Boost Your Income: 3 Ways to Increase your Portfolio Yield

Dividend Earner

Dividend Earner

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5 min read Affiliate Disclosure

Let’s face it: When you think of dividend investing, you think of income and not total returns. That’s where we all start until we discover dividend growth investing and realize you can have your cake and eat it.

My investing journey has taught me that there are two very distinct phases of investing:

  • The Accumulation Phase: The years where we save and invest. You let the compounding do the work for years.
  • The Retirement Phase: The years where you live from your portfolio. As a dividend investor, that’s the income from my portfolio.

For the record, focusing on high yield only, like REITs, is a losing approach during both phases of investing. There are better ways to boost your retirement income! Achieving a solid retirement is possible but requires planning.

Know Your Portfolio

Before applying some of the strategies below, you REALLY need to know your portfolio. Do you know how much you need for retirement? Is the potential risk worth it?

Do you know your exposure across your accounts? If you don’t, get on it and build a spreadsheet. It’s easy; you can build your own pretty quickly. Your exposure has to be calculated for the company like Royal Bank, the sector like the financial sector, and then the industry like ‘banks – diversified’.

Do you know where your income is from? If you don’t, start tracking it. If you don’t know what generates your passive income, then you can’t work on optimizing it.

Do you know your annual income growth rate? If you don’t, you don’t know if your portfolio income keeps pace with inflation over time. It needs to grow organically. Not all investments have to grow, but overall, your portfolio needs to show it can keep up with inflation.

With a clear portfolio view, you can optimize your passive income, sit back, and enjoy financial independence.

The tools below are meant to help increase your income once you have a portfolio you are happy with.

Modified Dogs of the Dow

This strategy, also known as the Beat the TSX, or BTSX strategy, automates portfolio decisions by selecting the 10 highest-yielding stocks from the TSX 60.

In my opinion, applying the original rules of the strategy has risks and is not recommended. I have added two more criteria to improve the quality of the stocks.

The first is to ensure the holdings have increased their dividends in the past 5 years and the second is to limit the number of picks in the same industry to 2. Otherwise you are loading up on many utilities, banks, telcos and pipelines.

My approach with this strategy is to find the highest-yielding blue-chip stocks rather than apply the strategy as is and add one to my portfolio or swap one with a lower yield.

How To Use The Strategy: This approach is good for a non-registered account. The TSX 60 stocks are the core companies of the Canadian economy, providing safety and the highest yield, improving your portfolio income. There is no selling; just add to existing holdings.

Be Cautious With REITs

Many dividend investors fall in love with the monthly distribution of REITs and their higher yields. Guess what? Many do suspend the dividends when hard times come around.

