Dividends made sense 40 years ago as a relatively simple rule of thumb, but after all the work done by John Bogle with index investing, and academics with Monte Carlo sims and the 4% rule, dividend investing just isn’t the simplest, cleanest way to invest or receive passive income anymore. It’s actually significantly more risky compared to index investing, because dividend companies are a much smaller share of the total global economy compared to the broader indices.
There is no doubt that our grievances against the British Empire had a sound basis. As the painstaking statistical work of the Cambridge historian Angus Maddison has shown, India's share of world income collapsed from 22.6% in 1700, almost equal to Europe's share of 23.3% at that time, to as low as 3.8% in 1952. Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th century, "the brightest jewel in the British Crown" was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income.
Capital growth in your portfolio can offset the eroding effect of inflation. But any capital gains that exceed the overall inflationary effect can be drawn off to augment your portfolio income. Of course, you must first generate those gains by making thoughtful investment selections. While allowing strongly growing assets to keep doing that, it is prudent not to allow them to become a dangerously large part of your portfolio lest they go off the boil. So if you selectively trim profitable positions along the way, you can boost your income.
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Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, along with the statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, formulated and oversaw economic policy during the initial years of the country's independence. They expected favourable outcomes from their strategy, involving the rapid development of heavy industry by both public and private sectors, and based on direct and indirect state intervention, rather than the more extreme Soviet-style central command system. The policy of concentrating simultaneously on capital- and technology-intensive heavy industry and subsidising manual, low-skill cottage industries was criticised by economist Milton Friedman, who thought it would waste capital and labour, and retard the development of small manufacturers. The rate of growth of the Indian economy in the first three decades after independence was derisively referred to as the Hindu rate of growth by economists, because of the unfavourable comparison with growth rates in other Asian countries.
In focusing on your wealth management goals, investment income is obviously critical but you might fund your goals from wider sources of income. A typical long-term portfolio might produce about half its return as income and the other half as capital growth, though in times of duress the capital growth component wanes. In this low-interest rate climate, some sources of income have become quite expensive and may prove disappointing against your spending needs. But by tax efficiently and sustainably drawing income from wider sources, you might meet your goals while more prudently balancing risk against reward.