# How to Calculate the Dividend Payout Ratio From an Income Statement

Let us now take another example to illustrate the computation of the payout ratio. During the year 2019, the company registered a net income of \$40 million and decided to retain back \$28 million in the reserve while paying out the rest as dividends to the outstanding shareholders. Calculate the company’s payout ratio during the year based on the given information. In the second part of our modeling exercise, we’ll project the company’s retained earnings using the 25% payout ratio assumption.

On the other hand, Company QRS might consider increasing its dividend, especially if it wants to attract income-focused, value-minded investors who will support share price by holding the stock long-term. Often referred to as the “payout ratio”, the dividend payout ratio is a metric used to measure the total amount of dividends paid to shareholders in relation to a company’s net earnings. Therefore, a 25% dividend payout ratio shows that Company A is paying out 25% of its net income to shareholders. The remaining 75% of net income that is kept by the company for growth is called retained earnings.

It may vary depending on the situation but overall a good payout ratio on dividends is considered to be anywhere from 30% to 50%. Dividends are earnings on stock paid on a regular basis to investors who are stockholders. Helpful articles on different dividend investing options and how to best save, invest, and spend your hard-earned money. Customized to investor preferences for risk tolerance and income vs returns mix. In short, there is far too much variability in the payout ratio based on the industry-specific considerations and lifecycle factors for there to be a so-called “ideal” DPR.

## Don’t overlook the dividend payout ratio

For example, a company offers an 8% dividend yield, paying out \$4 per share in dividends, but it generates just \$3 per share in earnings. That means the company pays out 133% of its earnings via dividends, which is unsustainable over the long term and may lead to a dividend cut. On the other hand, there are certain investors who tend to value a dividend-paying stock more as compared to a non-dividend-paying stock.

The Dividend Payout Ratio (DPR) is the amount of dividends paid to shareholders in relation to the total amount of net income the company generates. In other words, the dividend payout ratio measures the percentage of net income that is distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends. Historically, the safest dividend payout ratio has been around 41%, according to research by Wellington Management and Hartford Funds.

## How Do Dividend Issuances Impact the Financial Statements?

There are companies that believe in retaining back the earnings on the back of strong growth strategies. Payout ratios that are between 55% to 75% are considered high because the company is expected to distribute more than half of its earnings as dividends, which implies less retained earnings. A higher payout ratio viewed in isolation from the dividend investor’s perspective is very good.

• For R&D, they need cash and, hence, typically retain all or most of their earnings.
• For example, one company operating in a stable sector might safely maintain a high dividend payout ratio of 75% of its earnings because it has a strong balance sheet.
• The dividend payout ratio can be calculated as the yearly dividend per share divided by the earnings per share (EPS), or equivalently, the dividends divided by net income (as shown below).
• The dividend payout ratio is a key financial metric used to determine the sustainability of a company’s dividend payment program.
• For financially strong companies in these industries, a good dividend payout ratio is less than 75% of their earnings.

You must be a shareholder on or before the next ex-dividend date to receive the upcoming dividend. Companies typically report their EPS on its income statement (Consolidated Statements of Operations), which is found in its annual and quarterly SEC filings (named the 10-K and 10-Q, respectively). We’ll now move to a modeling exercise, which you can access by filling out the form below. But one concern regarding the introduction of corporate dividend issuance programs is that once implemented, dividends are rarely reduced (or discontinued). Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.

## Interpretation of Dividend Payout Ratio

Investors seeking high current income and limited capital growth prefer companies with a high dividend payout ratio. However, investors seeking capital growth may prefer a lower payout ratio because capital gains are taxed at a lower rate. High growth firms in early life generally have low or zero payout ratios. As they mature, they tend to return more of the earnings back to investors. The dividend payout ratio is a way to measure the relative amount of dividends paid to a company’s shareholders. The ratio is calculated by adding up the dividends paid per share over the past four quarters, then dividing by the total diluted earnings per share for that period.

In fact, most investors are delighted when they receive dividends regularly as they see it as a steady source of cash flow. As such, the dividend makes the stocks more desirable among certain investor communities, which may eventually result in increased market value. Let us take the example of a company that reported a net income of \$50 million during the year, out of which it paid out \$20 million as dividends to the shareholders.

## Forecast Retained Earnings Using the Payout Ratio

This range is usually synonymous with “value investing” and not “income Investing”. Learn more about dividend stocks, including information about important dividend dates, the advantages of dividend stocks, dividend yield, and much more in our financial education center. The process of forecasting retained earnings for the next four years will require us to multiply the payout ratio assumption by the net income amount in the coinciding period. In the case of low-growth, dividend companies, investors typically seek some sort of assurance that there’ll be a steady stream of income rather than share price appreciation. Companies with high growth and no dividend program tend to attract growth investors that actually prefer the company to continue re-investing at the expense of not receiving a steady source of income via dividends.

## What Is a Good Dividend Payout Ratio?

Below, we break down payout ratios into important brackets and definitions, which we believe might help investors identify income picks. Dividend yield is relevant to those investors relying on their portfolios to generate predictable income. Dividend payout is a more useful metric for the narrow task of understanding what part of its profits a company chose to distributed to its shareholders, while also being an indicator of the dividend’s sustainability. The Dividend Payout Ratio is the proportion of a company’s net income that is paid out as dividends as a form of compensation for common and preferred shareholders. A mistake many beginning investors make is to buy stocks with the highest dividend yields they can find. They assume that the higher yield will enable them to earn higher returns.

But, it also implies low retained earnings for growth, which dividend.com treats as ‘bad’ because it leaves less room for the company to employ CAPEX plans. This, in turn, limits the company’s ability to grow dividends in the future. The figures for net income, EPS, and diluted EPS are all found at the bottom of a company’s income statement. For the amount of dividends paid, look at the company’s dividend announcement or its balance sheet, which shows outstanding shares and retained earnings. Given the significant outperformance of dividend growth stocks, investors can use the dividend payout ratio to find companies with the flexibility to routinely reward them with more dividend income in the future.

If the payout ratio exceeds 150%, it’s as bad as a company that has negative payout ratios. A range of 35% to 55% is considered healthy and appropriate from a dividend investor’s point of view. A company that is likely to distribute roughly half of its earnings as dividends means that the company is well established and a leader in its industry. It’s also reinvesting half of its earnings for growth, which is welcome. The list can also feature future Dividend Aristocrats who now have enough cash flow to start paying a dividend, as well as grow.