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4 ETFs Vs. Our DGI Retirement Portfolio

Henrik5000/E+ by way of Getty Pictures Background My household has an extended historical past of dividend progress investing. For 70+…

By Staff , in Investments , at April 21, 2022

Financial data and magnifying glass, isolated on white

Henrik5000/E+ by way of Getty Pictures


My household has an extended historical past of dividend progress investing. For 70+ years my dad purchased and held blue-chip shares. He and my mother lived off the dividends for his or her retirement, which was 32-38 years. It wasn’t till my dad was in his early 80s – once I took over finishing their taxes – that I spotted that he had been a dividend progress investor his whole life.

In my early 50s, I started to learn and put collectively an funding plan and technique for our retirement years. After two years of studying and analyzing, I made a decision to place collectively my very own dividend and progress portfolio that might generate ~4% of dividend earnings and develop the portfolio. This appeared like a great way to generate earnings and cut back our fear about market volatility. For extra in-depth background, you may learn my earlier articles right here.

My spouse and I’ve been retired now for seven years and this strategy has labored effectively for us. Our portfolios generate a beneficiant quantity of dividend earnings and the worth of our portfolios has almost doubled throughout that interval. So, what’s to not love about this strategy?

Again in July 2019, I learn an article titled “Beating The Market With Issue ETFs: A Easy Method” by Searching for Alpha creator Left Banker. His strategy to “beating the market” was to place collectively an equal-weighted portfolio of three funds” consisting of the iShares MSCI USA High quality Issue ETF (QUAL), the iShares Edge MSCI USA Momentum Issue ETF (MTUM), and the iShares MSCI USA Min Vol Issue ETF (USMV). He additionally added a dividend progress fund, the iShares Core Dividend Progress ETF (DGRO), to the combination – making this a four-fund, equal-weighted portfolio. As I had been following Left Banker for some time I didn’t do any evaluation of those funds and easily accepted his premise. As the quantity I invested was not that a lot, I used to be not involved if the funds misplaced cash. Within the feedback of Left Banker’s article, I acknowledged I’d purchase every of the 4 funds he really helpful, and within the final half of 2019, I invested into every fund and held them inside my IRA.


The 4 funds remained untouched till we wanted cash to purchase gadgets for a brand new home. In late March 2022, I bought these 4 funds and transferred the cash, minus taxes, from the IRA to our checking account.

Beneath is a chart displaying how every fund did.

ETF purchase and Promote Abstract








































* Dividends added again in to calculate the whole achieve.

Let’s evaluate these ETFs, my IRA, and the S&P 500 throughout the identical interval.

Acquire Abstract for acknowledged time interval

Funding sort



ETF Common



Authors IRA



S&P 500**



* Dividends added again in for whole achieve

** S&P 500-return-calculator utilizing August 2019 and March 2022.

From the perspective of the Left Banker in 2019, he was proper – these 4 funds did outperform my IRA portfolio over that point interval. The common achieve over the three and a half years from the 4 funds was 45.5% vs. 31.5% for my IRA. General, I’m happy with the outcomes of this investing experiment as 14% over three and a half years is definitely value noting.

I additionally checked out how the S&P 500 did throughout the identical time interval. It had a achieve of fifty.8%, which beat each the 4 ETF funds and my IRA. Investing within the S&P 500 such because the Vanguard fund VOO is even less complicated than investing within the 4 ETF funds. So, what do you spend money on? Properly, the reply is “it relies upon.”

Many components go into your retirement funding path:

  • Are you comfy with the ups and downs of the market?
  • Do it is advisable have a number of years of money obtainable if the market turns down?
  • Are you keen to watch the market and promote when applicable?

What I used to be on the lookout for was regular and rising dividend earnings to extend capital and to cut back our fear from market volatility.

Over the previous few months, the market has reacted to world occasions and has been up and down throughout that interval. Nevertheless, the earnings stream from dividends has been constant and rising throughout that very same interval.

I calculated the yr thus far, or YTD, for my IRA and used Yahoo Finance to find out the YTD for the 4 funds and the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO). For my IRA, I added again within the withdrawals that we constructed from the start of the yr. I’ve a chart beneath displaying the YTD outcomes. (I’ve a listing of my IRA shares within the bio portion of my SA profile web page in case you are to see my portfolio.)

12 months To Date Abstract as of April 19, 2022
ETF Acquire
DGRO -7.10%
QUAL -9.90%
MTUM -11%
USMV -3.00%
Common -7.85%
VOO (S&P 500 Fund) -7.10%
DGI IRA (withdrawals added again in) 3.30%

For the YTD, my IRA outperformed all of the funds and the S&P 500 fund. My IRA may need missed out on some positive factors in the course of the bull market of the previous three and a half years, however we have now a robust place when the market pulled again. My remark is that dividend shares develop into considerably of a secure haven when the market turns down, and this would possibly account for the achieve. As they are saying, timing is every part.


A protracted-term technique of investing in ETFs or the S&P 500 can present good progress for a retirement portfolio and many individuals select that technique. To generate earnings from this strategy you would need to unload parts of the ETFs regularly. Left Banker talks about this strategy in a current remark from Dec. 22, 2021. This requires monitoring the funds and attempting to promote when the market is up.

My retirement purpose was to arrange a portfolio of dividend progress shares that would supply a constant, dependable, and rising earnings stream, in addition to reduce the fear of the market fluctuations. Additionally, my spouse does our month-to-month bills and he or she likes the month-to-month switch into our checking account. That may be tougher if I needed to unload a portion of a fund regularly. Our portfolios have offered the earnings we want whereas decreasing the fear of market fluctuations. Which strategy you selected comes all the way down to what you – and, in lots of instances, your companion – are comfy with.

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