Does it matter how frequently we get paid dividends from shares? Does it matter if we receive it twice a year or four times a year? I have a retiree friend who could have done with four. Let’s call him Bob.

Bob needed to spend more but hasn’t received a dividend payment in a while. He wasn’t sure when he would get paid next or how much. He wondered if he needed to sell investments to pay for things.

He thought his investments didn’t provide enough income to meet his living expenses. But it turns out it wasn’t a lack of income that was the problem but the difficulty in budgeting of infrequent income that was the problem.

Because he was paid twice a year from holding Shares, it was easy to use up the spare cash and be left wondering when the next payment would come in.

He didn’t want to sell investments to pay for his living expenses, he wanted to live off the income generated from the investments.

So instead, he moved to an investment that paid four times a year. Similar investments, similar performance, but easier to manage with the cash flow.

Don’t take this as advice. Each method has its pros and cons for each individual.

If this is something you want to learn more about, read on below:

* Australian shares (the larger ones) usually pay twice a year, with the bulk Mar-Apr and Sep-Oct.

* File your tax return to get franking credits paid to you – this can be your third payment for the year if you have certain Australian Shares.

* Google up Australian Share ETFs and look for quarterly distribution frequency. Look at the top 10 holdings and performance against the ASX 200 benchmark. They most likely have similar performance. Search up their track record of income vs growth to get an idea of how much you might get paid.

* Don’t sell your investments until you have considered the tax bill (better if you have held your investment for > 12 months) and made an allowance to pay for it. You will need to gather your purchase records and you can offset it against previous losses.

* Don’t sell your investments until you have checked the next dividend payment date (google your share name and dividend ex-date/payment date). * Consider your preferred investment style. Are you happy with getting similar returns to the broad Australian market or do you want to beat it through your individual stock selection (at the risk of getting it wrong and losing more) or beat it through good fund manager selection with a good track record. It is important to compare apples with apples when comparing performance.

* Consider your preferred investment style. Are you happy with getting similar returns to the broad Australian market or do you want to beat it through your individual stock selection (at the risk of getting it wrong and losing more) or beat it through good fund manager selection with a good track record. It is important to compare apples with apples when comparing performance.