Even though financial theory has long held that dividend policy should be irrelevant to stock returns, there has been a rush in recent years to invest in dividend-paying stocks. This trend has been fueled both by media hype and the current regime of interest rates, which are well below historical averages.
The low yields on safe bonds available during the past seven years have led many once-conservative investors to shift their allocations from safe bonds to much riskier dividend-paying stocks. This has been especially true for individuals who take an income—or cash-flow—approach to investing as opposed to a total return approach, which I believe is the right one.
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