How Do Dividends Work? Explained

Companies that pay dividends more often do so in cash. It is a way of generating passive income. Yes, my dear readers, although cash dividends are the most popular and recognized type, there are other dividends besides cash.

These include dividends on stocks, bonds, property, and scrip (promissory notes). These are more likely to be used when acquisitions of other companies or in particular situations.

When companies pay cash dividends, they are sharing the company’s retained earnings with their investors. Cash payment will be deposited automatically in the accounts of each investor without requiring any action on their part. So if you invest in a company that pays dividends, you do not have to do anything to receive it. Your broker will do everything for you. You will have 2 options: receive the cash and use it as you think best, or activate what is known as (DRIP), a Dividend Reinvestment Plan that automatically buys you more shares in the company you are investing in.

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How do you know which one suits you?

Very simple, if you are retired, with a good pension check and a huge investment account, accept the dividend as cash and enjoy it while supplementing your passive income.

If you still work and have a small account that cannot live on those dividends, enable your DRIP and not touch it until you retire.

Important dates:

To know if you will receive the dividend or not, you have to understand the following dates.

Declaration Date: this is the day when the board of directors sits down and decides to announce the amount that each investor will receive per share and the ex-dividend date. Please understand that this date is just an announcement of what will happen. You still do not have the right to receive the dividend.

For example, the local newspaper has a page announcing that they will give toys to the children present on Saturday. Just as the child must be present on Saturday to receive his toy, you will receive your dividend if you owned shares in the company on the announced day.

Ex-Dividend Date: this is the most important date apart from the payment date. To receive the dividend, you have to own shares by this date. Therefore, anyone who wishes to receive the dividend must purchase their shares BEFORE this date. At least the day prior since this is the first day that the shares start trading without the right to receive the dividend. Every day the market opens, shares will go up and down in price, but this date is the one that separates the line from each other, whether you receive the dividend or not.

For example:

The directors of Apple (AAPL) announced on October 28, 2021, that they would pay a dividend of $0.22 per share. The ex-dividend date was November 5, 2021, payable on November 11, 2021.

Anyone who wanted to receive this dividend had to buy their shares BEFORE November 5, 2021. If you purchased on November 5, you would not be entitled to anything since the directors announced that this would be the ex-dividend day. In other words, everyone purchasing from this date forward would not be entitled to the dividend until a new announcement.

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Record Date: is the date on which you must be a shareholder to receive the dividend. It is usually one or two days after the ex-dividend date. We do not do anything with this date. It is not as important to us as for the directors since this is the list of shareholders that will appear to receive the dividend.

Payment date: It is the day you will receive your money. This date varies between companies. It can be from 1 week to a month after the ex-dividend date. Ensure to verify the information so you don’t miss your payday.

Let’s practice:

Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO) announced a $0.15 per share dividend with an ex-dividend date of January 4, 2022, payable on January 21, 2022.

1. If you have 100 shares, how much will you receive in dividends?

2. When is the last day you can buy shares and receive dividends?

3. When will you receive your $15?

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Summary:

1. You will receive $15 in dividends. Multiply the number of shares by the amount of the dividend paid (100 shares x 0.15 cents in this example).

2. January 3, 2022, is the last day to buy and receive the dividend.

3. You will receive your dividend on January 21, 2022.

It’s that simple, my friends. If you want to verify which companies will pay dividends on a specific day, visit this Nasdaq page. Now put this new knowledge to good use.

Now, begin your Road to Wealth!

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