TickerKey Ticker Company Sector Industry Score Quote Market Cap P/E FPE EPS Yield PayoutRatio Payments Annual Distribution Chowder GrowthRating IncomeRating Tollbooth Ambassador Achiever Aristocrat King Country Graph SectorID IndustryID Grade MarketCapGroup
TSE:CAR.UN CAR.UN Canadian Apartment Properties REIT Real Estate REIT - Residential 25.05 48.03 8.03 0.00 0.00 -0.75 3.0200 0.0000 12 1.45 4.6800 2 3 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO YES NO Canada 1 10 83 D Mid Cap
TSE:REI.UN REI.UN RioCan Real Estate REIT - Retail 34.33 17.62 5.29 103.65 103.65 0.17 6.3000 658.3700 12 1.11 6.3000 2 5 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 84 D Mid Cap
TSE:GRT.UN GRT.UN Granite REIT Real Estate REIT - Industrial 50.67 74.32 4.68 21.92 21.92 3.39 4.4400 95.0000 12 3.30 7.7200 6 4 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO YES YES NO Canada 1 10 81 B Mid Cap
TSE:CHP.UN CHP.UN Choice Properties REIT Real Estate REIT - Retail 42.29 13.85 4.54 15.00 15.00 0.92 5.4900 36.8000 12 0.76 5.7100 3 5 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 84 C Mid Cap
TSE:SMU.UN SMU.UN Summit Industrial Income REIT Real Estate REIT - Industrial 23.65 23.22 4.41 8.77 8.77 0.00 0.0000 21.3700 12 0.00 0.0000 2 1 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 81 D Mid Cap
TSE:BEI.UN BEI.UN Boardwalk REIT Real Estate REIT - Residential 24.28 76.96 4.15 4.83 4.83 15.93 1.8700 8.0900 12 1.44 1.8700 1 2 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 83 D Mid Cap
TSE:SRU.UN SRU.UN SmartCentres REIT Real Estate REIT - Retail 45.46 23.66 4.03 12.37 12.37 1.91 7.8200 87.7600 12 1.85 7.8200 2 6 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO YES NO Canada 1 10 84 C Mid Cap
TSE:DIR.UN DIR.UN Dream Industrial Real Estate REIT - Industrial 42.96 13.56 3.91 19.44 19.44 0.70 5.1600 68.1500 12 0.70 5.1600 3 5 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 81 C Mid Cap
TSE:FCR.UN FCR.UN First Capital REIT Real Estate REIT - Retail 26.41 16.05 3.41 0.00 0.00 -0.51 5.3800 0.0000 12 0.86 5.4800 2 5 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 84 D Mid Cap
TSE:CRT.UN CRT.UN CT REIT Real Estate REIT - Retail 61.90 14.23 3.35 15.33 15.33 0.93 6.3100 73.3100 12 0.90 10.0200 6 5 Tollbooth - Unregulated YES YES YES NO Canada 1 10 84 B Mid Cap
TSE:CSH.UN CSH.UN Chartwell Retirement Residences Real Estate REIT - Healthcare Facilities 30.19 13.12 3.18 23.17 23.17 0.57 4.6600 81.0900 12 0.61 4.7700 1 4 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO YES NO Canada 1 10 80 D Mid Cap
TSE:HR.UN HR.UN H&R REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 30.26 9.43 2.47 0.00 0.00 0.00 6.3600 0.0000 12 0.60 6.3600 1 5 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 D Mid Cap
TSE:CRR.UN CRR.UN Crombie REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 30.48 13.47 2.45 0.00 0.00 -0.33 6.6100 122.5600 12 0.89 6.6100 1 6 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 D Mid Cap
TSE:KMP.UN KMP.UN Killam Apartment REIT Real Estate REIT - Residential 37.99 18.41 2.19 7.01 7.01 2.63 3.8000 18.5800 12 0.70 4.9400 2 4 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO YES NO Canada 1 10 83 D Mid Cap
TSE:AP.UN AP.UN Allied Properties REIT Real Estate REIT - Office 48.51 17.02 2.18 0.00 0.00 -3.35 10.5800 0.0000 12 1.80 13.3900 6 8 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO YES YES NO Canada 1 10 82 C Mid Cap
TSE:IIP.UN IIP.UN InterRent REIT Real Estate REIT - Residential 42.98 12.52 1.82 50.33 50.33 0.25 3.0200 89.3900 12 0.38 8.1300 5 3 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO YES NO Canada 1 10 83 C Small Cap
TSE:PMZ.UN PMZ.UN Primaris REIT Real Estate REIT - Retail 48.04 13.45 1.30 11.51 11.51 1.17 6.2500 70.4700 12 0.84 6.2500 3 5 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 84 C Small Cap
TSE:NWH.UN NWH.UN Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT Real Estate REIT - Healthcare Facilities 39.38 4.90 1.20 0.00 0.00 -1.22 7.3500 0.0000 12 0.36 7.3500 3 6 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 80 D Small Cap
TSE:AX.UN AX.UN Artis REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 27.89 6.67 0.70 0.00 0.00 -3.01 9.0000 0.0000 12 0.60 9.0000 2 7 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 D Small Cap
TSE:SGR.UN SGR.UN Slate Grocery REIT Real Estate REIT - Retail 47.85 11.78 0.70 13.95 13.95 0.84 10.1000 139.4700 12 0.86 10.4100 4 8 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 84 C Small Cap
TSE:MI.UN MI.UN Minto Apartment REIT Real Estate REIT - Residential 35.76 15.57 0.62 0.00 0.00 -2.79 3.2400 0.0000 12 0.51 6.5800 4 3 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO YES NO Canada 1 10 83 D Small Cap
TSE:MRG.UN MRG.UN Morguard North American Residential REIT Real Estate REIT - Residential 40.72 16.38 0.62 3.63 3.63 4.51 4.5200 15.5800 12 0.74 5.6300 2 4 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 83 C Small Cap
TSE:NXR.UN NXR.UN Nexus Industrial REIT Real Estate REIT - Industrial 45.02 7.74 0.55 2.65 2.65 2.93 8.2700 18.7700 12 0.64 8.2700 4 7 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 81 C Small Cap
TSE:PLZ.UN PLZ.UN Plaza Retail REIT Real Estate REIT - Retail 40.51 3.75 0.41 18.90 18.90 0.20 7.4700 141.1300 12 0.28 7.4700 2 6 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 84 C Small Cap
TSE:APR.UN APR.UN Automotive Properties REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 42.20 9.96 0.40 7.20 7.20 1.38 8.0700 71.8100 12 0.80 8.0700 3 7 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 C Small Cap
TSE:MRT.UN MRT.UN Morguard REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 26.84 5.35 0.34 0.00 0.00 -1.65 4.4900 0.0000 12 0.24 4.4900 1 4 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 D Small Cap
TSE:D.UN D.UN Dream Office REIT Real Estate REIT - Office 29.27 18.22 0.30 0.00 0.00 -2.67 5.4900 0.0000 12 1.00 5.4900 1 5 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 82 D Micro Cap
TSE:PRV.UN PRV.UN PROREIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 39.19 5.08 0.30 87.71 87.71 0.06 8.8600 782.0300 12 0.45 8.8600 4 7 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 D Small Cap
TSE:BTB.UN BTB.UN BTB REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 41.62 3.25 0.28 8.13 8.13 0.40 9.2300 64.6300 12 0.30 9.2300 3 7 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 C Micro Cap
TSE:FCD.UN FCD.UN Firm Capital Property Trust Real Estate REIT - Diversified 59.99 5.36 0.20 9.97 9.97 0.54 9.6900 96.7500 12 0.52 11.0100 7 8 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO YES NO NO Canada 1 10 120 B Micro Cap
TSE:TNT.UN TNT.UN True North Commercial REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 17.06 8.73 0.13 0.00 0.00 -2.64 0.0000 0.0000 12 0.00 0.2000 2 1 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 D Micro Cap
TSE:MPCT.UN MPCT.UN Dream Impact Trust REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 18.52 3.52 0.06 0.00 0.00 -2.66 0.0000 0.0000 12 0.00 1.9200 2 1 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 D Micro Cap
TSE:MR.UN MR.UN Melcor REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 10.00 3.00 0.04 0.00 0.00 -0.18 0.0000 22.5300 12 0.00 0.0000 0 1 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 D Micro Cap
TSE:HOT.UN HOT.UN American Hotel Income Properties REIT Real Estate REIT - Hotel & Motel 14.12 0.47 0.04 0.00 0.00 -1.37 0.0000 0.0000 12 0.00 0.0000 0 1 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 121 D Micro Cap
TSE:INO.UN INO.UN Inovalis REIT Real Estate REIT - Office 7.64 1.20 0.04 0.00 0.00 -1.38 0.0000 0.0000 12 0.00 0.0000 0 1 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 82 D Micro Cap
TSE:SOT.UN SOT.UN Slate Office REIT Real Estate REIT - Diversified 25.61 0.28 0.02 0.00 0.00 -1.64 0.0000 0.0000 12 0.00 0.0000 2 1 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 120 D Micro Cap
TSE:HRR.UN HRR.UN Australian REIT Income Real Estate REIT - Specialty 27.81 7.61 0.00 21.32 21.32 0.00 8.6700 165.8800 12 0.66 8.6700 2 6 Tollbooth - Unregulated NO NO NO NO Canada 1 10 85 D Micro Cap

