Top 5 Foundation Dividend Stocks for any Portfolio

Foundation Dividend Stocks

Hey everyone!  I was sitting at my kitchen table doing an intense round of push-ups, reading articles and had a thought.  I would love to share my point of view on the top 5 foundation dividend stocks that every beginning investor should own.  Also, this could work for anyone that is also transitioning from more of the “sexy” (i.e. complex) type of investing into something that we, dividend investors, feel – just makes more sense.

In order to bring the excitement up a notch, we have drilled down to FIVE dividend stocks to be the foundation to YOUR dividend portfolio.  The five dividend stocks represent different industries and hold the mighty, “Dividend Aristocrat”, crown, as well.

Finding the top 5 foundation dividend stocks

Stage 1 – Dividend Aristocrat

I feel that to make the top 5 foundation dividend stocks – one should be a dividend aristocrat, or one who has raised dividends for 25+ years.  To see the active list, go here.  That link to BuyUpside is actually a very useful page that I used when I first began investing back in the day.  From reading that list, there are over 50 dividend paying stocks that have paid and increased dividends 25+ years!  Quite a list if you ask me.  Therefore – we have just drilled down the entire market into 50-53 stocks, what a screener, huh?

A Dividend Aristocrat is no easy feat to accomplish.  You have to go through all crises in the last 25+ years.  Crises such as the Tech burst, 9/11, the great financial crisis or recession and most recently – the global pandemic from the coronavirus.  Dividend aristocrats provide a steady growing stream of passive income, in the form of dividend income, on your road to financial freedom.  Definitely one of the major reasons I focus on them!

Related: Dividend Aristocrats – Who & What are They

Let’s see what Stage 2 has.

Stage 2 – 2.50% Yield

Not only do I think the top 5 foundation dividend stocks should be an aristocrat, but I think they should first have a yield higher than the market as a whole (over 1.8/1.9%).  In addition, I also think they should be over 2.50%, a little more greedy, eh?  This literally cuts the list in half, I believe, to 26 stocks.  I think that makes it easy for us.  We literally have taken thousands of companies that are trading on the public stock market, this takes the nonsense out.

Stage 3 – 5 Industries

Now that we are down to 26 stocks, we need to pick 5 different industries.  Think of being a consumer.  What do we need and rely upon?  First, energy & utilities are one.  Secondly, food products would be another.  Thirdly, we can all agree healthcare should be included.  What about communication, such as – to call, text, cell call, use the internet to e-mail?  I believe that is highly needed in this day and age, with the trend to continue the usage.

Those are a few glimpses of investing in industries that are for LIFE.  In addition, these industries have stood the test of time. At least for now, no disruption has occurred to replace the need for good health or to eat. I am sure I will be long gone before that occurs!  The stock market typically reduces volatility in those industries, because there is a constant need and cash flow/income stream to those businesses.  Therefore – we are talking lower volatility on these investments, as well!

Related: Investing in Industries that are for LIFE

Step 4 – The Stocks

The moment we have all been waiting for – the Top 5 Foundation Dividend Stocks!  We wanted to make sure we were in different areas/industries.  This helps diversify and spread the risk – if one industry is poorly performing, the other may not be.  In other words, it’s always nice owning more and being able to spread more eggs in one basket.  For instance, if you owned stocks within the same industry, here may be better players than others.  As a rule, completely different industries would be your best, first bet.

As very unintelligent, as this sounds, we wanted to pick companies that we have all heard of, that we see ourselves, family members and friends all use and enjoy.  This makes it easier, as the company tends to never go out of style or, for a fun little pun, goes out of stock (haha), we crack ourselves up let me tell ya (joking!).

These 5 Foundation stocks have provided a growing passive income stream to shareholders, in the form of dividends, for over 25+ years.  In fact, some have even been growing their dividend for OVER 50+ Years!  That, my friend, is what they call a Dividend King.

We will put each 5 Foundation Stock through the trusty Dividend Diplomat Stock Screener, where we focus on the 3 critical dividend metrics of:

  1. Price to Earnings Ratio (P/E)
  2. Payout Ratio
  3. Dividend Growth

Therefore, the top 5 foundation dividend stocks selected are below!

