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Bag_Money_Profits__iStock_000002768906XSmall1-300x199In 2013, companies spent $750 billion in share buybacks — an amount not seen since shortly before the financial crisis — and the spree is continuing this year.

For the most part, the $750 in share buybacks in 2013 were perceived as investor-friendly moves designed to boost share prices.

However, when shares are bought back under less desirable circumstances, it could be way to artificially boost value when a company anticipates a sell-off in shares from a poor earnings report or drained pipeline that doesn’t bode well for future growth.

Dividends, on the other hand, are tangible. An enterprising corporate accountant can’t fake a dividend. Earnings, wages, revenue, taxes, accounts payable, accounts receivable, business write-offs  — all these entries — can be manipulated to the point that an investor can spend hours poring over financial statements to ensure what’s reported is real.

Cash speaks loudly

But you can’t fake a cash payment — either you have the cash or you don’t.

Given all the uncertainty surrounding the stock market, it seems all the sweeter to quickly and regularly recoup a portion of your initial investment in dividend income.

It’s not always best to seek out the highest-yielding stocks, but rather those that have long histories of consistent increases. Here are golden dividend payers to consider:

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