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Warren Buffet spent a record $5.1 billion buying back shares of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in the second quarter.

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Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has done pretty well for himself and his shareholders throughout his career.

Buffett’s net worth has swelled to $80.5 billion as of this past weekend. This figure doesn’t factor in the $37 billion he’s donated to various charities over the past 14 years. 

The Oracle of Omaha has also created $400 billion in value for shareholders. In the past 55 years, the benchmark S&P 500 has gained 19,784%, inclusive of dividends paid, while Berkshire Hathaway stock is up 2,744,062%.

Dividends have played a key role in Buffett’s long-term success

Warren Buffett has always been excellent at identifying businesses with clear-cut and sustainable competitive advantages, and he’s benefited from holding onto these businesses for long periods of time. He’s also quite the fan of value stocks.

But there’s one factor in Buffett’s success that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves: his affinity for dividend stocks. The vast majority of companies that pay a dividend are profitable on a recurring basis and have time-tested business models.

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Dividend stocks have historically run circles around peers that don’t pay dividends. In 2013, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch released a report comparing the average annual return of stocks that initiated and grew their payouts between 1972 and 2012 with the average annual return of stocks that don’t pay dividends. The result was night and day. Dividend-paying stocks averaged a 9.5% annual increase, while nonpayers only managed an average bump of 1.6%