What Is an Ex-Dividend Date, and How Does It Affect Your Stocks?

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When a company does well enough to distribute some of its profits to its stock shareholders, this is known as paying dividends. Investing in stocks that pay out high dividends can be a great strategy for long-term investors, but dividend payments have a specific timeline they follow that includes important dates you’ll want to pay attention to. These include what’s known as the ex-dividend date. If you’re looking into dividend stock investments, it helps to learn exactly what the various dates mean and how they'll affect your stocks throughout a dividend payment’s "lifetime."