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Deep Dive: 20 dividend stocks with ‘headroom’ to pay investors even more

When selecting dividend stocks, it’s critical to take a long, hard look at a company and consider how well the dividend is supported. A dividend cut is a dire scenario. There is no way to be absolutely certain a company won’t lower its payout, but extra homework will reduce that risk.

Investors might take comfort by considering shares of companies that have raised their annual dividend payouts steadily. The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index SPDAUDP, -0.13% is made up of the 57 companies in the S&P 500 Index SPX, -0.35% that have increased their regular dividend payouts for at least 25 consecutive years.

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