We won't keep you in suspense: Motley Fool Income Investor is a dividend-focused stock service designed to help investors find the best income stocks. Income Investor is run by advisor Michael Olsen, CFA, and a team of Motley Fool analysts hustling to present members with great dividend picks.

Do dividend stocks make sense for my portfolio?

That's not a question we can answer for you personally, because everyone's individual circumstances are different. However, dividend stocks have a strong history of outperforming the broader market.

Most investors like to get paid (it's one of the reasons we invest, after all), and dividends provide a nice opportunity to achieve that regular income with quarterly (and sometimes monthly) cash deposited in your brokerage account. Dividend stocks tend to be larger, more stable, profitable businesses – so they may be particularly useful for older investors who want to focus more on getting income from their portfolios and want to limit their risk.

Put it this way: When you have Johnson & Johnson (which has increased its dividend ever year for more than 50 years straight) in your portfolio, you can feel pretty good about that part of the portfolio not suddenly being liquidated in a company bankruptcy.

But not all dividend stocks are created equal, and it's critical to pick the right ones if you're looking to grow your portfolio over the long term.

Motley Fool Income Investor's dividend philosophy

That's why Michael Olsen and the Income Investor team have some ground rules for picking stocks. First off, as with all Motley Fool services, the Income Investor team has an ownership mentality – they're looking to own businesses (not just ticker symbols) and buy companies that could be long-term market-beaters.

There are two particularly important components to those market-beating stocks: Sustainable moats and disciplined management. The moat, or an advantage that the business has over its competitors, is crucial if a company is to maintain the financial wherewithal to pay an ever-increasing dividend decades into the future. Likewise, a disciplined management team allocates capital effectively to preserve and grow the dividend and the broader business without sacrificing the balance sheet.

On average, the Income Investor team seeks stocks with 3% dividend yields, although sometimes they will recommend stocks with higher or lower yields. Of course, different stocks may have different combinations of the attractive traits described above, so read the team's research and commentary on each pick, as well as the regular updates.

What an Income Investor subscription gets you

Motley Fool Income Investor comes loaded with goodies for members. It's a stock newsletter, so members can expect a monthly stock pick (delivered on the second Tuesday of each month – be sure to check your email inbox then). The team also produces regular updates on the stocks Income Investor recommends to members.

Michael and team also release their picks for the "best" dividend stocks each month – these are Income Investor recommendations which the team see as particularly good opportunities at that time. Whether it's because of particularly good news that highlights the company's growth opportunities, or a reduced valuation that has boosted the yield, the Income Investor team will share why these "best buys now" deserve a spot in members' portfolios.

Finally, perhaps the most underrated part of Income Investor: A fantastic community of members who lend their expertise and support to each other in their quest to become better investors. The boards discussions are full of excellent commentary by a diverse set of experienced Income Investor members who help mentor new folks and answer questions.

With all of these benefits, it's no wonder that tens of thousands of people have taken the jump and bought a Motley Fool Income Investor subscription. And with those subscriptions on sale right now, maybe it's your time too. Click here to learn more.