting non-standard workers detailed in the International Labor Organization study be an ongoing effort practiced consistently.

As Union Members you know… the “good life” does not have to be impossible.

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9 Home Safety Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time full of food, family get-togethers and traditions, but the holidays can also pose many safety concerns, so it’s best to be cautious. From lighting candles to hanging Christmas lights, there are plenty of safety hazards that can occur during the holidays. Let’s take a look at nine home safety tips for the holidays to keep you and your family safe.

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1. Inspect Lights
Carefully look at your holiday light strings every year, and be sure to throw away any cracked lamp holders, frayed cords or loose connections. When you replace bulbs, you need to unplug the lights and match the voltage and wattage to the original bulb.

2. Buy a Fresh Tree
If you buy a live Christmas tree for your home, try to purchase a fresh tree since they are more fire resistant. Always keep your tree watered, and keep open flames away from it.

3. Lights Out
When you leave your house or go to sleep, make sure to turn off your holiday lights.

4. Timed Lights
Use a certified CSA International outdoor timer to switch on and off your holiday lights. Your lights should be turned on after 7:00 p.m. to avoid the electricity “rush hour.”

5. Check for Certification
Your holiday lights, extension cords, spotlights, carbon monoxide alarms, gas appliances and electrical decorations should be certified by an accredited certification organization like CSA International, UL or ELT to make sure they comply with safety standards and performance. Look for the certification mark on the product package to ensure you are making a safe purchase.

6. Don’t Connect Extension Cords
You should never connect two or more extension cords together. Only use a single cord that is long enough to reach to the outlet you need without stretching.

7. Keep Electrical Connectors Off the Ground
If you are hanging lights outside, keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal gutters. Also use insulated tape or plastic clips to keep lights secure.

8. Choose the Right Ladder
Make sure you select the right ladder size for the job if you are putting up lights on your house. Check for a certification mark to make sure the ladder complies with safety standards.

9. Check Your Furnace
Prevent CO hazards in your home by hiring a professional heating contractor to do a maintenance checkup of your furnace and ventilation system. You will want to clean or replace your furnace filter often during the winter months.

YOUR TURN

How will you keep your home safe during the holidays? Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page, or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Union Built PC UNION STRONG eNewsletter for articles, tips and guides like this delivered straight to your inbox.