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How to Really Rock Your Roth

One of my great joys as a Fool writer is to read and write about the successes of common investors -- Fools like Rob Ketterer, a government consultant who began with $500 in a basket of stocks including ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) and Cisco Systems, which went on to post dynamic returns over long periods of time, and who today owns a house and three rental properties.

I love Rob's story, but my favorite tale of investing success comes from Tim S., a Fool whose grandfather invested $350 in Pfizer in 1960. Today, thanks to the awesome power of dividend reinvesting, he owns 9,100 Pfizer shares paying $10,500 annually in dividends. That's a 3,017% yield!

Really?
But you can one-up Tim's granddad. He began investing long before the Roth IRA was available. You, on the other hand, are young, good-looking, and in your prime earning years.

If you're also like most Americans, you're married and your total adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $156,000. That means you can contribute the full $4,000 to a Roth for the 2006 tax year up until April 17. So can your single friend Mike, who, at $72,000 in AGI, is well below the $99,000 income limit for a Roth contribution. Wonderful!

Be a rich turtle
But don't get complacent. A Roth alone won't make you or Mike rich. Other investment vehicles, such as a traditional IRA, will allow you to invest in stocks just as a Roth will. What you both need to do is maximize your earning potential from your investments.

Which brings me back to Tim's story. Today, dividend distributions, even when reinvested, are typically taxed at a 15% rate. Not so with a Roth. Were you to build and regularly contribute to a portfolio of large stocks that have a history of increasing dividends, you could do as well as Tim's granddad did, except that you'd be collecting your dividends tax-free.

Put differently: Imagine collecting a tax-free pension. That's what a Roth can help you and Mike do. Because by reinvesting those tax-free, you'll own more and more shares of stock and receive more and more each year in dividends.

They might be dividend giants
The key to making this happen is to fill your Roth IRA with companies that have shown a willingness to raise their dividends year in and year out. With that in mind, here's a list of large caps that yield more than 2.5% and have increased their dividends by an average of more than 10% annually over the past five years:

Company

Yield

Five-Year Average Annual Dividend Growth

PetroChina (NYSE:PTR)

4.4%

24.4%

POSCO (NYSE:PKX)

3.2%

26.2%

General Growth Prop. (NYSE:GGP)

2.7%

16.0%

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)

2.8%

11.5%

Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB)

3.1%

11.8%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

Bear in mind that this isn't a comprehensive list. Nor is it infallible. Be sure to do your own due diligence before investing in any of these stocks.

I mean it. Dividend reinvesting is a wonderful way to rock your Roth and get rich in the process. But it isn't the only path. Want more ideas? Allow me introduce you to Dayana Yochim and Shannon Zimmerman, who together lead our Motley Fool Green Light personal finance service. You can check out all of their money-making and money-saving tips with a 30-day free trial.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers writes weekly about personal finance and investing basics. Tim didn't own stock in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Pfizer and Coca-Cola are Inside Value picks. POSCO is an Income Investor recommendation. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy plays a mean air guitar.


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Tim Beyers
TMFMileHigh

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At Fool.com, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at timbeyers.me or send email to tbeyers@fool.com. For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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10/30/2014 11:45 AM
GGP $25.07 Down -0.03 -0.12%
General Growth Pro… CAPS Rating: **
KMB $113.54 Up +0.10 +0.09%
Kimberly-Clark CAPS Rating: ****
KO $41.46 Up +0.50 +1.22%
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PKX $72.20 Down -2.04 -2.75%
POSCO (ADR) CAPS Rating: *****
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