Should retirees limit their spending to the interest and dividends they receive? Ken French says investors should be indifferent to how they raise cash, whether through dividends and interest, or through the sale of shares--a method Merton Miller called "homemade dividends." Despite the economic logic, some investors focus on dividends and interest. While this approach may encourage disciplined spending, Ken explains that it also can distort one's investment approach--for example, when investors choose dividend-paying stocks over broad diversification, or chase higher yields by holding riskier bonds. In an effort to get more, they actually lose.
Eugene Fama and Ken French are members of the Board of Directors for and provide consulting services to Dimensional Fund Advisors LP.