11 Best Dividend ETFs to Buy for a Diversified Portfolio

Are you a set-it-and-forget-it income investor? These 11 dividend ETFs provide a variety of long-term cash-generating strategies.

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Assets in U.S. dividend-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have grown exponentially over the past decade. In 2009, America's dividend ETFs collectively held less than $20 billion. By September 2021, assets in dividend ETFs had shot up to almost $300 billion.

In good times and bad, dividend stocks act almost like rent checks, coming quarterly or even monthly like clockwork. Many investors, whether you're a professional working on Wall Street or a regular Joe on Main Street, swear by them.

"Dividend-paying stocks purchased through funds and ETFs offer the appeal of income and potential growth, a particularly appealing combination for investors frustrated with the low interest rate environment," says Dan Kern, Chief Investment Officer at TFC Financial Management.

"The combination of income and potential growth may be really important given the need to extend retirement savings through longer expected lifespans. There are multiple factors to consider in selecting high-dividend investments. Dividend-oriented ETFs aren't all the same, so buyer beware."

If you're in this camp of income-minded set-it-and-forget-it investors, here are 11 of the best dividend ETFs to buy and hold for the long haul. Several are dedicated specifically to dividends, while others simply hold dividend stocks as an indirect result of their strategy. But this is a collection of dividend ETFs that are diversified by geography, style, size, sector and more, and thus can be held as a group or individually depending on your preferences, risk tolerance and investment horizon.

Data as of Sept. 12. Dividend yields represent the trailing 12-month yield, which is a standard measure for equity funds.

Will Ashworth
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Will has written professionally for investment and finance publications in both the U.S. and Canada since 2004. A native of Toronto, Canada, his sole objective is to help people become better and more informed investors. Fascinated by how companies make money, he's a keen student of business history. Married and now living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he's also got an interest in equity and debt crowdfunding.