May 2020 Review

I started Dividend Pathway to hold myself accountable to investing for retirement and clawing my way out of debt.  Since this is my first monthly review- I am going to establish a baseline using a current status- then adjust from there on.


No dividend payouts in May; However- XOM, ADM, and MMM are paying dividends in June!  The chart shows my current estimated 2020 payout vs. actual payout.

May 2020 payouts


I started buying dividend paying stocks in April- but lets level set the portfolio as of May 31, 2020 for use in future months

May 2020 PortfolioMay Sector Weights

Net Worth

On December 31st, net worth was $1,657 when reality struck and a savings mindset finally set in.  Net worth is showing good growth this year, two retail credit cards have been paid off and budget solidified.

May 2020 Net Worth
2020 Net Worth

Blog articles posted: 3

Top article: Altria Stock Analysis

Blog views: 32


Altria (MO) Stock Analysis

Altria, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, is a corporation primarily focused on offering tobacco products.  The company owns several recognizable brands, the most well-known being Marlboro.  Altria reports on three segments- smokable products, smokeless products, and wine.  An investor, desiring to support the company, would shop for Marlboro cigarettes, Nat Sherman premium cigars, Black and Mild cigars in the smokable category.  Customers interested in other Altria products may look for Copenhagen or Skoal in the smokeless category and bottles of Chateau Ste. Michelle if purchasing wine.

Altria recently expanded into the cannabis business and purchased 45% of the voting interest in Cronos, a global cannabinoid company headquartered in Toronto.  Altria purchased 35% of JUUL most commonly identified as a vaping product in 2018.

I developed a watch list to narrow down possible stock purchases for further research prior to making an investment.  I am working to accumulate more shares of my initial stock purchases as I build a strong foundation for my dividend portfolio.  Altria looks to be a promising company in need of a deeper dive.  Let’s take a look at 4 important aspects to consider before buying stock in any enterprise.


A company cannot grow its dividend payout without generating revenue and profits.  I search for companies demonstrating strong earnings per share history (EPS) and sales revenue exhibiting an increase over the past decade.  Altria made a poor investment choice in purchasing a portion of JUUL forcing it to take a massive impairment charge and report a negative EPS for 2019.  EPS does not always give an accurate picture of how the company performs over a long period of time.  An investor utilizing EPS based on a normalized basis may get a better snapshot of earnings performance. Altria EPS Net income may be influenced in the short term by many different accounting principles- using normalized numbers for a long-term analysis conveys more clarity to an annual or quarterly report.  Altria’s normalized earnings per share confirm a company continuing to increase earnings over the past decade.

Sales Revenue must reflect movement upwards indicating the company exhibits positive increases in sales.  Picture1Altria is still growing top line revenue due to their unique ability to increase the cost of their product to a loyal customer base even when faced with less smokers across the United States.

An investor must do their homework before buying stock- including reading the most recent annual report at a minimum.  Look for how the company is doing in reportable segments- in Altria’s case smokable products, smokeless products, and wine.  Doing so helps gain perspective to growth inside the company.  The chart displays how each segment has performed over the past 5 years.  Altria revenue by segment

Dividend and Yield

I chose to become an investor focused on dividend paying stocks.  Altria is one of the few Altria Dividendcompanies on the Dividend Kings list- a select group of companies that have raised their dividend for 50 consecutive years.  Strong pass on dividend history!  Next check- has the dividend growth been above 6% over the past 5 or 10 years?  Altria surpasses this requirement showing a 5-year combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% and 10-year CAGR of 10%.  The dividend is growing at an aggressive rate proving Altria is indeed dividend royalty.

My goal is to purchase companies that are yielding over 2.5% but I strive to balanceAltria Yield against too high of yield at the same time.  I want the stock to yield less than 7% because many companies with a high yield have it for a reason.  As of the writing of this article, Altria is yielding a whopping 8.9% a definite red alert to the stock.  Altria is yielding at its highest percentage over the past 10 years.  The ability to purchase a stock near its high yield over a past decade can be a solid long-term investment, however a yield this high could indicate issues with how the stock is currently priced.

