My colleague Christine Benz once explored the question, should you manage your portfolio for income or total return? Her conclusion: Who says you have to choose? Savvy dividend investors have known this all along; investing in high-quality dividend-payers allows you to get the best of both worlds.
But the key here is "quality." sometimes the highest yields portend danger. Those juicy dividends are likely to be cut, particularly if the payout constitutes a large percentage of earnings. That leaves only a small buffer to sustain those payments if earnings fall. (A stock's payout ratio can help you get a handle on this.)
Karen Wallace does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar's editorial policies.