Dividends are the easiest, and most direct pathway to participate in the record earnings in corporate America. It's easy to look at a company's quarterly payout of just a quarter and think to yourself: "What a crock! That's barely anything."

But when put in the right context, dividends can be the difference between average, and wealth-creating returns. That's especially true for long-term, buy-to-hold investors.

On top of that, dividends inject billions of dollars into the worldwide economy every year. Which companies pay out the most in dividends? Motley Fool contributor Brian Stoffel highlights three companies that, when combined, will be giving back more than $30 billion in 2014 alone.

In the following video, Brian tells us who these three dividend stalwarts are, and whether they're worth investigating.

Fool contributor Brian Stoffel owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.