Top 7 High-Dividend ETFs for July 2024

High-dividend ETFs offer instant diversification and potential income.
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Nerdy takeaways
  • KBWY and XSHD have some of the highest yields of any high-dividend ETF.

  • You can find high-dividend ETFs by analyzing the ETF selection in your brokerage account.

  • It's possible to live off the income from high-dividend ETFs, but it may take some planning.

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Dividends can be a powerful source of income. Some investors harness them by investing in dividend stocks, but there's another option for those who want to save time on stock research: high-dividend ETFs.

High-dividend ETFs may generate income

Dividend-paying ETFs can be a great tool for those looking to increase cash flow and diversify their investments. They offer a simple solution to getting exposure to a specific investing niche — in this case, stocks that pay a regular dividend.

You can use those dividends to pad your income as many retirees do. You can also reinvest those dividends back into the fund to better take advantage of compound interest and grow your investment portfolio. Whatever you choose, dividend-paying ETFs make it easy to add a large variety of investments to your portfolio all at once.

» Wondering about the taxes? Learn more about dividend tax rates

7 high-dividend ETFs

Below is a list of seven large-cap U.S. dividend ETFs, ordered by annual dividend yield. High dividend ETFs may come with higher risk. Always read the fine print and investigate dividends that seem too good to be true.

Ticker

Company

Dividend Yield

KBWY

Invesco KBW Premium Yield Equity REIT ETF

8.78%

XSHD

Invesco S&P SmallCap High Dividend Low Volatility ETF

8.22%

DIV

Global X SuperDividend U.S. ETF

6.87%

SPYD

SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 High Dividend ETF

4.59%

SDOG

ALPS Sector Dividend Dogs ETF

4.21%

SPHD

Invesco S&P 500 High Dividend Low Volatility ETF

4.19%

CDC

VictoryShares US EQ Income Enhanced Volatility Wtd ETF

4.16%

Source: Finviz. Data is current as of market close on July 1, 2024, and is for informational purposes only. Inverse, leveraged, actively managed and hedged ETFs are excluded, as are ETFs with expense ratios over 0.5%.

» Need a brokerage account? Check out the best online brokerages for dividend investing

How to invest in dividend ETFs

A dividend ETF typically includes dozens, if not hundreds, of dividend stocks. That instantly provides you with diversification, which means greater safety for your payout. Even if a few of the fund’s stocks cut their dividends, the effect will be minimal on the fund’s overall dividend. A safe payout should be your top consideration in buying any dividend investment.

Here’s how to buy a dividend stock ETF:

1. Find a broadly diversified dividend ETF. You can typically find dividend ETFs by searching for them on your broker's website. (No broker? Here's how to open a brokerage account.)

Probably the safest choice is a low-cost fund that picks dividend stocks from the S&P 500 stock index. That offers a broadly diversified package of top U.S. companies.

2. Analyze the ETF. Make sure the ETF is invested in stocks (also called equities), not bonds. You’ll also want to check the following:

  • The dividend yield. This is how much a company pays out in dividends each year relative to its share price and is usually expressed as a percentage.

  • 5-year returns. Generally, higher is better.

  • Expense ratio. This is the ETF's annual fee, paid out of your investment in the fund. Look for an expense ratio that is under 0.50%, but lower is better.

  • Stock size. Dividend ETFs can be invested in companies with large, medium or small market capitalization (referred to as large caps, mid caps and small caps). Large caps are generally the safest, while small caps are the riskiest.

  • Assets under management (AUM). This refers to the total market value of the assets a fund manages. The AUM gives an indication of the fund's size. Funds with a low AUM promising high dividends may be risky.

3. Buy the ETF. You can buy ETFs just like you’d buy a stock — through an online broker. A good approach is to buy them regularly, to take advantage of dollar-cost averaging.

Ready to choose an online broker?

View a curated list of our picks based on how you like to invest.

on NerdWallet's secure site

Can you live off ETF dividends?

While it is possible to live off ETF dividends, you'll need to do some careful planning to make it happen. You'll need to balance how much income your investments bring in and how much you spend. You can use the 4% rule to help you figure out how much you can withdraw from your retirement stash, meaning you should aim to withdraw around 4% from your savings every year.

» Interested in monthly dividend payments? Check out monthly dividend stocks.

If you want to live off ETF dividends, you'll need to consider the money you may have from Social Security benefits, pension benefits, 401(k)s, IRAs, and any other sources of income. Then, you can start to estimate how much you'll need to fill in the gaps with ETF dividends. If you're heading into retirement and want to see how ETF dividends can supplement your lifestyle, it may be a good idea to speak with a financial advisor.

» Interested in early retirement? Learn about the FIRE movement.

Learn more about ETFs:

Data is intended for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor editor held positions in the aforementioned investments at the time of publication.

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