People have been making money by investing in stocks for many years. Statistics show that people who invest in stocks earn a long-run average of 8-12% each year: this amount puts stocks far ahead of other asset classes for their long-term capital gains potential, and equities are a key part of most investment portfolios.
However, before investing any of your money, you should be aware of the different types of stocks available to investors. There are many to choose from, including large and mid-cap stocks, growth stocks, and value stocks. One type of stock that is not often discussed are dividend-paying stocks, but these can be a powerful tool for adding a regular income to your portfolio.. If you want to learn about dividend stocks and their role in equity investment, keep reading:
What is a Dividend Stock?
Before we discuss what a dividend stock is, we first need to understand what a dividend is. Dividends are a proportion of a business’s earnings that are paid to shareholders. When you own stock that pays dividends, you will be paid a proportion of the company’s profits at regular intervals.
While most shareholders will receive their dividends in the form of cash some businesses give their shareholders additional stock instead. The dividend is a discretionary payment, and so never guaranteed, but certain companies have paid dividends without missing a payment for a century or more.
Why Do Companies Pay Dividends?
The main reason companies pay their shareholders dividends is that they have turned a profit, and want to return some of these gains to investors. These companies do not need to use the money for anything else in their business; instead, they return it to investors. This makes the business more attractive to investors, stabilising the stock price and offering more funding opportunities for growth.
Why Some Companies Choose Not to Pay Dividends
While many well-established companies choose to pay their shareholders dividends, some smaller companies don’t, because they need to reinvest their profits into the business rather than pay money to their shareholders. Equally, high growth sectors such as the tech industry, where research costs can be significant, tend to invest profits back into the company rather than paying dividends.
How Often Do Shareholders Receive Dividends?
There is currently no set time when a company will pay shareholders, however, most dividend-paying companies choose to pay out twice or four times each year. The initial payments are known as interim payments, and the year’s final payment is known as the full-year dividend. In most cases, shareholders will receive more money in the year’s final payment.
How to Choose a Dividend Stock
When looking for a good dividend stock, you should first look at companies that have consistently paid their shareholders dividends. These companies are much more likely to continue paying their shareholders dividends in the future. However, while this may be true, not all companies remain successful over time, with some stable payers entering into difficulties and then being unable to meet the dividend. One potential danger is that a company harms its financial prospects by paying a dividend that is unaffordable: thanks to this risk, it’s essential to look for dividend safety when searching for a dividend stock. This metric gives a sense of how likely it is a company will be able to continue paying their shareholders dividends in the future.
Another great tip is to look for a company that pays its shareholders 60% or less of their earnings. These companies are considered safer bets, as they are more predictable than companies who pay their stakeholders higher amounts, as a large dividend can become a financial burden on the company that commits to pay it.
It is well known that investing in stocks is one of the best ways to make money. While the capital gains potential of equities is well known, many income-seeking investors prefer to use bonds or other fixed income assets, potentially missing out on the income and gains possible from prudent dividend investing.