Congrats on the article. The comments are also interesting. I tend to agree with the comment that total return is what's important, however, stock prices, and thus total return, tend to follow the dividend and yield so all things being equal, the end result should be the same. A stock like PG or XOM has had a yield somewhere between 2 and 4 percent for what seems like forever, so one would expect that over time the stock price will increase in line with the dividend increases and thus the total return would be higher.
I also believe, as one of your commenters noted, that your view of what constitutes high vs low dividend is biased towards the low end. That would be determined by one's personal preference and goals. To me, that range is low. Last time I ran my numbers was March 22 and at that time the average weighted yield on my portfolio of 25 stocks was 6.23%, with 9 yielding less than 4% and 5 yielding more than 11%. I trade on my core positions, ususally within a 6-8% range, to get the extra return and almost always add some shares of each MLP whenever they do a secondary offering. My lowest dividend now is 3.12% but I also have one, ACAS, that pays no dividend but that is a special case. It is a formerly damaged a BDC or business development company that has restructured. They now generate significant income and have been buying back shares and will continue to do so until the stock price reaches NAV. They will reinstate their dividend when they get to that goal and have been making steady progress. I just bought it.
Finally, I would recommend the SFL board to you. It is a long-running conversation among mostly older investors who go for high yields and high price appreciation. Very cordial group that avoids political debate.
Yes, total return is important, but way beyond the scope of my article.
Re your comment about what constitutes a hi dividend: The universe of stocks for the article were those with a long record of hi div and hi div growth. The ones you mention are not in that category. A 11% div stock will not be increasing the div at 10% a year. Also, they are more susceptible to an economic downturn. Since people buy them for income, a drop in earnings will quickly turn into a drop in the stock price. Especially for MLPs and REITS. This is not my opinion, it is common understanding. Of course, if you think we are at the start of an economic golden age, you don't worry about that.
I too, would like to congratulate you on your firs SA post.
I was humored when, over a decade ago, dividend were declared "dead".
I have quite a few div paying stocks, some like USB are in my ROTH.
Once in a while I entertain myself by computing a position's yield on cost. One stock I own has an 85% YOC.