5 Ways To Tell If You Own A 'Dividend Disaster'

Imagine living in a world with stocks creating dividend yields of 20%, 30% or even over 40% on an annual basis. For income investors, that sounds like a dream come true -- but the truth is, these yields exist right now.

I recently searched for the highest-yielding stocks on the U.S. stock markets. I found 10 actively traded stocks that yield between 20% and close to 50% annually. My first reaction is that there must be something wrong with the data -- but these stocks actually exist. Here are three examples:

It may seem like all an investor needs to do is invest in one or more of these names and their portfolio will grow like wildfire. However, nothing is further from the truth.

Sure, several of the top 10 names will continue to pay ultra-high dividends for a while, but the dangers inherent in them are simply too high for prudent, risk-averse portfolios. Remember, a high dividend does not always indicate a successful company. Often, a high dividend yield is indicative of a plunging stock price or a failing company's last-ditch effort to attract interest. 

What's the best way to avoid a high-yielding "dividend disaster"? Here are five questions to ask before risking a penny on a high-yielder. Continue reading "5 Ways To Tell If You Own A 'Dividend Disaster'"