1. McDonalds (MCD) – Food

McDonalds, MCD, top 5 foundation dividend stocks

Everyone loves the golden arches!  Selling billions of hamburgers worldwide – it’s an internationally recognized company who continues to put smiles on individuals faces at every meal.  Whoa, yield has sprung above the 2.5% threshold.

  1. Price to Earnings: Analysts are projecting $7.98 in earnings per share for the year 2021.  Based on 7/10/20’s closing stock price of $184.88, the current P/E Ratio is 23.17.  This is slightly on the high side for me, as I usually like, at least, below 20.  The S&P 500 P/E ratio is typically in the 20-22 range.
  2. Payout Ratio: McDonald’s (MCD) currently pays out $1.25 per quarter, per share or $5.00 per year.  Based on earnings of $7.98, the dividend payout ratio is 63%.  They are right at the ceiling that I typically aim for, in that 40%-60% range.  Not too far from being below, though!
  3. Dividend Growth: McDondald’s, as stated, is a dividend aristocrat.  They have over 40+ years of consecutively increasing their dividend.  WOW!  Their 5 year average dividend growth rate is 8%.  This definitely outpaces inflation.

2. Procter Gamble (PG) – Consumers goods

Procter Gamble, PG, top 5 foundation dividend stocks

We see the name everywhere, we see them on the back of our packages – does Pampers, Bounty, Tide, Dawn, Crest, Gillette – all ring a bell?  For example, I shave, use soap, brush my teeth, and wash clothes.  Now, I don’t change diapers yet.. but if I did, PG is all over it.

  1. Price to Earnings: Analysts are projecting $5.20 in earnings per share for the year 2021.  Based on 7/10/20’s closing stock price of $123.89, the current P/E Ratio is 23.83.  Similar to above, this is slightly on the high side for me, as I usually like, at least, below 20.  The S&P 500 P/E ratio is typically in the 20-22 range.
  2. Payout Ratio: Procter Gamble (PG) currently pays out $0.7907 per quarter, per share or $3.1628 per year.  Based on earnings of $5.20, the dividend payout ratio is 60-61%.  They are right at the ceiling that I typically aim for, in that 40%-60% range.  Just like MCD, not too far from being below, though!
  3. Dividend Growth: PG is a dividend aristocrat AND dividend king, with OVER 65+ years of consecutive dividend increases!  Talk about putting the foundation, in dividend foundation stocks!

3. Johnson N Johnson (JNJ) – Healthcare Products

JNJ, Johnson & Johnson

Ever cut yourself and needed a band-aid?  How about Neutrogena for your high school induced acne or pimples?  Losing some hair – throw on some Rogaine.  Splenda, Tylenol, Listerine, Visine, Benadryl, Acuvue, Neosporin – all JNJ brands.  Given this stock’s better valuation, this could be on your list of stocks to buy starting out.  You better believe it.

  1. Price to Earnings: Analysts are projecting $9.04 in earnings per share for the year 2021.  Based on 7/10/20’s closing stock price of $142.37, the current P/E Ratio is 15.75.  Ah, a foundation dividend stock showing below the threshold I like to see.  This ratio is below the S&P 500, as a whole, and does show signs of undervaluation.
  2. Payout Ratio: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) currently pays out $1.01 per quarter, per share or $4.04 per year.  Based on earnings of $9.04, the dividend payout ratio is 45%.  JNJ has the perfect dividend payout ratio!  They are RIGHT in the middle of the 40%-60% range.  Beautiful.
  3. Dividend Growth: JNJ is yet ANOTHER dividend king, at over 50+ years, standing at 57 consecutive years of dividend increases.  Therefore, they achieve both dividend aristocrat and divided king status. Further, I consider them “good old reliable” for a reason. Their dividend growth rate stands at 6.3% for their 5 year average.  Definitely outpacing inflation, as well.

4. Consolidated Edison (ED) – Utilities

ConEd, ED, Consolidated Edison

Thomas Edison, need I say more?  We always need to have light, plug things in and I feel like everything needs charged.  Seriously – your car, phone, batteries, laptops and the list goes on.  Further, as we move more towards electricity usage vs. oil, this utility company stands to gain ground.  Introducing, Consolidated Edison (ED)

  1. Price to Earnings: Analysts are projecting $4.54 in earnings per share for the year 2021.  Based on 7/10/20’s closing stock price of $72.48, the current P/E Ratio is 15.96.  Ah, another foundation dividend stock showing below the threshold I like to see.  This ratio is below the S&P 500, as a whole, and does show signs of undervaluation.
  2. Payout Ratio: Consolidated Edison (ED) currently pays out $0.765 per quarter, per share or $3.06 per year.  Based on earnings of $4.54, the dividend payout ratio is 67%.  Most utility companies are on the higher side and, in fact, ConEd is slightly lower than what we see in the industry.  However, they are still slightly above the 60% ceiling.
  3. Dividend Growth: ConEd (ED) stands at over 45 consecutive years of dividend increases, easily a dividend aristocrat.  Their 5 year average is slightly at/above inflation with 3.10% average dividend growth rate over the last 5 years.

