Monday, January 29, 2018

How I Track Dividends

Dividend growth investing, keeping track of dividends
Keeping track of my dividends is very important to me. I like to keep track of the dividends I've received and see when dividends are increased. This allows me to easily see if a company has stopped increasing their dividend or if they have cut the dividend. I can also see the true gain/loss a stock has provided me once the dividends are factored in.

I created a spreadsheet back in 2014 when I started my journey to keep track of the dividends manually. I used to manually go through each company to see when they were paying dividends and what the dividend amount was. I've since upgraded my methods so I don't have to do as much manual work. I still have to manually keep track of the dividends paid, but that is because I want to make sure I have that portion correct. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and like to verify with my brokerage (Charles Schwab) before filling in the dividends paid. 

One of the many reasons I love dividend growth investing is that the dividend payments offset a lot of the risk that comes with any company. As much as people like to try and predict the market, no one really knows whats going to happen. The dividends at least guarantee some of my return. Another reason is that dividend growth companies continually raise their dividend year after year. 

If you just look at some of the dividend champions such as Proctor Gamble (PG) and Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) they have increased their dividends every year for 61 and 55 years respectively. This is an incredible feat and if you can invest in a company that raises the dividend for 50+ years you will have done very well for yourself. 

I wanted to be able to keep track of the companies that increased their dividends year over year, so I worked on finding a solution. If you are looking for a similar solution to tracking dividends and increases then you may want to check out the spreadsheet I created and the steps I take below:

1. Create an account on SeekingAlpha and add all of your stocks to the portfolio.  There are a lot of opinion articles on SA that I don't read, but instead I get the daily summary e-mail of my stocks. In this e-mail contains any press releases related to the companies in my portfolio. These press releases are from the company and are not written by SeekingAlpha. The press releases will contain when companies declare dividends and this will include when they increase dividends as well. I briefly scan these daily morning e-mails for the press releases for this information. You may find some other relevant information pertaining to your holdings in this section as well. 

2. Create a spreadsheet of your own or download the spreadsheet I use and input your own companies. I developed the spreadsheet in Excel because Excel can be a very powerful tool. There are some web queries that pull the data to my excel spreadsheet from Google Sheets. The spreadsheet I use is located here: Stock Spreadsheet

The two data sheets titled "Cameron's Data" and "Cameron's Div Data" are ones that pull data from outside sources. The stock prices are pulled from google finance and the dividend payment date and dividend amount are pulled from Nasdaq's website. There can be instances when the data is not pulled right away and you will get an error. However, I've created two hidden columns that run an iferror formula to at least pull back the last non-updated information. There is some manual work to update the hidden columns if the payment date or dividend value has changed. However, I figure this is still easier than trying to keep track of dates and dividends manually. 

The dividends sheet is a manual entry sheet, but once you have the dividend payout it becomes relatively easy. It links back to the stocks sheet so you can easily add it to the total gain.

If you want to use this spreadsheet and want more help using it just let me know. I'm happy to answer any questions you have. 

3. I follow other dividend growth investing blogs and their social media accounts. A lot of dividend growth blogs I follow routinely post about dividend increases. If they have a twitter account, I can follow them there as well to quickly see if a company has issued an increase. 

As a dividend growth investor it is extremely important to know whether a company raises or decreases their dividend. Creating a system to monitor increases/decreases is vital to making sure you are making the right decisions on buying, holding, or selling. 

Let me know what you guys think! How do you track your dividend payments and dividend increases?


  1. Is any of your portfolio in a taxable account? I'm still evaluating the best way to track dividend payments for tax purposes. How are you tackling this?

  2. Hi, do you consider payout ratio when considering dividend stocks? I applaud your record keeping as well. Nice spreadsheet.