Man on phone

Anxious, panicked, angry customers jammed the brokerage house phone lines for days. I’d been on hold for 45 minutes. So, my perspective on the market caught her off guard…

“You’re the only person I’ve talked to who’s glad the market’s falling.”

That’s what the Fidelity customer service representative told me yesterday. I’d called to ready my 401(k) account to buy shares of a global powerhouse company.

Now, I don’t have any special insight into the market that eludes the others she assisted. There’s no crystal ball here. It just seems you can get a lot of value for your money right now…

For example, take a look at the image below. It’s a five-year chart of global oil titan Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM).

Exxon Mobil was the largest company on earth (by market cap) until 2013. It’s still one of the world’s best businesses.

But the thing that stands out to me is XOM’s dividends…


  When most people look at a stock chart, they focus on the squiggly line at the top (the share price). My eye is drawn to the diamonds at the bottom.

Every diamond represents a dividend payout.

Pull up the actual interactive chart on Yahoo Finance. The dividend payout amount appears every time you hover over one of the diamonds.

You’ll notice two relentless trends:

  1. You could set your watch to XOM’s dividend payment frequency.
  2. The payouts keep rising. Exxon Mobil has increased its dividend for 32 years straight.

Now, go back to the squiggly share price line…  

Shares haven’t traded this low in four years.

Compare the dividend you received then to the dividend you receive today: 47 cents versus 73 cents per share. XOM shells out 55% more cash today than it did in 2011… but you still get to buy shares for 2011 prices.

That’s an extraordinary deal on one of the most powerful, cash-gushing companies in history.

Bottom line: When you learn to focus on dividends over share prices, your investment paradigm changes. You’ll understand the important distinction between price and value.

And you’ll be one of the ecstatic few when markets plunge…