Special Report

Morningstar's Guide to Dividend and Income Investing

Morningstar.com

It seems almost unthinkable: A little more than a decade ago, in 2007, FDIC-insured cash investments were paying almost 5%. Fast forward a decade--and a financial crisis--later, and investors find themselves cheering that yields have topped 1.5%. Seemingly every rock has been turned over in search of income.

Of course, yield has been a crucial component of stock and especially bond investors' returns over time: With the Federal Reserve poised to continue to boost interest rates and return potential of stocks constrained by high valuations, a portfolio's income production is apt to be an even bigger driver of returns in the future than has been the case in recent decades. Yet the fact that investors have been so income-starved for so long makes it especially important to be discerning when incorporating yield-producing securities into your portfolio.