How To Use The Strategy: You can get good income for years until it drops. Not many REITs exist in Canada, so the pickings are slim. REITs from grocery stores could be more stable.

Covered Call ETFs

Want to trade like the pros? Well, they use all the tools in the toolbox, such as options trading.

I have often discussed it, but I have never done it. After researching covered call ETFs, I prefer to invest in one.

You could do it with the banks, but it’s just one extra thing to manage with your portfolio. You need to pick the contract and the expiry and continuously do that. It’s time-consuming, unliked dividend investing where you buy, sit and cash in the dividends.

The downside of covered call ETFs is that you do not know the potential appreciation of the ETF or the growth of the distribution.

How To Use The Strategy: You want to use it to boost your income while avoiding overexposure to some sectors or industries. The assumption is that you probably have a lot of banks and utilities in your portfolio, so go with healthcare.

Specialty Investments

Some specialty investments can boost your income, but they also have their own risks.

One investment option with higher distribution is a split corporation such as Dividend 15 Split Corp. It can help increase your income, but you must understand it and know the risks.

Another option is a specialty fund like Canoe EIT Income Fund. While this is called a fund, it’s more like an income trust and is classified as an asset management stock. You invest in the fund manager’s ability to create a return on assets, which happen to be investments like you and I do.

How To Use The Strategy: You want to decide up front how much you want to allocate to this specialty investments and monitor. While you can increase your income, it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it like other investments.