Dividend stocks can be a great way to generate some passive income. However, unlike fixed-income options such as bonds, dividend payments aren’t guaranteed. If a company runs into financial trouble, its dividend is usually the first thing it cuts.
One warning sign that a dividend is at a higher risk of hitting the chopping block is a high dividend yield. That’s especially true when the company operates in an industry currently facing significant headwinds. That’s why the dividends of oil giant ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and prison-focused real estate investment trust (REIT) GEO Group (NYSE: GEO) seem to be on a shaky long-term foundation.