5. AT&T (T) – Telecommunications

AT&T, ATT, T

I have purchased AT&T a few times and they have a low growth, but sweet yield model – great to add a bang to anyone’s dividend income portfolio starting out!  From Cell phones, to U-Verse, Direct TV, Movies (Time Warner), House lines, Internet – AT&T can provide it.  AT&T (T) continues to be a beast in the entertainment and telecommunications industry, that’s for sure.

  1. Price to Earnings: Analysts are projecting $3.31 in earnings per share for the year 2021.  Based on 7/10/20’s closing stock price of $30.31, the current P/E Ratio is 9.16.  Showing signs of undervaluation, AT&T (T) historically is typically in the low p/e ratio.  However, this is definitely below the stock market as a whole.
  2. Payout Ratio: AT&T (T) currently pays out $0.52 per quarter, per share or $2.08 per year.  Based on earnings of $3.31, the dividend payout ratio is 63%.  Similar to a few others above, they are right at the ceiling on the payout ratio end.  Obviously, the global pandemic we are going through here in 2020 has impacted many company’s earnings.  I do not have a concern here and AT&T (T) is usually at/near the ceiling.
  3. Dividend Growth: AT&T (T) is an interesting beast.  They are a dividend aristocrat, but one that is yielding almost 7%!  Therefore, the average dividend growth rate is usually ~2%.  This one is a perfect model of high yield, low growth rate.  Therefore, this keeps your dividend income in line with inflation.

*All stocks updated through 7/10/2020

top 5 foundation dividend stocks summary

Those are TOP 5 Foundation stocks for ANY portfolio.  You can be a beginner, current or experienced investor.  These are dividend stocks that I continue to add to my portfolio on my road to financial freedom.  Anytime I see undervaluation in one of stocks, I consider adding more to my current position, no doubt.

Isn’t it easy to see why the 5 dividend stocks above should be a strong foundation for a portfolio?  Can you disagree these are 5 bad names to start with?  Are there others that you would consider before purchasing these to begin your financial journey with dividend investing?  Taking this information in consideration, you can have a rock-solid dividend portfolio out of the gate!

Obviously, this is all based on what valuation you give the stock at the time of purchase but I feel these are strong staples for anyone’s portfolio. As always, I would review our dividend stock screener to filter out different metrics to use.

I would appreciate the feedback to see your viewpoints, feedback and what you think should fall into this category!  Thanks all for stopping by – good luck and happy investing!

-Lanny

97 thoughts on “Top 5 Foundation Dividend Stocks for any Portfolio

    • MDP,

      I hear ya – oil definitely needs a spot on there. I like KO and PEP – one of the two should slide in. It was hard to widdle it down to 5, I like Chevron due to the higher overall yield on the stock initially going in. It’s funny seeing all of these stocks over 3%, outside of JNJ. I should have bought in more of PG and some JNJ when their stocks took big smacks to the share price. We all continue to add when and where we can, as you know, to these stocks listed – good thing it’s a long term game to play! Thanks again for stopping by MDP, talk soon.

      -Lanny

  1. Lanny,

    Great group of companies for sure. I have started buying MCD and PG myself, and would love to add T and JNJ for sure later on. You cannot go wrong with any of the companies you recommended for a good base to your portfolio. Good article!

    • SAD,

      I know! I need to own more, for sure. I told MDP – I should have grabbed some JNJ when they took a huge downturn in the stock price, as that quickly was erased as they are back well above the $100 mark. These companies are fun to continue to add to your position, hands down – the long term history speaks for itself. Thanks again for the stop, talk soon!

