Do Index Funds Pay Dividends? Yes, Use Top Picks of 2024


Index funds are investment funds that aim to mirror the performance of a specific market index, such as the S&P 500. They work by pooling money from multiple investors to buy a diversified portfolio of assets that closely resembles the index they track. This passive investment approach aims to match the returns of the chosen index rather than actively trying to outperform it. In this updated article, we’ve included a section highlighting our top picks of dividend funds to provide readers with additional investment options and insights.

Our Top Picks of Dividend Funds

Fund NameDividend Yield5-Year CAGRHighlights
Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD)3.68%12.88%Invests in companies with a history of consistent dividend payouts and predictable dividend growth.
iShares Core High Dividend ETF (HDV)3.53%4.45%Tracks the S&P High Dividend Aristocrats Index, which consists of companies that have paid dividends for at least 25 consecutive years.
Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM)3.01%5.81%Invests in companies with high dividend yields across all sectors of the U.S. economy.
WisdomTree US SmallCap Dividend ETF (DES)2.94%1.18%Invests in small-capitalization companies that pay dividends.
SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY)2.64%6.64%Tracks the S&P High Dividend Index, which consists of companies with high dividend yields.
Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG)1.82%10.26%Invests in companies with a history of increasing their dividends over time.

As of  July 08, 2024.


  • Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM): High dividend yield and diversification across sectors.
  • Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD): Consistent dividend history and predictable dividend growth.
  • iShares Core High Dividend ETF (HDV): Stable companies with a 25-year history of paying dividends.
  • SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY): High dividend yield across a broad range of companies.
  • Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG): Focus on dividend growth for the long term.
  • WisdomTree US SmallCap Dividend ETF (DES): High dividend yield from small-cap companies.

Why Do Index Funds Pay Dividends?

What is the main reason for index funds to pay dividends? Index funds pay dividends due to the regulations oblige them to do so. Some of these funds target to find dividend stocks and then they spread the net income (after the management fee deduction) to their holders. But Index funds define terms, taxes and the exact amount of the dividends. However, despite the taxes investing for dummies by means of the index funds brings its returns.

How do index funds pay dividends?

Let’s break it down to give understanding of this procedure and simplify investing for dummies. Usually Index funds use two basic types of dividend payments: 

Paid-in cash dividends: holders get transfer into their brokerage account.

Reinvested dividends: if the holders give an order to reinvest dividends and buy more shares of the fund on the money earned.

When Are Index Fund Dividends Paid?

Investing for dummies can be very beneficial and generate passive income monthly, quarterly or annually. Stock dividend funds more often pay dividends on a quarterly or annual basis, whereas bond dividend funds tend to pay every month. 

Index Fund Dividends And Fees

The dividends that the fund gets from its investments are paid to investors, but the fund charges management fees which can be presented as an expense ratio reflecting a percent of your investment in the fund. However, usually the expense ratio is very small, the fund may charge 0.20 percent or so, because the decision making process is largely automatic today. 

Therefore, investing for dummies became even more simplified than before, you must only pick up the right Index Fund.

Are Dividends From Index Funds Taxable?

Dividends from index funds are taxable but the amount of the taxes varies depending on the type of these dividends.

  • Non-qualified dividends are considered as an income and must be taxed higher than qualified dividends.
  • Qualified dividends can be reported to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) as a capital gain that reduces taxes.

For 2024, qualified dividends may be taxed at 0% if taxable income falls below: 

  • $47,025 for single or married filing separately;
  • $63,000 for head of household;
  • $94,050 for married filing jointly.

IRA (Individual Retirement Account) in this case can be considered as a useful tool to avoid taxes. Thus, retirement investing for dummies also helps to save your money while getting dividend payments.

<H2> Examples Index Funds That Pay Dividends

iShares Core High Dividend ETF

This exchange-traded fund seeks to track the investing results of the Morningstar Dividend Yield Focus Index which offers access to the stock companies with high dividends. By means of the stock investing for dummies you reach large-cap energy and pharmaceutical holdings.

Dividend Yield (TTM) as of  July 08, 2024: 3.53%

Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF

Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF is another index fund that pays relatively high dividends for investing into REITs, which are historically known for their competitive dividends across the market. More than 1/5 of the fund’s assets are connected with companies in the financial sector.

Dividend Yield (TTM) as of  July 08, 2024: 3.01%

Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Fund Index ETF

The main purpose of this fund is to track the performance of the S&P U.S. Dividend Growers Index which includes large-cap companies which gradually increased their dividend payments year over year and beat the record.  

Dividend Yield (TTM) as of  July 08, 2024: 1.82%

Vanguard Real Estate ETF

Vanguard Real Estate ETF invests in stocks issued by REITs and other companies that deal with various types of real properties. The underlying index of the fund comprises about 175 companies and offers high potential for investment income. It must be pointed out that this type of bond investing for dummies associates with more sharp value fluctuations than investing in funds holding shares.

