Monitor Dividends

Dividends play an important role in many portfolios. They're a sign that corporate management is committed to shareholders, and companies tend to be reluctant to cut them. If you're nearing retirement, you may be looking to regular dividend payments to help supply income for your living expenses. And since stocks with high dividend yields tend to be less volatile than non-dividend-paying names, they may provide good balance for some portfolios.

If you own stocks that pay dividends as a part of your investment strategy you'll want to monitor that payout. You'll want to see a dividend that's stable or growing. It's typically a bad sign when a company cuts or even eliminates its dividend.

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