Instead of the dividend itself, many stock listings include the dividend yield, which is the percentage of the current stock price being paid out annually in dividends. If there's a yield, it means there's a dividend.

Q: How can you tell if a company pays a dividend, and how big it is?

A: You can call the company and ask, or look it up online or in newspaper stock listings.

Instead of the dividend itself, many stock listings include the dividend yield, which is the percentage of the current stock price being paid out annually in dividends.

If there’s a yield, it means there’s a dividend.

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To figure out the dividend from the yield, multiply the yield by the stock price.

Imagine that a company is trading at $60 per share with a yield of 2 percent (which is 0.02).

Multiply 0.02 by 60 and you’ll get 1.20, meaning that the company is currently paying out $1.20 each year in dividends per share.

(Companies often pay dividends quarterly, so this would be $0.30 per quarter.)

Q: What is FDIC insurance?

A: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) was created in 1933 during the Depression to protect investors against bank failures.

It insures checking, savings and money-market accounts (and CDs) for up to $250,000 per depositor at each bank and thrift.

It does not cover stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life-insurance policies, annuities and the like, though.

For these, check with your financial service company to see what kind of protections may be provided.

You can learn more about the FDIC at www.fdic.gov, and more about your short-term savings options at www.bankrate.com.

(And you do have three to six months of expenses socked away in an emergency fund, right?)

The Motley Fool