The path to financial independence is difficult. Financial independence is a goal that nearly everyone strives toward, but it can be difficult to know the right steps to take to get there. One of the best ways to reach financial independence is to cultivate a stream of investment income. Dividend-paying stocks provide just this sort of income stream.
However, a dividend alone isn't worth all that much. In order to pay the bills, we need companies that deliver reliable dividends. If we look for companies with certain common characteristics, such as a consistent track record of dividend raises, a low payout ratio, and plenty of cash flow, though, we should be able to find companies that deliver reliable dividend income.
When building a dividend portfolio, investors often look for companies that have consistently raised their dividends over time. Common sense tells you why making more and more money every year on the same initial investment is a good thing. In addition, companies that continue to raise their dividends over time likely have consistent earnings growth, which every investor likes to see.