BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- There's a very good reason why saying that something "pays dividends" has meaning outside of the investment world. People get that stock dividends are a good thing.But what many folks may not get is just how good dividends have been historically for investors. According to research from Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel, reinvested dividends account for as much as 97% of total market performance. Better yet, dividends even impact how big your capital gains are. Over the last 36 years, dividend stocks have outperformed the rest of the S&P 500 by 2.5% annually, and they outperformed nonpayers by nearly 8% every year, all while paying out cash to their shareholders, according to data compiled by Ned Davis Research.
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