I heard so many, I could probably take the rest of the year off.
Of course, a funny thing happened on the way to this great apocalypse: dividend stocks are not only alive and well, but stronger than ever.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, the Fiscal Cliff fears surrounding income stocks were completely overblown.
And now that a budget agreement has been reached and the tax treatment of dividends is locked in, all of this doom-and-gloom can now be finally put to rest.
With a deal in place, dividends will be taxed as favorably for investors as capital gains. For lower income folks, qualified dividends continue to be taxed at 15%.
It only changes for investors who have met the government's latest definition of "rich."
For those with incomes above $400,000 ($450,000 for a married couple) there is quite a substantial increase in the tax rate on qualified dividends. It rises from 15% to 23.8%, including the 3.8% investment income surcharge in the Obamacare legislation.
However, the capital gains tax in this bracket will rise by the same amount, while interest income will be taxed at 43.4% (39.6% income tax plus the 3.8% Obamacare surcharge.)
That means the relative advantage of qualified dividends over interest income will be preserved, along with the parity between dividend and capital gains tax rates.
So for most dividend investors, very little about their investments has changed.
The difference is that these new rates are permanent – there's no 10-year horizon, as there was with the previous 15% dividend tax rate. So investment planning just got a bit easier.
The bottom line is that with the fiscal cliff deal, there are now three good reasons why dividend stocks are irresistible.