Price to Earnings Ratio

Altria Historical PEThe price to earnings ratio is possibly the most common way to begin screening out stocks for investment purposes.  The lower the P/E ratio- the more value provided to the buyer of the company.  Taking a look at the current Altria P/E on yahoo finance shows a result of N/A.  The reason is due to using the reported annual EPS instead of the normalized EPS.  Another reason I advocate looking into the normalized EPS.  When substituting the normalized earnings of $3.77- the P/E ratio becomes 10.01, providing a better perspective to the investor.  Altria is trading near its average low P/E over the past decade.

Payout Ratios

Altria Payout RatiosMy last screening criteria before determining if a stock qualifies for further research are the payout ratios.  When putting Altria’s dividend payout up against normalized EPS and Free Cash Flow per share there is not a lot of room for Altria’s payout to grow.  While reading the annual report- the company position is to keep paying up to 80% of EPS towards the dividend.  Armed with this knowledge, I am comfortable with the dividend vs. EPS and FCF ratios.

Future Estimates

Altria possess a 50-year history of raising dividends.  Even with COVID-19 affecting the investment landscape, the company is committed to continuing this tradition.  The Argus analyst report expects dividends to hit $3.74 in 2021.  Altria pulled it 2020 EPS guidance, but analysts predict $4.22 in 2020 and $4.51 in 2021.  The future earnings are able to cover the expected rise in the dividend amount.

Fair Value

I combine two analysts reports, 5-year high yield, dividend discount model and 5-year average low P/E ratio as a guide to pricing a stock.  The combination of these show a fair value price of $53.40 per share.  Altria is trading at $37.73 roughly a 30% discount to my estimated fair value.  The high over the past 52-weeks is $52.46 with the bottom set at $30.95.

Final Thoughts

Altria is considered a wide moat company by Morningstar and Marlboro is a global brand.  In the face of a declining customer base due to less smokers, Altria has been able to generate profits over the last decade.  The JUUL investment has not proven to be wise in the short term, but with attitudes towards marijuana evolving in the US, the Cronos investment shows promise.  Altria is a dividend king, rewarding long term investors with increasing payouts.  I believe Altria is a solid buy at its current price of $37.73.  I am looking to add to my position the first week of June.

Thank you for reading!


Hi! Thank you for visiting Dividend Pathway where I detail my pathway to financial independence!

I am new to dividend investing, but made my first stock purchase during the internet bubble in the late 90’s. Back then- CNBC was on everywhere you went- from the gym to the bar. The NASDAQ was roaring and I planned to be a millionaire in months. Needless to say- my dreams crashed at the same time as the stock market.

Over the past couple decades- I fell into the typical American spending habits of taking on too much debt and sacrificing the future to finance purchases now. I realized a few months ago as the pandemic started to sweep across the country my finances were a disaster. Tens of thousands of dollars in debt and very little saved for retirement, combined with no emergency fund. I got very serious, very fast about my financial future.

I spent the next few weeks researching different investment styles to determine my comfort level. My goal is to invest for retirement, while methodically paying down debt, save cash in an emergency fund and achieve financial independence over the next two decades. What I discovered was- dividend investing is my sweet spot. I like the idea of funding part of my retirement with a steady stream of annual income paid to me by blue chip companies. I continued to devour everything I could find on dividend investing and began to sharpen my plan.

I decided to blog my path to retirement. There are many excellent places to read about dividend investing- my hope is that I eventually join them. One common thread among the sites I was reading- they were all mature websites- with large portfolios, dozens of stocks and hundreds of posts. I felt overwhelmed and so far behind the rest of the bloggers- my enthusiasm was dampened. I want to provide readers who find themselves in the same position as me a pathway to financial security. I am the first to admit- I am still learning and will make mistakes, but I want to document how I was able to get out of debt while still working on an investment plan. Hopefully I am able to help people realize the journey to a big portfolio with thousands of dollars in dividend payments starts by purchasing their first stock, with the money they scrape together.

Join me on my pathway to retirement!