Dividend Yield (TTM) as of  July 08, 2024: 4.26%

ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (NOBL)

The fund attempts to track investment results of the index that includes only companies paying dividends. And the dividends of these companies have increased for at least 25 years. NOBL equally values its assets and each sector included must not make up more than 30% of the index.

Dividend Yield (TTM) as of  July 08, 2024: 2.21%

Types Of Index Funds

With a plethora of options available, finding the right index funds for investing can be daunting. Here’s a brief overview of some key types to consider:

  1. Broad Market Index Funds: These aim to mirror leading indexes like the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, etc.
  2. Bond Index Funds: Also known as fixed income index funds, they invest in bonds linked to popular indexes such as Bloomberg U.S. Corporate Bond Index.
  3. Dividend Index Funds: Focus on securities with high or increasing dividends, making them attractive for investors seeking steady income.
  4. International Index Funds: Invest in non-US securities, tracking indexes like the DAX in Germany.
  5. Socially Responsible Index Funds: Target companies promoting environmental and social responsibility.
  6. Sector Index Funds: Concentrate on specific sectors within broader indexes, like healthcare or technology.
  7. Market Capitalization Index Funds: Offer exposure to large-cap or small-/mid-cap companies, diversifying across market capitalization levels.
  8. Tax-Free Bond Index Funds: Invest in municipal bonds offering tax benefits to investors.
  9. Balanced Index Funds: Ideal for diversified exposure to both stocks and bonds, suitable for beginners in both asset classes.

Pros & Cons of Index Funds which pay dividends

Investing in the stock market for dummies becomes easier with index funds that offer access to a pool of securities. Fund’s portfolio is perfectly diversified and suits for investing in stock for dummies, they get both an access to the stock market as well as relatively low taxes. 

Moreover, stockholders benefit from dividend yields and can choose the investment strategy that is more preferable personally for them. But what are the pros and cons of investing for dummies in index funds which pay dividends?

Pros of Index Funds which pay dividends:

  • Suits for investing for dummies: investing in index funds is managed by your fund, there is no need to manage it on your own. Thus, it is a perfect way of investing for dummies.
  • Relatively low fees: The operational costs are lower due to the fact that the decision making process in index funds is performed automatically or passively.
  • Diversification: index fund composes the portfolio which includes various securities of different sectors and a lot of companies depending on the fund you have chosen.
  • Tax efficiency: in some cases, dividend yield can be recognized as capital gain that reduces taxes.
  • Greater long-term returns: In a long run index funds may bring greater income than actively managed portfolios. Investing for dummies is going to bring its benefits and you will thrive year after year.

Cons of Index Funds which pay dividends:

  • Dependence on the index: Investors cannot control the underlying index.
  • Taxable dividends: despite the way of the payment (in cash or reinvesting), dividends are considered to be taxable income.
  • Fund restrictions: As an index fund targets to track the performance of the index, some of the market strategies are forbidden. Managers are not allowed to buy at low price or reduce loss in periods of corrections. Thus, Investing for dummies associates with limitations, but they are necessary.
  • Limited returns: The returns are bound to the index and cannot beat the market.


Are ETFs index funds?

The majority of the ETFs are index funds (may be structured similarly), for example, Vanguard index ETFs, but an index fund is a little bit broader notion which also resembles mutual fund. Besides, Index funds are bought directly from the fund manager while ETFs are traded on exchange.

Should You Invest in Dividend Stocks or Index Funds?

The answer to this question depends on your investment strategy. Index fund offers the access to the diversified pool of securities, your returns will correlate with underlying index and dividend yield will be taxed. Whereas dividend stocks require personal management strategies that can be complicated initially for investing for dummies but more profitable in perspective for comparatively more active investors.

How often do index funds pay dividends?

Index funds pay dividends monthly, quarterly or annually. It may vary depending on the securities held.

Do all index funds pay dividends?

All index funds have to pay dividends due to the regulations, but the amount of the payments and other additional conditions can be determined by the certain index fund.

Do s&p index funds pay dividends?

More than 80% of the largest 500 US companies that are included in the S&P 500 regularly pay dividends. These largest dividend companies can be considered as a starting point of investing for dummies.

How much dividends do index funds pay?

Index funds get dividend yields from all the dividend companies that constitute the portfolio. As dividends are considered taxable income, index funds distribute investment returns net of taxes and fees according to the established rules of the fund.

Do vanguard index funds pay dividends?

Vanguard index funds regularly pay dividends with lower-than-average expense ratios on an annual or quarterly basis. There are more than 70 Vanguard index funds that pay dividends.

Do index mutual funds pay dividends?

Index mutual funds as well as many exchange traded funds pay dividends for frequent income. The dividends can be reinvested in the future to increase the number of the shares in the portfolio.


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