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It seems everyone is scouring the landscape these days for decent income investments to beef up their monthly take-home - especially now with the price of gas and other everyday items skyrocketing.
But it's not too late to find great dividend stocks. You can still get cold, hard cash on a regular basis by investing in companies that reward loyal investors with substantial dividends.
In fact, if dividend-paying stocks aren't a major part of your portfolio, the odds of being successful in the markets are stacked against you.
An exhaustive study of stock market returns from 1871 through 2003 showed that over a 135-year period owning stocks and reinvesting the dividends produced 97% of all stock market returns. Meanwhile a paltry 3% was produced by capital gains.
Dividend stocks are safer too. The very same qualities that allow companies to pay steady dividends means they're much less vulnerable to broad market drops than your typical stock.
And right now corporate America is willing to pay even more in dividends.
Companies are on pace to pay a record $263 billion in dividends to shareholders over the next year even though the S&P 500 Index is still more than 10% below its peak, according to S&P Capital IQ reports.
"We're seeing good dividend increases across the board," Richard Helm of Cohen & Steers Dividend Value fund told USA Today.
Buying Great Dividend StocksIt's no secret - a company's dividends play a major role in their performance. Yet many investors completely ignore this important fact.
But you can't just plunk your money down on any old dividend stock.