Here’s what you need to know to build a Canadian dividend portfolio for maximum long-term gains

Creating a strong Canadian dividend portfolio will let you prosper from sustainable dividends—and here are the important factors that will guide you to that success

Here at TSI Network, we think Canadian dividend stocks are some of the best shares you can own in your stock portfolio.

Dividend stocks from Canada have added appeal because their dividends generally receive special tax benefits—U.S. dividends are not eligible for these tax benefits. This gives a Canadian dividend portfolio added value because of this.


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There are tax advantages to a Canadian dividend portfolio

Canadian taxpayers who hold Canadian dividend stocks are eligible for the dividend tax credit. This means that dividend income will be taxed at a lower rate than the same amount of interest income (investors in the highest tax bracket pay tax of around 29% on dividends, compared to 50% on interest income—investors in the higher tax bracket pay tax on capital gains at a rate of 25%.)

All in all, we think Canadian dividend shares are some of the best stocks you can own.

High dividend yields can be a danger sign for an investor’s portfolio

When looking for stocks for your Canadian dividend portfolio, you should avoid the temptation of seeking out stocks with the highest yields simply because of those above-average yields.

That’s because a high yield may signal danger rather than a bargain if it reflects widespread investor skepticism that a company can keep paying its current dividend. Dividend cuts will always undermine investor confidence—and can quickly push down a company’s stock price.

Above all, for a true measure of stability, focus on stocks that have a high dividend that they have maintained or raised during economic or stock-market downturns. That’s because these firms leave themselves enough room to handle periods of earnings volatility. By continually rewarding investors, and retaining enough cash to finance their businesses, they also provide an attractive mix of safety, income and growth.

A track record of dividend payments is a strong sign of reliability and a strong indication that investing in the stock will be profitable for you in the future.

It pays to know the key dividend dates that affect your Canadian dividend portfolio

Dividend stocks are an essential part of a good conservative investing philosophy.  But there are certain details you should know about the way dividends are declared and paid out.

There are 4 key dates involved with payments from dividend stocks:

  • Declaration Date: Several weeks in advance of a dividend payment, a company’s board of directors sets the amount and timing of the proposed payment. The date of that announcement is known as the declaration date.
  • Payable Date: This is the date set by the board on which the dividend will actually be paid out to shareholders.
  • Record Date: Only shareholders who hold the stock before the payable date will receive the dividend payment. That date is known as the record date; it is set any number of weeks before the payable date.
  • Ex-dividend Date: Two business days before the record date, the shares begin to trade without their dividend. This date is the ex-dividend date. If you buy stocks one day or more before their ex-dividend date, you will still get the dividend. That’s when a stock is said to trade cum-dividend. If you buy on the ex-dividend date or later, you won’t get the dividend. The ex-dividend date is in place to allow pending stock trades to settle.

As an example, here’s how it worked for TC Energy Corp.’s (formerly TransCanada Corp.) dividend of $0.81 a share payable on Thursday, April 30, 2020, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

One business day before the record date, the shares began to trade without their dividend, that is, on the ex-dividend date of March 30, 2020. If you buy a dividend-paying stock one day or more before the ex-dividend date, you will still get the dividend (because the shares are trading cum-dividend). But if you were to buy these shares on the ex-dividend date or later, you would not get the dividend.

Use our three-part Successful Investor approach to build your Canadian dividend portfolio

  1. Invest mainly in well-established, dividend-paying companies;
  2. Spread your money out across most if not all of the five main economic sectors (Manufacturing & Industry; Resources & Commodities; Consumer; Finance; Utilities);
  3. Downplay or avoid stocks in the broker/media limelight.

How have you diversified your holdings in a Canadian dividend portfolio?

How much of your investor portfolio do you dedicate to Canadian dividend stocks?

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