If being a Dividend Aristocrat  wasn’t enough, I recently stumbled upon the idea of a Dividend Champion. The Dividend Champions list was an idea created by George Smyth and published monthly on his DRiP Investing Resource Center  site. Whereas the Dividend Aristocrat is a company that increases their dividend payout each year for 25 consecutive years, the requirements to be a Dividend Champion are less stringent. They have to at least maintain the dividend (they can increase it) over that same period.
What makes the Dividend Champions list so valuable is in the wealth of information the list provides. Not only does it include almost everything you could possible want to know about the Champions and their payouts, but it includes soon-to-be champions/aristocrats (20-24 year streaks) and the extent to which a company is a champion. For example, did you know that eleven companies have been on Champions for over 50 years?
- Diebold Inc. (DBD ) – 56 years
- American States Water (AWR ) – 55 years
- Dover Corp. (DOV ) – 54 years
- Northwest Natural Gas (NWN ) – 54 years
- Genuine Parts Co. (GPC ) – 53 years
- Procter & Gamble Co. (PG ) – 53 years
- Emerson Electric (EMR ) – 53 years
- Parker-Hannifin Corp. (PH ) – 52 years
- 3M Company (MMM ) – 51 years
- Integrys Energy Group (TEG ) – 51 years
- Vectren Corp. (VVC ) – 50 years
There’s also a 49-year streaker in Cincinnati Financial (CINF ), one more year before she joins the quinquagenarian club!
Fifty years… that means those companies have been paying out dividends (and increasing them) since 1960. That time period includes eight recessions listed on Wikipedia  such as the OPEC oil crisis in the 70s, the deeper recession in the 1980s after the Iranian Revolution, and the tech boom and bust in the earlier 2000s plus the most recent recession we’re still in (or just exited, depending on how much you believe the GDP numbers). There are several booms and busts in there and like clockwork these companies have been paying out.
(Photo: iam_photo )