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Forget Growth vs. Dividend; Buy Both

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When you're building an investment portfolio, you may feel like you're forced to choose among growth stocks, value stocks and blue-chip dividend stocks.

And many investors get tunnel vision and try to stick to only one strategy.

But the beauty of the market is that you can combine strategies.

For example, you can go for both grow and dividend stocks. You can weight each type of stock differently in your portfolio depending on your risk tolerance, which obviously will be influenced by your age.

Let's say our investor is 30-years-old. He could allocate, for example, two-thirds of his equity exposure into growth stocks and the other one-third into blue-chip dividend stocks. To be clear, this is only for this investor's equity funds, meaning he can have other funds in cash or fixed-income.

However, a 50-year-old investor might want to have a slightly less volatile, safer exposure to equities. Although a dividend stock may not always be safer than any given growth stock, it is generally assumed that dividend stocks are less volatile, and therefore, less risky.

The older investor might prefer to have two-thirds of her equity allocation in dividend stocks, while putting the other one-third in growth stocks. Allocate the positions in whatever percentage you'd like, but it's undeniable that each group has its own advantages.

The debate has raged for a long, long time. Over long periods of bull runs, growth stocks outperform. Then, when stocks take a bit of breather and chop up and down for a few years, having a low-volatility stock with a reinvested dividend pays off nicely too.

That's not to say solid dividend payers can't grow as well. Take McDonald's (MCD) for example. The stock hasn't been overwhelming the bulls in 2013, but anyone invested in the name for the last 10 years has been quite pleased.

In 2003, the stock was trading for a measly $23 or so. Today, even as it's approaching six-month lows, the stock is trading for roughly $95, up about 313%, with a 3.25% dividend yield to boot.

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