"Your post just adds to the confusion"
If you mean that by explaining the very purpose of the ex-date to those who are already hopelessly confused, then yes, it just adds to that confusion.
Heaven forbid that anyone would want to actually understand why such a thing as ex-dividend dates exist. Why, if facts are continued to be allowed on the message boards, that could lead to a reduction in ignorance and that's the last thing the financial markets need.
"The record date is essentially meaningless"
For you, maybe. But for the cool people it means a night out with that cute blond playing your old 45's: http://www.loti.com/sixties_music/indie/45records.jpg
But when on a record date, always remember to use protection. Never go on a record date without one of these: http://richd.com/icon/record-preview.jpg
I think it's some sort of IUD.
I recommend that investors go to the company website for dividend history:
for tax information:
and for any news:
If you have a question go ahead and call or email investor relations. They can be very helpful although emails can have a 1-4 day turnaround time.
After you bring up the stock symbol on yahoo Go to "Key Statistics" on the right hand side of the sceen and scroll down where is says more statistics and click on that, then scroll down to the right side of screen. It gives all info about dividends.
Can't we all just get along? The ex-div. date is extemly important to invester's who buy a stock mainly for it's dividend. By purchasing a stock a day or so prior to the ex-div. date, you can hold the stock for one year & collect 6 div. payments rather than four.