      -Lanny

    • Mark,

      Agreed – it was hard for me to leave KO & PEP off the list. KO did have that nice 6-7% price drop earlier in the week as well. I think we all can probably can agree – these 5 listed above are solid to have in anyone’s portfolio – boring, yes, but efficient and effective – certainly. Here is to hoping for some pullbacks and fresh capital to invest! Thanks Mark, talk soon.

      -Lanny

      • I will add ENB & BEP to this list.

        Enbridge Gas pays 7.5% dividend and is northern American gas and oil pipeline juggernaut. It is also a gas distributor utility. Despite the pandemic they have recently increased the quarterly dividend paid in May 2020.

        BEP is an arm of Brookfield produces and sells electricity from wind, solar and hydro across North America and 16 other markets around the world. The off take is guaranteed via long term contracts with utilities. It currently pays around 4% dividend. However; during the recent self off dividends yield climbed to over 7%.

        • J –

          Thanks for the comment. They definitely are a juggernaut – not sure they are a foundation stock, yet, though. Similar to BEP. I’d have to see how many years of consistent dividend increases they have had, you know?

          To make this list, you essentially have to have decades long of dividend growth a name everyone loves to recognize! That brand loyalty is key ; )

          -Lanny

    • RM2R,

      Thanks for coming by! Owning two of them is awesome, funny I own PG & T, but no JNJ… maybe cut our shares in half and swap? Joking, joking.. there will be a time and place – pullbacks happen all of the time – PG isn’t terribly valued, but I do think there are better ones out there, right now. Thanks for the stop and post!

      -Lanny

  2. Lanny,

    nice choices for a beginners portfolio.
    Those five offer some diversification as well as dividends and growth opportunities.

    One can easily take it from there by adding something like DE, CAT or GE.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Grow Independent,

      Thanks for coming down to the blog. I definitely agree – can easily add in one of the builder/construction companies, a conglomerate in GE, as well as oil that we mentioned in the comments, as well as other areas such as more consumer with PEP or KO. Can’t go wrong with these 5 listed above, popular brands and I just read an article that PG is looking to sell/spin off the Duracell brand – if you are so big and perform so well, that divesting Duracell makes sense – you must be a strong company. Thanks again for coming by!

      -Lanny

    • Arizona Trader,

      I know it’s extremely hard NOT to keep buying AT&T at these levels! Your yield on cost on a low yielder would take quite a few years to catch up to AT&Ts current yield. You can relate it to positions out of college – you can start in industry and make more than public, but typically in 5-7 years you’ll be making the same amount as those that do in industry, then we know where it takes off after that. All very interesting. Love AT&T, which is why I’ve purchased them a few times!

      -Lanny

  3. ED has only increased their quarterly dividend from $0.545 to $0.63 since 2000. Most electric utilities are not increasing their dividends enough to keep up with inflation. I would definitely replace ED with either KO or PEP to get more growth, but I like your other 4 choices.
    Good luck,
    KeithX

    • Keith,

      Thanks for the post. Typically they are fixed income type stocks, rarely increasing them – AEP just announced theirs at 6%. I dig KO/PEP – more so had MCD already in there due to the slightly higher yield than coke/pepsi, so didn’t want to overburden that area – however – might as well buy all 6 if you can, eh? It’s interesting – dividend aristocrats perform extremely well, and will make an individual wealthy with time and patience. Persistence fits in there too. Thanks Keith, good comment.

      -Lanny

  4. Keith,

    Great point. There are few utilities that increase their dividend – ED, AEP being a few (AEP just bumped theirs up 6% this past week). Do like the possible switch with KO/PEP. I think the conclusion could be – those can be interchangeable – I was more so trying to avoid possible consumers food type products with MCD & KO/PEP, however, I sit here and say I own both PEP & MCD, and do not own ED, yet.

    Thanks for coming by Keith – keep an eye out for AT&T, they should be increasing their dividend in December from the 5 above.

    -Lanny

  5. Solid list. Long the first 3, but I’m not sure I agree with the last two. I agree with your rationale, but ED and T are such slow growers. I’d be worried about my dividend income keeping up with inflation. If it were me, I would substitute ED with XOM/CVX and T with CMCSA (though not an aristocrat yet) or something.

    • DDeveloper,

      They are slow growers, you are right. I do like oil as well – any Chevron or Exxon are great slide ins with great dividend growth. It’s interest – the low yield high growth and the high yield low growth – I know there’s a tool that shows you how long for the break even/where the YOC of a low yield reaches the high yield, and it really doesn’t take too long to have that happen. Great points DD, appreciate the comment.

