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Oh, for the good old days of dividend investing when you bought a few quality dividend stocks, collected quarterly checks (or maybe reinvested the money), and then passed along the greatly appreciated shares to your heirs.

Many investors still do that, but the number of ways to invest in dividend stocks has multiplied in recent years, and in this and the next two columns, we’ll look at the pros and cons of investing in dividend stocks directly, through open-end and closed-end mutual funds, and through exchange-traded funds.

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