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.