Commitment is a word often thrown around, but rarely backed up with actions. Salesmen are committed to your needs until you sign on the dotted line - then they are committed to next unsigned contract. A true measure of character is how committed are you to doing right when the times are hard and you are tempted to go astray? This same test can be applied to companies that pay and increase their dividends.
When the economy is booming and earnings are growing by double-digits, it is easy to increase dividends. But how about when the economy is slipping and margins are being squeezed? During these times are when you learn which companies are truly committed to their culture of increasing dividends.
Companies that have a reputation as good, solid dividend companies didn't gain this status overnight. It takes years, even decades, to build a relationship of trust with shareholders through increasing dividends. Many of these shareholders rely on dividend payments to provide for their families.
It is important to note, that this relationship is a two way street. Shareholders in top-shelf dividend growth companies are not quick to sell. This was especially noticeable during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The very best dividend growth stocks did not fall near as much as stocks cutting their dividends or even the average stock.
This week week, I screened my dividend growth stocks database for stocks that have raised their dividends for 50+ consecutive years. The results are presented below:Cincinnati Financial Corp. (CINF)
Yield: 5.5% | Years of Growth: 51
Cincinnati Financial Corp. markets primarily property and casualty coverage. It also conducts life insurance and asset management operations.Vectren Corporation (VVC)
Yield: 4.7% | Years of Growth: 52