These 3 income stocks could make you long-term rich

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Investing is a long-term game. Too many investors fixate on short-term share price growth when income is where the money is. If you reinvest your dividends they will account for three-quarters of your growth over the longer run. So the earlier you buy and the longer you hold, the better. Here are three dividend payers that could make you seriously rich, if you give them time.

BP

Oil giant BP(LSE: BP) currently trades on a stonking yield of 6.5%, an astonishing 26 times current base rate. The big worry is that cover is well into negative territory at -0.9, which mean the firm isn't generating enough cash to cover it, and is funding it with debt instead. Most investors seem relaxed about this. The share price is up 24% over the past year, which hardly suggests investors are running for cover. This is partly due to the Trump reflation play, and partly due to recent OPEC and non-OPEC production cuts.

Nobody can say for sure if the yield will hold. After all the fuss about recent production cuts, Brent crude is only hovering around $55 a barrel. BP's 2017 Energy Outlook warns that energy resources are abundant, suggesting that today's 'lower for longer' oil environment will endure. However, forecast earnings per share (EPS) growth of 145% this calendar year should provide some comfort as cost-cutting pays off.

GlaxoSmithKline

For many investors, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline(LSE: GSK) is the ultimate income machine, with a yield that has hovered between 5% and 6% for as long as I can remember. Today it pays 5.3%, although cover is just 0.9. Worryingly, share price performance has been pretty erratic, with the stock up less than 6% over the last five years. In fact, it trades just 10% higher than it did a decade ago.

Glaxo has been hit by several factors, including falling revenues from blockbuster respiratory drug Advair, while investors are holding fire to see how well its new suite of drugs will plug the gap. After four negative years, EPS jumped 33% in 2016, and forward growth looks steady. This large, diversified company should remain an income machine for years to come, so let the dividends roll.

Legal & General Group

Insurance company Legal & General Group(LSE: LGEN) is another big yielder, currently paying income of 5.5%, with cover at 1.4. Fittingly, as a major-scale vendor of tracker funds its share price tends to follow the stock market up and down, so it has climbed almost 20% over the last six months. Its share price has doubled over five years, but investors concerned that stock market growth may have peaked might want to delay their entry point. Although at a forecast valuation of 11.3 times earnings, it's hardly overpriced.

Management is bullish, saying last month that all three of L&G's divisions were well positioned to capitalise on significant structural growth opportunities arising from geopolitical, economic and demographic changes. Five years of positive EPS growth are set to continue this year and next, if at a slower rate of 1% and 5%, while the yield is forecast to hit a whopping 6.6%. Like BP and Glaxo, L&G looks like the perfect building block for almost any portfolio.

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Harvey Jones has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended GlaxoSmithKline. The Motley Fool UK has recommended BP. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.