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Companies that pay dividends will usually be severely punished by investors if they cut their dividends. Hence, they usually resist dividend cuts (or worse omissions) as long as they can.

However, most will not borrow money to pay dividends.

Hence, investors want to keep an eye on dividends paid as a percentage of earnings. You can get a quick number by multiplying dividend percent yield published by many services by price earnings ratio. Most companies keep that number at about 50% or below. But if it gets much larger be very cautious. The dividend is at risk.

Similarly investors like companies with a good record for increasing their dividends. In essence they are sharing their results with investors. And this makes for a good stock to put in your retirement portfolio.

But also note that fast growing companies have many needs for cash to invest in growing the business. They are reluctant to pay dividends. Hence, highest growth rate companies often pay no dividend. It's the mature industry leaders that tend to be good dividend stocks.
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