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Falling in love with Telstra

Regular readers will know, back in early October last year, I boldly pronounced The Death of Term Deposits.

Since then, the RBA has slashed the cash rate to just 3%.

If that’s not bad enough, late last year ANZ predicted the cash rate will end 2013 at just 2%.

No wonder then Australian investors are flocking back to shares in record numbers.

As if to highlight the trend, The Australian Financial Review lead this week with the headline…

“Investors pile back into super”

The article goes on to say “Australians are pouring money into superannuation at near record rates, with self-managed super funds proving particularly popular as investors look to profit from a sharemarket rally….”

Retirement nest eggs you can retire on

There’s nothing like a good old stock market rally to get people interested in investing again.

We’ve no complaints here at The Motley Fool. Our business is all about educating people about investing, and showing you how, due to the incredible wonder of compounding returns, over time you can turn relatively modest sums of money into massive retirement nest eggs.

Judged by the enormous response we’ve had to Motley Fool Share Advisor, our ‘best of the best’ stock recommendation service, it seems like more Australians than ever are opting to take control of their own financial future.

There are, of course, no guarantees in investing. Pick the wrong share, and you can lose the lot. It can be a cruel, disheartening, gut wrenching experience.

Of course, we’re humble enough to know it’s your scorecard that counts, not ours.

We know we’re only as good as our next winning stock recommendation, and that’s why we’ll continue to search high and low for the best risk/reward stock to recommend to our Motley Fool Share Advisor members.

Hot days, hot markets

As of writing, the S&P/ASX 200 is now trading comfortably above 4,700. It has been a long, volatile and at times stressful ride from the depths of the GFC, when the same index flirted with the 3,000 level.

Battered and bruised you may be, but for those of us who’ve hung in there, when the easy option was to sell out and go to cash, we’ve been well rewarded.

Pat yourself on the back, just as we’ll pat ourselves on our Foolish backs.

Falling in love with dividends

Dividend stocks remain the flavour of the day.

If the share price movement of Telstra (ASX: TLS) is anything to go by, Australians have fallen in love with high-yielding dividend stocks, particularly the fully franked variety.

Shares in the telecom giant have soared a whopping 30% over the past year, their legendary fully-franked 28 cent dividend being the icing on the cake.

If you’re a subscriber to Motley Fool Share Advisor, our ‘best of the best’ stock picking service, you’ll know we’ve come close to recommending Telstra as our formal monthly top pick, recently saying…

“We’ve had Telstra on our watchlist a couple of times, and we continue to be really impressed by both the turnaround of this business, and the opportunities that lay ahead of the company as technology continues to evolve. Our use of data on Telstra’s network is growing at a truly astounding rate, and the company remains at the forefront of the technology rollout. Telstra isn’t an official recommendation, but members looking for additional investment ideas (especially income-seeking investors) could do much worse than taking a closer look at Telstra.”

Since then, Telstra shares are up another 11%.

Hold the champagne

It’s nothing to break out the champagne about, but a return not to be sneezed at. In any case, we don’t count our successes (or failures) over such short periods of time. We’re business focused investors here at The Motley Fool, and we continue to be impressed by Telstra’s transformation and its long-term prospects.

You may have spotted Motley Fool Share Advisor Investment Analyst Scott Phillips on Sky Business News over the Christmas break.

Between Scott and myself, we’ve got around 40 years of investing experience under our belts. Crashes, booms, busts…we’ve seen just about everything the market can throw at an investor, and come out the other side, smiling and wealthier.

The Motley Fool has been around for 20 years. We’ve a relatively new name here in Australia, but we bring our company’s same investing philosophy and principles…

— We focus on businesses, not ticker symbols.

— We advocate investing as a lifelong endeavour.

— We don’t let the day to day movement in share prices affect our investing decisions.

— We don’t speculate.

On the last point, we know Aussies love a punt. What’s not to like about riding some speculative penny stock from a few cents to a few dollars?

The sad and sorry truth is that for every Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) or Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL), there are hundreds of complete failures.

“I grew tired of the hype…”

Yet we regularly receive emails asking us our thoughts on some penny share mining stock…a company that has virtually no hope of ever making a profit, and has virtually every chance of going bust…taking you and your thousands of dollars ‘investment’ down with it.

It’s heartening therefore when we receive emails like this one from Eddie of Sydney…

“Just a quick note to let you know that I have been enjoying my subscription to Motley Fool Share Advisor. I am a former subscriber to a couple of newsletters that usually come with headlines that scream about how you can make XXX% in XX months. I grew tired of the hype, which was rarely achieved…I very much appreciate that you do not overhype the recommendations you make.”

We try to let our returns do the talking.

As ever, in 2013 and beyond, I will you happy, profitable investing.

Attention: Smart, Foolish, dividend loving investors can click here to request a Motley Fool free report entitled Secure Your Future with 3 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks.

Bruce Jackson is The Motley Fool’s General Manager. He has a holding in Telstra. You can follow The Motley Fool on Twitter @TheMotleyFoolAu . The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).

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