Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Great American Dividend Machine: Book Review

The Great American Dividend Machine: How an Outsider Became the Undisputed Champ of Wall Street

About the Book:

Bill Spetrino was just an ordinary accountant more than 20 years ago when he discovered the best investment secret ever.

Bill calls his secret “the dividend machine” -- and he has been sharing his secrets with hundreds of thousands of investors who have subscribed to his popular Dividend Machine newsletter, rated by Hulbert Digest as the #1 low risk investment letter.

But many readers asked Bill to write a book about his secret and how ordinary investors can become millionaires just like him.

Bill did just that.

Now his new The Great American Dividend Machine reveals his own story, and how he went from becoming a middle-class accountant to having a net worth exceeding more than $5 million!

Traders who jump from stock to stock in the hunt for a major Wall Street score often lose money or, at best, break even.

That's not an acceptable fate for the retirement nest egg or for Bill.

Instead, true investors trust Bill Spetrino's proven advice: "Keep investments boring and the rest of life fun and exciting."

By valuing safety and income above all else, Spetrino guides the reader through the process of unearthing true bargains in the marketplace.

Adhering to the author's model, The Great American Dividend Machine portfolio is composed of stocks that he picks using his unique system.

The companies that pass Spetrino's rigorous, multi-step vetting process must have a number of key characteristics, such as:

Resonant brand names
Strong, competitive advantages in their industries
Pristine balance sheets
Capital to help survive and thrive in difficult markets
Bill believes anyone can become a millionaire by ignoring the Wall Street pros and using his time-tested strategies.

My Comments:

If you have spent any amount of time surfing investing blogs, you've come across the idea of dividend stock investing--assembling a portfolio of stocks based largely on the dividend paid by the company.  This book is largely an advertisement for that style of investing in general and Bill Spetrino's newsletter in particular.  It reminds me of those "paid programming" shows on TV where someone tells you some basic concepts and then shows you how buying their product makes everything easier.   Yes, you could make the dessert without the $29.95 tool they are selling but it wouldn't be as easy or quite the same.  

The book is written in the first person--Bill is talking directly to readers, telling them about his history as an entrepreneur and how he learned to predict the future (bet at the racetrack or casino) by looking at the numbers and getting information other people didn't have.  The goal is obviously to get you to trust him as a person who knows what he is doing with your money.  While he gives some basic financial advice that can be found on just about any financial planning blog (spend less than you make, keep an emergency fund, the power of compounding...) mostly he talks about how good he is at recognizing stocks that will do well.  Obviously, it is his goal to buy low, when the "market" doesn't realize what a good deal a particular stock is, and to hold that stock until something makes him think that the company is no longer doing well.

If you are buying this book  with the idea of learning how to pick good dividend-paying stocks, save your money.  This book contstantly states why Spetrino prefers stocks that pay dividends to those which don't, and talks about buying the stocks at the best price, however, rather than teach readers how to pick winning stocks, Spetrino uses this book to sell his newsletter--which costs almost $100 per year.  Given that even in the Kindle version, this book is not cheap, I think most readers will be disappointed.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a complimentary review copy availabe via NetGalley. Grade:  C.  


  1. Thanks for letting us know. I hate books like this, but am interested in reading a good book on dividends.

  2. Good to know that it's really an "upsell machine" before making the purchase. I guess it's more useful if you need convincing to invest in dividend stocks than how to pick them.

  3. U guys act like an "upscale" a bad thing, what's wrong with the man selling his knowledge? U guys don't sell anything at work?

    1. Nothing wrong with selling knowledge. The book is almost $15; it isn't a kindle freebie. I expected to learn how to pick dividend paying stocks. Instead I got a commercial for a newsletter.