In the past, nearly all stocks paid dividends. For a variety of reasons, however, dividends have become less common. Many companies are putting earnings back into their businesses or use other methods, such as share buybacks, to return money to investors.

For those who want safety and security in their stock portfolio, dividend-paying stocks remain attractive. Over time, dividend payers have historically outperformed other investments, with quite a bit less volatility -- and that's a win-win for investors.

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