A Dividend is simply a profit share.
If you own Shares in a company, and the company is profitable, typically once a year they will transfer some money into your account, this is called a Dividend. This Dividend is your share of the company’s profits, and you can withdraw and spend it however you wish.
Let’s imagine your neighbour Suzy wants to open a Lemonade Stand. She needs some investment to buy lemons, so being a shrewd investor, you offer to give her £100 in exchange for half her company (the Shares) and half of any profit she makes (the Dividend). Suzy has a busy week and sells lots of Lemonade, after buying enough Lemons for next week she is left with £20 of profit. She gives you £10 (the Dividend) and she keeps the other £10. You still own half her company, and you will keep receiving half of the profits every week.
In large companies the Directors may decide not to pay all their profits in Dividends, instead choosing to reinvest to buy new machinery, or grow the business. But in the next article we will discuss Dividend Yield which helps you compare which companies pay the best Dividends.
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