8 Best Funds for Regular Dividend Income
By SHOBHIT SETH Updated August 03, 2023
Reviewed by CHIP STAPLETON
Fact checked by TIMOTHY LI
Reinvestment is known to increase long-term returns. When you reinvest your money, the interim income you generate is put back into the investment. But some investors opt to receive periodic payments from their investments, depending on their specific needs. Periodic coupon or interest payments from bonds, which are debt instruments, and regular dividends, which are cash payments from stocks and mutual funds, can offer investors a steady stream of income. In this article, we explore eight of the best dividend mutual funds that regularly pay dividends regularly.
How Do Mutual Funds Pay Dividends?
Mutual funds often contain a basket of securities including equities or stocks, which may pay dividends. Dividends are paid to shareholders at different times. For instance, mutual funds that follow a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) reinvest the received dividend amount back into the stocks. Other funds follow the dividend payment plan by continuing to aggregate dividend income over a monthly, quarterly, or sometimes six-month period, then making a periodic dividend payment to account holders.
A fund pays income after expenses. If a fund gets a regular yield from the dividend-paying constituent stocks, those expenses can be covered fully or partially by dividend income. Depending on local laws, dividend income may be tax-free, which can add to an investor’s overall return.
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Investors should also note that companies are not obliged to make dividend payments on their stocks, meaning that dividends are not guaranteed. Investors looking for dividend income may find dividend-paying mutual funds a better bet than individual stocks, as the latter aggregates the available dividend income from multiple stocks. A mutual fund also helps with diversifying risk from depreciating stock prices since the invested money is spread among dozens of companies.
Here are the best mutual funds that pay high-dividend yields.
A useful benchmark for gauging the dividend-paying performance of a fund is to compare the mutual fund yield with the yield of the benchmark S&P 500 index. The 30-day SEC yield is a standard measurement in the industry mandated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help investors compare funds before investing.
1. Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Admiral Shares (VHYAX)
Vanguard's High Dividend Yield Index Admiral Shares is an index fund that attempts to replicate the performance of the FTSE High Dividend Yield Index. This index contains stocks of companies that usually pay higher-than-expected or greater-than-average dividends. Being an index fund, VHYAX replicates the benchmark stock constituents in the same proportion. This fund has maintained a consistent history of paying quarterly dividends since its inception on Feb. 7, 2019.12
Being an index fund, the VHYAX has one of the lowest expense ratios—0.08%, as of Feb. 27, 2023—and its SEC yield was 3.06%, as of July 31, 2023. The fund has a $3,000 minimum investment requirement. It may be a perfect low-cost fund for anyone looking for higher-than-average dividend income.2
For investors looking for a lower minimum investment requirement, Vanguard offers this fund as an exchange-traded fund (ETF), which has many similar characteristics. The ETF version is called the Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM).3
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2. Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Index Admiral Shares (VDADX)
The VDADX is an index fund, which attempts to replicate the performance of the benchmark Nasdaq US Dividend Achievers Select Index. This unique index consists of stocks that have been increasing their dividend payouts over time. Being an index fund, the VDADX replicates the benchmark stock constituents in the same proportion. This fund is also a consistent payer of quarterly dividends since its inception date of Dec. 19, 2013.45
VDADX also has one of the lowest expense ratios. Like VHYAX, it only charges 0.08% as an expense ratio with an SEC yield of 1.76%, as of July 31, 2023. The fund has a $3,000 minimum investment requirement.5