Editor’s Note: Today, we’re sharing an insight from colleague Brad Thomas. Brad is an analyst who specializes in finding steady, income-producing investments for his readers. And as he shares today, that will be important in the months ahead. Read on…

brad thomas

Everybody dreams of getting rich overnight.

That’s what drives speculative frenzies like the crypto craze or “meme stocks.”

When something seems to be working, investors are driven by the hype on internet forums and the fear of missing out (FOMO) on buying into the latest hot trend… sending prices soaring for no good reason.

Some investors are able to cash out at the peaks… But most are left holding worthless coins or undesirable shares of a weak company.

Unfortunately, millions of inexperienced investors don’t get the difference between speculating and investing. They buy into the fantasy of quick riches… which almost never works out.

At Intelligent Income Daily, we don’t play fast and loose like that. We focus on safe, consistent income that helps us sleep well at night.

My team and I use our decades of market experience and research to find the plays that are statistically proven to deliver the most reliable returns, year after year. And we can do that through any market conditions.

Our wealth-building strategy might not result in incredible gains overnight… But it does offer returns that actually last – with much less risk.

So how do you find the best plays amid all the noise in the mainstream?

Well, I named my publishing business “Wide Moat Research” for a reason.

Just like a moat that surrounds a medieval castle to protect those inside (the fortress), intelligent investors should always seek out investment opportunities that cannot be easily attacked.

So, what exactly is a moat when it comes to investing? And how do you find the companies that have “wide moats?”

Today, I’ll share examples of wide moats and what qualities make a company long-lasting. If a company has these factors, we know it’s a strong player that can endure unstable markets… like the one we’re in today.

Recognizing a Real Moat and What Makes It That Way

Here are some big ways to know a business can be a keeper. I look for these factors every time I consider a new investment…

A competitive advantage: To be successful, a business must have a long-term competitive advantage. That is, something unique that separates one from another.

Without some type of competitive advantage, the business is simply not sustainable.

Consider how many smartphones are on the market today, for example.

They pretty much do the same exact things. But many people (myself included) would rather buy an iPhone no matter the price.

Why? Well, they look pretty, they perform well, they’re easy to use… And they’ve become a bit of a status symbol.

As such, Apple (AAPL) can charge customers more money for its product. The tech giant has turned the iPhone into a brand with competitive advantages over its rivals, giving it one version of a wide moat.

Financial stability: Another way companies bring in reliable, growing income is lack of competition.

For instance, you probably don’t have much choice when it comes to who you pay for utilities. In many parts of the country, the law only allows one utility company to provide service in an area.

That kind of exclusivity – or very wide moat – makes it very difficult to fail.

Moreover, it’s hard to live without electricity or running water. This gives utilities another leg up in that they have a pretty good idea about what they’ll earn each year.

Experienced management: The success of a business often depends on its leaders. They call the shots. And they impact everything from operations to employee attitudes.

Companies need executives who have a clear, realistic, and inspiring vision of where their businesses will be tomorrow… next year… and next decade.

This requires experience, connections, a can-do attitude, and an ever-present willingness to prepare for the future.

Continuously successful business leaders know how to fit growth plans into their budgets without breaking the bank – come rain or shine.

The best way of knowing whether these leaders fit the bill is by talking to them directly. This is something I do often in my research phase. But you can find a lot on your own, too, by reading their interviews and communications.

Respect for shareholders: A company can have a great business but be a poor investment. This isn’t as conflicting as it may seem.

It might focus too much on growth.

Or executive compensation.

Or programs that benefit it more than its investors.

Personally, my favorite sign of shareholder respect is a healthy and growing dividend. Not only is that extra cash in my pocket to spend how I see fit…

It’s a great way of keeping companies accountable. They’re far less likely to spend money unwisely when they know some of it belongs to someone else.

Finding Businesses With Wide Moats Sets You Up for Success

Of course, not every quality business succeeds. There’s never such thing as a guarantee in the stock market.

But targeting companies with these attributes keeps your portfolio in a statistically safer place.

A speculator might trade the stock of an unprofitable business hoping to make a quick buck.

But as an investor, I’d rather own shares in a high-quality, profitable, growing company that rewards me over time.

So, the next time you’re tempted to put money into the next hottest trend… Ask yourself if the company has a true moat – and other desirable qualities – before taking any action.

And speaking of action…

Investors need to start acting today to prepare their portfolio for the coming recession. And yes, we are getting a recession. I’d argue certain sectors are already in one.

And that means the strategies that worked during the last bull run—crypto, meme stocks, etc.—won’t work this time around. We’ll have to find a new strategy. And I’ve found one what will be perfect for this environment.

It involves a type of investment I refer to as “contractually obligated money.” These are steady, “sleep well at night” investments that reward investors with cash payments. They’re my preferred strategy for navigating today’s market.

And if you’d like to learn more, join me this Sunday, February 26, to learn more about them. I’ll show you how they allowed investors to lock in thousands in contractually obligated income through all kinds of previous market crashes. And how they can do the same for you in the months ahead.

To get all the details, simply sign up with one click right here.

Happy SWAN (sleep well at night) investing,

Brad Thomas
Editor, Intelligent Income Daily