Investors love dividends. Dividends can boost returns and be used to supplement retirement income and improve lifestyle. What really rewards investors over time is when companies keep raising their dividend payments year after year. The so-called Dividend Aristocrats are S&P 500 companies that have raised their dividends for 25 straight years or longer. Yet some companies have an even longer track record — raising their dividends for 40, 50, or even 60 consecutive years.
24/7 Wall St. has identified 25 mid- to large-cap, well-established companies that have raised their dividends for at least 40 consecutive years. That is one heck of a track record for rewarding long-term investors.
Almost all of these companies should also be able to keep raising dividends as they are expected to have stable earnings in the years ahead. Many of the companies have even stated officially that they intend to keep raising dividends and returning capital to their shareholders.
Over time, dividends can add significant value to a portfolio. Though in recent decades the contribution of dividends has not been as significant. From 1930–2017, dividends income contributed an average of 42% to the total return of the S&P 500 Index.
Long-term investors in companies with increasingly higher dividends have historically also seen increasingly higher share prices over time. When dividends are reinvested, the cost basis — the original value of the stock — rises by the dividend amount. Consequently, the dividend yield may also be higher than what current investors would get.
Not all dividends are created equally. In a quality screening process of companies with dividend hikes, 24/7 Wall St. excluded companies that might have trouble increasing their payout in the years ahead. While such estimates for dozens of companies cannot be an exact science, most investors know that share prices get hurt when a company has to lower its dividend payment, knocking investors with a one-two punch.
Most of the companies with established long-term dividend hikes should be household names to many Americans, even among non-investors. Some of these companies are also members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but not as many as you might think. As of April 2018, only about one-third of the current 30 Dow stocks even had a 25 consecutive year history of dividend hikes.
If a company has a record of more than 40 consecutive years of dividend hikes, then it has a longer track record than most adults have even been investing.
Listed alphabetically are the 25 companies that have a track record of 40 years and longer of dividend hikes. We included the number of years of consecutive dividend hikes, when the company last hiked its dividend, and the current yield. We have also included basic data and information on each company.