When do I have to purchase a stock to get its dividend payout?

Nov 14, 2010 -

When do I have to purchase a stock to get its dividend payout?

Simple answer: Three business days before the “Date of Record” or before the “Ex-Date”

For example, if the dividend is payable to those on account on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012., the Ex-Date would be Monday, December 3rd 2012. The latest you can buy the shares to qualify is Friday, November 30th 2012. 

1) What is the “Date of Record” and what is the “Ex-Date”?
The date of record is the date on which the company sees who is a shareholder. The “Ex-Date” is two days before the “Date of Record”. To be a stockholder on the record date an investor must purchase the stock before the ex-dividend date.

2) Why three days?
The settlement of stocks is three days. That means from the day you initiate the transaction it takes three days from the date for the change to be reflected in the company’s books.

3) Where can I find out what the "Date of Record" or "Ex-Date" is? 
You will find your answer at Google Finance searching by Ticker Symbol or Company.  

4) When will I be paid?  
Typically companies will announce a “declaration” of dividend payment. Similarly the “payable” date will be announced. 
 
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