Investing in dividend-paying stocks is one of the more reliable ways to grow wealth. Dividend stocks outperformed non-dividend payers by a 2-to-1 ratio over the last several decades. According to data from Hartford Funds and Ned Davis Research, dividend stocks managed 9.6% average annualized total returns since 1973 compared to a 4.8% return for those that don't pay dividends. The best returns tend to come from dividend growers and initiators (10.7% average annual total return).

Three companies with long track records of growing their dividends and generating returns for investors are Enterprise Products Partners (EPD -0.17%), Brookfield Infrastructure (BIPC 1.83%) (BIP 0.56%), and Brookfield Renewable (BEPC -1.56%) (BEP -0.32%). With more dividend growth likely, they stand out for these three Fool.com contributors as surefire stocks to grow your wealth in the future. 

Enterprise Products has a big, well-supported yield

Reuben Gregg Brewer (Enterprise Products Partners): Investing in oil and natural gas drillers can be exciting, thanks largely to the massive price swings this commodity can experience. Investing in companies that move oil and natural gas from where it is drilled to where it gets consumed is comparatively boring. Enterprise Products Partners is one of the largest midstream players in North America with a collection of energy infrastructure operations that helps move oil and natural gas around the world. Fees drive its top line, allowing the master limited partnership (MLP) to avoid the ups and downs of energy prices. 

So at its core Enterprise is a very consistent business. And that's where things start to get interesting for income-oriented investors because the MLP also happens to offer a hefty 7.5% distribution yield. That massive distribution was covered by distributable cash flow by a huge 1.9 times in the fourth quarter of 2022, so there's a lot of room for adversity before it would be put at risk. And the MLP has a 24-year streak of annual distribution increases behind it -- showing a commitment to unitholder returns.

EPD Chart

EPD data by YCharts

Speaking of returns, investors need to understand that the distribution will make up the vast majority of returns here. Over the past decade, Enterprise's unit price is down around 10% but with distributions reinvested (which is total return) the investment has grown nearly 70%. If that doesn't sound attractive to you, compare it to Tortoise Pipeline & Energy Fund, which invests in a basket of investments similar to Enterprise. Tortoise Pipeline & Energy Fund's price is down over 75% over the past decade with the reinvestment of dividends (the yield is currently around 8.5%) only boosting that to a loss of 30%. In the midstream space Enterprise is a standout wealth builder!

Brookfield Infrastructure is a consistent moneymaker

Matt DiLallo (Brookfield Infrastructure): Brookfield Infrastructure is one of my favorite investments. It has consistently delivered superior total returns. Since its inception in 2008, the global infrastructure giant has generated a 16% average annual total return. That has beaten the S&P 500 by a comfortable margin, given the broad market index's 10% average annualized total return. Brookfield has turned a $1,000 investment at its public listing into $9,370 compared to $3,704 for a similar investment in an S&P 500 index fund. 

The main difference between the two versions of this company is BIP is a publicly traded limited partnership whereas BIPC is a corporation. Dividends from BIPC are taxed differently from distributions from BIP's limited partnership. Also, institutional investors are allowed to invest in BIPC but mostly stay away from limited partnerships like BIP.

I am confident that Brookfield Infrastructure can continue enriching its investors in the future. The company estimates it can organically grow its funds from operations (FFO) by 6% to 9% per share each year over the long term. Powering that forecast are inflation-driven rate increases on existing contracts, volume growth as the global economy expands, and incremental income from expansion projects. In addition, the company has an active capital recycling program that can further boost its FFO per share. The company's strategy of selling mature assets to reinvest the proceeds into higher-returning opportunities helped drive 12% FFO per share growth last year. Meanwhile, last year's deals should help fuel more than 10% FFO-per-share growth in 2023.

Brookfield's growing cash flow should enable the company to continue increasing its dividend. The company expects to grow its 3.4%-yielding dividend at a 5% to 9% annual rate. That combination of income and growth should give Brookfield Infrastructure the power to continue producing market-beating total returns. 

Brookfield Renewable is a compelling investment opportunity

Neha Chamaria (Brookfield Renewable): Investing money in a dividend stock with strong underlying growth catalysts is an easy way to build wealth. Case in point: Brookfield Renewable. Although Brookfield Renewable Corp. was formed only in 2020 after it was spun out of Brookfield Renewable Partners, long-term investors in the latter have earned big returns over the years.

As with Brookfield Infrastructure, the main difference between BEP and BEPC is that BEP is a publicly traded limited partnership whereas BEPC is a corporation. The same issues with how dividends/distributions are taxed and who is allowed to invest apply here.

In just the past decade, investors' money in the stock, including reinvested dividends, has more than doubled.

BEP Chart

BEP data by YCharts

There's a solid chance that Brookfield Renewable will continue to outperform the market in the coming years for two reasons: A massive footprint in a high-potential industry and a focus on cash-flow growth.

Brookfield Renewable is a large clean energy play with nearly $77 billion in assets under management and an existing operational capacity of almost 25 gigawatts (GW). The real deal, though, is its pipeline: It has projects worth almost 110 GW under development.

This development pipeline alone could boost the company's funds from operations (FFO) per unit by 3% to 5%. When combined with inflation-adjusted contract prices, margin growth, and opportunistic mergers and acquisitions, Brookfield Renewable's FFO per unit could grow by at least 10% annually through 2027, and that should easily support management's goal of increasing dividends by 5% to 9% annually.

With such a bankable dividend raise every year and a high dividend yield -- Brookfield Renewable Partners currently yields 4.7% -- this stock is the kind that could rapidly grow your money over time.