Last weekend, my wife and I met with a real estate agent to initiate the first step of buying our first house! In the past, I have written about how we are in no hurry to purchase a house, take on a mortgage, and begin incurring all the extra expenses that we hear about from friends and family. But, we anticipate the home buying process to be a lengthy process for us as we carefully vet our options to find that perfect house. This article will be a different style and format that I have had in the past, because I would love to leave it open-ended for a discussion and hear from as many people as possible about this topic. So please, at the end, share your experience/story!
Recently, we saw the ugly side of debt. As we all watched Kinder Morgan’s stock fall and wait for the final, inevitable sword of a dividend increase, there was one thing that became evident…KMI’s debt level was too high and the results were unsustainable in the current market environment (See Lanny’s awesome write up/analysis about KMI from earlier in the week). The pressures mounted and management plus the Board of Directors decided to slash their dividend to preserve cash flow for capital expenditures and cover interest/dividend payments. While debt isn’t a bad thing, I don’t want you leaving this intro thinking that’s my conclusion, runaway/uncontrolled debt can present many problems. The name of our game on this website is investing in stocks with a growing dividend income stream, so we try to avoid companies and stocks that take us off of this course. Which is very ironic considering that Lanny and I purchased shares in KMI just under a month ago (here and here) With the wound from KMI still fresh, I wanted to run a stock screener and identify several Dividend Aristocrats with low debt levels. Check out our newest installment of our Top 5 list series (foundation stocks and low dividend yield/high dividend growth rate stocks)….the Top 5 Dividend Aristocrats with Low Debt to Equity Levels.