Interview is with Ben Reynolds, founder of Sure Dividend

QUESTIONNAIRE

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This interview is with Ben Reynolds, founder of Sure Dividend. Sure Dividend uses The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing to systematically identify high quality dividend growth stocks trading at fair or better prices.

1) Tell us something about yourself and your hobbies.

Well, where to begin? I live in Houston, Texas. I’m happily married and enjoy reading, wakeboarding, jogging, and watching movies with my wife.

2) What initiated your interest in personal finance blogging?

I’ve been interested in personal finance in general for quite a while. I focus specifically in dividend growth investing and investing for the long run.

My interest in investing was initially sparked during a course I took in college that focused on market inefficiencies.

I believe investing in high quality dividend paying businesses for the long-run is perhaps the best way for individual investors to build wealth.

3) What’s been your best financial decision during your adolescence period?

The best financial experience I had when I was an adolescent was stocking and managing a few vending machines. This experience taught me a lot about demand, brands, and the basics of business.

4) Have you ever gone through any financial blunder in your life? How did you get over it?

The biggest financial blunder I’ve made is investing in a publicly traded Chinese company that turned out to be fraudulent.

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It was when I first started learnings about investing. I was enthralled by value investing. The company was trading for something like 2 or 3 times earnings and was growing quickly. The investment was ‘too good to be true’ – because it was a fraud.

I learned a lot from that investment. One of the biggest lessons was that you can’t trust everything a management says. If a security is impossibly cheap, it’s for a reason.

5) What are the key factors that helped you make your blog a success?

I don’t think of Sure Dividend as a blog. I think of it as a newsletter business. It’s my way of helping individual investors compound their wealth over the long run.
Focusing on my core message of high quality dividend stocks for the long run, and running Sure Dividend in a professional manner plays a large part in the success I’ve had.

6) Do you have any ultimate aim or resolution as a personal finance blogger?

My ultimate goal with Sure Dividend is to reach as many people as possible about the benefits of systematically investing in high quality dividend stocks for the long run.

Currently, we have over 2,500 active customers and more than 20,000 people receiving free updates. I know my potential audience is much bigger.

Systematic (rule based) investing helps individual investors reduce trading frequency and minimize behavioural investing errors. Investing in businesses that pay rising dividends is a natural fit for systematic long-term investing – dividend growth is a long term focus, not a short run focus. It also doesn’t hurt that dividend growth stocks have historically outperformed the market (see reason 1 in this ‘11 Reasons to Be a Dividend Growth Investor’ article).

7) What according to you is the most beneficial money saving strategy?

Saving money isn’t my area of expertise – investing is. With that said, I will take a stab at this question.

I think the single most beneficial money saving strategy is to track your spending. When you know where you are spending your money you can get a better handle on what areas to cut, and where you may need to be putting more money – for example, saving more, or having an emergency fund.

8) Any advice for our readers?

My advice for readers is to invest for the long run – whether that’s in dividend stocks (which I prefer), or in ETFs. But don’t take my word for it.

Here’s what Seth Klarman – the billionaire hedge fund manager of Baupost Group – says on the subject:

“The single greatest edge an investor can have is a long-term orientation”
– Seth Klarman

Warren Buffett (one of the richest people in the world) also follows a similar investing mind set.

“My favorite holding period is forever”
– Warren Buffett