Stop moaning about low savings rates and celebrate the age of the DIVIDEND!

The last seven years have been a nightmare for savers, or so we’ve been told. It’s certainly true for those who are still clinging onto cash: today, the average easy access savings account pays just 0.58%, according to latest figures from The outlook is increasingly bleak: April saw a staggering 143 savings rate cuts, against just 28 increases.

Oh do pipe down

So to be fair, savers do have something to beef about. And older savers who no longer want to be exposed to stock market risk should feel particularly aggrieved, as they’re by and large stuck with cash. But here’s a message for everybody else: GET OVER IT!

We all know why the Bank of England slashed base rates to 0.5% in March 2009 and has kept them there ever since: it didn’t have any choice, given that the alternative was economic meltdown. Personally, I’d like to see rates rise again soon – if only to prick the housing bubble – but until then we’ve all been given one big fat great juicy consolation in the shape of company dividends.

Yield to the yield

Low interest rates may be hellish for savers but for those willing and able to take a chance on stocks and shares they’ve been heaven. That’s because right now, you can take your pick from a host of top FTSE 100 stocks offering dividend yields of up to 10 or 12 times base rate (or if you wish to invest in global bank HSBC Holdings – which currently yields 7.96% – almost 16 times base rate).

Here’s just a smattering of top stocks worth considering today, together with their crazy-generous yields: BP (7.72%), Royal Dutch Shell (7.64%), Rio Tinto (7.29%), Centrica (6.92%), Legal & General Group (5.76%), GlaxoSmithKline (5.53%) and Vodafone Group (5.05%). Tempting, much?

Dividend delight

This is a small selection of household name stocks paying generous income streams to anybody who feels comfortable buying shares. Now stocks are riskier than cash, even blue chip names like these. There’s always the danger that their share prices will plummet and your capital isn’t guaranteed. Dividends aren’t guaranteed either: grocery giant Tesco used to pay a generous dividend, it doesn’t now. But history shows that over the long term, stocks and shares have completely outplayed cash.

You can reduce the risk by building a balanced portfolio of dividend-paying stocks diversified across sectors such as mining, banks, oil, insurers, utilities and pharmaceuticals. Better still, your dividend income should rise over time, as most companies aim to increase their dividend every year, often by far more than inflation. The important thing is to reinvest those dividends back into the stock, as that will generate three-quarters of the profit you ever make from shares.

Base rate bashers

Talking about inflation, here’s another reason to ‘heart’ dividend stocks. CPI inflation was just 0.3% in the year to April, so a generous dividend can boost the value of your money in real terms: HSBC’s yield is more than 50 times the inflation rate. Since when has that ever happened?

So give over lamenting the death of cash and celebrate the age of the base rate-bashing, inflation-busting, wealth-multiplying dividend stock.

There are plenty of exciting dividend stocks if you know where to look.

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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, Centrica, HSBC Holdings, Rio Tinto, and Royal Dutch Shell B. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.