The real secret to long-term investing success is income - and with stocks, that means dividends.
Numerous studies, both academic and financial, have found dividends accounted for more than 60% of total U.S. stock market returns since 1870.
More recently, a study by Ned Davis Research covering the period from 1972 through 2008 found that dividend-paying stocks provided an annual return of 7.6% versus a mere 0.2% for non-dividend-paying shares.
What's more, companies with a record of steadily raising their dividends returned an even more impressive 8.6%.
But if you really want to boost your returns, investing in DRIPs - dividend reinvestment plans --is a safe, steady road to building true wealth.