Earn dividends every month of the year

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Jeffrey R. Kosnett

A regular paycheck isn’t the only way to ensure a steady flow of income. Whether you are already retired or simply planning ahead for retirement, by carefully selecting stocks that pay dividends on the right schedule, you can build a portfolio that guarantees you cash every month. Here are a dozen great stocks that do just that.

January: Occidental Petroleum

Yield: 4.1 percent

52-week high: $104.48, 52-week low: $67.30; 5-year dividend growth rate: 16.9 percent

Last dividend increases: 12.5 percent in February 2014 and 4.2 percent in October 2014

Also pays in: April, July, October

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) is primarily a domestic oil and gas producer, with much of its exploration in California and in shale formations in Texas and North Dakota. It differs from some other large oil companies in that it doesn’t have a low-profit refining and marketing business. It also said, emphatically, in its investor presentations that increasing its dividend is a higher priority than making acquisitions, buying back stock or piling up reserves.

February: Realty Income

Yield: 4.7 percent

52-week high: $55.54, 52-week low: $40.56; 5-year dividend growth rate: 5.7 percent

Last dividend increase: 0.3 percent in March 2015

Also pays in: Every month

This real estate investment trust pioneered the strategy of buying or building free-standing drugstores, restaurants, cinemas, fitness centers and similar buildings and leasing them to familiar chains, which pay the rent, maintenance and taxes. Realty Income (O) pays dividends every month and raises the rate several times a year, though slowly and usually by small amounts. The REIT is safe and consistent, with more than 500 consecutive monthly dividends to its credit.

March: Intel

Yield 2.9 percent

52-week high: $37.90; 52-week low: $25.74; 5-year dividend growth rate: 8.8 percent

Last dividend increase: 6.7 percent in January 2015

Also pays in: June, September, December

Intel (INTC), which makes semiconductors and processors, is one of tech’s most committed dividend-payers. Intel is fighting slowing growth in sales of desktop and laptop computers — its largest sources of sales and profits — and as it makes inroads into smartphones and tablets, its cash flow will grow and higher dividends should follow.

April: McCormick

Yield 2.1 percent

52-week high: $78.70; 52-week low: $64.92; 5-year dividend growth rate: 9.0 percent

Last dividend increase: 8.1 percent in November 2014

Also pays in: January, October, December

The world’s leading maker of spices and flavorings, McCormick (MKC) grows steadily in part by taking over competitors’ brands and introducing American favorites to the rest of the world. Its profit margin is more than twice that of the meatpackers whose steaks and chops star in McCormick’s recipes. Plus, the company has little debt.

May: Procter & Gamble

Yield 3.2 percent

52-week high: $93.89; 52-week low: $77.29; 5-year dividend growth rate: 6.6 percent

Last dividend increase: 3.0 percent in April 2015

Also pays in: August, November, February

Procter & Gamble (PG) is the archetypal solid, predictable, low-stress growth stock. It is so huge that a single-digit dividend growth rate may be all you can expect — but that’s good enough considering that it usually yields more than 3 percent.

June: WisdomTree MidCap ETF

Yield 2.3 percent

52-week high: $87.34; 52-week low: $73.63; 5-year dividend growth rate: 26.6 percent

Last dividend increase: 17.3 percent in March 2015

Also pays in: Every month

Smaller and mid-sized companies have joined the rush to pay higher dividends, and WisdomTree MidCap ETF (DON) is a convenient way to sample 400 of them — spanning the economy from utilities to REITs to energy to retail. The fund pays dividends each month, joining Realty Income as 12-time payers in this model portfolio.

July: Kimberly-Clark

Yield 3.2 percent

52-week high: $119.01; 52-week low: $99.23; 5-year dividend growth rate: 5.9 percent

Last dividend increase: 4.8 percent in February 2015

Also pays in: October, January, April

The maker of Kleenex, Huggies and Scott paper products resembles Procter & Gamble in that it makes familiar household products and sells them in more than 100 countries. Kimberly-Clark (KMB) has raised dividends every year since the early 1970s, and aims to maintain a higher dividend yield than most other industrial and consumer-product companies.

August: Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan

Yield 4.7 percent

52-week high: $38.58; 52-week low: $31.39

5-year dividend growth rate: 30.6 percent; Last dividend increase: 8.6 percent in January 2015

Also pays in: November, February, May

Potash is fertilizer, and this Canadian firm could be spreading it on its dividends to produce bigger and higher checks for investors’ pockets. Five years ago Potash (POT) paid 1 cent a quarter. Now the dividend is 38 cents, four times a year. The world doesn’t have many sources of this essential resource, and while the price can swing like any mineral, the dividend is secure.

September: Johnson & Johnson

Yield 3.0 percent

52-week high: $109.49; 52-week low: $95.10; 5-year dividend growth rate: 6.8 percent

Last dividend increase: 7.1 percent in April 2015

Also pays in: December, March, June

A blue-chip cash machine with a great group of global health businesses, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) grows just enough to raise dividends between 5 and 10 percent a year, while the shares almost never misbehave. This is the way the stock market is supposed to work for patient, loyal investors.

October: Automatic Data Processing

Yield 2.3 percent

52-week high: $90.23; 52-week low: $67.12; 5-year dividend growth rate: 7.6 percent

Last dividend increase: 2.1 percent in April 2014

Also pays in: January, April, July

Automatic Data Processing (ADP) is a giant payroll processor and also administers employee-benefits programs. It also profits by investing money it holds for employers before paychecks are cashed and deposited, so even a small rise in interest rates would make it richer. ADP is a financial fortress with $2 billion of its own cash and little debt.

November: General Dynamics

Yield 2.0 percent

52-week high: $146.13; 52-week low: $111.08; 5-year dividend growth rate: 10.4 percent

Last dividend increase: 11.2 percent in March 2015

Also pays in: February, May, August

A defense industry powerhouse, General Dynamics (GD) also makes private jet planes and offers information-technology management services. Cuts in the military budget (whether rumored or actual) haven’t stopped it from raising dividends briskly every year.

December: American Electric Power

Yield 3.7 percent

52-week high: $65.38 ; 52-week low: $49.06; 5-year dividend growth rate: 4.8 percent

Last dividend increase: 6.0 percent in October 2014

Also pays in: March, June, September

American Electric Power (AEP) is one of the safest traditional regulated utility stocks because the chain operates in 11 states, which spreads the risk from storms and other controversies. AEP also pays a reasonable 59 percent of its earnings as dividends, which gives it scope to raise the payment even in slow years and makes the chance of cuts extremely low.

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