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Stock Dividend Reinvestment Plans: What You Should Know

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Many companies pay out dividends to their stockholders. If you own stock in a company that pays dividends, you can receive those dividends as cash, or you can choose to have those dividends reinvested. That is, you can use those payments to buy more company stock.

The potential benefit of this approach is clear when you look at the stock market’s historical returns with and without dividend reinvestment: The S&P 500’s average return from 1928 through 2017 was about 7.6%, but if all dividends had been reinvested, it would have been about 11.5%, according to NerdWallet’s analysis of data posted online by Aswath Damodaran, a finance professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

There are two main ways to set up a dividend...

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