      -Lanny

  6. Very solid list. The only one that we don’t own is ED. I’ve been struggling on whether to keep T or not because the low dividend growth rate. ED is on the same boat as well that’s why I haven’t invested in ED yet.

    • Tawcan,

      I see what you mean, as that has been the common thread. I believe the bigger reasons why you could own it is = diversification (Telecom + Electric Utilities). However, oil has been mentioned quite a bit as a substitute – possibly XOM/CVX. I tried to keep the analysis to certain metrics within the aristocrat family. T will increase their dividend here in December, so that will give you a better sign on whether to keep them or not maybe?

      -Lanny

  7. I agree PG and JNJ are wonderful businesses to own forever. In this day and age I don’t know if I can really embrace junk food purveyor MCD. And ED has only been raising their dividend by a penney last few years. How about WMT who might actually benefit from a strong dollar, and as mentioned before either CVX or XOM who will be in position to scoop up cheap energy assets during this prolonged down cycle. I’d go with the higher quality XOM if forced to decide.

  8. Hey Lanny, you do not “widdle” something down. You “whittle” it. To widdle means to urinate. (But I like your list)!

  9. Another sector I would add is REITs. Everybody needs somewhere to live. Every (brick & mortar) business needs to rent floorspace. Their yields are fantastic, and they tend to be defensive.

    Only problem is valuations. We’ve seen a big flight of capital to assets like these in recent years, and it’s tough to find a reasonably priced one.

    I like WP Carey & Urstadt-Biddle, which are pretty generic. But it gets more interesting if you look at “data centre REITs”. A slightly more speculative play, but companies like QTS and DLR offer a nice combination of decent yields, and exposure to the growing cloud storage/data centre industry.

  10. I’m extremely new to investing but I would like to start a portfolio with these 5 stocks. I was thinking about opening a Robinhood account because no fees. The big question I have is do I find these 5 stocks monthly, weekly, bi weekly? That’s the part that’s completely confusing to me. Should I set a day each month and find the 5 funds and get compound interest? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Great article by the way also.

  11. Nice picks totaly agree on JNJ and T they are on my targwt as well but I disagree on MCD and PG. Yes they are great companies if looking into the past but I find them bit overvalued and lacking of growth potential. Bot companies are strugaling to increase their top and bottom lines. MCD has negative capital… that is a total nonsense and NO GO for me.

    ED looks quite good for investing with P/E bellow 20 for now, not to streached Balance, good yiels and a utility. But for ex I investe into Estonian utility TVEAT that pays 6,5% yield, P/E 15 and more or less same streanth balance. But ED loom buyable, but MCD totaly no, PG maybe but if they fix their growth and becomes less overvalued 🙂

    Either way great short list for beginers like me 🙂

    Best regards,

  12. Hi Lanny,

    I am from Turkey and I try to buy Turkish growth and high-yield dividend stocks every month. I also recently started dividend investing in the US markets with 30 shares of T after my initial analysis and after reading your great article. 🙂 Thanks for your article. Since there are more than thousands of public companies on US markets, it was really hard to eliminate the others and choose one for starting… 🙂

    Regards,

  13. Great list, Lanny! I do own T right now and have owned PG in the past. I plan to add all these stocks to the portfolio except for ED because I already own a lot of Canadian Energy stocks. Maybe that could change down the road. I just need to wait to the right buying opportunity to add the rest. Thanks for sharing!

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  15. Hi,
    That’s definitely a good list of stocks! I agree with others on PEP or KO being a definite candidate. The only one I would question is PG. Their 40 year dividend growth looks fantastic, but the last 5 years have been an average of 3% so they have definitely slowed down.

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  65. It is great. I own only 12 stocks in my US$ 1. 25 Million Portfolio (as of July 2020) of which all of your FIVE foundation stocks–PG, MCD,ED, JNJ, T and in addition – own KO, SO, MO, ABBV, XOM, CVX, JPM since 2013.

    I got rid of GE, IBM, WFC (most recently), AAPL and MSFT (took the gains in 2017 and 2018–sometimes regret)

    Great to see my portfolio still solid yield on cost of about 5.05%.
    I am impressed with your simple approach.

    Best Regards
    Murali

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