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Not Eligible for a Stimulus? Here's How to Arrange Your Own Windfall

By Maurie Backman - Mar 24, 2021 at 6:36AM

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Not getting your $1,400? Here's how to score a bonus payday instead.

At this point, many people who are eligible for a third-round stimulus payment have seen that $1,400 hit their bank accounts. But what if you're not getting any stimulus money this time around? It's possible that you won't be, even if you qualified under a previous round, since the income cutoffs were lowered.

Of course, not getting a stimulus is a bummer, especially if you were banking on that money. The good news, however, is that you don't need to rely on a stimulus check to score a nice little windfall. Rather, you can invest your money so that a recurring payday keeps coming your way.

Man at laptop smiling and raising fists

Image source: Getty Images.

How do quarterly cash infusions sound to you?

The current stimulus round will indeed serve as a generous one-time windfall. But if you invest in dividend stocks, you can set yourself up to get a nice little payout four times a year.

There are several benefits to buying dividend stocks. First, you get that steady income -- money you can use to pay bills or reinvest to grow your wealth even further. Additionally, owning dividend stocks can buy you a degree of financial security during periods when the market on a whole isn't doing well. Why so? Companies that issue dividends tend to keep paying even when their share prices fall, which means you may be privy to incoming cash at a time when your portfolio value is down. Also, dividend-issuing companies tend to be strong, well-established players with the potential to recover quickly from market downturns or retain their value during them.

How to choose the right dividend stocks

If you're new to dividend investing, you may be inclined to opt for those stocks with the highest dividend yield. But that's not the only thing you should look at. It's also important to look at a company's payout ratio, which is the percentage of its earnings that's paid in dividend form. Believe it or not, you don't want too large a payout ratio, because if a company is overly generous on the dividend front, it may not be able to keep those payments up.

Since there are lots of dividend stocks you could buy, to narrow down your choices, you may want to look at dividend aristocrats. These are S&P 500 companies that have paid and increased their dividends every year for at least 25 years in a row. The upside of picking stocks from this list is that the companies on it are all dependable industry leaders with a strong history of a solid performance. After all, how else would they manage to continuously increase their dividends year after year?

The $1,400 stimulus payments that are currently going out are, indeed, a nice windfall. But if you're not in line to receive a stimulus, don't fret. If you invest your money wisely, you can arrange for a steady stream of dividend payments to hit your brokerage account, and each one can serve as its own mini stimulus so that collectively, you wind up with a lot more than $1,400 over time.

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