Note: The following is a guest article from our sister site, StreetAuthority.com.
I counted twice, just to be sure...
That's the amount in 'daily paychecks' -- i.e. dividends -- I received from my investment portfolio in 2010. That's $112.77 for each day of the year. Cash.
Why am I telling you this?
It's not to brag. I was born and raised in Wisconsin. The typical Midwestern mentality is so ingrained in me, I very rarely talk about money. And I'm not one to show off, either. I drive a Nissan I bought six years ago. I get my hair cut at Supercuts.
No, I'm telling you this because I honestly think what I've discovered is the single best way to invest, hands down.
I'm talking about what I call the 'Daily Paycheck' strategy. Over at StreetAuthority, Chief Strategist Amy Calistri's goal is to build a portfolio that pays at least one dividend every day of the year. The idea for her advisory came from my personal 'Daily Paycheck' experiment.
I've been following the strategy personally for a few years now. In that time, I've not only been able to build an investment portfolio that pays me more than 30 times a month, but the checks are getting bigger and bigger as time passes.
What I like best is that it's the easiest way to invest you can imagine. Once you get started, it runs on autopilot. Of course, you'll make a few portfolio adjustments now and then, but you won't have to anxiously watch your holdings every day.
Now it's time to come clean. If you start this strategy tomorrow, it's unlikely you'll be earning $112 a day by the weekend.
I've been fortunate to start with a healthy-sized portfolio. And as I said, I've enjoyed the benefits of implementing the 'Daily Paycheck' strategy for a few years now, so my payments have grown much larger than when I started.
But here's the good news... it doesn't matter. Whether you have $20,000 or $2 million, you can click here to start your own 'Daily Paycheck' portfolio today. The results are fully scaleable, and anyone can have success, as long as you follow eight simple rules Amy and I created to not only build our portfolios, but also manage risks:
1. Dividend payers beat non-dividend payers.
According to Ned Davis Research, firms in the S&P 500 that raised dividends gained an average of +8.8% per year between 1972 and 2008. Those that cut dividends or never paid them produced zero return over this entire time span.
2. Higher yields beat lower yields.
This is such a no-brainer that it doesn't require explanation. Clearly, a bigger dividend puts more cash in your pocket.
3. Reinvesting your checks beats cashing them.
This buys you more shares, which leads to larger dividend checks, which buy you even more shares, and so on (this is how my dividend checks have grown).
4. Small caps beat large caps.
A 70-year study of different equity classes showed that $1,000 invested in small-cap stocks grew to $3,425,250. In large-cap stocks it grew to only $973,850.
5. International beats domestic.
The average U.S. stock pays just 2%. That's peanuts compared to yields overseas. Stocks in New Zealand yield 5.4%... stocks in Portugal yield 4.1%... in Spain 5.3%... and in the Czech Republic 4.8%.
6. Emerging markets beat developed.
It's much easier for a small economy to post fast growth than a large one. And investors who know this benefit. Since 1994, Vanguard's Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund is up +268%. Stocks throughout the developed world, as measured by Morgan Stanley's EAFE index, are up just +55%.
7. Tax-free beats taxable.
Tax-free securities often put more cash in your pocket at the end of the day -- especially if you're in a high tax bracket. A municipal bond fund yielding 6% pays you a tax-equivalent yield of 9.2% if you're in the 35% tax bracket.
8. Monthly payouts beat annual payout.
Getting paid monthly is not only more convenient -- you actually earn more. Thanks to compounding, a stock paying out 1% monthly yields far more than 12% -- it can actually pay you 12.68% if you reinvest.
It's these eight rules I've followed to build a portfolio that not only paid me $112 a day in 2010, but that is also seeing rising payments. In December 2011, I earned 59 checks, at an average daily amount of $214.18. (December's payouts were higher than normal thanks to year-end dividends, but there's no doubt the payments are increasing.)
I've been investing for the better part of two decades. During that time, I've tried just about every strategy and style you can imagine. And don't get me wrong -- you can make money any number of ways in the market.
But earning thousands of dollars each month consistently? I never experienced that until I implemented the 'Daily Paycheck' strategy.