Face it, you are never going to win a million on the football pools, Premium Bonds or National Lottery, that only happens to other people. It could be you, but it won't. However, everybody can share in an upcoming jackpot worth a massive £8.2bn, which is far bigger than the biggest Euromillions rollover jackpot will ever be.
The jackpot will be divvied up over the next four weeks and whether you get a share has nothing to do with luck. That bumper payout is coming your way courtesy of some of the UK's biggest companies, who will shortly send out their latest batch of dividend payouts. Most do this four times a year, and to benefit, you simply have to hold their shares. Anybody with a bit of spare cash can take part. For once, everybody really is a winner.
In fact you may be joining in the fun without realising it. If you have a pension or stocks and shares Isa, the money is heading your way. As Interactive Investor, which produced the £8.2bn figure, puts it: "The good news is that almost everyone invested in a pension will get something."
Lee Wild, head of equity strategy at the site, says that whether directly, or indirectly through a fund or other collective investment, most of us own a stake in major blue-chips such as Rio Tinto, Legal & General, SSE, Prudential, GlaxoSmithKline, Diageo, Barclays, Royal Dutch Shell, and Lloyds Banking Group. These are just some of the companies who will be making dividend payments to millions of lucky investors over the next few weeks.
The UK is home to some of the world's best income stocks. The companies listed on the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently pay income worth 3.89% of their share price, a figure known as the dividend yield. This means if you have invested £10,000 in the index, say, through a tracker, you will get £389 a year. That is on top of any capital growth from rising share prices. By contrast, if you leave the money in the average easy access savings account, which pays a meagre 0.36%, you will get just £36 a year.
Feel the yield
You can actually get a higher income than that by choosing individual company stocks that pay a bigger dividend, for example, Shell, Centrica, BP, Vodafone and SSE all yield more than 6% a year, while BT Group, Glaxo, Legal & General, Marks & Spencer and HSBC Holdings yield more than 5%.
These are mighty income streams and unlike a lottery win, if you hold your stock or fund for the long term, you will get the money year after year. Better still, most companies aim to regularly increase their dividend payouts, so your income stream should steadily increase, more than keeping pace with inflation.
Buy, buy, buy
The most sensible thing you can do with the upcoming jackpot is to automatically reinvest the money back into your stocks and funds for further growth. Do not spend, spend, spend, but invest, invest, invest. That way your jackpot will just keep getting bigger and bigger. I would say good luck, but this has nothing to do with luck. It is simply what happens when you invest in dividend-paying shares.
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Harvey Jones has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended GlaxoSmithKline. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, BP, Diageo, HSBC Holdings, and Royal Dutch Shell B. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.