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February 24, 2012 at 16:07 PM EST
Market Wrap-Up for Feb.24 (GPS, MA, NEM, AVB, DB, more)

Investors continue to wait for the usual “round number” spike that tends to happen whenever the indices attempt to break through a psychological round number (in this case Dow 13K).

In the meantime, shares of The Gap (GPS) (which raised its dividend payout) and Newmont Mining (NEM) ended lower following both companies’ earnings reports. Elsewhere, Wall Street upgrades helped lift stocks like AvalonBay Communities (AVB), Deutsche Bank (DB), and MasterCard (MA) higher.

Diversifying the Income Stream

I read a great article in The Atlantic recently talking about ski resort companies like Vail Resorts (MTN), and how they’re diversified their revenue streams away from being at the mercy of Mother Nature (no snow, no dough!). Vail has evolved into a money-making travel destination juggernaut, with revenue streams that include ski school, restaurants, retail/rentals, music festivals, and of course ticket sales. The company sells packages to families before the season even begins, and isn’t afraid to discount the ticket prices to do so, since they own the mountains themselves. It’s a great model to examine if you are an entrepreneur yourself that deals mainly with the public (think restaurants, hotels, etc.).

As investors, we all need to consider creating as many different revenue streams as possible. That process begins with choosing a reliable career, which will provide the bulk of capital we can then use to invest into income-producing assets. Each person should evaluate his or her present income streams and explore other areas of interest that can help build financial security and wealth. Just like the guys on one of my favorite TV shows, “Gold Rush,” remember that when the water from the hose isn’t coming out, they can’t run their equipment. No water, no gold. Many of us can’t afford to see our income hose shut down, so be sure to get your income diversification strategies implemented (dividend-paying stocks, positive cash-flow real estate, solid career or starting your own business, etc.) sooner rather than later.

What Are the Hours Again?

If I were asked the question above by a prospective employee, I’d likely kiss that candidate goodbye. My guess is that a person who asks this type of question may be allergic to hard work.

I understand that many people have family matters to attend to at certain times of the day. However, an employer is concerned about the job being done and not about accommodating an employee’s schedule in most cases. As a worker, you’re the one who needs to be flexible regarding days off, working hours, vacation time, etc. Getting ahead in a career often hinges on your willingness to work hard and sacrifice some of your personal desires in order to better help the company.

Another key is being able to learn new skills and techniques wherever you go, and perhaps apply those skills to starting your own venture one day. That’s how I learned to run my own food business many years ago. I started off working for a successful business owner, paid my dues, and eventually ventured out on my own. Consider this type of preliminary work as a type of education that you don’t have to pay for (in fact, they pay you!).

Newspaper advice columnist Ann Landers had a great line about working: “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” Don’t be afraid to pay your dues in your working life. The returns will cover those early “expenses” many times over if you do things right!

New Dividend Stock Recommended Today!

We just upgraded a new dividend stock this morning onto our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List. Be sure to check out our post detailing the upgrade if you haven’t already.

Our Beat The Markets with Dividend Stocks eBook Has Arrived!

We just debuted our brand new 275-page eBook, exclusively on! In this digital-only book, we look ahead to 2012 and the main factors that could affect dividend investors. A $39.95 value, the eBook is a free download for paid Premium subscribers.

Beat The Markets with Dividend Stocks contains a full economic forecast for 2012, including in-depth analysis on 65 of the biggest dividend stocks out there. It’s a great way to get prepared for your investing next year! So head over to the Premium homepage now to download your copy.

A Look to Next Week and a Weekend Preview

Looking ahead to next week, earnings will begin to lighten up with some of next week’s big names reporting results include Joy Global (JOY), Sotheby’s (BID), Cablevision (CVC), Foot Locker (FL), and more.

Be sure to catch up with our latest watchlist updates this weekend on Premium, including reports on earnings/story stocks, analyst upgrades/downgrades, dividend ETFs, and much more. And as always, you can view our current recommendations on our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you this weekend! P.S. Please pass this e-mail on to someone you think can use some financial motivation as well as being kept in the financial news loop that could affect them.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks, as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here.

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