If over the past few months you've become dramatically more concerned about just beating inflation, you're not alone. This pullback is a not-so-gentle reminder that owning nothing but growth stocks can come at a steep price. Value stocks -- and dividend stocks in particular -- have their place after all. For some investors, collecting some cash right now may be the only way to avoid falling behind to inflation.

With that as the backdrop, here's a closer look at three S&P 500 companies that not only offer reliable fiscal results, but are dishing out above-average dividends to shareholders. This combination of predictability and current income makes them powerful additions to almost anyone's portfolio.


Dividend yield: 5.1%

Verizon (VZ -2.39%) is one of the nation's biggest wireless service providers (sometimes its biggest, depending on how the data is tallied), keeping 143 million consumer and business cellphones connected to the rest of the world, as of the end of the first quarter. These customers collectively contributed to a top line of $133.6 billion for all of 2021, $10.4 billion of which was paid right back out to shareholders in the form of dividends.

Don't look for these numbers to change in a big way anytime soon, if ever. While some customers switch service providers from time to time, most don't. Verizon's first-quarter churn rate was only around 1%, meaning it ended the quarter with 99% of the customers it started the quarter with.

This is a big deal, particularly for dividend-paying companies. Cash flow predictability is key when you're committed to paying a steady, generous dividend, which Verizon is. The company has made a dividend payment every quarter since it became Verizon back in 2000, and has raised its annual payout for the past 15 years.

There's no real growth to speak of in the cards, other than through population growth and inflation driving prices upward. Pew Research data says 97% of Americans already have a cellphone. Given that consumers are effectively addicted to their mobile phones as one of their primary connections to the world, it's not as if any of them are suddenly going to decide they no longer need wireless service. That dynamic sets the stage for perpetual, dividend-driving income that currently only consumes about half of Verizon's profits.

Philip Morris

Dividend yield: 5.3%

There may come a time when worldwide smoking cessation efforts finally quell tobacco usage, and perhaps all of its alternatives as well. That day is not today, though, nor is it in the foreseeable future. While the figure is trending lower, the World Health Organization forecasts that the global number of smokers will likely only slide from 2015's 1.32 billion to 1.27 billion by 2025.

Say what you want about the health hazards of smoking and vaping, but it's all good news for tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PM -1.25%). And that news just got better.

Although it's perhaps best known for being the name behind Marlboro cigarettes, Philip Morris is actually the owner of several cigarette brands, selling its goods in over 175 different countries. Perhaps seeing the headwind that's been building against the tobacco industry for years, Philip Morris is also looking to reinvent itself as a company that will eventually only offer smoke-free products.

It sounds crazy at first, until you learn that the company is cultivating a heated tobacco and vaping business around its so-called IQOS device that dramatically lowers the risk of inhaling anything other than air, but still serves up the nicotine smokers crave. The plan's just crazy enough to work, keeping consumers paying for vaping and heated tobacco refills the same way they purchase cigarettes over and over again, in turn maintaining its dividend. Market research outfit Technavio estimates the e-cigarette market will swell at an average annual pace of 17% through 2024, en route to becoming a $53 billion market of its own.

Here's the kicker: The U.S. Food & Drug Administration just told rival tobacco company Altria it must stop marketing a similar device -- sold under the Juul label -- in the U.S. While the development hasn't stopped Philip Morris shares from continuing to fall back from their May peak, it's a significant win for the company in at least one key market.

T. Rowe Price

Dividend yield: 4.1%

Finally, add mutual fund company T. Rowe Price Group (TROW -0.48%) to your list of stocks that dish out great dividends.

It's easy to presume the worst for market-related -- even market-dependent -- stocks when the stock market is struggling like it is now. To this end, T. Rowe shares have nearly been cut in half since peaking in November. At the very least it threatens the fund company's profitability; it could even threaten its dividend.

Except, those fears are overblown.

It's an often-overlooked nuance of the mutual fund business, but fund companies don't get paid for their performance. Their revenue is a percentage of the amount of money under management. As long as its funds' investors remain invested despite the headwind undermining their values, T. Rowe Price will still be collecting management fees. Given the broad market's 12% tumble for the past three months, the organization's second-quarter revenue should be similarly less than its first-quarter top line. Ditto for earnings, which are expected to slide from Q1's $2.62 per share to only $2.48. That's obviously a step in the wrong direction, but not a big one. And, not a permanent one. Analysts are calling for moderate earnings growth of 5% for all of next year, from $10.25 per share to $10.81, in step with its projected sales growth.

Perhaps most important to prospective buyers, that's more than enough to cover the dividend. T. Rowe Price is only paying out $1.20 per share per quarter right now, or $4.80 per share for a full year.